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View Full Version : Voke: Ask anything



H3X
08-23-2009, 12:00 AM
Voke (http://autodigg.net/voke/)

Tell me what you think, thanks.

firetag
08-23-2009, 01:37 AM
Wow that's really neat. Keep working on it! It could turn into something amazing some day. Good Luck. Could you fill me in on how it works it's really cool...does your bot store everything into a database or does it just fetch data whenever you throw in your query.

H3X
08-23-2009, 04:00 AM
Wow that's really neat. Keep working on it! It could turn into something amazing some day. Good Luck. Could you fill me in on how it works it's really cool...does your bot store everything into a database or does it just fetch data whenever you throw in your query.
The bot just fetches new data every time the user asks a question. But I would like to add caching for mostly static things. For example, I would not want the score of a baseball game to be cached but I might want, say, the temperature of the sun to be cached. Although caching would only be effective if there were a large amount of users visiting the site. I'm moving it to it's own domain soon, also.

Apostropartheid
08-23-2009, 05:14 AM
Nothing I tried works. (I tried What temperature is it in London?, How is sound made? and Why do cats miaow?)

H3X
08-23-2009, 05:57 AM
Nothing I tried works. (I tried What temperature is it in London?, How is sound made? and Why do cats miaow?)

Now try, I was working on the javascript quick so it didn't work. Instead of miaow, try meow. Also, the temperature in london thing is pretty complex but I will work on adding things like that in the future.

VIPStephan
08-23-2009, 02:21 PM
Nothing works if JavaScript isnít available! There is no search button and I see a useless loading progress icon next to the search field. Also, you forgot to specify a page background color. My default browser background isnít white, therefore I probably donít see what you believe everybody is seeing.

firetag
08-23-2009, 03:26 PM
Nothing works if JavaScript isnít available! There is no search button and I see a useless loading progress icon next to the search field. Also, you forgot to specify a page background color. My default browser background isnít white, therefore I probably donít see what you believe everybody is seeing.

lol pretty much everything is run by javascript it's a necessary language. You can't disable it maybe back in 2000 or so when it first came out but it['s too heavily used turn your javascript on so like 90% of websites work correctly...

Apostropartheid
08-23-2009, 04:25 PM
Still nothing works.

You could make this run using JavaScript. Just clone what you have in a server-side language such as PHP.

VIPStephan
08-23-2009, 05:49 PM
lol pretty much everything is run by javascript it's a necessary language. You can't disable it maybe back in 2000 or so when it first came out but it['s too heavily used turn your javascript on so like 90% of websites work correctly...

You, my friend, are absolutely on the wrong path.

JavaScript isnít necessary to run a site Ė at least it shouldnít be if you do things right. It should only be used as enhancement for an already working website. Websites that rely on JavaScript in order to work correctly are badly coded.
JS wasnít just introduced in 2000, it has been there years earlier already.
Maybe not in 2000 but at least since 2003 the principle of ďprogressive enhancement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_enhancement)Ē was coined (according to Wikipedia) but the approach itself has been there for years already. Basically what it says is: get a site working for the most basic client software and then enhance it with CSS, JS, Flash and what not.
There arenít just computer screen browsers on high speed internet connections, there are an endless amount of different devices that can connect to the internet and not all of them support scripts or have them enabled (among others for the reason of bandwidth usage).
People that donít follow the above mentioned principle of progressive enhancement are doing a job just as bad as people using tables for a page layout.


I say it once again and Iím gladly going to repeat it a hundred times: Websites that rely on JavaScript are bad. Especially the site in question here doesnít have to rely on JS, it can all be done with regular PHP. JS should only be used to enhance the basic functionality.

P. S.: Donít tell me what I have or have not to do. If I decide I donít want to be annoyed by badly coded scripts and disable the execution of JS then you canít do anything about it and itís your problem if people leave your site (because you prevent them from using it).

oracleguy
08-23-2009, 08:49 PM
@firetag: I completely agree with what VIPStephan said. JavaScript should never be used for functionality that is required for the site to work. Data brought back by AJAX as an example can easily be also done with a submit button when JavaScript is unavailable.

Browsers don't have to support JavaScript at all or in its entirety, there are browsers in a lot more things than just on PCs so you can't never be sure what extra features are supported.

@H3X:
Having no submit button might be confusing. You might want to change the little spinning animation to also include some text like "Searching, please wait." or something like that so it is clear that something is happening.

Also from your last review:


4) If you completely erase everything in the text field, the drop down stays with the last thing entered in the box. It might be nicer if it just disappears.


