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New features coming in Connect 1.1
It's been a couple of weeks since my last update on Connect. During that time we've been working on several (and by several I mean more than 150) enhancements to Connect that will roll out over the next three to four weeks as part of our 1.1 release. Before I get to a more detailed list, here are the big enhancements coming before the end of April:

Performance. We're making several tweaks to performance - especially when publishing content.

Login State. In addition to allowing you to stay logged in for a week at a time, we are returning you to the page where you clicked the "login" link rather than redirecting you to the home page.

Ideas. If you've ever wanted to share an Idea on a feature for an existing Symantec product or a new product altogether, this is your chance. Submit your idea and vote on other ideas. Top ideas "float" to the top. A new "Ideas" tab will appear on Connect when this feature is finished.

Fluid Design. Several of you wanted the website to expand to fill more of a larger monitor. This will be available shortly.

Forums Enhancements. We are further tweaking the layout of forums to get more information on a page. In addition, we'll be adding features like "previous and next thread" buttons, icons representing private threads and read/unread status and a link to "unread" items in a thread. And finally we'll be supporting a nested, threaded view of forum conversations. We'll give several of you a sneak peek of what these forum changes will look like to make sure they meet your needs before we roll them out.

Profile Overhaul. We are overhauling the profile area to make it easier to see and edit your information including posts you have subscribed to. RSS Enhancements. We are making it easier to see and subscribe to available RSS threads.

Notification Enhancements. Some of you have had problems with the notification feature. These issues will be addressed.

In addition to these big changes there are dozens of other smaller fixes and features getting addressed including:
  • Add spell checker to rich text editor (DONE!)
  • Visual Design Cleanup
  • Topics no longer required for posting content (DONE!)
  • Access to a "revision" tab for editing different versions of your articles (DONE!)
  • Allow group administrators to email group members (DONE!)
  • Improved pagination Link "tagged with" topics to a page that lists all content with that topic.
  • Comments in connect feed link directly to individual comments
  • Add author and date information to Events and Downloads pages
  • Time zone fixes Streamline registration process
  • Add print-friendly option to detail pages
  • Security and maintenance enhancements
  • Search enhancements
  • Group landing page tweaks
  • Community selector less "sensitive"
  • Blog enhancements
  • Voting tweaks
  • Javascript rollover improvements
  • (About 75 additional bug fixes and improvements)


We will be moving these features from our development server to the production server every Friday evening between now and the end of April. In fact, we released a few of them last Friday!

If you have comments about additional features, please PM me with the details and I'll make sure they get added to our list for future releases.
117 Comments
The changes are great and are always welcome

BUT

Have you not learned from the last deployment which annoyed 90% of the long term users on the forums. Last time you deployed the new environment and never offered any of it up for review by the users prior to the GO LIVE

Have you not learned to deploy a beta site first and get feedback instead of making changes and deploying them on the fly untested by the people who use it every day.

Even your own support employees showed dismay the last time this was dont and you have not learned from that experience..

DO A BETA site and play all you want. only go live when you get a majority agreement that it is working


Good point Scanner001 - as I mentioned in the post above we actually plan on showing the forum changes to users before they go live.  I'll make sure you're on the list.
Sounds good, Peter!  We will see how the new features/enhancement work!
I assume that the TA's will be "on the list", too Smiley Wink Really hope to improve it as much as we can!
 Yes, we'll be involving the Trusted Advisors in the forum review process for sure.
Thanks for this update info. I find the added print-friendly option really useful , in the past I printed mant posts, articles as documentation for my personal Knowloedge Base.
Also the spell checker is a fantastic option , for my side English is not my native language, so this function is really appreciated.
Either I got a boost on my connection or someone actually fixed the speed performance Smiley Happy

Feels great to not have to wait forever now while "clicking" around,
GREAT WORK!
Make the forums easier to be searched and found.  Also why does the page only take up half of the screen
Maybe incorporate ideas from the old forums such as when a topic has been read or not.  I miss that feature as I find myself wondering if the topic has been updated or not since the last time I looked. 
 bhawver - I'm glad you brought that up.   We currently do show whether a topic has been updated since your last visit - unread topics are in bold.  However, like you I found that hard to distinguish so we are adding an icon to represent unread items to make it more obvious.

jjessee - I mentioned this in the blog post as well.  We are going to implement a fluid page design that will expand to fill larger resolution screens.  Having said that, fluid page designs don't work well with non-standards-compliant browsers (basically IE 6).  So this new fluid layout will work in IE7 and later as well as Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.  IE6 users will see the same fixed-width layout that is available today.
hi,

when you login using IE8 "Inside Symantec" drop down is not working, whereas the same is fine in Firefox.

