Want to see something cool? April 25, 2006 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Want to see something cool? Hit the . key on any mefi front page or comment page. Hit the , key to go up a post/comment. And don't worry, once you click into a textarea or input, it turns itself off (we couldn't ever lose the . could we?). Thanks to the hard work of delfuego for making this happen.
posted by mathowie to Feature Requests at 5:24 PM (94 comments total)

Trip report: doesn't work in Maxthon (essentially an IE-renderer wrapper, which I use at work), after the first keypress.

Upside: works in Firefox, which I just fired up, on same machine.

Final score: a win for the delfuego team.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on April 25, 2006


Whoa. /keanu
posted by brain_drain at 5:36 PM on April 25, 2006


jason said it'd work in IE/FF/Safari.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:37 PM on April 25, 2006


Slight buglet: on Safari (2.0.3), this disables command-. to cancel loading of a page -- specifically, that key combination just moves me down to the next post. And once I've hit . or , the page looks like it's permanently loading -- the 'loading' animation on the tab keeps spinning and resists all attempts to stop it. Command-. doesn't work, as noted above, and clicking on the 'stop loading' icon has no effect.
posted by littleme at 5:37 PM on April 25, 2006


When I try it in Firefox 1.5.0.2, it just finds the first '.' on the page (find as you type kicking in). I just went to a comments page and then pressed . Was that right?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:38 PM on April 25, 2006


Update to say that it works fine in IE 6 on the same machine so it's a Firefox thing. Could be an extension conflict. I turned off Adblock but that didn't fix it.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2006


"Find as you type" kills it for me in FF (works fine once I turned it off). I use the quick find so often, I just cant turn it off.

Guess it's all scroll wheel action for me.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:49 PM on April 25, 2006


what's the . mean?
posted by cortex at 5:51 PM on April 25, 2006


Thank you, Matt. If you were here, I'd buy you a cupcake.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:00 PM on April 25, 2006


That kicks so much ass it's like some kind of electrified ass-kicking machine.

But what eyeballkid said. I had to turn off the "find as you type" widget.
posted by loquacious at 6:00 PM on April 25, 2006


Yeah, find-as-you-type will override *any* keypress handlers, so there's really nothing to do about that... sorry.
posted by delfuego at 6:01 PM on April 25, 2006


Oh, and as for Safari getting stuck in the page-loading mode, I am seeing that behavior no matter how I reduce the Javascript functions that handle the page moves. I'm digging into it.

As for the Command-. shortcut override, I should be able to handle that.
posted by delfuego at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2006


j and k would have been more intuitive.
posted by furtive at 6:11 PM on April 25, 2006


Ehhh, kind of neat but it breaks the "Back" button functionality. I'll stick with scrolling so I can keep using my thumb-buttons.
posted by jenovus at 6:12 PM on April 25, 2006


This is awesome. Works for me in IE.
posted by amro at 6:13 PM on April 25, 2006


I agree with jenovus - neat, except losing the back button is a real pain. Is there any way to change that?
posted by Dasein at 6:19 PM on April 25, 2006


Very cool, but what jenvous said about the back button. Still, I'm sure I'll find this function very useful in long threads.

On preview: Aw shoot, I thought we'd be able to link to comments like this from now on. :)
posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:21 PM on April 25, 2006


If you want to do this in Firefox without disabling find as you type, type an exclamation mark. F3 will take you down the page.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:37 PM on April 25, 2006


(Shift F3 takes you back up)
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2006


As a non-user of the back button (nothing but new tabs for me!): Nice. Thanks.
posted by barnacles at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2006


Works for me in Safari. Thanks, delfuego.
posted by Manhasset at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2006


Just as another add-on, if you go to Firefox options and turn off 'Begin finding when you begin typing' (under 'Advanced') you can still press '/' to invoke find as you type and the '.' and ',' work. Good work, delfuego.

