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 - Parts Shipped!!!
  6. DrawBot - What would you draw?
  7. DrawBot - The Plan!
  8. DrawBot - The Hacks
  9. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  10. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  11. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  12. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  13. DrawBot – Design Considerations
  14. i find i want to add more posts in some random series, just so i can use my new plugin
  15. My first published WordPress plugin! Simple Series!
  16. This is a test of the Simple Series post system... This is only a test
  17. Now Simple Series will also add the series list to RSS feeds too!
  18. ZOMG! Simple Series is going viral!
  19. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  20. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  21. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  22. DrawBot – Printing!
  23. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  24. DrawBot – Calibration
  25. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  26. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  27. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  28. Plugin Considerations
  29. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  30. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  31. All New Polargraph on the way!!!
  32. I think I know what I want to draw next...
  33. Overengineered Spools
  34. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  35. DrawBot - A Preview
  36. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  37. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  38. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  39. How to add a custom button to the WordPress Visual TinyMCE Editor
  40. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  41. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  42. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem

  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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