Custom content on the Home Page

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This post has 9 Replies | 1 Follower

Posts 670
Sleiman | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 31 2014 6:02 AM

It would be awesome if the Home Page is able to accommodate custom content. By that I mean various internet entities like blogs other than the Faithlife/Logos blogs as well as RSS feeds and the like. I read somewhere that the new home page is designed based on html. Maybe that means that it loads like a browser loads an html page, right? If so, it should be fairly easy to add this feature, wouldn't it?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 3:28 PM

Interesting idea - the one drawback I see is load times would become dependent on third-parties.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 103
mwk | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 3:56 PM

I agree with M.J.

Logos already takes shots for slow loading of the home page. Allowing third-party content is just asking for trouble, either in load time, or when those links change and you're getting error messages on your home page because a link is broken or changed.

And strictly from a business perspective, I'm not sure why Logos would allow other content onto their product. Those third-parties aren't contributing to the cost to produce the software. In some cases, that custom content that you're drawing in from RSS feeds could contain ads that are competition to Logos.

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 6:03 PM

I have grown to really like the vertical scrolling Home Page, I would love it if it kept loading and redrawing as you scrolled down. It would be an excellent way to see more resources, older posts, etc. Or at least scroll longer than it does now.

Posts 670
Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 3 2014 6:53 AM

MJ. Smith:
the one drawback I see is load times would become dependent on third-parties.
mwk67:
Allowing third-party content is just asking for trouble, either in load time
Sure, but I don't see this as an issue because the user who's sophisticated enough to have custom feeds would typically understand it is not the program's shortcomings for the extra time to load. Just like when you customize the homepage on your browser: Its loading time depends on those third party widgets/apps/newsfeeds/etc, but that's not an issue because it is expected. And if the home screen loading becomes too sluggish, remove the culprit items. Simple. 

mwk67:
or when those links change and you're getting error messages on your home page because a link is broken or changed.
Happens all the time on your browser, yet you typically would change your bookmark for example and move on, having thought to yourself that while it's a bit of a hassle, it's not that big of a deal after all.

mwk67:
And strictly from a business perspective, I'm not sure why Logos would allow other content onto their product.
Ok, fair comment, but here's my response: they would allow other content because it is extremely useful to its user base and this means it makes economic sense.

Well, let me explain. Apart from which brand it is, I love my internet browser simply because it allows me to access the wealth of information on the internet where a lot of good quality wholesome content (either explicitly Christian or not) is available. My browser does its thing best, simply allowing me to access content on the world wide web. Logos on the other hand allows me to access (and search etc) content on my PC that I own. So there are many similarities in that respect. While the internet browser excels in handling links between webpages making it a breeze to navigate the complexity of information on the internet, Logos excels in handling links and references among the different type of resources on your computer. However, currently these two worlds of information (my purchased library vs the internet content - purchased or public) are separate worlds.

Having gotten used to seeing the actual words of the Bible verse or the theological definition or the referenced content on a simple mouse hover over the link in a Logos resource, I miss that functionality dearly when I'm reading an online article by an excellent scholar for example. I'm sure I'm not the only one. In fact I could bet you this is the experience of the vast majority of the program users because we all do in fact read content on the internet, don't we?

Please realize I'm not saying that Logos should change to have everything an internet browser is capable of, but instead should just allow at least a little bit of intersection between those two worlds of information.

Being able to allow this to happen is useful: The learning is enhanced.  The rabbit holes are multiplied. The possibilities are great.  You get the picture.

So I'm pretty sure a lot of the content on the internet and the endless possibilities would make it even more enticing to purchase resources that can enhance the experience even more. Say, you're reading an article on a certain fascinating topic. Next, say the article references a couple of works for further reading. Say, too that you're reading this web article on the homescreen inside Logos. Say too that Logos can, for example detect most citation formats (Turabian, MLA, etc) and translate them to links to books available either in your resources if you own them or alternatively to related resource pages on their website for purchase. See?

mwk67:
Those third-parties aren't contributing to the cost to produce the software.
Nor do they contribute to the cost of producing a web browser; yet business-savvy companies, like Microsoft and Apple and Google, provide you with web browsers for free. Because it generates business for them one way or another. But the cost of producing this capability of accessing blogs in Logos is zero, nada. It is already implemented in version 6.

mwk67:
In some cases, that custom content that you're drawing in from RSS feeds could contain ads that are competition to Logos.
So does the internet yet you can browse an Apple site using Internet Explorer and vice versa. You get my point.

Posts 103
mwk | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 3 2014 8:14 AM

> You get my point.

Well, I get that you're passionate about this and want to see it. And I respect that. But I don't believe anything you've said would make a strong enough business case for this. You're creating a lot of "perfect" scenarios about how things would happen, and "sophisticated" users. And, yeah, if it worked like that at least 90+% of time, it would be great.

But I've been around long enough to know that the perfect scenarios have to be balanced with what is likely to be the more common scenarios, especially in how they apply to potential impacts on tech support (especially the "sophisticated" users who really aren't, but like to think they are), sales, the desired user experience, and how programming resources are assigned given a list of ranked features that people are asking for vs. the product roadmap for the next few versions of the software.

Comparing Logos with browsers is an apples (sorry) & oranges comparison. Browsers were originally intended to browse the whole internet. If they didn't, people would avoid those browsers. Thus, it's in Apple's and Microsoft's best business interest to allow that. I feel safe in saying no one is avoiding Logos because the home page doesn't allow RSS customization because that was never the original intent. The original intent of  Safari, IE, etc., is to browse the whole internet. If you're not going to allow that, you don't bother making an internet browser in the first place.