This is still an issue that I think should be fixed.

And one question I tried: what is the speed of light? doesn't return answers that make sense. In this case "Speed of light." It should be more like an explanation of the speed of light and/or the actual value.

VIPStephan
08-23-2009, 09:07 PM
You might want to change the little spinning animation to also include some text like "Searching, please wait." or something like that so it is clear that something is happening.

Well, actually the spinning animation isnít that confusing in the context (after submitting a question). But when JS is disabled the GIF with the animation is shown even though I havenít done anything yet. So what I mean is that this image should not be hard coded in the HTML source but rather be created and appended through JS as well when the actual search is performed.

H3X
08-23-2009, 09:20 PM
Why is the spinning thing so confusing? Currently, the site is run by javascript, and if the user spends 10 seconds using it, it shouldn't be confusing at all. People who don't have javascript enabled should enable it or upgrade their browser. The site is run by javascript for a reason.

In the future it will probably have something to deal with people without javascript, but for now, it doesn't, as it's only a prototype. I also have a movile site set up to deal with people on mobile browsers.

Now, neverminding the client-side issues, do you like the general idea of the site? I know it's kind of slow.

seco
08-23-2009, 09:22 PM
well it knows what dingleberries are.

Apostropartheid
08-23-2009, 10:09 PM
The site is run by javascript for a reason.

Really? What is that? Pray tell.

It's a nice idea, but I don't get answers which make sense.

"What are apples?" returned "Apple (the common, edible fruit".
"What is the speed of light?" returned "The Speed of Light."
"When was the second world war?" returned "The reasons for the second World War were and why it was caused were: a. Hitler's Aims 1. To unite German speaking people."
And the last one isn't even wholly true.

The site is slow and needs some serious optimization. I would say it even would work better with a submit and page reload, because it's just not quick enough.

H3X
08-23-2009, 11:48 PM
Really? What is that? Pray tell.

It's a nice idea, but I don't get answers which make sense.

"What are apples?" returned "Apple (the common, edible fruit".
"What is the speed of light?" returned "The Speed of Light."
"When was the second world war?" returned "The reasons for the second World War were and why it was caused were: a. Hitler's Aims 1. To unite German speaking people."
And the last one isn't even wholly true.

The site is slow and needs some serious optimization. I would say it even would work better with a submit and page reload, because it's just not quick enough.
The reason I use javascript is because I want the site to be run by it, and to make it easier for the user.

instead try: when was world war 2

The site is still a prototype, as I said. The algorith to answer questions isn't perfect. It can answer a lot of questions like: is britney spears single or what is the time in chicago or pizza in chicago.

VIPStephan
08-24-2009, 12:32 AM
Well, you know, I don’t want to be rude but what’s the problem in just having a regular PHP functionality and then enhancing it with JS? You would even have less work than writing a JS-only version and then adding a version for people without JS and also writing a separate mobile version. This is like putting the cart before the horse.

Just make it a standard search form with a search button and PHP script that is processing the input (which does everything one needs for the purpose of this site) and then – to make it easier for the users – add a JavaScript that retreives the results through AJAX, as you’re doing it now, and hides the search button if you really don’t want it. You’re thinking backward instead of forward. If you want to do something, why not do it properly in the first place? Progressive enhancement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_enhancement) is the proper and current approach. If you want to be up to date and have a hip “Web 2.0” site then you better go this way.

As I said earlier: Don’t be an arrogant jerk and tell the users what they have to do. It’s not only old browsers that may not support JS (fully or partly) and some people – even if they wanted to – just can’t upgrade their browsers (think of corporate computers or older operating systems that just can’t run the latest browser versions). Don’t force us to do something you want but we might not. That’s just bad practice. Please help making the internet a better place.

Oh and by the way: There’s a site with a similar subject already: http://wolframalpha.com/.

bazz
08-24-2009, 12:59 AM
If you want to do something, why not do it properly in the first place?

My thoughts exactly.



Donít force us to do something you want but we might not.


I browse with js disabled by choice. millions of others do too. If you want your site to be successful, I think it'll have to run without JS, just as google does. :hint:



Oh and by the way: Thereís a site with a similar subject already: http://wolframalpha.com/.

Sadly, it too requires js but it knows astro's answers posed above :)

bazz

Apostropartheid
08-24-2009, 02:16 AM
What is it with you and confusing me for something to do with the sky, bazz? =P

H3X
08-24-2009, 03:05 AM
Well, you know, I don’t want to be rude but what’s the problem in just having a regular PHP functionality and then enhancing it with JS? You would even have less work than writing a JS-only version and then adding a version for people without JS and also writing a separate mobile version. This is like putting the cart before the horse.

