Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Now about those movable boxes - Refreshing the live commenting system with an overhaul

Published by Mr. C

Sometime back in the summer of 2008 we introduced a live commenting system, which was designed to help follow comment conversations without requiring incessant browser refreshing. We haven't done a lot of development to the software since its introduction, but we're redressing the balance today.

The Live Commenting, Live... Thing has been rebuilt to be bigger and better than ever before. It has a new home, features a customisable layout and should help make contributing to Sidepodcast a more enjoyable experience.

Live Commenting Screenshot

The text is bigger, the layout more intuitive and the whole backend has been overhauled. Take a look yourselves.

Sidepodcast : Live Commenting

The exciting new stuff

We're suckers for new things to play with, though, so here's a quick run down of the best bits to look out for:

  • A long requested feature of the original Live Commenting system was the ability to cutomise screen layout and that's now possible because individual panels can be moved around the page (by grabbing and dragging the relevant title bar). A placeholder will appear allowing panels to be dropped in either the left or the right columns and in any order you choose.
  • All panels can be minimised/maximised using the arrow on each title bar.
  • The comments pane has always been resizeable, but now the post content is too. Long page layouts are now possible for anyone with a Tablet PC or a screen that rotates into portrait mode.
  • The Factbyte Factbox is a new feature for Sidepodcast that we're really excited about. Designed to take live shows and live racing to the next level, the FBFB will provide a secondary stream of information, highlighting any relevant data depending on circumstance. For example, offering up-to-date scoring during a panel show, or listing the closest battles during a race.
  • The comment box now mirrors the same functionality that Real-time Doohickey has been offering for a while. You can quote previous comments, upload images, format text and preview your submission before posting.

The less exciting still to do stuff

Of note, because this is a rebuild we're talking about, we've gone backwards from being in beta mode, to now being in alpha while we sort out any of the niggles that occur. The ones that we know about, and are working on, include:

  • A three column layout would be nice, for anyone with widescreen monitors or televisions.
  • The ability to resize panels in two directions would also be handy for ultimate customisation.
  • At present, the LCLT cannot remember your layout when you navigate away.
  • Posts with lots of comments take a while to load. The more comments, the longer it takes.
  • If you line up all the boxes into a single column, it's not always possible to revert to a two-column layout afterwards.

Please do check out the new page here, and let us know what you think. Is there anything missing, is anything broken and where should we go with this next?