 Forums,articles and blogs  tabs  in both IE8 and Firefox are not getting updated properly, i see half content many times.

oops full confusing.

I just tested with IE8 and Firefox - I'm not seeing any issues.  If you continue to have proboems, PM me with the details of what the sceen looks like when you use these browsers or perhaps send me a screenshot..

"Group landing page tweaks". Will this also include the navigation from a thread back to the board as a single button(rather than using the back button)? and also the links posted at the threads should open up in a new window.
 We added a link back to a board while viewing a thread a few weeks ago.  At the top of any thread you'll see a depth path taking you back:

imagebrowser image


When I want to add an comment in the event section I have to type blind because i only get a black line instead of caracters.
After submitting I have to check if the spelling is correct.
Small issue.
hi,

i see that Forum window is not getting updated properly, i have to refresh my window to see the latest updates, i use firefox, did anyone notice?

I admit I've found this site by a search, but I wanted to suggest that the writing article template is strange.  It took me a while to find the file attachment control, and I was disappointed I was not able to preview the article before it was apparently published.
Using Firefox and the layout is broken for me. The community feed is actually below all these comments rather than to the left I'm guessing you'll fix this but just wanted to point this out as it's been like it for a while for me. Appears fine in IE8.

Image Link in case I don't make sense. Sorry about screen size.
http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/5619/70113607.jpg


I'm using Firefox, too, but the layout seems to be OK for me, strange
- No-one seems to have mentioned that, unlike practically every other BB/forum facility, there's no means to delete one's own posts. That is truly bizarre.

- The same applies to quoting text. Most boards show quoted text in a highlighted box-out of some kind. Here, one has to simply paste the text in, which makes it appear to be part of your own post.

- The breadcrumb link at the top of the page is all well and good but when a topic has many, many posts, scrolling to the top of the page to get to it is a major pain. There ought to be a duplicate link at the bottom of each page, too. And suggesting the 'Back' button is no good as, if I'm posting, 'Back' takes me back the editing page.

- The handling of signatures is poor. They ought to be in a smaller font size, perhaps a different colour?

Basically, your designers seem to have ignored practically every forum convention of the last decade. Quite why they felt the need to re-invent the wheel escapes me when there's so much good forum software out there. If they perhaps felt they could do better, the major ones make code available, enabling the package to be edited to suit.
@AdrianC: I'm also using firefox and it is appearing fine for me.  But I'll check it on a couple of other machines and see if we can nail down the cause.  Is this something that has always happened to you or did it just start?

@VBScab - thanks for your feedback.  We plan on addressing most of these in an upcoming release including quoting and signatures.  Deleting your own posts in a forum is an interesting question.  It is disabled because in a threaded, nested forum view (which we will be using shortly) if you delete one comment that has several comments threaded underneath it the system has to decide what to do with those comments - they essentially don't make sense if the parent comment suddenly disappears.  That makes the people who made the subcomments frustrated.  Having said that, we have been looking into ways to make it work - just haven't figured out the right way to do it yet.

Thanks again for your feedback.  We appreciate everyone's input and are working quickly to add these features as quickly as possible.
@JPFortune - thanks for the feedback on the article writing.  I've added your comments to our list of things to address.
I appreciate the effort you have shown to keep the community up-to-date on the website. I'm excited about the next release. Hats off to your team for turning around so many issues so quickly.

I'm still hoping that ubiquitous RSS (like Craigslist where I can get a feed for almost any query) will show up in the future.
@.peter. Only happens on my work machine so I'll look again tomorrow. Try clearing my cache and what-not and see if it remains. It's been like it since the change but only on one machine. 
It would be nice if there was a section that we could have a list of all service packs, patches,etc for products. Having an RSS feed would also be a plus.
The previous forum provided a hitcount feature which recorded the number of visits to particular posts. This is not essential for my work, but it was interesting to know which posts were found useful over time.
As part of our performance improvements we are caching the site on distributed servers around the world. Unauthenticated users will access content on these cached servers rather than on the connect database directly.  Therefore the hit counters no longer work (since unauthenticated users never actually access the connect server to record the "hit").  There are a few options we are looking at to add "hits" back, but in the meantime we decided to opt for performance.
Sorting Search

Peter,

When you perform a search can you add the ability to sort the results as in Sort by date, subject, poster, date solved or other options like that

At present there is no way to sort the searched results so you get hits that go back forever


Also in the main forum when you sort items lets say by "Solved" the result starts from the oldest date rather than the newest date. Can this be an option or changes so it displays the latest item first then works backward

Liam - good suggestions. The sorting issue on the "solved" threads is a bug that we can get fixed right away.  For the search sorting we are planning a more extensive rebuild of our search environment - I'll make we take a look at this sorting feature with that project.  I'll keep you posted on both.
I searched for the words network discovery (without quotes) and came back with 200-300 results.  I wanted to narrow this down and only get results with the exact phrase network discovery so I put quotes around it and came back with almost 600.  How can I narrow down my search results to only get me what I need?  I would have thought that an exact phrase search would have returned far fewer results than just the two words in the query.
@peter

Since we're talking about the create content page I've got a couple of requests:

Can you make the user group section collapsible by default with only public visible (and maybe make that checked by default), I hate having to scroll past all the user groups to get to the text entry part of the page.