That's how you change it in 1.5.0.2, anyway. Previous versions were different, as I recall.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:02 PM on April 25, 2006


Dammit. Except that the ',' doesn't work, but the '.' does. ',' tries to go to #entry-25 every time.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:04 PM on April 25, 2006


Except that time, apparently. There's a weird intermittent bug there, because it's working again.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:05 PM on April 25, 2006


solutions without problems: it's what we do best.
posted by quonsar at 7:10 PM on April 25, 2006


I'll look into using a method of scrolling the page that doesn't involve changing the hash of the URL -- which is what breaks the back button.
posted by delfuego at 7:29 PM on April 25, 2006


Sure, this completely changes the meaning of '. ' posts. Now they mean "there's nothing to see here, move to the next comment"!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:30 PM on April 25, 2006


Just as another add-on, if you go to Firefox options and turn off 'Begin finding when you begin typing' (under 'Advanced') you can still press '/'

Hey, that's no browser! That's a MAN page
posted by cellphone at 7:53 PM on April 25, 2006


There y'all go -- if you force a reload (or empty your cache and reload), you'll get the new version of the scripts that do the magic. The reliance on the URL hash is gone (read: your back button will work), the weird Safari constant-loading behavior is gone, and only pressing one of the shortcut keys WITHOUT a modifier will work (so CMD-. is now back to working fine).
posted by delfuego at 8:13 PM on April 25, 2006


Wow. Delfuego's good. Works for me in Firefox as long as I enable using '/' to use find as you type.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:21 PM on April 25, 2006


Way cool!
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:58 PM on April 25, 2006


Awesome -- doesn't seem to work on Projects, though.
posted by aaronetc at 9:26 PM on April 25, 2006


Fantastic -- many thanks for the Safari fixes.
posted by littleme at 9:43 PM on April 25, 2006


Can we have a customizable option using keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard for those who set their preferences to "Left-handed"? While we're replacing the Page Down key, and all.
posted by Eideteker at 9:50 PM on April 25, 2006


Next: a keybind to "Keep" a message. This appends it to the end of the list of new messages, such that "Kept" messages are redisplayed just before the input box. A great aide to recognizing that an issue has been adequately resolved, hence no need to comment after all; and makes it easier to pullquote when one does need to address another user.

And here is a wild idea: automated summarization of messages, with link to original. What would that do to our communication style? Would it make things even worse around here, dropping us to an [insert Slashdot here] level of craptitude? Or would we all become rich and famous raconteurs?

sorry, jack, ain't go no pepsi blue 4 u.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 PM on April 25, 2006


Very cool. But j and k are really the only sensible keystrokes to use here. Anything else is heresy.
posted by Galvatron at 11:04 PM on April 25, 2006


Excellent! Thanks for fixing the URL hash despite my immediate griping, delfuego.
posted by jenovus at 11:09 PM on April 25, 2006


Works now in Maxthon, for some reason. Cool beans.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:52 PM on April 25, 2006


.
posted by lenny70 at 1:36 AM on April 26, 2006


OK, I lied, sort of. It works, but '.' takes you two comments downthread, and ',' takes you two comments up.

Also, I want my javascripty smoothscroll when it jumps to the next comment, by god! (OK, actually, I don't really mind either way, 'cause I'm not a keyboardmonkey like Mr Haughey.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:39 AM on April 26, 2006


Ugh. This is just about the only Web 2.0 trend I could do without: keyboard shortcuts. Especially partially-implimented ones. You mean I still need to use my mouse to navigate into a thread? And there's no highlighting indication of the thread I have selected right now? (And you preserved reBlog's poor choice of keys, Matt.)
posted by Plutor at 3:02 AM on April 26, 2006


Because I've just woken up and haven't put my full etiquette suit on, Plutor: if you hate keyboard shortcuts, then what is the point of your complaint? What is different about the site right now than was true yesterday morning, other than the presence a feature that you're not going to use and that is 100% unobtrusive to those not using it?
posted by delfuego at 6:14 AM on April 26, 2006


If you want to do this in Firefox without disabling find as you type, type an exclamation mark. F3 will take you down the page.

