Next Steps on the Project

Topics: Developer Forum
Aug 26, 2006 at 1:41 AM
So, here's what I see we have right now:

1.) We have an MSN Search tool that searches the forums against the complex metadata available on the forums.
2.) We have a prototype forum browser.
3.) We have a prototype using the MSN Search API to search the forums and display the threads in a grid.
4.) We have a prototype that uses the backend to add tags to threads.

Now what we need is to tie them all together--a big prototype tool that allows people to search for threads, tag them, and view them in a browser window below.

What does everyone think? Are we ready for a first stab at tying together a prototype?
Aug 26, 2006 at 7:37 AM
Okay, for me I'm ready :)
For APIs, will we use them in the final build?

Aug 27, 2006 at 12:40 AM
We definatly are ready to start developing the features we want. The prototypes show that we are able to do what is needed for certain features.
Aug 31, 2006 at 5:38 PM
Given what we have so far (tagging, explorer, use Search API), what do we thing we can't do with these technologies?

I'm still not convinced the MSN Search web service is to a usable point.
Aug 31, 2006 at 6:12 PM
I just checked in a prototype of the system that uses a plugin-based architecture.'s organized to use a plugin based architecture. I'm thinking that for the Winforms client, we should look at using the Composite UI Application Block. I believe it was refactored out of the Customer Care Framework.

Although there is a bit of a learning curve involved, it handles plugins and the like quite nicely. What do you guys think?
Aug 31, 2006 at 9:22 PM

I agree that the MSN Search service might not be as real-time as we need it to be, but it's the only programmatic way I know of to search through the forums, and it's definitely better than the search on the live site.

What do you believe moderators would be using the search functionality for? Would it be for finding new questions, or for finding information about old ones?

Sep 1, 2006 at 1:50 AM
"What do you believe moderators would be using the search functionality for? Would it be for finding new questions, or for finding information about old ones?"

Man, where do I start... :-). With the MSDN forums growing to include more and more products and technologies (and that more and more products and technologies are releasing software--XNA for example) the more and more time it takes to wade through the new unanswered posts.

One way I could see an enhanced search would be to show unanswered posts based on keyword. If someone knows the SerialPort class backwards and forwards it would be nice to be able to put that one the top of the posts to start reading.

It would also be able to set a priority for posts by certain users. If I know a certain user only posts spam or tends to be abusive I can catch it before it gets too out of hand.

Then it would be nice to be able to ignore (or lower prioritize) posts with certain keywords.

...Or phrase searches...
Sep 5, 2006 at 3:15 AM
:) I get it. I'll touch base with the MSN Search team and see if they are going to be able to speed up our indexing. The other way to go about the "wading" through all of the unanswered questions is hopefully going to be through social tagging.

The idea is that if 20 or 30 of the moderators are able to triage "untagged" and "unanswered" questions at the same time, you'll be able to use the tagging idea to assign tags to the threads. You can then use the moderator tool to give you all of the recently tagged threads with tag "X" and see a quick view of the threads applicable to you. You could also "tag" a thread with somebody's name--hence "assigning" that thread to a person.

Social tagging works, but I'm not sure it's going to work on a small scale.

The other option is for me to get down on my knees and beg for community access to web services for the forums... :)
Sep 8, 2006 at 9:54 PM
Maybe something like what the Xbox Live team does for the community developer program.
Sep 9, 2006 at 3:26 AM

I will go down on my knees too and beg for forum webservices accessible to all next to you. I know Sandy was asking about what features the community would want the forums to expose but not much has happened.

After all we are the MSDN forum moderators and weather we have to parse HTML or use webservices we will create a great tool to help us focus more on helping than moderating.