Automatic Product Linking

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GµårÐïåñ
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Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:42 am

Giorgio, I noticed that we have now the target=_blank set and the URLs open up in new a window, thank you for that, it was sorely missing and now it is very nicely in place. Thank you.

Now I have a proposition to add a way for us to add a link to a db that will automatically create URLs upon posting when they are detected. So say we have a Dictionary style collection or whatever style collection that is created from a file with say format: Description/Keyword:Link so we can put say "Standard Diagnostics":"http://kb.mozillazine.org/Standard_diagnostic_-_Firefox" and now anytime someone says this in a post, mod/admin or not, it will turn it into a link that will point to that resource. This will automate some of that hunting for links and information that makes support difficult.

If there is a way for the board to implement this feature with a plugin or addon, great, if not then maybe a simple hidden mod GUI page with two boxes, and have it write to a flat text file that will be processed using simple JS code in the forum code to make it active. I will volunteer to help with this if you are game. I think this would greatly improve the quality of support. This way the common extensions, plugins, support documents, terms, faq topics, etc etc can be included in a central place and have them become available automatically as you type them up. I know many forums that have a similar feature and it is awesome. This prevents US from having to create links and remembering where everything is as well, also speeds up support by referring to modular resources that are far more extensive than we can provide on EACH reply.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by therube » Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:42 am

(With Chatzilla, in the SeaMonkey (whatever you call it) & I suppose in FF too, simply typing Bug 519049 in a post, automatically generates a link (parses that in) to a clickable link to that bug.)
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:19 am

Yes, so does my Trillian. I am talking about the actual forum here with no more than typing up the response and having the system in the background during post processing, add that information. That system you mentioned would be an excellent example of what I am trying to achieve, but here on the forum not outside it.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:05 am

My (typically) low-tech solution is to have all of those links already prepared in a text doc. When, say, referring someone to General Troubleshooting, just copy/paste from that doc, and it's already formatted with tags, URL, and the site name.

I'm not sure that we want *every* mention of these things automatically linked, as I've seen complaints at other sites of "too much blue" , i. e., too many links, which can be distracting. So if implemented, it should perhaps be another button on the reply toolbar, not automatic.

Personally, I'd be happy with a separate button for named URLs vs. straight URLs. E. g.

http://noscript.net/faq#qa1_1 versus

this FAQ,

as in, "Please see this FAQ", without having to add one bracket, delete one bracket, and add the =. I think Alan said that there was an add-on that would do that, but that seems like using a machine gun for a fly-swatter. I like to keep the number of add-ons as small as possible (all those extension conflicts we're always diagnosing), and other BBC forums do have this different button for named links vs. unnamed links (real URL displayed).

IMHO. YMMV. Cheers.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Giorgio Maone » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:26 am

Well, I actually use a GM script to make some common substitutions (e.g. "profile" and "about:config" with links to the relevant Mozillazine articles or "l d b" with a pointer to latest development build), but having something like this as a board feature would be a major win for the moderators crew.
I'll try to work out something during this weekend.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:28 am

Thanks Giorgo, you're the greatest.

One more brainstorming idea, kind of halfway between GµårÐïåñ's fully-automatic database and my primitive text doc with a named-URL button. If it's a bad idea, OK, I can handle it.

What about something similar to the browser's Bookmarks function, but incorporated into the Board for Mods. We all know the places we want to use this feature: profile, Standard Diagnostic, etc. But if I use my browser bookmarks, I still have to right-click > Properties > copy/paste, then format the URL in the post. Or go to the actual site through a bookmark, then copy/paste URL etc.

So I'm asking about a toolbar button, probably a drop-down window, with a list of all of these popular mod links, presumably in alphabetical order. If I want to insert "profile" into a post *with* a link, I click the dropdown window, click "profile", and profile is inserted into the post, properly formatted as a link.

This would be a *huge* time-saver, and also allow the use of such words without them automatically turning into links. (Back to Wikipedia again: "Link a word the first time it appears in an article, but not thereafter." Too much blue.) If you say "profile" six times during one reply, you don't want or need it linked all six times, only the first.

Since I don't know the details of coding phpBB, I don't know how this compares to Guardian's idea in difficulty of implementation. I'm hoping it would be similar to the GreaseMonkey script, just inserted into the toolbar for mods.

If it's not feasible or a bad idea, sorry.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by therube » Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:22 pm

(BTW. I'll assume all use something like Copy URL+ <copyurlplus> to generate "php" URLs.)
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:44 pm

I agree that there should be a limit to how many times the same term is linkified. Certainly the first reference to it would be good and also if you refer to something by its acronym, maybe having a hover of the list of acronyms or a link to the list of acronyms would be a sufficient. This "COULD" turn into an extensive project but at the moment the model I have in mind is not so extensive.

I have tried GM much like Giorgio to perform this task but I have had mixed results and inconsistent and not quite as I like since I have to still do some "REDO". I would be interested in taking a look at your script Giorgio, if you don't mind sharing, but don't feel compelled, I am just asking as a favor and if you don't feel comfortable sharing it, that's fine too. Just trying to see if something in my programming model was the annoyance and that you might have it in a way that can remedy my issues in the meantime.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:57 pm

therube wrote:(BTW. I'll assume all use something like Copy URL+ <copyurlplus> to generate "php" URLs.)

