save drafts interface needlessly complex?

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asinshesq
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save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by asinshesq » Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:11 pm

Why is the drafts interface so complicated? For example, when you look at the list of drafts, why is there a distinction between 'load' and 'view/edit'? As far as I can tell, the 'view/edit' concept adds nothing, since if you load a draft you can from that screen either submit it (as a live post) or save it (as a draft). Seems like giving the option to view/edit just confuses things. What am I missing?

Also, lumping the drafts list in with the user control panel seems quite user unfriendly. Typical non-techie users will rarely want to see their UCP but they may frequently want to see their list of drafts. I would have thought the best implementation would be to rename the 'View your posts' link that appears on the index to 'View your drafts and posts' and then set things up so that if the user clicks the 'View your drafts and posts' link that would take the user to a list of his or her drafts (on top) and posts (on bottom); the user could then click on any draft and it would open for editing and saving or submittting.

(OK, I'm biased since this is how I set things up in my save posts as drafts mod for phpbb2, but I really do think this makes the most sense.)
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dhn
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by dhn » Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:23 pm

asinshesq wrote: Also, lumping the drafts list in with the user control panel seems quite user unfriendly. Typical non-techie users will rarely want to see their UCP but they may frequently want to see their list of drafts. I would have thought the best implementation would be to rename the 'View your posts' link that appears on the index to 'View your drafts and posts' and then set things up so that if the user clicks the 'View your drafts and posts' link that would take the user to a list of his or her drafts (on top) and posts (on bottom); the user could then click on any draft and it would open for editing and saving or submittting.
It makes the most sense in the User Control Panel. The "View your posts" link is simply a predefined search, how do drafts fit in there? I agree that for 2.0.x this might have been the best place, as the Profile was never as advanced as the current UCP, but this has changed. Your subscribed posts, your bookmarked posts, your attachements, everything related to posting / viewing is in the UCP, so drafts should also be in there.
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asinshesq
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by asinshesq » Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:41 pm

Altough I still disagree with that, I understand it. Thanks for the explanation...and anyone who wants to have the drafts come up directly via a link can add a link anyway.

I still don't understand why there is a concept of viewing/editing distinct from loading and submitting.

And here's another question: Can you save drafts with attachments? There was a note suggesting no, but I wasn't sure since I can't seem to find the attachment interface even on a regular new post or reply.
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dhn
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by dhn » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:11 pm

asinshesq wrote: I still don't understand why there is a concept of viewing/editing distinct from loading and submitting.
I think in the early days of development there was also a canned PMs feature planned, so some of the functionality may have been combined. In the end, it may not be needed, but it is a existing feature that works, and I doubt that anyone of the developers wants to take it out.
asinshesq wrote: And here's another question: Can you save drafts with attachments? There was a note suggesting no, but I wasn't sure since I can't seem to find the attachment interface even on a regular new post or reply.
I don't think it is possible at the moment, and I don't think that the developers are currently planning to implement it.
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by asinshesq » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:27 pm

dhn wrote:
asinshesq wrote: I still don't understand why there is a concept of viewing/editing distinct from loading and submitting.
I think in the early days of development there was also a canned PMs feature planned, so some of the functionality may have been combined. In the end, it may not be needed, but it is a existing feature that works, and I doubt that anyone of the developers wants to take it out....
OK, no biggie...it's easy enough for the site manager to tinker with the code and hide the view/edit link so that users only have one inerface to contend with.
dhn wrote:
asinshesq wrote: And here's another question: Can you save drafts with attachments? There was a note suggesting no, but I wasn't sure since I can't seem to find the attachment interface even on a regular new post or reply.
I don't think it is possible at the moment, and I don't think that the developers are currently planning to implement it.
Where is the attachment interface for regular posts? I don't see it on this board...is it turned off on this board right now? [edit: I now see at the bottom of each forum that the rules state I do not have permission to attach files, so I guess that answers that question...]

Too bad about losing the ability to attach files to drafts...But if the draft posts are similar in structure to regular posts it may not be too hard to mod things so that attachments will work with drafts. (My save posts as drafts mod saved drafts as regular posts with a flag indicating they are drafts not to be displayed for others, so the same code that allowed attachements on a regular post inherently allowed them on drafts...don't know if drafts are stored as though they are regular posts in phpbb2.2 since I haven't yet studied the code.)
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:39 pm

Drafts are stored in the phpbb_drafts table, not in phpbb_posts. A minimum of options are stored there.
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asinshesq
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(1) drafts with polls and (2) edits of posts saved as drafts

Post by asinshesq » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:27 pm

A_Jelly_Doughnut wrote: Drafts are stored in the phpbb_drafts table, not in phpbb_posts. A minimum of options are stored there.

I spent some time trying to get my tabulated survey at topic head working with phpbb3 and made good progress this weekend. In doing that, I found out what you mean when you say a minimum of options are stored in the drafts table. I was able to get drafts to store and load surveys with just a few lines of code...I am guessing it would be equally easy to get drafts to store polls or even refer to attachments. I'll look into that when I'm done with tabulated survey.

As an aside, I find it surprising that the phpbb3 coders chose to store drafts in a separate table (rather than storing them in the regular posts tables with a flag specifying they were drafts). That choice means that drafts do not have the full features that posts have (e.g. polls or attachments) and whenever someone adds a new mod that impacts the post table, it will not work in saved drafts unless the author tinkers with the drafts table too.

That's life. But anyone know why the coders made this choice? (I assume they had a good reason since I know they are way smarter at programming than I am, but I can't for the life of me figure out why.)

And another question about drafts: what does the 'save' button do on an existing post that you are editing? I would have guessed it would save the edits so that when the user wants to finally submit the edits the draft would replace the edited post. But instead what it seems to do is to create a brand new reply to the post you were editing that in effect 'clones' the original post (so when you finally submit the draft as a live post it shows up as a reply to the post you wanted to edit rather than a replacement of it). (See for example my test here: viewtopic.php?p=174151#p174151 where I edited my original new topic post, saved the edit as a draft and then submitted the draft and it showed up as a reply rather than as a replacement of the original post.) Why was that choice made?

(I'm not complaining here...I'm just curious about the thinking behind all of this because it will impact how I approach a number of mods.)
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by hater » Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:05 am

My theory...

One could argue that spending too much time creating and coding a method to "almost post" something would be foolish... Cluttering up the posts table with content that isn't actually posted leaves administrators and moderators without a method to prevent malicious use of the draft system to overload a database and file structure with attachments and extra data...

As currently implimented, the draft feature is just that, an additional feature to allow a minimum of data to be reflected back to later for future editing and submission without making it a target for spamming the server silently... It's there 'just incase,' not for creating ten's of almost posts and forgetting about them...

Am I on the right track here? Forgive my laziness, but is there a method to purge the drafts table in the administration?

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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by Handyman » Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:11 am

I'm not sure there is a feature that can "purge" the drafts, but you can disable them so users can't use that feature if you have concerns.
It would be cool to be able to purge the drafts that are over a certain time period old.
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Re: save drafts interface needlessly complex?

Post by Eelke » Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:24 pm

Another reasoning may be that with a separate table, a carelessly written select statement meant to retrieve "all" posts (maybe in some mod) can never expose stuff that is actually a draft.

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