Mix has been live for over a month now, and just before Christmas, Rich and Anthony dumped a bunch of bug fixes and new stuff. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t. Many of these are ideas that people submitted, so this is the part where I say the system works.
This is also the part where I give props to Rich and Anthony. If you read here, you already know Rich rules. Anthony, though new to Ruby, is quickly taking to it, and the fact that he’s a cyborg that never needs sleep helps him work all the time.You’ll notice that David, his previous boss, misses him in Fusion Intercompany development.
Some quick hits on the first 6 weeks of Mix:
- More than 4,400 people have logged in at least once
- More than 60,000 visits
- The top non-AppsLab referrers are the December OTN TechBlast (thanks Justin) and oracle-base (thanks Tim)
- More than 150 ideas
- More than 200 groups
- Development Tools has the largest membership, but E-Business Suite has more visits
- The top ideas are still We need the Oracle clients (OCI, JDBC) for the Apple Intel OSX platform and Compile Oracle XE for Intel OS X
We didn’t get analytics on Mix until after the initial week, so the stats are probably a bit higher. Anyway, without further ado here’s the list of recent fixes and enhancements:
- Group pages now default to show messages as the default. Check it out here on the Oracle Mix group. The intent of group messages is to provide thin blogging capabilities for each group.
- You can now use simple HTML tags any place you see a text box, e.g. comments, profile, ideas, groups and questions.
- Searches no longer return 404 and 500 errors.
- Tags are more intelligent now, ignoring case and correctly parsing commas.
- Comments now show the avatar of the person who left the comment.
- We replaced Prototype.js with jQuery. Rich would know more about why.
- The email confirmation for non-customer email addresses is a bit more clear about why we need a “work” email address.
- Unanswered questions now sort newest-to-oldest.
- Ideas posted to private groups are now viewable only by members of that group. Before, the ideas were accessible directly by URL, and they appeared in the list of recent ideas.
- The product list no longer resets when you edit an idea.
- The product list is now sorted alphabetically.
- Searching for people now displays a correct count of the results and the correct pagination of the results.
- The People-In my groups view is working correctly, no more duplicates.
- We improved navigation. The browser back button works properly now, and when you’re browsing ideas and editing, you’re taken back to where you were, not back to the idea home.
- The IE security errors are gone. These are a bummer, but they never represented a security risk. This is the way IE handles a certificate mismatch. None of us use IE regularly, which is why we were blissfully unaware.
- Questions posted to a group, listed on the group home page, now have links to the question page.
- Fields on the create group form don’t default empty_clob() any more.
- Given comments on profile pages now show the recipient of the comment and not the giver.
- The read more link shown for ideas on the group ideas page is working.
Probably the most important fix is one Eddie requested; we applied a beta to Mix. Some of this stuff may seem trivial, obvious or belated, but keep in mind, we have two developers.
I wanted to highlight one feature that I’m not sure is obvious. Every object in Mix can have a products associated to it. This allows us to build what we call a composite page.
Clicking the product “Oracle Mix” on an idea takes you to a composite page showing ideas, groups, questions, employees and customers all of which are associated with the product Oracle Mix. As the community grows, we think a composite listing for each product is a killer feature.
We do something similar for tags. For example, if you click the tag “mix” on an idea, you’re taken to a page showing all the ideas tagged mix. No brainer there, but in the right-hand column, you’ll also be able to click over to see profiles, questions or anything tagged with “mix”.
These are easy ways to find topical information within Mix.
So, what’s next for Mix in the New Year. The tentative goal right now is to come out of beta with a formal announcement and release to a few large Apps user groups sometime in January. Before then, we’re planning to build out the groups feature significantly over the next few months, including improvements to group administration.
We’re also testing ways to prevent duplicates (ideas, groups, etc.) and yes, RSS feeds and email notifications are a top priority. These should be coming very soon, and we know they’re critical. Small features like the ability to see how many people have viewed an idea or question are also probably going to sneak in soon.
We’ll also be ironing out UI issues with Safari, Opera and Firefox 3 too. If you see browser-specific issues, let us know. The Send feedback link is the method we use for reporting bugs or asking questions about Mix. We’ll also be establishing a weekly schedule for deploying changes at some point. Watch the yellow bar for details.
If you’re wondering, I’m in charge of finding people within Oracle to answer questions and address ideas. We’ve had good acceptance of Mix as a tool for listening to customers, but a lot of people are still nervous about communicating in the open. It’s a work in progress for sure, but we’ll keep plugging.
What are your thoughts on Mix so far? Any thoughts on improvements? Sound off in comments.