Plugin Considerations

When designing/writing software, or I suppose any kind of engineering for that matter, there is always a tension between features and complexity.  I really want this Simple Series WordPress plugin to be simple and easy to use.  But, as I use it more and more I find there are some possible features that I wouldn’t mind having.

For example, my DrawBot series is at 43 posts at this moment.  The problem is that each post, no matter how short, now has an entire screen-length’s worth of a list for the series. 1  Now, there are several possible ways to handle this:

  • I suppose when I’m looking to design a UI, the most important things to focus on is what would the user expect to see and happen.  It certainly makes sense for there to be a uniform series list in every post.  But, it seems slightly inelegant to have it that way for every single post when you’re looking at an entire page.
  • I could modify the plugin so that it would only create a list once per page, rather than once per post.  I suppose subsequent instances could then provide a single link to the series list in the initial post.  I think this would be non-intuitive as a person navigated the page.
  • I could modify the plugin so that it only showed the current post plus X posts before and after where X is some arbitrary number I choose.  (Although, I’d probably make it user specifiable).  I’d have to dig into some fancy scmancy CSS to define a different start-number for the HTML ordered list, but this isn’t a huge problem.  Ideally, it would say there are Y prior posts and Z subsequent posts as well.  Then again, it is really helpful (at least to me) to be able to click back up or down through a series list.

Perhaps the optimal result is something in between?

  • On a page consisting of a single post, the entire list should be displayed.
  • On a page consisting of multiple posts, the subsequent lists should be truncated in some meaningful fashion.  Perhaps the last and subsequent X posts, with a little sentence indicating Y more prior posts and Z more subsequent posts.  When you click on the “Y more prior posts” it could take you to the first instance of the series list on that page and when you click on the “Z more subsequent posts” it could take you to the next post listed in the series on the first instance of the series list on that page. 2
  • Sadly, this system would not really change much for the RSS feed readers.

”Posts
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  5. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  6. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  7. DrawBot - What would you draw?
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  14. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  15. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  16. i find i want to add more posts in some random series, just so i can use my new plugin
  17. Simple Series WordPress Plugin
  18. My first published WordPress plugin! Simple Series!
  19. This is a test of the Simple Series post system... This is only a test
  20. Now Simple Series will also add the series list to RSS feeds too!
  21. ZOMG! Simple Series is going viral!
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  24. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  25. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  26. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  27. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  28. Plugin Considerations
  29. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  30. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  31. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  32. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  33. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  34. The Eagle Has Landed
  35. Every Body Needs a Skull
  36. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  37. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  38. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  39. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  40. Unidentified Foam Object
  41. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  42. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  43. OCD Plugin Stats and the WordPress.org Statistics API
  44. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  45. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments

  1. I can’t even imagine how much text is devoted to just the series list on those DrawBot posts in your RSS feed. []
  2. Um.  This sounded a lot clearer in my head as I typed it than it probably reads. []

One Response to “Plugin Considerations”

  1. MTO says:

    I like the idea of just having the last few and the next few in the list, but I think that being able to jump to the start and end of the thread quickly isimportant as well.

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