When editing using HTML view, can you make that text box wider?  It's about half the size of the WYSIWYG and it a little annoying to work with.

Lastly can you add a packaging tag for articles?  That would cover both capturing Virtual apps in SVS\SWV and about anything Wise related.

Thanks.
Is it possible to make forum mail more like normal mail, well where it is:

a) working at all (eg. able to recieve messages from other people that they posted)
b) you have normal sent/inbox/saved etc. folders. Not like now we have something like a permanent inbox folder...

Can we add something which used to be very useful. People (or perhaps just moderators of each forum) can post very important articles that appear on the very top of each forum.

Thanks.
Hope "Search enhancements" includes the ability to limit a search to just the one forum?

Thanks.
I hope that will be added also the Article and Blog preview . I found this function useful in Juice , it allows to see in advance the final result and eventually correct.
Maybe I don't know how to find it, but I would like to disable the mouseover/popup boxes when hovering over a thread. It's extremely annoying when I just need to open each thread in a new tab. I almost can't use Connect because of it.
 cpontus - we've had mixed feedback on the mouseover boxes.  Some people love them, others don't.  We are making some tweaks to that function in the next few weeks that will hopefully address your concerns.  Here's what we plan to do:
  1. The popup will be at the end of the forum column so it doesn't cover up the information from other posts
  2. We're adding a slight delay so when you quickly mouseover things it doesn't pop up immediately. 
  3. And finally we are removing them from some areas of the site where they don't add much value.

Your suggestion of setting your preference in a profile is a good one.  I'll research how difficult that would be to add as well.
Peter,

Thanks for the response.

A longer delay would go a long way. If a profile option isn't feasible, then moving the links over to the right would be very helpful. It's nice to know Symantec is at least taking everyone's feedback into account!
Hello,

What is the link to get back to Juice?

Tks,
Dom
The performance is better than what it has been. However when switching tabs from articles to blogs etc, it seems to take a long time and is not very snappy. Are the performance enhancements in the pipelines going to affect the look and feel from the aspect? I saw the post on caching content and that was very informative.  Is there anything we can do on our profiles that speeds the site up? (IE number of items displayed etc?) Is it just a hardware processing issue or a DB layout issue?
We made some improvements to performance and are continuing to refine things.  There's not much you can do on your end, at this point we're just working to refine database queries and evaluate our logs to see which parts of the site are causing bottlenecks.  You should see steady improvement over time.
This one's for you, Riva11 - if you didn't notice, we added a print function to the site recently.  Look for the little print icon at the footer of any post on the site:

imagebrowser image

The big debate internally on this one was whether we should have the comments print with the articles or not.  We decided against including comments with the print view, but let us know if any of you feel differently. 
Peter, many thanks for this good Connect improvement (and the fast feedback). About your question, I agree, the Print option should be include only the main content.

Regards,
Paolo



Spell checker is still not working for me.

imagebrowser image

Note: The default language is Italian, and the C:\Program Files folder doesn't exist on my computer.
Let me look into that spell checker issue.  I think it's related to an update we did to the rich text editor.  
Some nice information, But keep it simple rather than making complex in future changes also
On each section , Forums, Articles, Blogs, etc. , there are shown only few items ( 20 ).  This view can be changed with the "  Show Listings per page " menu.

But this means that I need to change this settings everytime that I connect to the single different page.

I wonder, if there is somewhere a setting to store my preference ( for example, 50 items ) about the view customization.




The only thing constant in life of Symantec Connect is change.

We appretiate the efforts taken by Team Connect to make the Connect a better place to be in.

Tejas
 Riva11 - We initially set the limit of items per page at 50, but to make sure we didn't overload our servers we pulled back the default to 50.  However, if your browser allows cookies, we store your choice in the cookie so the next time you visit the page we will remember what your selection was.  Your idea of setting that in the profile area is a good one.  I'll talk to the developers and see how difficult it is.

Tejas - thanks for the encouragement!  We truly are working around the clock to make Connect better.  Look for some major improvements in the next couple of weeks!  And keep the suggestions coming.  We read every one of them!

Peter
>Disable mouseover/popup boxes on forum threads
Seconded!