Messages & Forums 2.7, Not What You Were Expecting

The famous set of columns from the Roman Forum...Image via Wikipedia

Bryan Holladay has been a developer at Indiana University for the past four years. Bryan has assisted with the Matrix tool enhancements for ePortfolio, is the project co-lead for Sakai’s Messages & Forums tool, created Oncourse’s mobile portal for MobileIU and redesigned the synoptic tool for Messages & Forums. He has his B.S. in Computer Science from Indiana University and will complete his M.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University in August 2010. Bryan enjoys android programming and sailing the lakes of Indiana in his free time.

Megan May – Indiana University
Megan is a Quality Assurance Team Lead / Project Planning Coordinator within University Information Technology Services (UITS) at Indiana University and was the Quality Assurance (QA) Director for the Sakai Foundation for just under 3 years. Over the years Megan has been responsible for leading a global QA effort, as well as directed the testing and implementation effort of IU’s migration from the legacy CMS to Sakai. She has also been responsible for the communication, coordination, data analysis, design, documentation and tier 2 support. Megan earned her B.S. in Business from IU’s Kelley School of Business with concentrations in information systems, operations management and process management.

Gonzalo Silverio – University of Michigan
Gonzalo Silverio is a Sakai/Ctools front end developer at the University of Michigan, focused on constructing usable and accessible user experiences.

Introducing the faster, sleeker, and improved Messages & Forums tool for Sakai 2.7. This showcase will go over the improvements made to the Messages & Forums tool, including the UI makeover, the new synoptic tool, the many performance improvements and the extra features added for the user. We will also go over the process of becoming an independently released tool.

Meagan gave a short history of the forums and messaging feature in Sakai.
Forums Facelift
UI Makeover – complex tool and unique needs

  • Deep hierarchical structure
  • need for context and detail
  • But there is no Sakai idiom for dealing with these issues.
Changes in the Forums
  • Color coding
  • Threaded view
  • Single message view
  • New flags that tell you what you have read
  • Navigation tools
  • Clarifying permissions
  • Complete accessibility review
  • Word counts
Forums: What’s new in 2.7.0
  • New synoptic tool (shows unread messages)
  • Performance improvements
  • Direct pinking to Forum posts
  • Mark all as “read” when displaying all messages
  • Site participant notification
  • Displays # of users who read post
  • view all postings by in individual
  • Option to display and sort by last and recent activity
  • Option to pre-populated default forum and topic
  • Read by feature
  • Statistics page – able to click on posting and retrieve thread
Is the synoptic tool faster? A piece of chart junk was used to illustrate the faster speed. We were asked to ignore the numbers and just think of them as percentages – this guy has a future at NASA 🙂 To be fair, I am just not sure what his numbers mean apart from fast=good.
It is interesting to listen to programmers try to talk to faculty. All of the sorting and tagging options are not as nearly as useful as programmers think they are because they are dependent on what computer one is using when.
The thread view seems much clearer. This is going to be good news for our faculty.
Indie Tool Release
Development platform for building tools for Sakai.
Independently released from Sakai.
Using Maven Release plug-in
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