Just make it a standard search form with a search button and PHP script that is processing the input (which does everything one needs for the purpose of this site) and then – to make it easier for the users – add a JavaScript that retreives the results through AJAX, as you’re doing it now, and hides the search button if you really don’t want it. You’re thinking backward instead of forward. If you want to do something, why not do it properly in the first place? Progressive enhancement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_enhancement) is the proper and current approach. If you want to be up to date and have a hip “Web 2.0” site then you better go this way.

As I said earlier: Don’t be an arrogant jerk and tell the users what they have to do. It’s not only old browsers that may not support JS (fully or partly) and some people – even if they wanted to – just can’t upgrade their browsers (think of corporate computers or older operating systems that just can’t run the latest browser versions). Don’t force us to do something you want but we might not. That’s just bad practice. Please help making the internet a better place.

Oh and by the way: There’s a site with a similar subject already: http://wolframalpha.com/.
Thanks, I know I had the wrong approach to it, but nevertheless I personally wanted the client-side javascript-based to hopefully add to the site. I know it may have sounded like I was saying gtfo, but right now, to be honest, I don't really care, as it's only a prototype and made to show the best the site can do, and what it will do in the future.

This and wolfram alpha, in my mind, are very different. If you ask it, for example, "what is baby oil made of", it's not going to five you anything, as it's more, I would say, number based. Voke would be more casual. Wolfram Alpha would give you a bunch of information on something, where Voke gives you a straight up fact. Also, I built Voke my self, and Wolfram had a team of people working for at least months on it, so there is a lot Voke can do.

bazz
08-24-2009, 04:33 AM
What is it with you and confusing me for something to do with the sky, bazz? =P

oops, sorry. your previous name was so much easier to remember. :)

VIPStephan
08-24-2009, 11:42 AM
Thanks, I know I had the wrong approach to it, but nevertheless I personally wanted the client-side javascript-based to hopefully add to the site. I know it may have sounded like I was saying gtfo, but right now, to be honest, I don't really care, as it's only a prototype and made to show the best the site can do, and what it will do in the future.

OK, point taken. But be warned. :D



Wolfram Alpha would give you a bunch of information on something, where Voke gives you a straight up fact.

Well, the idea is certainly nice but there aren’t always questions that can be answered with a straight up fact. For example the World War 2 question Apostropartheid had. The reasons for WWII were much more complex than just Hitler’s aims and you would just give people that don’t know better a wrong (because shallow) answer, and they may take it for granted.

So, while I don’t know how one could overcome the “complex qustion – simple answer” I guess you could add some hints on how to form a question. Like when somebody enters “Why was World War 2?” the computer would say: “This question is too general, please be a little more specific, for example: ‘When was World War 2?’, ‘Who initiated World War 2?’ …”
The sample questions would be generated out of the keywords the user entered and be linked so the user can click on it to get the answer to that alternative question.

I realize this may be an advanced task but that sounds like the most user friendly solution.

H3X
08-25-2009, 02:20 AM
OK, point taken. But be warned. :D



Well, the idea is certainly nice but there aren’t always questions that can be answered with a straight up fact. For example the World War 2 question Apostropartheid had. The reasons for WWII were much more complex than just Hitler’s aims and you would just give people that don’t know better a wrong (because shallow) answer, and they may take it for granted.

So, while I don’t know how one could overcome the “complex qustion – simple answer” I guess you could add some hints on how to form a question. Like when somebody enters “Why was World War 2?” the computer would say: “This question is too general, please be a little more specific, for example: ‘When was World War 2?’, ‘Who initiated World War 2?’ …”
The sample questions would be generated out of the keywords the user entered and be linked so the user can click on it to get the answer to that alternative question.

I realize this may be an advanced task but that sounds like the most user friendly solution.
Yeah, this has been an interesting project, because it involves something simple - taking a short string of text, interpreting it, then outputting something.

The way I have been doing this, so far, is trying to figure out what the answer of a certain question should be. For example:

If the first word of the question string is "is", and it doesn't contain and "or", the answer string would have to be a simple yes or no.
if the first word of the question string is "does", and it doesn't contain and "or", the answer string would have to be a simple yes or no.
Etc.

The challenge is determining all of the possible combinations. This is difficult, but can be achieved after a lot of work.



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