The new version of MaplePrimes is rapidly approaching the finish line and I am happy to announce that we will be launching it to a group of Beta testers (edit: the Beta program is now live). A reminder that if you would like to participate in the Beta, please send me a private message and I will add you to the list. For those who have already asked to participate, thank you. Everyone will receive a message tomorrow with details about how to access the Beta site.
In the meantime, I would like to share some of the highlights with you.
The first thing you will notice about MaplePrimes is an updated, cleaner look and feel. We have tried hard to maintain interface consistency with the current site so that everyone is familiar with how to find content.
Apart from the new look and feel, the most fundamental change with MaplePrimes will be in the types of interactions that are possible. Right now we have Forum Posts and Blog Posts, which are conceptually different, but in practice are not; both are used for asking questions and for posting opinions.
To clarify the distinction, we have organized the site into two types of interactions: Questions and Posts
In a MaplePrimes Question, a member can post a question and anyone can provide an answer. The best answers are bubbled up to the top based on user feedback. The more positive feedback a particular answer has, the higher it will appear in the list. Also, we have removed categories such as "Student Forum", "Math Advice", etc from questions, opting instead to organize them by product and content tags. Questions will be displayed as follows:
A post, on the other hand, is for sharing your experiences, techniques, special projects you are working on, or general opinions. They are organized into categories similar to those that we see on MaplePrimes today such as "Personal Stories", "Product Suggestions", "Education", "Tips and Techniques", etc.
When we started asking members what they wanted in a new version of Primes, one of the most common responses we received had to do with the editor. Primarily you asked for better ways of cutting and pasting Maple math into posts, and this got us thinking of other things that we could do as well to make your contributions as rich as possible. The new version of MaplePrimes will therefore contain a brand new editor with the following features:
- Support for rich math. You will now be able to enter an expression (by typing the expression yourself or by copying it from Maple) or a plot and have it appear in your message.
- Upload files directly into your message. No longer will you be required to use the separate upload manager to add images, worksheets or other file attachments to your contribution.
- Better support for links to online help.
We have redesigned our 'MaplePrimes Points' system so that there are now two ways to measure the contributions from a particular member.
- Reputation is calculated based on how other members value your contributions. For example, if you submit an answer that gets voted on positively by members, your reputation will increase. Your reputation score will determine the capabilities you have within MaplePrimes.
- MaplePrimes Badges are awarded for both quantity and quality of your contributions. Badges will be awarded, for example, for asking and answering questions, voting on content, etc.
In addition, all types of content on the site will provide members with the ability to quickly indicate whether you like it or not by clicking on a thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon.
An example of badges:
- Maplesoft corporate blogs will be integrated into MaplePrimes, allowing the community better access to posts from within Maplesoft, and to also make it very easy to add your feedback.
- Comments or answers that head off in a different direction from an original contribution can be branched into entirely new questions or posts.
- Maplesoft staff will be clearly identified within the community
- RSS feeds and e-mail notifications available for most content
- Among many others...
I hope you like what you see and am looking forward to your comments.