Never assume anything. :ugeek: ;)
The Copy URL+ extension enables you to copy to the clipboard the current document's address

Does this mean I actually have to *go* to "Profile" (let's use that example throughout, as it's shorter than "General Troubleshooting Instructions" lol), to have its URL copied?

At a a quick glance, I didn't see how it would add a Site Name to the link, but I'm sure I'm missing something.

If you have time, therube, could you explain how it would work in the example that I described in my first post? I want to write "Please see this FAQ" and have "this FAQ" be a link to, well, to that FAQ.

TIA.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:04 pm

GµårÐïåñ wrote:...if you refer to something by its acronym, maybe having a hover of the list of acronyms or a link to the list of acronyms would be a sufficient. ...

Not so sure this needs to apply to acronyms. There aren't quite so many among the most common; they're in the Quick Start Guide, and it's not so much work to spell out "Request Policy" once and then type "RP" from then on. Let's keep the load on Giorgio to the least possible for the max return in our time savings, agree? :)

If, instead, you were referring to users being able to hover an acronym or click it, well, then, first they'd have to read somewhere that they can do that. Which they could also read the Forum Rules and see the list.

Gotta be sure to "match whole string only" with a blank space after it, so that if user refers to "RPG" (real player game, not rocket-propelled grenade) :lol: , the "RP" isn't linkified. I'm sensing complications with less payoff than the original idea, but of course I could be mistaken.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:08 pm

Although I will let therube expand on the post, I have looked at it and it does not do anything like that. Its a simple copy and past into another document tool. It has no way to reuse, store or produce a meaningful output other than to give you the raw information. Will not do what we are talking about.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:25 pm

GµårÐïåñ wrote:Although I will let therube expand on the post, I have looked at it and it does not do anything like that. Its a simple copy and past into another document tool. It has no way to reuse, store or produce a meaningful output other than to give you the raw information. Will not do what we are talking about.

That was my impression. Thanks, Bro.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:41 pm

Here is the thing though Tom, adding the acronym functionality is not as hard as you think. If say the flat db file for example is as follows:

RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727 (where the | is the split character for parsing)

it would not take much more if anything at all, to add optional extensions such as as:

RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727|RP|xyz.com/guide/discussion/relevant.info|etc^n

so the module parsing this can easily have in pseudo code form: 1) split using |, 2) first is title, second is url, 3) if there the index of split array for | is more than 1 (meaning 0,1) which means you have more than 2, then parse in the twin format of x=title, x+1=link, etc^n (for as many pairs as come afterwards) but if not a twin pair (meaning mod function returns odd instead of even, then straggler item will be presented as a note in between parenthesis (notes) following the item. This system has HUGE potential, with minimal coding.

Case Example: RequestPolicy

If we have: RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727
then outcome will be: RequestPolicy

If we have: RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727|this is a good tool to accomplish xyz
then outcome will be: RequestPolicy (this is a good tool to accomplish xyz)

If we have: RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727|site specific policy|http://forums.informaction.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=415
then outcome will be: RequestPolicy (see also: site specific policy)

If we have: RequestPolicy|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727|site specific policy|http://forums.informaction.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=415|this is a good tool to accomplish xyz
then outcome will be: RequestPolicy (see also: site specific policy, this is a good tool to accomplish xyz)

You get the idea I think and I will leave it at this for Giorgio to decide the extent and detail of what he wants to do. The idea is out there so is a working example, the rest is up to the maestro.

EDIT: Forgot to mention and add about the acronyms, duh! :roll: For that we can have the title in the beginning with a different parsing like RequestPolicy!RP and if such an extension to the name exists, then it would show up as RequestPolicy [RP] and then the rest of the information above, so it will tell the user the first time the topic is used what the acronym is already, so no need for an independent db for acronyms, just an extension within the model used for linkify parsing.
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by Tom T. » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:04 pm

Thanks for that info. What I was questioning was whether it should be *automatic* every time "Request Policy" or whatever is typed. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, your db will "auto-parse" it every time. Can you put that in a drop-down window? If you could have several choices for RP as you showed, that would be even better. I. e., RP (linking to AMO) RP (linking to guide) RP (linking to thread). etc.

If I'm understanding your edit correctly, the first time someone types RequestPolicy in that thread, it will show as
RequestPolicy ("RP") <I like to put quotes around explanations, so peeps understand that it's a nickname for ReqPol>
and then *everyone* can just use RP in the rest of the thread, as it's already been explained in its first appearance.
Sounds awesome. :ugeek:
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Re: Automatic Product Linking

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:50 pm

Well the syntax and output can be tweaked to taste, I was just thinking out loud and on my feet, so its a draft concept. As for the automatic, you are 100% correct, current mode WOULD be automatic, which I can see being a problem but with a quick regex pattern check addition, we can avoid repeating the parse if its been done on the page already. Making it less than automatic with a single response only or make it a button or checkbox like the "auto parse url" function in the forum post gui, that way its done then. Whichever is fine with me.
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