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What are we missing?

citizen428 profile image Michael Kohl ・1 min read

These are exciting times for the Foremverse as we're slowly opening up to more communities. What features is the software currently missing that would stop you from starting a community right now (e.g. alternative authentication methods, internationalization support, other "post types" except for blog posts, etc.)?

Discussion

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I was actually going to write a post about a feature I'd like to see!

I think it will be important for Forem to support cross-forem liquid tags — I believe the link tag, specifically, should be modified to work with any forem. I noticed this when writing a post here about podcasts — I couldn't embed any episodes or links from DEV.

Looking forward to seeing the other responses 🙂

 
 
 

The big 4 growth accelerators, in the following order:

Authentication (Facebook, Google & Apple)
A non-Dev editor (that my mum could use for styling and inline image, gif upload)
Simplified video uploader with support for other Forems
Buffer replacement

Bonus items!
I think the work happening with the configurable profile model is great, can't wait for that.

Make the ability to add rich content more prominent / stand alone (rather than just 'write post' maybe it's 'share content' or something like that).

Using gifs as article cover images is really important for me as my community is much more visual in its engagement, so maybe we can up the restrictions on the size of the cover and the frame rate allowed when using gifs (maybe we can do this with a siteconfig) and make it clearer that they can be used as a cover image.

🤓

 

Awesome, thanks Lee!

Make the ability to add rich content more prominent / stand alone (rather than just 'write post' maybe it's 'share content' or something like that).

That's exactly what I had in mind when I said other "post types" except for blog posts 👍

 

I think the switch from "Write post" to something different and more inclusive of other content types.

 

I think the key to having GIFs as cover images is to convert them to MP4s and serve those :)

 

What wait the cover images support mp4? 😃

No, they don't. I mean, I think the goal to have GIFs as cover images passes through uploading GIFs, converting them to MP4 and embedding videos. It would also solve a few other problems like size and security:

Optimize uploaded GIFs #3638

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.

Uploaded GIFs for use in articles are not optimized and therefore can be very large and slow for users to download.

Describe the solution you'd like

Since dev.to is using Cloudinary for its assets, there is the opportunity to easily apply lossy compression to GIFs to reduce GIF file sizes by 20-50% (without too large a hit on quality): cloudinary.com/blog/lossy_compress...

If quality should not be sacrificed, then there is also the possibility to use the HTML5 <video> element and display GIFs as automatically looping videos. Fortunately, Cloudinary also allows GIF assets to be requests as videos where Cloudinary will convert the .gif file to a .mp4 (or any other supported video format): cloudinary.com/blog/reduce_size_of...

Twitter actually converts all their GIFs to mp4 files and this helps reduce the GIF size by around 95%!

This may be difficult to implement considering the markdown asset would need to be converted to an HTML <video> element. Also, browser support will need to be considered to make sure autolooping videos work everywhere.

Additional context

When running performance audits with Lighthouse, the audits usually point towards the following resource when suggesting ways to optimize GIF assets: developers.google.com/web/fundamen...

I've also recently written a blog post regarding the switch of GIFs to videos and also analyze dev.to's implementation of GIFs in the article: robertcooper.me/stop-using-gifs

Ah great, looks like from recent comments, this in progress!

 

For us, the International Quidditch Association, organizations are more important than individual authors or even tags. A typical quidditch community member will be looking for content about their local community first, then national, and finally international. After they've seen local content they may seek out specialized content based on topic (or tag) like drills, equipment tutorials, sport analysis, post game/tournament highlights, etc. There are some "power" users who's priorities would be reversed (they care about specialized content over community news/discussion). But that use case is atypical for the vast majority of people in the community. There are also a number of "affinity" groups throughout the community like LGBTQ+ players, BIPOC players, a variety of other hobby groups, and more. Essentially I would like to see organizations be elevated to a similar level as tags in the main feed. This would enable community members to see updates/posts from all of their organizations along with new content within a followed tag.

 

Great feedback Alexis and an interesting use case, thank you!

 
 

Mega interesting. One of the first questions someone asked me about my community was “how do you localise it?”

 

A proper WYSIWYG editor for the post. An lot of enthusiast communities have no expertise formatting or posting using markdown.

 
 

Really good keyboard support (Global keyboard shortcuts to go to different sections of the page and do different things and also keyboard shortcuts specific to the page you are in).

 

Good one. As a Vimium user, I never thought about this, because I get keyboard-driven navigation on all pages.

 

I created a really simple chrome extension github.com/Rafi993/Dev.to-global-k... for global navigation.

 
 

I would love to see more options with the reply section here, some basic formatting options and helpers. I'm not sure if markdown is supported yet, about to try that right now in this post.

Post reply enhancements

  • The ability to paste images directly into a response
  • Emoji menu bar (maybe custom emoji?)
  • Basic formatting tools.

Markdown is supported, great!

 

Good point, the comment editor could potentially benefit from a facelift like the post one received.

 

If you use the dark mode you can't see the logo well at all

 

Do you mean DEV's or Forem.dev's ? Cold you open an issue on GitHub about this? Thank you!

 

The ability to create custom UX theme for our own forums (not for all users all the time, but if I were to create a forem, I could make a set of themes for that forem)

 

Very cool. What kinds of themes do you imagine making? We've been discussing this a lot internally. I had some fun ideas, like a Windows-95 theme or a rainbow theme :P

 

A Safari extension for those of us who value our RAM 😆