The Loosely Structured Apps

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GregChapman GregChapman
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The Loosely Structured Apps

This post was updated on .

Introduction

The "Loosely Structured" class of apps allow within them both topics and sub-forums. This sets them apart from the "Strongly Structured" class that only allow further sub-forums within them.

There are two apps in this class, Forum and Mixed.

Forum App

This is the default app for any new account created at Nabble. Note that you do not have a single account at Nabble but one for each Nabble application at which you register.

Forum App

Before making an attempt to compare this app with the others, the things to note include:

  • There is a "New Topic" link as the first item on the menu bar above the main topic display
  • Should posting be disabled (by selecting appropriate Permissions) then the user is presented with a personalised list of links to sub-forums where that user may post.
  • If there are sub-forums these will be listed before any topics, even if those topics are pinned to keep them at the top if the list

Structure

To build folders under this app use:
Options > Structure > Create new sub-forum
By default this creates a new Forum app which will be pinned.

There is no clear single strategy for building a forum based on this app. However, a few points are worth considering:

  • Because folders always appear above topics in this app, consider posting any administrative posts (special announcements, rules, FAQs, etc) in a folder set to appear at the very top of the forum.
  • On forums where introductory posts by new users are encouraged, consider creating a sub-forum for such posts or make them the only posts encouraged at the top level.
  • On forums which major on current events and issues consider creating sub-forums only for very distinct areas of discussion
  • On forums where content is intended as permanent reference material consider creating additional sub-forums for specific related topics and move all relevant posts into them so they become easier for users to find later without use of the search facility
  • If posting at the top level is disabled, the Forum app becomes the most compact of the designs available, but unlike apps such as Mixed and Category it is not possible to see the structure beyond the level immediately under the current level (i.e. sub-forums of sub-forums)

Mixed App

This app is designed to mix together a number of Forum apps, displaying each in similar fashion to an individual Forum app. To do this, rather than appearing as folder icons with just their name, the sub-forums are shown as section headings in a tabular structure. Each section has a list of any sub-forums and the latest topics posted there, laid out as they would be in an independent Forum app. The number of sub-forums and topics listed defaults to six, but this can be adjusted via:
Options > Application > Change Appearance > Preferences > Topics per page.

Mixed App

Points worthy of note are:

  • There are "New Topic" links at the top of the page and at the bottom of each sub-forum area:
    • The link at the top of the page either posts to the top level or, if posting is disallowed at the top level, the user will be presented with a personalised list of sub-forums in which that user has posting rights
    • The links in each Section create a post in the appropriate sub-forum.
  • Where there are more folders/topics in an area than the number set to display, a "View More" link appears beside the section "New Topic" link. This will take you to the sub-forum page and show the full list of topics there
  • The app requires much more space than the Forum app, so will involve the user in having to do a lot more scrolling before making a decision on where to navigate

Structure

To build folders under this app use:
Options > Structure > Create new sub-forum
By default this creates a new Forum app which will be pinned.

There are three general strategies available when using this app because, uniquely amongst Nabble Apps, Topics at the top level are listed before any sub-forums.

  • Where Permission to post at the top level is turned off for all users the app can be treated as a direct alternative to the strongly structured Category app.
  • Where only the Administrator may post at the top level topics can be limited to important announcements, rules or FAQs.
  • Where all users may post at the top level, the app is best reserved for those that major on current events and issues rather than reference material. Administrative posts need to be pinned in order to keep them visible to new users and sub-forums best reserved for archiving old or obsolete posts in order to limit the total number of pages generated.

Greg