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All browsers don't work equally with tools that we can make available on Genealogy. Because Firefox is popular and supports Mac, Windows and Linux, if I was going to write some javascript tools, first versions of such tools for.

Anyone have any big problems with having to open Firefox to use certain nifty (and some maybe not so nifty) tools?


I am thinking here of genealogy specific tools- an example of a general tool would be (eg:wikEd), and of course folks can use those now.~ Phlox 21:36, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

With people all over the world encouraging me to install Firefox, this could be the straw that breaks the proverbial. (But I hope my 7-year-old Windows Me doesn't sulk - of course, it has a growing list of disadvantages now that MS has stopped supporting it; maybe that would be the straw that sent it packing!!) Robin Patterson 12:06, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Browsers come and go, and their will always be a new and different browser that's hot. And there will always be limitations as to what will work with what---until such a time as we reach the browser promised land of a really universal browser. Yeah, that should happen day after tomorrow maybe. But in the meantime, we'll all wave a fond farewell (maybe not so fond) to IE, and NetScape Navigator, as they slowly sink into the oblvion of replaced browsers. Bill 13:56, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

OK. So I am getting the impression that neither of you would have any problem using Firefox (which I myself do not use much except to test formatting changes). If for technical reasons a genealogy tool worked reliably only on Firefox, I will therefore not feel constrained in this respect. The main appeal of firefox is that it is cross platform, javascript is quirky and doesn't always work the same on all browsers and so if I have to choose one browser then it shouldn't be one that shuts out non Windows users.~ Phlox 20:02, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Confirming your impression in my case. I've just looked at wikEd: wow! (Bill's friends would like the "pseudo-WYSIWYG".) Robin Patterson 10:58, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Anything we can do to make those first editing sessions deliver some payoff to newcomers will pay big dividends. Just an impression, but in my family, everyone who worked on genealogies were the older folks- it was only of passing interest for those in their 30s and younger. It means we have a tougher time taking a newcomer and converting them to an active contributor, because let's face it- wikitext is a little scary at first- especially for those who muck it up with ridiculously showey signatures. (sorry- templates don't appear to work in sigs).
Anyway, I know that forms can be done with Javascript, and my idle thinking was that we could probably put a page together where javascript would support a form where the user didn't edit wikitext but simply filled in the answers to questions. The javascript would then fill in the slots of AMK's template. That would give a wikitext-less quick toe in the water. Next step for polishing the article, the user might use something like a genealogy modified wikEd that had special support for our prefered templates and look and feel. That's a lot of work, because it can't just be weekend hack code, but professional quality- it can't crash or lose data etc- has to be fairly bug free. It may be an idea for some young buck to cut his teeth on, but maybe time permitting I can make some modest attempt at this sort of approach. I don't really know how much is possible, so it all may be hogwash.
The part I needed to know was about Firefox. The main problem I hear about Javascript is non uniform behavior across browsers. I hope it isn't, that bad for the forms idea, because we can't tell newcomers they need to install a different browser if they want to try something cool on our site. ~ Phlox 16:31, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
You may need java to assemble the results, but can the inputting by the new user be all in friendly (color-matched!) inputboxes? Robin Patterson 12:01, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Haven't thought that far down the road. Maybe Java will be necessary for the best solution. Don't know- haven't looked at it. In any case I've got too much on my plate at this point already.
You certainly get the drift of where a super simplified input interface could go. Requiring installation of a different browser as well as Java would make that a problematic proposition for newcomers though.

~ Phlox 16:56, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

BTW- I have advocated WYSIWYG as the single topmost feature we need at wikia. JohnQ said that are beta testing a SocialText extension. We'll see where Wikiwyg implementation goes and if we can leverage it. Hopefully the thing is extensible (eg- direct support for article templates), and if so, that would have a huge impact on how we address the "start page for newcomers" issue~ Phlox 20:48, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

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