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Checkfriends features [Jul. 28th, 2002|11:00 am]
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[gaal]
Hi. I'm here to tell you of and invite comments on two features creeping in on LogJam's checkfriends functionality.

The first is friends-group support. Once the group code is restored I'll work on making it possible to check only for new entries in a particular set of your friends. This is useful for people with large friend groups and who typically use a filter. This is actually supported by the LJ protocol.

The second feature (on which I really want comments) is to add thresholding to the "NEW" indicator, that is, to notify the user only when a certain (small) amount of new entries is reached. This may also be useful for people with lots of friends, for whom notification of one new message will send them to their friends page all the freaking time. It can work by actually violating the protocol and checking for new entries even after the first one is noted; the client takes responsibility for stopping its checks (and notifying the user) only after the threshold is reached. Easy to implement, though there are a few implementation issues to decide. Of course, there'd be a pretty low hard limit on this threshold (say, 5? 7?), and it'll default to off (==1) entirely.

Would you use feature #2? Is it just bloat, or too evil?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: pumpsnail
2002-07-28 11:14 am (UTC)
I don't understand how it's evil, but maybe I'm just confused O_O Semagic has it, and so I would love that feature on Logjam.
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[User Picture]From: gaal
2002-07-28 02:46 pm (UTC)
It isn't flat-out evil, but it is, let's say, naughty.

The idea of the checkfriends feature (from the server's point of view, at least) is to reduce load: each checkfriends query is much lighter than preparing a complete friends page for the client. Plus, once there are new items on the friends list, the client gives it a rest: it stops talking to the server until the user clicks on the indicator (which means something like "okay, I read my new entries; now look for newer ones"). This is what the protocol says should happen (look for "new" in the Response section).

Now, this proposed feature (let's call it "thresholding"; and I've been a bit naughty myself for not crediting Sema for the idea in my main post) keeps on hitting the server even after one, two, or maybe more new entries have been noted. Of course, each of these hits is much lighter than one friends page load; but if it's on all day the total effect is not nice, too.

Of course, from the user's point of view, this *is* a nice feature. And if, from a usability perspective, it causes people to load their freinds page a bit less often, it's even worth it in terms of performance. But we need to think of sensible limits for this threshold--it make no sense for this to be really large.


(Something I was thinking about is that if thresholding is enabled, LogJam might quietly increase the checkfriends poll interval. Unfortunately, this isn't a very good thing to do, because the "new" value in the protocol doesn't really cound the number of new entries, but is rather just a flag that says whether any number of new entries have been added since the last check. So if the interval is too long, two friend's posts might get counted once.)

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