April 05, 2009

Adobe User-to-User forums upgraded

The folks responsible for managing the Adobe User-to-User Forums are excited to announce that the legacy Adobe and Macromedia forums have now been integrated onto a single platform, and they asked me to help spread the word.

Notable highlights:

  • Integration of Adobe ID for true single sign-on to all forums
  • Updated look and feel, more consistent with other forum systems
  • Email participation, including starting a new discussion and alerts
  • RSS feeds for many parts of the forum (topics, users, announcements, etc.)
  • Improved moderation capabilities (hosts can delete inappropriate content)
  • Rich text options: inline images and videos, file attachments, code samples
  • Improved search capabilities:
    • Wildcard searches (Multiple or single character)
    • Fuzzy Search (e.g. searching for “foam” also retrieves “roams”)
    • Proximity, weighting, date range, specific user
Posted by John Nack at 2:17 PM on April 05, 2009

Comments

  • Drazick — 2:46 PM on April 05, 2009

    The new forums are great!
    Some glitches with the latest Chrome though.
    Already posted a feature suggestion for Photoshop:
    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/414328?tstart=0

  • Ramón G Castañeda — 5:24 PM on April 05, 2009

    Well, we’ve been aware of the new forum format for some time—and we’ve tested them today.
    Many of us hate the new look of the forums, but this can be tamed through a variety of scripts and Adblock Plus. I have managed to obliterate all avatars, the status indicator icon under each user name, the utterly useless “More Like This” box, the “Top Participants” box, the labels and badges, etc..
    Speaking for myself, I can live with the new look.
    However, the performance issues have not been addressed yet. It takes an eternity to post a new message or to reply to a post. There are no breadcrumbs at the bottom of each page; there’s no way to get back to where you were in a thread as you’re taking back to the first post in the first page of that thread; there’s no way to open a thread on the last post you’ve read. The whole thing still needs a lot of work.
    It is a shame that a firm so closely associated in its history and flagship applications to excllence in design, has opted to go for this infantile, kindergarten style of forum design. But, if we must live with this decision by the bean counters up the chain of command, at least let’s press for a swift resolution of the speed and usability issues.
    Not happy at all, but resigned to the inevitable, and hoping for speedy attention to the severe usability problems.
    Please don’t let them forget, Mr. Nack.

  • Hopper — 6:04 PM on April 05, 2009

    I have not been very verbal about the changes and growing pains of the Adobe U2U forum over the last 10 years (or more accurately, attempted changes), but I’ll tell you what, this format is bad. It was much cleaner and easier to navigate before – this way is clunky.
    * it takes up too much space
    * takes longer to load
    * we need the breadcrumbs at the bottom of each page
    * we need to know where the unread new posts begin (heck, even vbullitin can do it!)
    * we need a better way to get back to where we came from when we go places like to the “your stuff” links
    * the TOS absolutely MUST be changed so that Adobe does NOT usurp the rights of the users who post images either to this site directly or by way of external links. Right now (and in the future), under the currently worded TOS Adobe is claiming rights to all the photos to use for whatever reason they want. Sorry Adobe, you are going to lose a LOT of credibility (and potentially customers) with that way of thinking.
    Unfortunately, I am sure there will be more issues.
    greenjumpyone (formerly known as Hopper)
    edit: the “Overview” tab is only visible (for me) on the main discussion window, not on the individual threads. I’m not sure what that tab actually does, as clicking on it did not change anything for me. I do have the preferences set to “flat” on the thread view. Maybe that’s the reason it seems to do nothing for me?

  • Don Bellamy — 6:19 PM on April 05, 2009

    Written in JSP and not ColdFusion??? Isn’t there a ColdFusion based forum application that can be used instead of JSP?

  • Don Bellamy — 6:20 PM on April 05, 2009

    Written in JSP and not ColdFusion??? Isn’t there a ColdFusion based forum application that can be used instead of JSP?

  • Don RIcklin — 6:25 PM on April 05, 2009

    Seems the responses to the new Forum look (from the ‘Forum Comments’ sub-forum) are all over the ball park. Some loving it some nitpicking and some down right grousing! We’ll just have to see how things fall out here, just like with the last ‘upgrade’, which was an utter failure!
    Don

  • Mark Thomas — 9:06 AM on April 06, 2009

    I like the new forums overall. They’re much more flexible. The only thing I don’t like is that they assume a screen dpi of 96 (e.g. a PC), meaning that if your screen uses the standard typographic measure of 72 points per inch (e.g. a Mac), 12 point type will be 16 points tall instead of, well TWELVE. Lame.
    Plus the default font is Arial. Barf.

  • xbytor — 9:57 AM on April 06, 2009

    You forgot a Notable highlight:
    NNTP Gateway no longer functions.
    I regularly read 12 forums and post in half of them. If my only access is through this new U2U web interface, my participation will here will drop down to a quarter (or less) of what it is now because of the inefficiencies it introduces.
    [I’m told you can use RSS to follow conversations. –J.]

