Previous news story    Next news story

Forum updates

By dpreview staff on Jun 12, 2013 at 23:32 GMT

We've just deployed an update to the forums that adds tabbed filtering by thread type and a new 'photo post' option, designed for users wanting to share images. We've also added filtering by product (to the product forums) and a swanky new 'grid view' for browsing forums by images (rather than thread titles). Finally we've fine-tuned the 'classic' skin and deployed some fixes and enhancements to the text editor.

Editor changes

We've completely updated the code underlying the editor to fix many known problems and compatibility issues. We've also added a couple of minor features in this release, including buttons to improve control over quoting and a drop-down menu for smileys.

We've been using this version internally for a few weeks now, but it's possible there are still some issues we've not identified, especially for those using less common browser/OS combinations. If you experience a problem please use our feedback system and tell us exactly what browser/OS you're using and we will try to fix it quickly. 

We are aware that there are problems with IE8 and earlier, but it is our intention to only officially support versions of Internet Explorer 9.0 and later moving forward. If you can't use IE9 or later on your PC, please consider trying FireFox, Safari or Chrome. Note that we also cannot guarantee full compatibility with Opera until the next major update.

Aside from a slightly new look to the toolbar, we've made the emoticon into a real menu... ...and added the ability to change the quote-level of a paragraph.

We are currently working on a plain text editor (with support for the 'classic' DPR markup). Right now we don't have an estimate on when this will be deployed, but the work is scheduled within the next 2-4 weeks.

Other enhancements coming soon include user options for hover text and default views, poll posts, free text tagging, the ability to 'follow' other users and better interaction between forums, profiles, galleries and challenges.

Forum filter tabs

The most immediately obvious change is on forum index pages, where you can now filter discussions by thread type (discussions, question/answers, user reviews, photo posts and 'all') and by product (where relevant). Note that 'filter by product' only works for posts tagged with a product by the original poster (we're looking at ways to backfill this tagging for older posts).

The new design allows you to quickly find and / or filter out our newer forum thread types (questions/answers, user reviews and photo posts)

We added the ability to tag posts with products 6 months ago, and now we've added the ability to filter threads using these product tags. 

Click on 'filter by product' and you'll see a grid of products that have been tagged to posts in the forum you're browsing. Click on a product to see those threads. To remove the filter click on the little 'x' by the product name.

We'll be adding enhancements to this in a future release.

We've also changed the design of the 'new thread' buttons so that they take up less vertical screen space.

New view options

You can now switch more easily between color schemes, and we've introduced a new way to browse threads containing images visually using a photo grid. Although this was designed to support the new photo post type it is enabled for almost all forums and for all posts containing images.

 New display options, from left: list view, grid view, expanded, condensed, new colors, old colors
The 'classic' skin has been refined so it no longer looks like an afterthought thrown together because so many people hated the new colors. Which absolutely isn't the case. No siree.

Photo Posts

You can now create 'photo' posts, designed for users wanting to share pictures and talk about photography (as opposed to technical stuff or image quality) whilst allowing people only interested in gear discussions to filter them out. Initially these are simply threads that are flagged as photos, but we're working on some new features including per-picture commenting/liking, a new lightbox viewer and the ability to request C&C and ratings for your images.

The new 'Photo' post type is designed for sharing photos and for inviting C&C - it is not for technical discussions about image quality. If you want to talk about photography, not cameras, use a photo post. Note photo posts can contain text, multiple images and act just like normal threads. The default view for the photos tab is the new grid view, which allows you to browse threads visually.

Note that we've manually changed a dozen or so threads in each forum into 'photo' posts, just so you can see how they will be presented in the future.

Editor changes in detail

  • Update to the new version of TinyMCE
  • New toolbar
  • Quote-level tools
  • Drop down menu for smileys
  • Improved support for copy/paste
  • Many under-the-hood changes and improvements

The biggest change under the hood is a new HTML parser / cleanup procedure. It works by parsing the post HTML and building a custom data structure from it which represents only the formatting and elements we support in forum posts. In this data structure a forum post is a sequence of paragraphs, images, lists and quotes where quotes have recursively the same format. Each paragraph then contains sequences of text elements (and links) where each can have one of the four supported formatting (bold, italic, strike-thought and underline). By the virtue of parsing a number of problematic issues are fixed including:

  • Free floating text elements that are not in paragraphs are wrapped in paragraphs.
  • Sequences of <br> elements are used to split paragrapghs.
  • Nested paragraphs are discarded.
  • Nested formatting tags are flattened and normalized.
  • Lists are normalized so that they contain only text and links (possibly formatted).
  • Links are normalized so that contain only text (possibly formatted).
  • Unwanted and potentially dangerous elements (<script>, <iframe>, <object>, comments, ...) are ignored.
  • Adjacent quotes are merged.
  • Empty paragraphs are removed.
  • Trailing whitespace elements are removed. Sequences of whitespace elements are replaced by a single space.
  • And a number of others.

