Forum OpenACS Development: Emoticons for forums?
I would make it a package parameter (off by default) that triggers a simple regsub on pages that display messages with a few predefined patterns plus some small image files beneath forums/www/graphics/. Would it be ok to include the images in the toolkit, or should they be downloadable optionally?
Any suggestions for already existing patterns and images that could be re-used? (I thought about looking into gaim, but if there's a place that doesn't require wading through C code then I'd prefer that)
I went looking for emoticon graphics as late as yesterday, when considering the functionality of the OACS. Here are a few links. It seems it is the same icons, that are used repeatedly all over the place, but don't ask me what license they are covered by, if any. (Compulsory smiley.)
My idea was to select a nice subset of the 15x15 emoticons, and tag the HTML with width and height tags. Most bboard software I have seen use straight smiley-to-graphics conversion for the simple types, and the format for the more complex ones are, say, :frown: etc.
(but please no animated ones - that's over the top IMHO)
The patch is here: http://openacs.org/bugtracker/openacs/patch?patch_number=4
The tcl command 'string map' is very useful indeed for this purpose. Currently the code does simply replace _all_ occurences of smiley patterns with the corresponding img tags - I wonder if there are going to be collisions with text that is not intended as emoticon, e.g. stuff inside of html tags. I left out the more likely patterns such as :) and :( to be a bit safer here.
Tilmann, I will try to see what I can find of smileys with a proper and useful copyright. If my initial search is any indication, then I will have to luck out and find something claiming to be a canonical smiley collection from someone like the original author.
Many, but apparently not all, of the 15x15s on the two sites mentioned are also found in vBulletin, a commercial package, though who came up with them is anyone's guess.
Animated gifs are hugely popular on sites that have them. I happen to like them too.
[ ] Disable smilesbelow the Post Message box if this feature is switched on. Make smiles above a hyperlink to the table of smiles, so that the user knows he can use them, and what to type.
I'm personally more concerned that this package parameter is left OFF by default . Sites that use smiles, especially animated ones, tend to have a different flavor of discussion - less informative and perhaps more social, attracting casual users who sometimes make posts consisting of smiles alone.
it would be a neat feature to show off
Vadim, that would solve the problem but it involves an additional column in the forums messages table which is a bit more of a change then I planned to make.
it's now in cvs, and activated both for html and plain text postings (if you set the parameter to 1). I suppose not doing the conversion in html mode would cause some confusion for the users who expect that behaviour, and emoticons won't be switched on in forums with lots of technical discussion anyway so I think that's going to be ok.