Unless you're on a Mac, in which case Command+G will take you down the page, Command+Shift+G will take you back up.

Think I'll be invoking find as you type with the forward slash from now on, though - this is well handy. Thanks.
posted by jack_mo at 6:28 AM on April 26, 2006


Hmmn, it doesn't change the focus (think that's the right term), so when I use the '.' to scroll down the page to an interesting post, I can't hit 'tab' to move to the first link of the post in question, then hit enter to follow it (hitting tab takes me to the first link on the page). Shame.

Dunno if the focus thing could be changed, or even if it's worth it - do many people navigate web pages that way?
posted by jack_mo at 6:37 AM on April 26, 2006


How is this different from the spacebar/shift+space combo that already exists?
posted by klangklangston at 6:58 AM on April 26, 2006


delfuego: "if you hate keyboard shortcuts, then what is the point of your complaint? What is different about the site right now than was true yesterday morning, other than the presence a feature that you're not going to use and that is 100% unobtrusive to those not using it?"

Nothing at all. I admit that wholeheartedly. I'm like a Windows fanboy complaining about the iMac puck mouse. I don't use it and I don't plan to use it. But I was just pointing out that from a UI point of view this is certainly not a full-assed implementation.
posted by Plutor at 7:57 AM on April 26, 2006


I hardly ever see anybody use "full-assed" properly anymore. Kudos!
posted by cgc373 at 8:40 AM on April 26, 2006


Plutor, I would argue that your idea of a full-assed implementation is a mistake -- it would make an unobtrusive niceity into an obnoxious "yellow-fade" constant flash as I go down the page.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2006


j and k would have been more intuitive.

No, j and k would have been a fucking stupid hangover from the hideous old days of computing, where wilful obscurity was great. I don't use Gmail's shortcuts for that reason.

AZ for up-down and ,. for left-right on the other hand, now that's intuitive.

(Also doesn't work in Mozilla 1.3 or IE 5.1 that I can see)
posted by bonaldi at 10:34 AM on April 26, 2006


doesn't work with netscape 4 on BeOS.
posted by poppo at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2006


doesn't firefox work on BeOS?
posted by bonaldi at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2006


How about in Mosaic on Windows for Workgroups?
posted by delfuego at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2006


/gets out his tub

Moz 1.3 and IE 5.1 are the only browsers for OS 9. OS 9, whatever Jobs says, is still v. much alive in publishing and print production houses, against the wishes of the users. So when things don't work on them, they don't work for journalists at all.

(Gmail and Bloglines' keyboard shortcuts work fine in Moz 1.3, btw)
posted by bonaldi at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2006


I've telnetted to port 80, and I keep hitting "." and "," but no dice. We're talking tenths-of-asses over here.
posted by cortex at 10:49 AM on April 26, 2006


Quonsar is to Metafilter as Simon is to American Idol, isn't he?

(and I mean this in a good way)
posted by davey_darling at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2006


doesn't firefox work on BeOS?

i was just kidding, i will fire my writers
posted by poppo at 12:00 PM on April 26, 2006


I'm not sure what the issue is with Mozilla 1.3 -- I'll look into that. I don't have an installed version of IE 5.1, so I'm not too able to look into that one... alas.