The cleanup procedure is currently invoked during / before the following operations:

  • When the editor is first loaded with a quoted reply or for editing.
  • After a piece of text is pasted.
  • Before using the quote / unquote tools.

This fixes a number of known issues mostly related to the quote / unquote tool.

There are some known issues with the cleanup:

  • Since there does not seem to be a way to handle the "post paste" event, the post paste cleanup is executed via using the window.setTimout trick. This seems to be generally fine, but I've been able to break things when holding CTRL+V continuously in some browsers.
  • One of the minor annoyances with in the cleanup is that one needs to "remember" the current selection. Currently, I believe the selection can get forgotten if it starts in "unusual" places such as image captions or inside links. It should not result in garbled content, only the selection is lost.

In addition, this update also addresses the following issues:

  • Links are not lost anymore when replying or editing.
  • Copy / paste now works. Because of the cleanup, we are now able to avoid the problematic TinyMCE "paste" plugin.

The parsing and especially the normalizations the parsing does in the process (such are whitespace normalization, breaking paragraphs at <br><br>, merging quotes etc.) are all new and even thought we were using the editor internally for a couple of weeks, it's possible that are some outstanding issues.

Comments

Total comments: 69
wazu
By wazu (5 months ago)

cannot click new thread and select an option for creating a new thread in the forums when using an iPad with IOS7
also had this problem with same iPad2 using older IOS5

0 upvotes
mrgooch2008
By mrgooch2008 (10 months ago)

I can no longer locate my posts feature.

0 upvotes
Graham Meale
By Graham Meale (10 months ago)

Tried to reply to a thread and got "Loading text editor" for about five minutes so I gave up. I wonder whether this will work ...

0 upvotes
Graham Meale
By Graham Meale (10 months ago)

Tried again and it worked.

0 upvotes
kinglau711
By kinglau711 (10 months ago)

More importantly, do not forget our right to delete our profile !

I don't post here anymore since you can't delete your post and your profile !

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (10 months ago)

But you ARE posting on here, in news comments!

And I doubt you'll ever get the option to delete your profile on here, facebook doesn't allow it but they allow "deactivation" of profiles. And DPR allows you to delete an OP original post if no one replies to it within a few minutes I think.

You'll never be allowed to delete a post or remove all your posts with your profile because said posts are intertwined with lots of other posts.

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (10 months ago)

There is a feature I'm still missing ! Or rather I don't like its new implementation since it changed a few months ago.

Earlier, when browsing a particular forum we would see the top threads pertaining to this particular forum, which was very usefull. Now in all the different forums we only have the top threads discussed through all the DPreview forums. This should be found on the DPreview home page and on the index page listing all the different forums.

But each forum should get its own top threads list. With the change made some times ago, people browsing less active forums never have a way to learn quickly what is discussed in their forum. People browsing a moderately active forum find too many posts to get a quick insight, but not enough for the main threads to be listed among the top posts. Even worse : there is often no way to know in which forum the top posts appeared.

I wish a return to the old specific rankings for each forum !

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
davidevans1
By davidevans1 (10 months ago)

Updates look great thanks. One question though. When trying to post a question from an iPad 2 I couldn't get the New Thread dropdown menu to display (so couldn't get to post). Do I need to change a setting on the iPad or something?
Thanks

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (10 months ago)

Charging the iPad right now to test.

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (10 months ago)

Just tried it and it works as expected. Not quite sure what you could change... Perhaps try installing another browser and seeing if it does the same on your iPad?

0 upvotes
wazu
By wazu (5 months ago)

does NOT work for my IPad2 using either IOS 5 or 7!

0 upvotes
aja2
By aja2 (10 months ago)

Nice changes, guys & gals. Oh & and I figured out the 'collapsed' thread view.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Bruce Clarke
By Bruce Clarke (10 months ago)

Nice update. Much cleaner and more compact vertically. The tabs are a nice extra.

