New Community Site improvements [Oct 2012]

May the Forge be with You!

The new improved components area, the OutSystems Components Forge seeks to promote collaborative development of components, as well as improve communication between component users and developers.

With these changes we expect to increase the diversity of components freely available to everyone, as well as accelerate component evolution by bringing people together with the common goal of improving everyone’s development performance.

The Forge is now the place to Download, Develop and Create New components!

Let’s have a guided tour at what’s new, then!

Change starts at the Top

The Forge has been promoted to its own tab. When you enter it, you will be greeted with a familiar list of components, but the Creation of a New Component has been promoted to a first class citizen. We don’t want anyone not kicking off a new component because they couldn’t spot the link!

More on creation later, but for now let’s look at

The Beauty in the Details

When you click to see a Component Detail page you will see a few small changes, some just cosmetic, others a fair bit more!

Here’s the lowdown on the latter:

Following a Component

We made it a lot more obvious that you can Follow developments of your favourite Component with this button. When you press it, you will start being notified of noteworthy events for this component: you get to pick which ones you’re interested in by clicking Edit Notifications.

You can choose to be notified of Development (beta) versions of the Component as well as Stable (Release-quality) versions, and you can elect to auto-subscribe to all discussion threads related to this component!

Joining the Component team

If you are an enthusiast of a Component and you made improvements to it, you can now ask to join the development team, with a simple click on Join the team! Any of the current team members can then approve (or reject) your application and, assuming you join, you will immediately be able to Upload new versions. No more attaching of changes to discussion posts like in the past: you are now one of the Component accredited contributors!

If you’re a member of the Component team, you will see pending requests to join the team (and the option to Add a team member by invitation) in this section too.

Multiple Discussion Threads

We found that the original limitation of having a single discussion thread per component was very limiting to the quality of the communication around a component. You ended up with a smorgasbord of requests for help, feature suggestions, informal improvement submissions that was virtually impossible to follow.

Not anymore. You can now have as many different discussions as needed, making it easy for each one to stay on topic!

Living on the Razor’s Edge

To foster Component evolution, it’s important to lower the risk of submitting innovations while at the same time improving the trials (and feedback) of these new developments. We took a step towards this by improving Component versioning. If you click the Version History link you will be taken to the Component changelog.

Here you will be able to see every single version of the Component ever published (and when), what the changes were for that version, who in the team specifically uploaded that version and if he or she classified that version as Stable or Development. Versions with no indication are Stable, with the Latest Stable version clearly marked. All Development versions are also explicitly marked as so.

Goes without saying that you should be careful about using Development versions in a production environment without careful testing.

The wonders of Creation

The creation of a new Component has been hugely simplified to make it as streamlined as possible! The original multi-step wizard has been substituted by a single page with handful of mandatory inputs.

A few items of Additional info (neatly tucked away in a collapsed section) can be provided at creation time or filled in later.

The whole thing is pretty self-explanatory but it bears highlighting that care should be taken when creating a version (initial or later uploaded) in classifying it as either Stable or Development. As the developer if this version is tried and tested, you should select Stable (and optionally set it as Latest Stable if it is the version to be downloaded by default using the Download button). If you’re still looking for feedback or testing running up to a full release, make sure you set it to Development.

This will help your component users set their expectations and usage accordingly.

Hope you guys enjoy this improved feature - as this FEATURE IS IN BETA there may be some issues. Please let me know of any kinks you find or suggestions for improvement!

Hi Miguel,

Sorry to say, but this is NOT an improvement.
If I'm looking for a component, I'll go to DOWNLOAD and not to "the forge"

Please bring back at least a link under download to guide forumusers to go to the components !!
First impression, I Like it :)

Hi Miguel,

Joop i disagree, it does is an improvement for the component selection, but I agree on the 'location' part.. Why just not use the name components?

That multiple people can join and make the components improve together is great, it reflects the OS way of doing it together. Even the other small improvements (following and multiple threads) seem to be great improvements. About the multiple thread, maybe also a option to close threads or link them to older version when the thread is about a thing that is solved in a newer version?

I do think a newer version should only be published when all collaborators agree and not just one (their names are also set with the component and can be looked at as 'responsible').

Like I said, like the option and it fits into the OS community of doing it together.

Kind regards,

Hi Miguel. Congrats on the great improvement!

The title of the page as well as the "New" button all say "Components".  I would vote to rename it as Components.  This would make it easier for new users to find it.
Rebecca Hall wrote:
The title of the page as well as the "New" button all say "Components".  I would vote to rename it as Components.  This would make it easier for new users to find it.
 It says "Forge" ... that doesn't ring a bell to me ...
@Miguel: By the way, what happened to all the replies on the previous post what we think of the forum ??

I've been quiet because I'm currently out in an event, but I am keeping an eye on the thread. Keep your comments coming and I'll try to answer more thoroughly tomorrow.


@Miguel, good work, nice update!

Next feature, Agile Network "Ladder board" :)
Btw, when will the "0 views" be fixed on the recent activity page? :)

and other question, how are you notified? by email? by those lovely yellow boxes?
Let's see if I don't forget to cover any of the numerous comments above:

- @Joop, @Becky and all: The reason for the name "Forge" is to bring to the forefront that the components section is a place of continuous creation and development, and not just a place you go to download stuff. We wanted a snappy name that would make people go "I wonder what this is?" (that clearly worked) and we went with Forge, which is an homage to the well-known collaborative dev site SourceForge.

- It's because of this increased importance that we promoted it to a first class citizen to become a top level tab. In any case, I heard what some of you said about not being able to find the components, and added a link inside downloads and the sidebar;

- @Evert: we purposely left the apply-to-team and member uploads mechanics simple and loose in hopes of making it all as simple as possible: If you make the process too laborious, people will just give up. If we find this simplicity starts being abused and people start "breaking" the community flow, only then will we tighten up the screws.

- @Robert: As we spoken briefly in the past, I personally love that kind of gamification experience in communities, online or otherwise as they foster participation and sound "competition" (for those that don't know, I was a game developer for many years). Expect a few things to appear on that front some time in the future.

- The 0 view was an unfortunate bug that crept into an optimization. It has been fixed already and is waiting for the next push to production.

Finally, much like on this thread we have taken onboard all the suggestions for the sites in previous threads. Couple of examples: we got rid of the outdated announcements in the sidebar and replaced them with useful links and we will be discontinuing the threaded mode because no one seems to use it and it is standing in the way of certain new developments...

... but we will get into those in due time. :)

Thanks for all your feedback - and keep posting!