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Old 2014-02-01, 00:21   #1
paulofaller
 
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I have a couple of questions about the nature of mersenne.org.
  1. Is the Google Translate widget tool still a necessity? It is surprisingly prominent and the design space could arguably be used more effectively.I would have thought the vast majority of users have access to browser extensions for the translation process.
  2. Is the website developed/designed by the organization privately? If it is, are there any considerations to moving non-sensitive aspects into an open-source code-base potentially allowing for external contributions. This may take some effort, but in the long term may be beneficial in order to make the project easier to collaboratively maintain.

Sorry if these seem intrusive or random. I'm just genuinely curious about the development and certain aspects of the Mersenne website such as the exact current date seem unnecessary to me in some ways.

Happy Prime Hunting, hope you can get back to me and that we'll find another prime soon. Thanks.
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Old 2014-02-01, 09:42   #2
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It's probably impossible to prove, but my hunch is that the google translate facility frequently makes the difference between a casual browser of the internet (1) glancing at the difficult English on the page and clicking away to do something else, or (2) performing a minimal-effort click on their own language and having their interest aroused by this project. You describe the facility on the webpage as surprisingly prominent, but I think it takes up less room than the pointless art work or logos which occupy similar positions on the front pages of most websites.

Regarding open source: the source code for the client contributors is easily and reasonably prominently available from the "download software" button on the home page. External contributions for the computational software may be possible but would need to be done by highly specialised experts who have very deep knowledge of the mathematics involved. I'm not sure that an "open source" facility encouraging contributions from all and sundry is quite the right way to manage a project of this sort. There's a certain wise saying beginning "Too many cooks..." which comes to mind here. That's my hunch anyway. If you are only referring to the website HTML code, rather than the real nitty-gritty of the computational software, that's not really the cutting edge of project development in this case, I would think.

Disclaimer: in case it's not obvious from the above, I am not an insider for the project and I have reacted to your questions from an uninformed background. Hopefully you will get much more useful responses from those who created and maintain GIMPS.

Last fiddled with by Brian-E on 2014-02-01 at 09:48
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Old 2014-02-01, 15:33   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
If you are only referring to the website HTML code, rather than the real nitty-gritty of the computational software, that's not really the cutting edge of project development in this case, I would think.
I think this is what he is referring to. And to be frank, the website design is a bit ... dated.

Last fiddled with by axn on 2014-02-01 at 15:35
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Old 2014-02-01, 15:41   #4
paulofaller
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axn View Post
I think this is what he is referring to. And to be frank, the website design is a bit ... dated.
I am mainly referring to the HTML, and you share my concern with the dated nature of the website.
I feel that while it is perfectly functional there is certainly room for improvement and would be willing to assist, if it were possible, for example through an Open-Source code base or even a thread where suggestions could be put forward to be debated.

Last fiddled with by paulofaller on 2014-02-01 at 15:50
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Old 2014-02-01, 15:52   #5
Prime95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axn View Post
I think this is what he is referring to. And to be frank, the website design is a bit ... dated.
I prefer the term "retro".


Seriously, the web site could use an appearance overhaul. I don't know the best way to go about harnessing volunteer talent.
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Old 2014-02-01, 19:00   #6
ET_
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
I prefer the term "retro".


Seriously, the web site could use an appearance overhaul. I don't know the best way to go about harnessing volunteer talent.
My websites are dated as well, but we can still work on templates and achieve the results bit by bit, pivoting requests and results: working for GIMPS as a volunteer will surely boost everyone's capacity.

We may gather a preferred look-and feel, create some CSS base, define how to emphasize the nodal points and try to produce a result.

If I can be of any help, please consider me on board.

Luigi

Last fiddled with by ET_ on 2014-02-01 at 19:01
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Old 2014-02-02, 16:27   #7
Qubit
 
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I must admit that, at least IMHO, the translation widget seems awfully anachronistic. As the OP stated, most modern browsers include translation add-ons, and some even offer them by default.

As a side note, I'm not a native English speaker, and yet I think that the website is written in very clear English. A common fallout with automatic translation services is that they might translate mathematical jargon into a ridiculous foreign language phrase (Left as an exercise for the multilingual reader).
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Old 2014-02-02, 18:22   #8
Prime95
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Opening things up a bit: To you web designers out there, what would be your recommendations? Both big and small ideas are welcome.
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Old 2014-02-02, 19:39   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qubit View Post
I must admit that, at least IMHO, the translation widget seems awfully anachronistic. As the OP stated, most modern browsers include translation add-ons, and some even offer them by default.
Just so that you know...
My browser doesn't have a translation facility.
I use Mozilla Firefox 3.5.4. Have done for years.
Perhaps I'm unusual, but not everyone updates every time they can.
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Old 2014-02-02, 20:13   #10
Qubit
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
Just so that you know...
My browser doesn't have a translation facility.
I use Mozilla Firefox 3.5.4. Have done for years.
Perhaps I'm unusual, but not everyone updates every time they can.
There's a slight chance that one can be downloaded onto your version of Firefox, but I really can't remember if it's so (and it seems you don't need one anyway).

Also I'll just add that updating software (and especially browsers) is highly encouraged not (just) because of new features and speed improvements, but mainly because of security updates (specifically, you won't believe how many security patches Firefox had had since 3.5.4).

Back to topic:
Disregarding browsers and browser versions, the translation the widget offers is the same one that's provided by Google Translate, which is a simple website that anyone, on any browser, can use.
I'm guessing that people that rely on translations know of Google Translate (or alternatively use a browser with a default translation facility), which is another point against the widget, although not a main one in my opinion.

A solution that doesn't have the widget's disadvantages could be offering manual translations of the website. I don't think it's cost-effective, as an efficient implementation of the latter would require some effort (e.g. translation files).

P.S. Of the links next to the widget ("Pages available in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, and Italian."), the French and German are dead.
(The latter for a long time already, the first I'm not sure.)

P.P.S. Just because I gave quite a few reasons against the widget does not mean I'm against it. (As there are many mathematicians here, I assumed this to be obvious.)

Last fiddled with by Qubit on 2014-02-02 at 20:25
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Old 2014-02-02, 20:58   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qubit View Post
Also I'll just add that updating software (and especially browsers) is highly encouraged not (just) because of new features and speed improvements, but mainly because of security updates (specifically, you won't believe how many security patches Firefox had had since 3.5.4).
Yes, and those security patches tend to be cheerfully downloaded over the internet when they come out. So that everyone's internet banking is just unbelievably secure...

My browser came from the Linux CDs bought in the high street. It has never been updated over the internet. Even so, I don't use it for internet banking.
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