0 upvotes
Tony Sx
By Tony Sx (10 months ago)

And as this point in time I can't insert images! Clicking on the "Insert Image" button offers me the options of inserting from the web, my computer or my gallery. But I can't select any option....Another untested rubbish "upgrade".
P.S. I'm using Opera which is a perfectly acceptable browser.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

it has been extensively tested and this is the only report we've had of this issue. Can you (as requested above) use the feedback feature so we can actually help you?

0 upvotes
Tony Sx
By Tony Sx (10 months ago)

So I've reported it here. And I've reported it ot Feedback. There, I requested a response but no feedback and no fix. Oh! And the smilies don't work either!

0 upvotes
janlu
By janlu (10 months ago)

Yes ... possibility of filtering is great !!
But for who is not interested in filtering ....just now from 5 minutes ago , also if i don't use any filter on the forum , but only using the all thread option , all the threads with pictures are not more visible in list-view mode .

Just to let you know.....

Regards, Gianluca

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (10 months ago)

Yup. Thanks for catching that. Small oversight on our part. It's coming back right now.

0 upvotes
janlu
By janlu (10 months ago)

Thanks Richard.... a very quick fix !!!!

Best regards and good work guys !!!

Gianluca

0 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (10 months ago)

Awesome!

0 upvotes
Gordon W
By Gordon W (10 months ago)

Well done, DPR. I like the new features (which all seem to work properly) and just posted a somewhat lengthy forum reply that didn't vanish when I clicked on the 'Post' button. I might actually start to like the new forum design better than the original.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (10 months ago)

For those of us who have been around awhile, it is really fascinating to see how DPreview has grown from a nice little website, to a nice huge one.

We have constantly gotten more features, better utility, and more content as Dpreview has expanded to serve more and more niches.

No one honestly expects this to happen without a few bugs and glitches, and even a few downright blunders happening. The good news is that Dpreview seems genuinely committed to continuous improvement, and those bugs really do get fixed, and those blunders usually get reversed.

I think they are doing a great job.

Which might explain why they are the predominant website of their kind.

2 upvotes
Lavs12
By Lavs12 (10 months ago)

So much better UI. I personally think sharing images and discussing them is one of the best ways to learn for everybody. I like that Dpreview keeps trying to perfect the system, shows that they are invested and care about the community.

"shoot first, ask questions later"
Ricklavertyimages.photoshelter.com

1 upvote
Michael Foran
By Michael Foran (10 months ago)

Can you employ a filter that removes all the bitchy, off topic, and misleading comments from brand fanboys?

2 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

although I wouldn't use the language, we are working on something that addresses the sentiment of your comment

3 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (10 months ago)

thought that's what those moderators were for?

0 upvotes
Felix E Klee
By Felix E Klee (10 months ago)

I hope you also fixed the issue that email notifications don't work (at least for me).

1 upvote
JP Scherrer
By JP Scherrer (10 months ago)

Email notification also does't work for me ! Very annoying !
...and a suggestion: would it be possiblee to add a choice in one's own PROFILE SETTINGS to set the EMAIL NOTIFICATION once for all ?
TIA,...

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

separate issue, being addressed (they're being sent, just never arriving)

0 upvotes
BG_CX3_DPREVIEW
By BG_CX3_DPREVIEW (10 months ago)

great update, forum filter tabs; fantastic, user experience really improoves, congrats

1 upvote
skimble
By skimble (10 months ago)

nice like it :-)

0 upvotes
BlueJakester
By BlueJakester (10 months ago)

is the EXIF data display broken?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (10 months ago)

Not that we're aware of. Any example posts we can take a look at?

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (10 months ago)

"... same format. Each paragraph then contains sequences of text elements (and links) where each can have one of the four supported formatting (bold, italic, strike-thought and underline). By the virtue..."

God forbid... "strike-through" is okay, though... ;-)

(A typo in "Editor changes in detail"...)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Sonyshine
By Sonyshine (10 months ago)

It's good!

I really quite like this.

You have handled a big update WAY better than Flickr did with their ham fisted and clumsy overhaul.

Congratulations!

0 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (10 months ago)

very good update, i really liked filtering option a lot... thanks,

0 upvotes
panos_m
By panos_m (10 months ago)

Very good. Thank you!

0 upvotes
horsth
By horsth (10 months ago)

Great effort. Thank you. Especially the forum filters are very helpful with the steady grow of new and different equipment.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (10 months ago)

Oooo, forum menu separators - nice too!

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (10 months ago)

Very cool DPreview.

