Joe's comments for some of my queries on Requirements Doc!

Topics: Developer Forum
Aug 14, 2006 at 6:54 PM
I have gone through the Toolset specs doc. I have some of the questions on the Toolset app and spec.

1.Does Toolset application has a separate database? Or will it use answerme database replication database on extranet wherein every 8hrs the extranet Db will be updated by a scheduled job?
JoeIt will use it’s own database, and web services for the forums.

2.Are the users of Toolset different from forum users? It will only be for forum moderators.
What if an internal MS employee want to use the Toolset? Joe No problem—they should be forum moderators as well.

3.How do we differentiate internal MS employee with community moderator?
Joe We won’t.

4.I guess based on the userID or some distinct id, the Toolset application should be able to connect to respective db’s and authenticate them.
Joe Maybe—I’m not sure yet. I’m looking into using Passport authentication.

5.Do the moderators have to sign-up somewhere to use Toolset app? Maybe, if I can’t figure out how to use Passport. Do we maintain both MS internal employee info and community info in Toolset db or different?
Joe We don’t keep them separate—“all people are equal” type thinking here.

6.From the document, I feel that IE toolbar GUI has been postponed. So, what kind of UI that we are planning to have? Will there be buttons on IE?
Joe I’m really not sure about this. I’ve been thinking about a WinForms application that embeds IE.

7.Or can we have something like client app which can be plugged into any MS application like MSN Messenger/ IE/ Outlook/ VS 2005 or for that matter,
any MS product.
Joe Same as above.

8.If we look into Priority 1 issues, how do we integrate knowledge Navigator with Toolset app? Are we using knowledge Navigator what Renee has developed?
Joe Right now, I’m just thinking about a button that launches Knowledge Navigator and having the KN application running off of our backend SQL DBs.
Aug 14, 2006 at 9:33 PM
There are other issues with embedding IE within an application. (Other than the ire of the Firefox crowd) there's issues with security, cookies, history, etc. If I remember correctly all of these things need to be managed by the application. For example, it would not be able to share passport information with the plain-old-browser and would have to provide separation so as to not affect a plain-old-browser session (e.g. logging into Forums with the application would log out another passport logged into a plain-old-browser without careful separation).
Aug 14, 2006 at 10:02 PM
I have done a few tests using the WebBrowser control and I haven't had to manage anything and it works very well side by side with IE, logged in to the forums in both.

Something that would be possible is to make a forum explorer by using a webbrowser control (hidden) and parse the loaded document and present it in a outlook/outlook express like winforms app.
Aug 14, 2006 at 11:13 PM
I could work on getting access to the ReachOut web services that allow posting/reading the forums. We can't do moderation through those web services, but they do allow us to read, post, and mark replies as answers.
Aug 15, 2006 at 3:50 PM
What I found lacking in ReachOut was support to get updates to already fetched posts.

Will the ReachOut web services suit the needs of an online client that should reflect changes almost immediatly?

Aug 16, 2006 at 12:21 AM
No, you're right. The ReachOut web services are pretty lousy. The other thing I've been pushing on is getting MSN Search to crawl our site more often, so we could just use the search results from MSN to power the tool.
Aug 16, 2006 at 2:45 PM
"The other thing I've been pushing on is getting MSN Search to crawl our site more often, so we could just use the search results from MSN to power the tool."

Agreed. There's really no point in expanding the Forums searching abilities when millions are being spent on search technologies already.

I don't know the roadmap for MSN Search; but, it would be nice to be able to embed that technology into any particular MS site (starting with Forums, if you want my opinion :-). Because Forums users don't want search-portal searching, they want value-added searching of the Forums--but they expect the technology to be on par with MS's flagship search technology...
Aug 16, 2006 at 7:55 PM
I'm going to investigate using the MSN Search API to get at this data. Ideally, we could use MSN Search to at least keep our application from having to store and search against the public metadata on the forums (answered status, thread starter, etc.)