I'll also think about extending the reBlog metaphor a bit, and see if it'd be easy to make the enter key load the selected post -- but then, I'll also have to add visual notification of which post is currently the selected one, and I'll be overriding the use of enter to follow a currently-tab-selected link, so I'll really have to think about it a bit.
posted by delfuego at 12:10 PM on April 26, 2006


J & K would be nice additions though...
posted by smackfu at 1:19 PM on April 26, 2006


J and K are two of my favorite letters.
posted by kindall at 1:21 PM on April 26, 2006


bonaldi, is Mozilla 1.3 really available for OS 9? Looking at the Mozilla old release page, Mozilla 1.2.1 seems to be the last version available for OS 9. I don't want to put a lot of debugging into 1.3 (on OS X, mind you) just to find out that it's 1.2.1 that's the problem....
posted by delfuego at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2006


WamCom Mozilla 1.3.1 for Mac OS 9
posted by kindall at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2006


I'm using the one kindall linked to, yep. And thank *god* for that wee chappy's efforts.
posted by bonaldi at 2:04 PM on April 26, 2006


So none of you have arrow keys?

(Don't get me wrong, I think mousing is the devils work, but keyboard short cuts that duplicate the default behavior of blatantly more obvious keys doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Not to mention spacebar/shift-spacebar, as mentioned above.)
posted by sequential at 10:45 PM on April 26, 2006


Sorry for the double, I hit post instead of preview.
No, j and k would have been a fucking stupid hangover from the hideous old days of computing, where wilful obscurity was great. I don't use Gmail's shortcuts for that reason.
First, there are modern games and other non-obscure applications that use 'j' and 'k' by default. Second, 'j' and 'k' were used in absense of arrow keys. Sure, it's a bad UI in modern contexts, but many people are familiar with this key layout that have never touched a VT100. (I prefer a VT220.)
AZ for up-down and ,. for left-right on the other hand, now that's intuitive.
You find it intuitive to use two hands to move left, right, up, and down? You prefer your primary means of navigation to be keys that your fingers don't naturally rest on when you're not typing? That's just wierd. I've played games with this configuration, but it's too much hand movement to actually use the keyboard to type and to play.

The reason the 'a' and 'z' keys are poor choices is because the natural fall of fingers on a QWERTY keyboard means that you use your weakest finger to make the primary movement of the page. In this respect, 'j' and 'k' are better choices than 'a' and 'z' or even arrow keys.
posted by sequential at 11:14 PM on April 26, 2006


I lied. The VT100 had arrow keys.
posted by sequential at 11:19 PM on April 26, 2006


You find it intuitive to ... That's just wierd.
I was taking the piss. Yeh, I'm used to using those because early games used them, just as some apps used j-k. But the contrast was supposed to show that nobody can claim they are intuitive, because they aren't.

They're so counter-intuitive (vertical motion put on a horizontal) that I still can't remember which is up and which down, like those hideous arrow-keys in a row that some old Macs had.

And yeh, the VTs had arrow keys. Add the software not using them to the pile of things-that-are-shit-about-Unix-that-geeks-will-defend-to-the-/bin/dth
posted by bonaldi at 5:05 AM on April 27, 2006


holy fuck! cool!
posted by matteo at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2006


thanks matt and delfuego!
posted by matteo at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2006


I'll keep senselessly playing with it until I get carpal tunnel syndrome!
posted by matteo at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2006


doesn't work at the command prompt in PC-DOS 1.0
posted by blue_beetle at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2006


It seems to skip the best answer in Askme? At least, it does for me here.
posted by metaculpa at 12:50 PM on April 27, 2006


Metaculpa, you're right -- it does! How weird. It looks like the DOM parsing I'm doing assumed that each CSS class was attributed independently. I'll fix that.
posted by delfuego at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2006


There you go. You might have to force a reload, but it's fixed.
posted by delfuego at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2006


This so-called 'feature' has broken the rest of the Interwebs.
posted by nowonmai at 3:55 PM on April 27, 2006


They're so counter-intuitive (vertical motion put on a horizontal)

:)
posted by kindall at 6:15 PM on April 27, 2006


delfuego said: and see if it'd be easy to make the enter key load the selected post -- but then, I'll also have to add visual notification of which post is currently the selected one, and I'll be overriding the use of enter to follow a currently-tab-selected link, so I'll really have to think about it a bit.

