Sidebar Improvements

Claiming that we’re eating our own dog food would be an understatement, we breath by it.

While we’re finalizing stuff for the big launch (read: papers and bank fun) we’re trying to make Talker easier and more pleasant to use, yet effective for power-users.

We noticed the sidebar was starting to feel like a dumpster, aggregating unrelated things together. Many people had trouble finding how to upload a file.

Before

before

The upload link is hard to find and there’s no clear distinction between admin tools and current user settings.

So we’ve split all this in three zones of focus separated by concern:

1) Sending messages or files at bottom:

send buttons

2) Current user settings on top

and …

3) Managing room in the sidebar box:

sidebar

Feed notification

Also, some extra eye candy for feed notifications:

feed

And Youtube videos now display without the ugly gray default:

youtube

We hope you like those changes and speed enhancements, we’d love to have your feedback!

One good turn deserves another!

We presented Talker at CareerDemoCamp last night and it was a resounding success. We won the best presentation of the night award and prize, an Xbox 360.

We’re happy with winning the title but feel the Xbox would mean so much more to a family in need. That being said, we’ve decided to give it to The Salvation Army.

In effect Microsoft is giving one Xbox to charity for the holidays.

We’re wondering if we can get Nintendo and Sony to step up and do the same. You can help us by making some noise on Twitter and Facebook or by contacting Sony of Canada and Nintendo of Canada directly.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

Our First User Built Plugins

Anyone with administrator rights can write plugins that everyone will have enabled.

We sent out over 400 emails today to the people who signed up. Within only a few hours of signing up @mattbuck wrote a highlight-your-name plugin. He told us it wasn’t ready for usage yet and that he had ideas for improvement but we can’t blame him. He learned a plugin API in 2 hours and released this really cool plugin.

plugin.onMessageInsertion = function(event){
  var last_insertion = Talker.getLastRow();
  var message = last_insertion.find('td.message').find('p:last');
  var current_user_name = Talker.getCurrentUser().name;
  var name_expression = new RegExp(current_user_name);

  if (message.html().match(name_expression)){
    var subs = message.html().split(current_user_name);
    message.html(subs[0] + "<span style='background-color: yellow;'>" 
          + current_user_name 
          + "</span>" + subs[1]);

  }
}

Though we hadn’t shared it yet we have a similar plugin for making entire blocks glow when they contain your name:

plugin.onMessageInsertion = function(event) {
  var me = Talker.currentUser.name;
  var blocks = $("blockquote:contains('" + me + "')")
                       .add("blockquote:contains('" + me.toLowerCase() + "')");

  blocks.css({
    '-moz-box-shadow': '0 0 10px #FF0',
    '-webkit-box-shadow': '0 0 10px #FF0'
  });    
}

Writing plugins is easier than we thought. Other things that could be done with plugins:

  • Converting ticket numbers to clickable links to your favourite ticket tracker.
  • Adding embed support for other sites than youtube(or overwriting the one we built in)
  • Playing a sound when your name is mentioned.
  • With the REST API making it easy to send messages to the log you could also receive messages whenever your continuous integration hits a snag. A plugin could change the background colour of your background.

Just in a day of using Talker @cheeaun created 3 plugins! One for emoticons, one for integrating Google searches and one for embedding GitHub gists into the log.