Archive for February, 2008

Updated User Search

Friday, February 15th, 2008

So, our refactoring projects have yielded some more improvements.

One is that user search now displays in the middle of the page, with pictures to help you see who you are looking at.  Of course, most of our users still cling to the default animals that we have provided so it might not be as helpful.  Still, I think that the social networking aspect of the site starts to come together as the search and interaction features become more fully developed.

Do a user search (which should be on the left-hand side of the page, about half the way down) and tell us what you think!


A Real Friending System

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Most social networking sites have similar systems for making connections between friends to share trusted content. Here at Stickymap, we tried to do something a little bit different, but now we’re going to back to the industry standard. I guess it was the way to go after all.

What were we doing before? “Friending” (or contacts as we called them) was really a 1 way street. You could make a connection with another user on Stickymap without their permission. You can pull a contact from your profile, but they didn’t have to do likewise.

Now we’ve changed to a strict 2 way system. If you are going to friend someone, they have to accept. If you remove a contact, then the connection is removed in both directions. Right now there is no private content, so you won’t be able to find out anything new about your friends that you wouldn’t already know. However, this opens up the possibilites for the future. I believe that people are going to want to see what their friends are doing and saying on the map. People are going to want to message each other.

I want to gather up ideas on what use you’d get from this social network based around our open-edit map, so please but your thoughts in the comments section here.


Links in Location Descriptions

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

This is another post on web development that you may find interesting.

As you may know, many of our location descriptions include external links. For example, a restaurant posted might contain a link to that restaurant’s website. Here is an example of a location with a link.

Until recently, clicking on those links would cause the web page to load within the iframe that contains the location information. This was a problem because the iframe is only 500 and change in pixel width, and most pages want to be 800 pixels in width. So, we finally got around to changing it.

When you have a link from within an iframe, say <a href=’newPage.php’>, the new page will automatically load within the iframe. In order to make it open up a new browser window, write <a href=’newPage.php’ target=’_blank’> and in order to navigate away from the main Stickymap page, write <a href=’newPage.php’ target=’_parent’>.

Now those 2 options present us with an interesting choice. Do we want external links on locations to open up a new browser window or simply navigate away. Many sites choose to open up a new window in order to prevent users from navigating away from their page. However, this practice is considered by some to be annoying and even spammy. However, I chose to do it that way because when I’m browsing Stickymap, I often want to know information about many different locations. Therefore, it would help me to be able to click on those locations, and have all the company websites open at once without closing my map.  I’d like to get some feedback from you, our users, on this: do you agree with this decision, or would you rather just see a link navigate you away from

Another point of interest is how we implemented this change. All external links from these pages have no target attribute. In other words, they all look like this: <a href=’newPage.php’>. When the description is loaded into the page, is there a way to change the target attributes of all the links? Fortunately, there is, and I’ve used a special javascript library called jquery (website) to make it easier. I surrounded the description in an html <span> element, and gave that element a class of “fix_links”, so the html looks like this: <span class=’fix_links’> ….wiki description in here…. </span>.

Now, in order to change the target attribute of all links within that span, all I had to do was execute the following javascript, which is nice and concise thanks to the jquery javascript library.

$(‘.fix_links a’).attr(“target”, “_blank”);


Stickymap Widget Back Up

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Thanks for your patience – the Stickymap widget is back up and you can continue to use it to develop your sites.  We recently upgraded the widget so that the windows are more compact and therefore more readable.  We’d like to invite your feedback on the functionality of the widget so that we can give our users the best possible experience.