I say: Why not just do a focus() on the relevant link for the item that the , or . selects? Then we can just hit enter to load it, same as we would if we had tabbed to the link.
posted by ericost at 7:42 PM on April 27, 2006


Eric, that's not a bad idea -- but it might be a bit weird to move the post to the top of the page (with the . key) and then have the thread's permalink selected automatically, meaning that to go to any other link in the thread you'd have to work backwards with shift-tab. I dunno... I'd have to think that through.

That being said, moving the focus somewhere into the top-of-the-page post seems logical, since it would fix jack_mo's issue and keep the logic of the page intact. Let me think on this one...
posted by delfuego at 6:56 AM on April 28, 2006


Nice. How about a more VI-ish j and k. Or a more Emacs-ish n and p
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:16 AM on April 29, 2006


Also: no auto-repeat?
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:17 AM on April 29, 2006


NewBornHippy is exactly the sort of poster described here.
posted by bonaldi at 5:18 AM on April 29, 2006


bonaldi does automatic gender categorization based on people's reply. That's interesting but hardly new. Some tend to jump to hastly conclusions based on cursory reading of people's comments and contributions.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:43 AM on April 29, 2006


bonaldi made a gender categorization?
posted by cortex at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2006


wait, why not just use SPACE and SHIFT+SPACE to to do the same thing?
posted by todbot at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2006


In order:

NewBornHippy, bonaldi is referring to the fact that the exact issue you ask about has been discussed in this very thread, but rather than read that, you just posted your bit and moved on. Also, re: auto-repeat: it's a function of the fact that the keyboard shortcuts rely on the Javascript "onkeydown" event, which doesn't fire repeatedly; the next version of it (running on my own site right now) relies on "onkeypress", which does repeat, and which will solve the issue.

todbot, space and shift-space move page-by-page, not comment by comment. It's like asking why there are page-down and page-up buttons when there are already arrow buttons on the keyboard -- it's because they serve different purposes.
posted by delfuego at 3:53 PM on April 29, 2006


> bonaldi made a gender categorization?

RTFL.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:44 PM on April 29, 2006


So you fixated on the (ancillary and qualified) male emphasis as being the thrust of bonaldi's comparison, and missed entirely the applicable substance of his reference?

You'll note, upon a careful re-R of TFL, that the phrase is "Especially if any of those readers are male." Especially, rather than only.

You'll also note, upon a careful R of TFT, that bonaldi's point was, however snarky, apt: your comment was already made upthread, and your gave no sign of having read it. That you missed both that and bonaldi's point does not speak well to the defensibility of your position.
posted by cortex at 9:54 PM on April 29, 2006


95.38% of metafilter readers use vi. It should be j and k.
posted by jewzilla at 7:23 PM on May 1, 2006


Fuck j and k. vi is vi; vi is not metafilter. Nethack on a keypad is sublime, and things should be measured by Nethack.
posted by cortex at 11:57 PM on May 1, 2006


I have to say that j and k are actually quite intuitive. They are located where my fingers already are. No moving, stretching or looking required.
posted by melt away at 5:54 AM on May 3, 2006


great. so which one should be up and which one should be down, then?
posted by bonaldi at 6:36 AM on May 3, 2006


Just remember this easy mneumonic, bonaldi:

"John goes Jup and Kate goes Kown."
posted by cortex at 7:52 AM on May 3, 2006


oh no wait it's "Kate goes Kup and John goes Jown." Hope this helps!
posted by cortex at 7:53 AM on May 3, 2006


All hail the space bar, yo. Usability's perfect---big and stupid.
posted by hackly_fracture at 4:15 PM on May 7, 2006


If I was going to choose keys for this, I'd have used the w and s; very familiar to any gamer. If there's any kind of left/right functionality, there's a and d (maybe highlight next link and highlight previous link with enter or space selecting.)

Alternately, numpad_2 and numpad_8 wouldn't be bad, but that would suck for laptops.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:36 PM on May 10, 2006


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