0 upvotes
JKP
By JKP (10 months ago)

Wanted to change my account email address, because the old is from my previous work place and thus inaccessible. It seems now that it is impossible to do that without creating a new account alltogether... :(

0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (10 months ago)

Excellent work gents! The one thing I would point out is the lost ability to un-link a hyperlink - There were two buttons before, one to link, one to un-link. Now what remains is just to link. Where the problem is sometimes when pasted text is brought into the editing window, it will carry some of the hyperlinks with it. Before the changes, all one had to do was click on the hyperlinked word and click on the un-link button. Now, it's quite the tedious process to do.

One nice feature you can perhaps consider is to add the ability to search ones own posts.

Overall, the changes are very good indeed.

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (10 months ago)

photo sharing (and commenting) made easier is a great thing if it works well

0 upvotes
papillon_65
By papillon_65 (10 months ago)

Nice work, never quite got the eyeball bleeding yellow on black so I'm very pleased at the more muted contrast choice - thanks, I appreciate all the efforts on improving the forums.

0 upvotes
Nich0las
By Nich0las (10 months ago)

Nice work dpreview - thank you

2 upvotes
Andrewteee
By Andrewteee (10 months ago)

Thank you! Very nice. Much better than Flickr's recent efforts haha.

0 upvotes
007peter
By 007peter (10 months ago)

** MAJOR PROBLEM ** I can no longer UPLOAD any photo. There is challenge ending tomorrow. Any chance if FIXING this problem. I try using 3 browser to upload the. Nothing happen. The upload button is grey out!

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

this is unrelated to this update - i'll get someone to look at it.

1 upvote
007peter
By 007peter (10 months ago)

thanks

0 upvotes
Joseph Broz
By Joseph Broz (10 months ago)

Please change the colors back you picked screen colors all of the same hue value. We need the contrast back.

0 upvotes
Joseph Broz
By Joseph Broz (10 months ago)

I just discovered how to change the colors back. Yeah looks great now.

1 upvote
DanTHEME
By DanTHEME (10 months ago)

That good things can only get better is amazing. You guys think of everything. There's no competition. Period.

2 upvotes
morepix
By morepix (10 months ago)

You guys are too much! An answer for everyone's (well, almost everyone's) wish. Please accept thanks and congratulations.

4 upvotes
jalywol
By jalywol (10 months ago)

Found a bug....when in the "Photos" tab; in Grid view, there is no way to move off the first page. When you switch to the regular line view, you can see all the posts, but there is no way to access anything past the first 30 or so in Grid view.

(In Grid view on all of the other tab categories, the "go to page #" buttons are present at top and bottom of the thread; just not in the photo tab/Grid view.)
(In both IE9 and FireFox, on Windows Vista64 machine).

-J

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

we're on it

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (10 months ago)

And it's fixed.

0 upvotes
l_objectif
By l_objectif (10 months ago)

Very nice so far! But I would love to see a dark background for photos like in challenge section.... No thumbs, thank you! ;-)

2 upvotes
alatchin
By alatchin (10 months ago)

Superb, browsing by pictures is a great addition!

0 upvotes
PC Wheeler
By PC Wheeler (10 months ago)

Good changes.

1 upvote
Octane
By Octane (10 months ago)

Is the 'thumbs down' button back? I found it very helpful

4 upvotes
Vinc T
By Vinc T (10 months ago)

Yes, please bring the thumb down back.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (10 months ago)

Excellent.

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (10 months ago)

Great. Now please make "old first" selection in comments sticky for users who prefer to read from top down. It drives me crazy that it constantly reverts to "new first" after any change or action.

4 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

it's on the list

1 upvote
onlooker
By onlooker (10 months ago)

Thanks, Simon. I never quite got used to reading backwards.

0 upvotes
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (10 months ago)

At first, I hated the changes. But I was able to change the color scheme back to the classic version.

Now the Forum Updates are "Recommended (just)".

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (10 months ago)

mmm faint praise, my favorite kind.

1 upvote
Joseph Broz
By Joseph Broz (10 months ago)

How did you change the color scheme back? I need the contrast to be able to discern the screen.

0 upvotes
fad
By fad (10 months ago)

In the Doc&SP forum there is only one thread from the last 2 days.

Street Photography Exchange no longer appears in the all threads view, or any other view. Could it be the header used:

>>> Street Photography eXchange #47 <<<

It is still there, and can be reached through Recent Forum Activity, but it does not show up among the forum threads.

---It works now.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 69