Custom app built off discourse

(Steve Baer) #1

@Willem - I’m moving your post here since it is getting buried deep in a slightly off topic newsgroup post and my newsreader is not doing a good job of remembering what I’ve read.

This makes me wonder; how feasible would it be to create a custom GUI?
Maybe you do not know either but my guess is that you might have a better understanding of it than me :wink:
Does an API provide enough functionality to aggregate all relevant information and pack it in a custom GUI? I’m indeed also a little puzzled why Jørgen’s possible solution of a custom build forum was (apparently) not given a chance?

There is no way to tell if I can adopt to the workings of Discourse so I’m just going to see where it goes, it simply needs time.

What I can already tell, is that the current GUI does not allow for very dense information packing; there is no per-thread tree-view, it is forcing me to scroll through a list of posts, possibly without much coherence, when a few discussions have branched of.

That is actually one of the strengths of a tree-structure; it allows for discussions to branch off and create in-depth conversation, without the disturbance of accidental passers by yet open for anyone to join. In some cases it is not that useful as different branches could better be merged. Yet on specific topics, where a conversation between just a few people unrolls it is a very efficient way to communicate outside the main scope. It will create more noise if all of these different posts are piled up like they are now.

I’m used to a densely packed newsreader and might compare it to this:

in relation to Discourse and it’s 2013 layout that feels like this:

There is simply too much wasted screen space, a custom GUI would already be a huge improvement IMHO.

sorry for drifting away from the topic with this bulk of text :wink:


Hello... and what I don't like about discourse
(Steve Baer) #2

Yes, a custom GUI in a browser, native application, iphone app, android app,… will be possible. Discourse uses what is called a REST api to communicate the real data back and forth without intermingling the data with html. This makes it so other applications can be built to work with this api in different ways. The api is currently not published since the system is rapidly changing, but once things stabilize it should be fairly easy to write applications that can work with this data. This would let someone write a treeview version of the forum or allow for viewing/posting directly in Rhino.

(Steve Baer) #3

As far as hiring a group to write a “newsgroup” web application versus using discourse, I would choose discourse for the following reasons:

  • Based on history, I know that Jeff Atwood and his team know what they’re doing.
  • The discourse team is in the business of writing and supporting discourse. In order to even come close to their effort, we would not only need to get a team to write this web application we would also need to permanently keep these people on to upgrade and support the project.
  • I would rather focus on developing Rhino than creating and managing a new web application business. This could quickly become a distraction away from working on Rhino.
  • Due to the number of different people using discourse in a large number of different areas, the potential for quickly finding and fixing bugs increases
  • If discourse becomes popular, the potential for nice “spin-off” apps also increases
  • We wrote a bugtracker web application that we used for years. It was ok and kind of worked, but we had to maintain it and spend time working on it when we could have been working on Rhino. This last year we switched to for our bugtracker and couldn’t be happier. The guys at jetbrains constantly work to improve their product and can focus on making it work great since it is a primary focus of theirs
  • I feel that the discourse team has a development pattern similar to McNeel. They are constantly putting out new features and fix based on input from the users.
  • With an api in place, we have the option to write a newsgroup style application if we felt we needed to

I’m sure there are more reasons I could come up with, but it boils down to the fact that the discourse team is focused on making a product. If we hired people to write something similar, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as good since it isn’t our primary area to focus on.

There is potential for a lot of money to be made in the new style “forums” business. If a team thinks they could do a better job than discourse, I would encourage them to do it. We’ll be more than happy to try it out.

(Willem Derks) #4

Now that would be something! I have mentioned functionality like that more than once over at the NG.
It would create a whole new dimension to support, feedback and user community.

  • !_ViewCaptureToSupport
  • !_ExportSelectedToSupport
  • !_RecordRegionToSupport

I honestly think you should bring this type of functionality up in a meeting, (if not already done…)
Making Rhino and it’s SDK ready for web connected functionality.

Some wild brainstorming:

  • an app for a land survey company to communicate to the office from people in the field sending realtime GPS data.
  • streaming a viewport to a client or contractor
  • copy-paste geometry (encrypted) to a co-worker collaborating from “the other office”


(Steve Baer) #5

Yep, I specifically wanted to make sure that whatever we used had some sort of api in place or plans for an api. Even if we don’t do anything right now, we know that the possibility exists for us to write cool new things that work with the forum.


Can you please exchange the “love heart” with a “thumbs up”? If you do I’ll give you a thumbs up. Or maybe an “+1” icon, for us old NG-grupies :wink: (<-look an icon… now It will be easier to understand my norwegian irony)

(I mean the thumbs-up icon is better than a heart, no irony there)


(Steve Baer) #7

I posted a question for making this tweak over at


I must admit that I do feel a bit like a teenage girl when I click the heart icon. Not that that’s a bad thing.


This information makes the changeover totally palatable for me, and gives me something that I am actually looking forward to. So, time to embrace change (I mean, come on, they have the Doom2 guy as one of the smiles :feelsgood: )

(Willem Derks) #11

I will once: :trollface: