Component Progress Indicators

John Norman john at
Fri Sep 5 08:41:39 UTC 2008

First I want to say this is a great resource, BUT...

I just had occasion to actually want to *use* a progress indicator.  
This is good news, Nico came to me saying he wanted to put the Fluid  
Reorderer into the Sakai UX work. So first I went to look at his demo  
of it working with the Nathan's new skin and Sakai gadgets (I was  
worried by the clunky drag and drop I had seen when I last looked).  
The experience was good, very familiar and ext-like so I agreed it  
might be ready to use. But then I thought, so how finished is it and  
what is the likelihood of a big change coming along and disrupting  
the  UX project in some way by doing something unexpected or unwanted,  
or it turning out to have poor performance so we had to pull it back  
out until fixed. The progress chart seemed the obvious place to get  
answers so I went and looked. I found myself with fewer answers than I  
expected and thought I should share the experience.

1. First problem: what component should I be looking at? There seemed  
to be 2 possibilities Layout Customiser and Reorderer. Nico seemed  
pretty confident that he had used the Layout Customiser so that is  
what we looked at, but I noted that the page assumed you understood  
what each component did - a very brief description for disambiguation  
purposes in this case would have been useful.

2. Next problem was; what does "complete" mean. Until the Flash  
uploader incident, I would probably not have questioned this and  
assumed that "complete" meant feature complete and fully tested for  
heavy production load - i.e. 'production ready'. The Flash uploader is  
"complete" but there is a massive risk associated with the Flash  
Player 10 non-functionality that is not mentioned, potentially  
allowing me to make a poor production decision, so perhaps 'complete'  
does not mean 'production ready'. I looked for a definition of  
"complete" but didn't readily find one.

3. Next problem is the elements on the page (like "columns" or  
"locked"). I wondered what they meant. There seemed to be a  
correlation to the items listed below the colour bar, but all items  
linked to a single specification page that did not easily correlate  
with the names, i.e. even by reading the specification page I could  
not tell the scope of specification that related to the name "columns"  
and that was marked as complete.

4. Finally, there was a white item marked "..." and a corresponding  
item on the bottom of the list. I didn't know what to make of this. I  
assumed it meant the spec scope was unfinished and there was an  
indefinite amount of unknown work still to be done, so progress could  
be 80% done or 5% done and there was no way to know when the component  
might be finished.

So for this single example, the entry turned out to be almost totally  
useless for *my* purpose, which was to decide if it was safe to  
consider using the component in a production environment.

I wrote this down to try to be helpful, not to criticise. I appreciate  
that it is work in progress and I would like to remind you of the good  
news - we are thinking we might be ready to put the component into our  
production code and built it into the UX work. I just thought that I  
had an example of the intended use of the page and you should know  
that in its current form it turns out to be less useful than it  
appeared on the surface when I looked at it for the conference call.

Best, John

On 3 Sep 2008, at 21:00, Jess Mitchell wrote:

> I think these look awesome.  And I think it's meaningful that I've  
> been pointing people to this page all day while having conversations  
> about components.
> Wonderful work y'all.
> Jess
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jess Mitchell
> Project Manager / Fluid Project
> jess at
> / w / 617.326.7753  / c / 919.599.5378
> jabber: jessmitchell at
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> On Sep 3, 2008, at 3:19 PM, Justin wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I've broken the progress indicators out into child pages of their  
>> respective components. To put one on a page you just need to use  
>> the {include} tag.  You can see an example of this by going to the 
>>  page, where they are all compiled using the {include} tag.
>> You will also notice some styling differences. As per Alisson's  
>> suggestion I have made the words, in the table, links. The  
>> indicators themselves are different now, thanks to some code from  
>> Jacob.
>> Thanks
>> Justin
>> On 3-Sep-08, at 1:01 PM, Jonathan Hung wrote:
>>> That's what I was getting at. Using child pages with {excerpt},  
>>> {excerpt-include}, or even {include} tags is the way to go.
>>> Of course it'd be easier if we can have it all in one place (as  
>>> per Jess' question), but not with our current wiki version.
>>> I wonder if we're ever going to revisit that upgrade...
>>> - Jonathan.
>>> On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 12:49 PM, Anastasia Cheetham <a.cheetham at 
>>> > wrote:
>>> On 3-Sep-08, at 12:31 PM, Jonathan Hung wrote:
>>> Unfortunately there isn't a good way to have one page of content  
>>> and have sections of that content replicated elsewhere. The wiki  
>>> doesn't have that functionality.
>>> What I have been trying with the options parameters for the  
>>> component apis is this:
>>> Place each progress indicator on a separate page (perhaps a child  
>>> of its component home page) and put the {excerpt} tags around it.
>>> Then, anywhere else you want to display the progress indicator  
>>> (including the component home page), you can include that excerpt.
>>> It's not ideal, but at least you only have one actual indicator,  
>>> and it can be displayed in multiple places.
>>> -- 
>>> Anastasia Cheetham                   a.cheetham at
>>> Software Designer, Fluid Project
>>> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre / University of Toronto
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