The Resources need some Love

13 Apr 2012

The resources section of the Toolbox is something I put quite a bit of effort into trying to "get it right" and make it really easy to submit articles to as I think this can be a very useful part of the Toolbox.

Unfortunately, there's very few people submitting resources so far. Except for the odd blog/project author, only a few people keep the stuff pouring in most of the time (I'm looking at you Ezekiel and Daniel...)

I'd love to know why that is! If you think the process can be improved, please leave a comment! If you haven't tried it yet, it really is easy: Either click the "Submit a Resource" thing in the sidebar of the Resources page, or even simpler add the Bookmarklet to your, eh, Bookmarks... It will directly lead you to the submit page for any blog post, screencast etc. you're currently viewing and also tries it's best to automatically guess the referenced projects.

I'm also aware of the fact that while submitting resources is quite simple, the accessibility of available resources needs to be improved, lowering the incentive to submit your latest and greatest blog post (or article you stumbled upon). There are three major things I've had planned for ages but have not got around to implement yet that should improve this:

  • A weekly mail newsletter for users containing all resources for their "Loved" projects (also available as a feed)
  • Incorporating votes into the ordering (currently strictly by submission date) - though this one is tricky, since it would need some age vs. votes ratio - ideas welcome here as well!
  • Most importantly, resources will soon be added to the site-wide search, so you'll be able to search for any available content on adding Presenter-based gravatar widgets to your Devise-backed Rails application, not only depending on project author's gem descriptions being correct.

All of these things still need a good foundation of available content linked up, so it would be really great if more people would get into the habit of submitting anything they read or saw and found useful.

I'd love to hear from you whether you think this stuff is worthwhile at all, or whether I should focus on other parts of the site. If you like the overall idea of the thing, but would like to suggest something else that needs to be improved, I'm also eager to hear your thoughts! As I mentioned I think this can become an awesome, well, resource to learn.

Comments

Daniel Harrington wrote 2012-04-13 20:49:51 UTC:

hey christoph,

as much as i love this project, for me the problem is that when i'm reading about something interesting, i don't always think about going to the ruby toolbox to add the resource.

i'm not a huge fan of bookmarklets, but i think people need to be reminded to share!

cheers, daniel

Daniel Harrington wrote 2012-04-13 21:04:34 UTC:

wow, i actually missed the fact that there's a bookmarklet :)

Peter Schröder wrote 2012-04-13 21:25:01 UTC:

I won't use it, because I don't need "another" stream of information. If you manage to integrate it into Twitter, so that i can Tag or Post it somehow I would be keen to use it.

Keep up the great work Christoph!

Daniel Harrington wrote 2012-04-13 21:31:19 UTC:

i added the bookmarklet to my browser, but it adds another vertical row for a single link and i'm not sure if i'm going to remember that it's there.

integration with twitter would be awesome though! i regularly tweet things i find interesting and i would definitely remember to add some kind of tag to it.

Jonathan Rochkind wrote 2012-04-17 03:17:27 UTC:

I'd like a way to suggest/add categories.

The few times it's occured to me to add something, it's been for a category that isn't there -- the one I remember most recently was 'parsing', for like tools to parse formal grammars. treetop, parslet, the one I can never remember the name of but if I ever find it again I'd suggest it here so next time I forgot it I could look.

Jonathan Rochkind wrote 2012-04-17 03:22:46 UTC:

I think votes would be a great idea.

Other unrelated suggestions: The first page is confusing to me. You might be better off listing just categories, not expanded. (And it's too wide fixed width css for my laptop monitor).

Perhaps a central search box with autocomplete on both categories AND gems.

I'm not sure what determines the 6 highlighted gems on the top. but they sure take up a lot of space. maybe smaller more compact listings of most recently voted upon, or most popular -- or more popular -category- somehow.

Just brainstorming. I really like this site actually, but I don't find myself using it that much, and I'm not sure why, but I think the UI is still just a bit in my way and over-powering, something more sparse and fast fast.

Luke Holder wrote 2012-04-17 05:36:34 UTC:

To be honest I find the design confusing. I think a more simplified UI would encourage better interaction and sharing. Submitting could be clearer and easier.

I would love to give back to the ruby community and offer to submit a redesign, please let me know if I could be of use.

Piotr Zuralski wrote 2012-04-23 12:46:37 UTC:

What is the purpose of Resources section? What does the end result look like? Is a library of screencasts, blog posts, articles, news, etc? Curated, semi-curated or all of the info out there?

I would suggest the following: Remove the friction to submit.

Think "pinning" on has minimal friction? Then how about removing "submit" option altogether and instead pulling headlines/content from the top blogs on Ruby/Rails.

Less "hackernews" and more "alltop.com".

Just an idea :)

Christoph Olszowka wrote 2012-04-30 13:42:24 UTC:

Thanks for your feedback so far guys! I'll go through your ideas more detailed and will boil it down to a todo / further discussion list.

@jonathan It's possible to add your custom category when submitting a project, although handling those is pretty hard for me because quite often people only submit one project for that, while I prefer to have at least 2 projects to grant the creation of a new category. But yes, this part needs improvement

By the way guys, if you want to submit and discuss ideas, you can go to the support site at http://help.ruby-toolbox.com/discussions - this makes a discussion focused on specific suggestions, ideas and problems easier :)

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