  • ReneG — 10:39 AM on April 06, 2009

    It took me 29 minutes from the time I logged in to the time I was able to type my post in the Photoshop Forum for Macintosh; then, another 10 minutes for my post to be up.
    And I’m on a High Speed Business connection.
    Will it get better?
    [If experiences like yours are at all typical, it must. I’ve relayed your comments to the forums team. –J.]

  • Robert Barnett — 3:07 PM on April 06, 2009

    The new forums are fine, if you like web based forums. Adobe needs to add back the newsreader access. Otherwise I won’t be using the forums.
    They also need to allow the width of the forum pages to be as wide as your browser so you don’t end up with tons of wrapped lines which are ugly and hard to read.
    Robert

  • Mike Sullivan — 6:20 PM on April 06, 2009

    The new and “improved” forum is an unmitigated disaster. No, it’s not as ugly as it could have been, but ugliness is not the problem. The main problems, from my viewpoint are:
    * It has a default font size that is way too small for my screen and eyes, and it has no control to set a preferred size.
    * No way to view only topics that have changed since your last visit.
    * No way to start viewing a topic at the point where you were last reading it.
    * No way to get back to the page of the topic list you were at after reading a topic; “back” button takes you to the first page of the topic list.
    * Slow, slow, slow.
    It may be that those who find this an improvement are those who were stuck with the ColdFusion forums before, which most people followed through NNTP because the forum software was so bad. The Photoshop foums, however, were very easily navigable and fonts could be set to a readable size.

  • Ann Shelbourne — 7:52 PM on April 06, 2009

    The New Forums are a disaster:
    Slower than a slug stuck in molasses; lousy navigation; plug-ugly; and frankly, UNUSABLE!
    They offer not one single redeeming feature and Adobe should be thoroughly ashamed of their incompetent performance.

  • imajez — 12:18 AM on April 08, 2009

    I had a brief look at forums yesterday and speed wise they seemed fine, possibly better than the old ones in these parts.
    I just went to check speed again and noticed Ramon mentioned in a thread about the forum tht he was close to 30,000 posts at last forum makepover and with near 9K since then, is now nudging 40,000!?!
    Now as Ramon above lists how he can remove the ‘clutter’ of the new forums. I was wondering if there was a script to remove the clutter that is Ramon in the Forums? ;-)
    40,000 posts!! Not sure if that is impressive or obsessive.

  • John Waller — 5:48 AM on April 08, 2009

    [I’m told you can use RSS to follow conversations. –J.]
    RSS is no substitute for threaded, quick, highly efficient, well formatted NNTP conversations though.
    The web side of the forums may qualify as an upgrade, although I’m finding them slow and cumbersome.
    But declining to activate the NNTP gateway to the forums is a very retrograde step and deters many knowledgeable, long term NNTP users from participating further.

  • Ramón G Castañeda — 3:40 PM on April 08, 2009

    It speaks volumes of imajez that he uses this venue for petty personal vendettas. It also shows how little regard he has for the host.
    The new forums are abysmally slow, not just as page loading and response times are concerned, but especially in terms of usability and navigation.

  • Ann Shelbourne — 1:10 PM on April 09, 2009

    The new format for Forums has made them horrendously SLOW and totally inefficient.
    They are now UNUSABLE as far as I am concerned and therefore regret that I am no longer willing to help in them by answering User’s questions (as I have been doing almost since the Forums’ inception).
    I have now found, and joined, another Forum which is professionally organised for ADULT users (and which thankfully eschews the pettiness and juvenility of the NEW Adobe Forums!); and I intend to use my internet time to contribute there from now on.

  • Chris — 1:29 PM on April 09, 2009

    Forum pages load fast for me. On a T1 + line at work, OS X 10.4.11 on a Mac Pro. Format could be a little nicer, but it’s not as bad as the attempt 2 years ago.
    I’d like a reply box by default at the bottom of the page like before. Now, when I reply, I must wait for a new page to load, plus I don’t see all the other replies to the topic. Sometimes I am replying to several posters at once, or want to make sure I don’t duplicate other points made. Right now I have to have 2 tabs open to see all the old posts, and type in my other tab, back and forth.