A more accurate question is this... does Apple or Microsoft allow you to go to apple.com or microsoft.com and change the content on those home pages so you can see content from non Apple or Microsoft sites? Of course not. Those home pages are an entry point to their products. And while they may point you to some third-party sites or products, they control that, not the user. In essence, the Logos home page is, in fact, its home page. Regular users see that far more often than they see Logos.com.

And why would Logos give up potential sales opportunities that they control on the home page for your scenario? Yeah, your scenario about sales might happen. But it's also possible that someone could fill their home page with things that aren't going to make Logos money and would, in fact, bury their own Logos messages in the middle of all the third-party feeds.

Personally, I'm not opposed to your idea. In fact, if implemented, I'd probably use it. I just look at it from a business point of view as I'm sure you're doing. Given what I think are pros and cons, I just can't see the positives outweighing the negatives. I've been in enough of those meetings where you get the different department heads together and you start to see "good ideas" in a different light when you carry out a scenario to various conclusions based on what you know about your users.

Time will tell, though. I believe Logos does have a feature request mechanism, so I hope you've let them know. Like I said, if they add it, I'd probably use it. But I don't think they will and I think I'm pretty close as to why they wouldn't.

Posts 670
Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 3 2014 9:35 AM

mwk67:
I've been around long enough to know that the perfect scenarios have to be balanced with what is likely to be the more common scenarios,
I get that. On the other hand haven't you also been around long enough to see perfectly viable business cases and ideas shut down because someone thinks it's too cumbersome or risky or they'd have to change something they don't feel comfortable changing, etc. etc. An engineer is sometimes too focused on why things can go wrong and their manager is sometimes too well aware of the many smaller and real issues that can hamper any project to move forward, but it sometimes takes a visionary leader to focus on the end goal with enough passion and perseverance to make things happen. To me, I think Logos has been more of leaders in the industry than anybody else. To a fault sometimes. Logos sometimes goes ahead and venture into new areas leaving much of the potential for improving on old concepts in the dust. But I digress.

mwk67:
Comparing Logos with browsers is an apples (sorry) & oranges comparison.
I used the experience with browsers as an analogy to illustrate my point; which is quite different than comparing. It's an imperfect analogy and you've correctly identified a few things that would not apply to both. Still the analogy is useful to understand the point I was making. The point is this: browsers are free although they cost money to produce and the companies that make them have other means to generate income through the use of the 'free' technology. I also gave an example of how the use of the additional custom content can generate income to Logos. In all cases, like I said, the technology is already implemented in Logos 6. 

mwk67:
In essence, the Logos home page is, in fact, its home page. Regular users see that far more often than they see Logos.com.
This is an excellent point and I totally agree, but there's absolutely no need for this to change. 

mwk67:
And why would Logos give up potential sales opportunities that they control on the home page for your scenario?
They wouldn't of course. No need to. I just gave an example of how they would increase rather than give up potential sales opportunities.

mwk67:
But it's also possible that someone could fill their home page with things that aren't going to make Logos money and would, in fact, bury their own Logos messages in the middle of all the third-party feeds.
You do realize that right now you can just remove all Logos blog feeds by deselecting it from the settings menu, right? Logos let you do that.

mwk67:
Personally, I'm not opposed to your idea. In fact, if implemented, I'd probably use it.
Cool, this is the litmus test I think.

mwk67:
I believe Logos does have a feature request mechanism, so I hope you've let them know.
Not yet but thanks for the suggestion. If I do I'll let you know so you can vote it up. Wouldn't you? After all:

mwk67:
Like I said, if they add it, I'd probably use it.

Posts 103
mwk | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 3 2014 10:03 AM

It's funny you mentioned Microsoft since I used to work there. And that opened my eyes to what goes into making seemingly simple decisions. I was stunned at how many different people and product teams (both inside and outside the company) had input into our software decisions. (I was on the Windows team.)

I don't disagree that there are times where you have to go beyond what the naysayers on your team are saying. Certainly in Bill Gates (at the time I was there) we had someone who had a vision and wouldn't settle for anyone saying it can't be done. (Few were brave enough to tell him that anyway.) But I also came to respect that what seemed simple to me actually had a lot of connecting threads that I didn't have a full grasp on because I first saw things from my area of responsibility. But you learn very fast there to start looking at things from every possible angle.

> Not yet but thanks for the suggestion. If I do I'll let you know so you can vote it up. Wouldn't you?

I would. In fact, I'll tell you the first thing I would add... an RSS feed to a daily devotional I currently view online. I know Logos already has a ton of devotional resources, but I like the one I'm using. It would be a nice way to start any Logos session... with the devotional I choose to be on the home page.

From there, I'd probably feed in a number of RSS feeds I currently have going into a program called Vienna that I use on my Mac. I'd add Christianity Today's article feed, and some feeds to teaching-tip sites that I follow.

So... I'm with you on the idea and would vote it up. I just don't think it will ever happen. Wink

Posts 670
Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 5 2014 8:24 AM

Here's the Uservoice link:

https://logos.uservoice.com/forums/42823-logos-bible-software-5/suggestions/6667675-allow-custom-blogs-and-rss-feeds-on-the-home-page

The feeds and web content can be limited to text only.

Another way of doing this is not necessarily on the homepage, but through a separate and new resource type that would be configurable and specifically designed to handle such dynamic content.

mwk67, interaction with you is a pleasure and makes me think harder. For sure Gates is a visionary leader, what else would one expect from someone who would build such an empire (and dynasty). Very few can.

Posts 103
mwk | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 5 2014 9:18 AM

Just voted it up.

The pleasure was mine... I appreciate any discussion where respect is maintained despite differences of opinion. Thank you.

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