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Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-17-2009

Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

For a while now I have been working on a desktop application to browse the community forums & blogs, without the need to come to this website to do so. Let's face it, searching these forums can leave some to be desired as well, so I wanted a quick and easy way to find things in the forums too. Those that are business partners are familiar with the older SalesLogix newsgroups and miss having a desktop application to make moving around and locating things quick.

 

Community Explorer is a free tool I have created to allow you to search and browse these forums from a desktop application. Here are some screenshots (you can click on these for a larger image):

 

 

You can install this application from here:

 

Get Community Explorer

 

Features

 

  • Ability to easily search forums with combinations of conditions (for example, search for posts containing "SQL Rule", or search for posts containing "SQL Rule" authored by "Nick Galler", or search for posts containing "SQL Rule" authored by "Nick Galler" in a specific forum.
  • Search for a post with an exact phrase, containing a combination of words, or for posts without certain words.
  • Search with advanced operators using wildcards, boolean operators, and using proximity (for example, search for any post where the word "rule" is within two words of the word "sql").
  • Save searches to rerun a search or modify to add more conditions.
  • View all posts from a particular user.
  • Browse through community forums, blogs, or ideas.
  • See replies & posts flagged as an answer in a thread.
  • See number of kudos a post as received
  • Easily copy or print posts or threads.
  • Trigger a reply to a thread or a new post (currently launches in a browser)
  • Minimize to the tray for quick access

 

Community Explorer requires Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 (which the installer will check for and prompt you to install if needed). It is currently a beta release, so there could be some bugs. There are some areas that will be changing to make navigation easier as well (right now, mouse scrolling and keyboard navigation needs work). There are also many features coming in the next release, such as:

 

Coming Features

 

  • View recent threads/messages
  • Desktop toast-like notifications when there is new activity in the forums

 

 

Community Explorer is meant to be a free tool for the SalesLogix community (and will always remain free) to make it easier to use the community forums. So, your feedback on what would make this tool better is greatly appreciated. With the goal of this making it easier to use the forums, please let me know what is missing to accomplish this goal. You can submit feedback directly from the application (using the Submit Feedback option located at the bottom right corner of the window). Give it a try!


Ryan Farley - Customer FX Corporation / Director of Development


customerfx.com
| slxdeveloper.com | My SalesLogix Development Blog
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎07-27-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Hi Ryan,

 

this is a post out of Community Explorer. Wow .....

 

I think i will love it.

 

Regards

Rainer Raebiger

bizz consult gmbh 

Regards
Rainer Raebiger
Highlighted
Silver Contributor
Posts: 835
Registered: ‎03-24-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

[ Edited ]

We'll give it a spin Ryan. I clicked on reply and it opened up the forum directly to this reply box.

 

OK I thought this was a 'desktop application' and you installed the product on your machine.....but basically it's a hardwired browser window pointing to the app on a CustomerFX server?

 

How about a threaded mode for those of use GEnie and CompuServe gurus who like seeing threads of consciousness?

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by RJSamp on 02-10-2010 12:05 PM
RJ Samp
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-17-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application


@RJSamp wrote:
OK I thought this was a 'desktop application' and you installed the product on your machine.....but basically it's a hardwired browser window pointing to the app on a CustomerFX server?

It is a clickonce application. This measn that it installs via a URL (so that you'll automatically be updated with any new versions). However, it is not a hardwired browser, the application was built to have a similar feel to the community website so it does look a bit-webish, but it is not a browser. Also, other than the check it does at startup for any possible new versions of the app on the Customer FX website, it only communicates with the Sage community website via the Lithium API. Make sense?

 


@RJSamp wrote:
How about a threaded mode for those of use GEnie and CompuServe gurus who like seeing threads of consciousness?

Not sure I understand, do you mean to see the thread in a tree-like sturcture? Like a newsgroup?

 

Main thread

  - Reply

  - Reply

       -Reply

             - Reply

             - Reply

 

Is that what you mean? 


