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It would be very useful to have the new posts sidebar block refresh, so that users do not need to refresh the page to see what's new.
Not only is this useful, it also gives a interactive and modern feel on the main forum index.
Back when static pure html sites where the norm, and dynamic sites (server side scripting language (php, asp, etc) where content is pulled from the database) became more prominent, the distinction static vs dynamic sites was made. I was purposely referring to this, because the terms were accurate within the perspective of that time. solid html sites were being replaced by database driven sites. Now we see the internet have made another great leap to more dynamic websites that load new content inline and live refresh.
To be fair xf does have alert polling which has enriched XF.
It would enrich XF a whole lot more if the team would implement live refreshing content.
True, but having it in core does not only provide the functionality. It also shows addon developers the standard to release similar functionality. If XF releases a live refreshing new post widget, then addon developers will soon follow with live refreshing widgets with new content from their addons.
I am fully aware that widget can be used everywhere
Regarding the What's New page:
Do you think the majority of users does keep that page open, especially on mobile where working with multiple tabs/windows is even more convoluted than on dektop?
Because if they don't, and I would expect most users simply access this page to follow a link to content in the same tab/window, it does not seem to make any sense to me to implement refreshing on that page if time on page is only a few seconds anyway.
What would happen if a user want's to follow a link and just in that moment a refresh kicks in and the link is gone/scrolled down/etc., wouldn't that be annoying/bad experience?
To avoid that it would probably require kinda complex heuristics to attempt to predict navigation attempts and postpone updates if you want to have page parts updated automatically.
Just showing some kind of indicator that new content is available (which is what many news sites are doing) might be less problematic.
Yes, many people just keep it open and wait for the next interesting thread to get activity. Thats what people do on my XF1 site. Once there is something of their liking they click the link and go read. There never is any issue with clicking a link. Even though I have it set to a refresh of 3 seconds so there must be plenty of simultaneous actions happening. I never had a complaint about it. Not on XF with the live feed addon, nor on vb with digitalpoint spy.