  • Hopper — 7:02 AM on April 10, 2009

    More thoughts from me:
    the forums are terribly slow for me. Typing in the message window is downright painful. If I make a typo (yes, I do that frequently!) I have to backspace about 1 per second. You’re kidding me, right? It should be instantaneous!
    To go through what Ramon has done to strip the forum to bare basics says a LOT about what this new forum is causing the user to deal with. We should not have to go to such lengths to find a forum usable!
    The other problems are still there:
    email is opt OUT, not opt IN (very bad idea)
    one must go to various areas in order to get all of the email notifications turned off (I had to go to 5 different places)
    no breadcrumb trails (top and bottom)
    silly things like “this question is answered”
    the points system? hmmm ….
    – I could go on.
    Bottom line for me: the forum was very usable in it’s other formatting. Why didn’t Adobe just continue that formatting with the new system? It’s a webpage for gosh sakes, they can set it up in just about any formatting they want!!
    hopper

  • Scott — 1:52 PM on April 10, 2009

    Has anyone tried using the new forums on a phone? On my iPhone 2G, the older forums worked fine, especially in landscape mode. Now they are totally unusable.
    First, there’s the login disasterthat forces users to login each time they visit the forum. Safari can remember my login and password, so loging in is only a few (slow) extra page loads. On my phone I need to enter login information each time. Failure.
    Worse is the constant crashing on mobile Safari. Just navigating to a specific post caused Safari to crash four or five times, requiring relaunch and repeated slow page loads. Ten minutes seems like an average time needed to just VIEW a message. Hell if I’ll even try posting from my phone.
    Other that the vaguely more “professional” appearance of the forum, there is not one feature that is an improvement over the older forums.
    Bridge, Installer, Updater, Illustrator, the “Creative Suite” marketing gimmick, and now the U2U forums. That’s the Adobe Hall of Shame.

  • Ramón G Castañeda — 7:14 PM on April 10, 2009

    Other that the vaguely more “professional” appearance of the forum

    “More professional”??? Nuts! Kindergarten-like is more like it.
    Look at this blog by John Nack to begin to understand what professional means, please! You won’t see boxes, infantile icons, “points” and such trash here. If John has looked at the new forums, I have no doubt that he had to grit his teeth—or worse.

  • David Creamer — 6:56 AM on April 11, 2009

    Is there any way to get the emails as a daily digest as before?

  • Scott — 3:49 PM on April 11, 2009

    I did say, “vaguely.” Clearly it look like money was spent and that someone cares how it looks. In that sense the new forum has a more professional look. But also clearly, nobody cares how it works, because it fucking doesn’t.

  • Mark Thomas — 8:02 PM on April 11, 2009

    I did say, “vaguely.” Clearly it look like money was spent and that someone cares how it looks. In that sense the new forum has a more professional look. But also clearly, nobody cares how it works, because it fucking doesn’t.
    Hmm. I was able to peruse a thread and add a comment. It wasn’t hard and didn’t seem slow. So it certainly seems to work on some level.…

  • Jason Richards — 11:51 PM on April 12, 2009

    Adobe seems to make what they do online more complicated than necessary. Adobe TV has great material, but video podcasts like the Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast are more effective, since they come to us rather than forcing us to go to them.
    The same has been true of the user forums and script collections. Adobe seems to want to do things their own way, which makes them needlessly confusing for casual users. They need to model what they do on blog forums and VersionTracker? Who’d want to drive a car whose controls are different from every other car on the road?
    That said, what’s at the trial link did seem much better than what I have seen in the past and must use some existing cookie , since it didn’t prompt me for a log-in. Adobe is like Google. I’ve got so many Google and Adobe IDs and passwords, I never know which to use.:)

  • Greg — 7:39 AM on April 14, 2009

    Well, I just installed CS4 here at the office and immediately had trouble. Opening a file for the first time in either Illustrator or Photoshop gave me a “Fatal Error – missing component” and then a path to the non-existent VersionCue.framework file. I figured that I needed to install VersionCue (which I don’t care for or need). No go. So I did a Google serach for the trouble, got an Adobe Forums link as part of the results and clicked on it. It goes to the main page of the forum! Plus, Searching for the same terms that got the result in Google brings up nothing. Add to it that the page for Photoshop/Macintosh threads clearly indicated that there are two page, but clicking on “2” just reloads the same page. Then Safari and Firefox both hang and then crash. Nice – this is working well. I am not sure this is an improvement.

  • Ramón G Castañeda — 12:22 AM on April 20, 2009

    Two weeks later, this is a summary of my observations on the poor performance of the new Jive forums.
    It does not depend on the browser, the machine or the OS. I’ve tried quite a few combinations of platform, machine and browser.
    Sometimes a page will load in three to five seconds, sometimes it takes two or more minutes. On the same machine and in the same browser, the rest of the web is instantaneous, including other forums where going from one page to another one, or even from one forum to another one, is as fast as changing TV channels with the remote, i.e. instantaneous. There’s no way to measure such a tiny fraction of a second accurately.
    The fastest browser on these forums is iCab 4.5, with Firefox 3.0.8 a relatively close second.
    On the former forums on WebX, when they were working optimally, going from one page to another one or from the Photoshop forum to the Typography forum, also was like changing TV channels with the remote, i.e. instantaneous.
    The overall experience here, including the un-usability issues, is poorer by a factor of 30:1, as I’ve said before. I’m spending three times as long here as I used to in the WebX forum and I’m only able to read and reply to about one tenth the number of posts. Ergo 30:1. I call that p¡ss-poor performance.
    Pathetic, just pathetic.

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