Ryan Farley - Customer FX Corporation / Director of Development


customerfx.com
| slxdeveloper.com | My SalesLogix Development Blog
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 176
Registered: ‎04-28-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Great work! How long did it take to write this?

Would be nice if under browse messages the forums and sub forums order would be the same like on the website.
---------------------------
Ambit AG, Switzerland
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎07-27-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Hello Ryan,

 

i had an error within Community Explorer with providing feedback. So trough the forum:

 

Is it possible to have a list of unread Messages?

 

In my Outlook i have all the Mails of new Messages. I go trough them and if the message is not interresting for me, the mail is marked as readed but not the messages himself in the Community.

 

My wish:

Have a list of my unread messages. When browsing trough the CE, the possibility to automark as readed or right click and mark as readed. This would help to follow new messages.

 

Regards

Rainer Raebiger

bizz consult gmbh 

Regards
Rainer Raebiger
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 204
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Very cool app! Would it be possible to cache some of the content so that you always have it on the desktop? Maybe a checkbox on the post that lets you "Make a Favorite" and then we can organize them into folders and stuff? I could see me taking certain posts and saving them for future use. Nice job on this Smiley Happy

Sr. Sales Engineer
Gene Arnold
Silver Contributor
Posts: 1,262
Registered: ‎04-08-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Hi Ryan,

 

First of all, thanks for this great tool.

 

I have a question:

Is it possible for you to make this tool more accessible fro screen readers?

I have problems navigating through the forums using the keyboard.

Also I can not always see which post is active as I can not browse using the keyboard through the messages.

I hope you can make some improvments as I realy like the tool.

If you have any specific questions, feal free to email me directly.

 

Thanks!

Alexander

Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-17-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application

Thanks everyone for the great feedback (and to all the others who have sent me feedback directly - or using the Feedback form in Community Explorer)

 

I have added some of the following to the list to add into the app based on feedback:

 

  • Threaded view 
  • I am going to scrap the custom ower drawn lists of posts and go with more standard windows controls as an easy way to get things like keyboard navigation, mouse scrolling, accessibility, etc. Going to more of a standard windows look will have other benefits as well too.

 

Some things I am considering and will likely add (I had a few different people mention these):

 

  • Ability to cache messages
  • Mark messages read/unread (this will be locally only in the app. It won't sync with the website until Sage lifts the Lithium API restriction to allow the app to write back to the website)
  • Bookmark or flag posts as favorite (same as above, this won't sync back to the bookmarked posts on the site until API restriction is changed)


Currently, the community Lithium install has the API restricted to not allow modify or writes via the API. If Sage is willing the change that then I will build in:

 

  • Ability to post & reply directly from app (instead of just launching in browser like it does now)
  • Ability to kudo a post
  • Sync read/unread with the site
  • Sync bookmarked posts with the site

I am working on things like getting the forum lists in the same order, making sure that posts are in the same order and reading the read status of posts from the site too, the problem is that I am basically just guessing at the URLs in the Lithium REST API since I don't have the Lithium API docs. You can only get those from your Lithium sales rep, they don't just give those out. That makes things difficult, hehe. So far things have been pretty easily guessable, but the docs would sure help (anyone from Sage want to get me the API docs from Lithium?)

Thanks again for the suggestions and feedback, keep it coming :-)

Ryan Farley - Customer FX Corporation / Director of Development


customerfx.com
| slxdeveloper.com | My SalesLogix Development Blog
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-17-2009

Re: Browse & search the SalesLogix community forums, blogs, & ideas from a free desktop application


@RRaebiger wrote:

i had an error within Community Explorer with providing feedback. So trough the forum:

 


Can you tell me anything about the error you received when trying to submit the feedback? Thanks!


Ryan Farley - Customer FX Corporation / Director of Development


customerfx.com
| slxdeveloper.com | My SalesLogix Development Blog