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Show HN: My Weekend Hack - Stack-Ed: Learn from the best on StackOverflow (stack-ed.com)
286 points by nirvanatikku on Jan 28, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 80 comments

Cool site. I can definitely see myself browsing through it to learn some new stuff.

If you're interested, I made a few notes to try to help you improve the site:

* The point count on each Q&A section gives the points for the question, not the answer. The answer score doesn't seem to be given at all.

* Selecting a user/question which is low on the page doesn't change the scroll position. You need to manually move the browser up to the top of the content. For questions, this is easy to notice, but it's pretty jarring for users lower on the list, since there's no obvious suggestion that you're not at the top.

* If you select a question for which the users answer isn't the accepted one, nothing loads in the answer section, with no indication as to why.

* Your onclick hand;er is a bit overzealous. Ctrl+Clicking the SO link at the bottom of the answer closes the question on stack-ed. Same thing when selecting text. I'd suggest having explicit open/close buttons, or possibly just an explicit close.

* If you do add an explicit close, you may want to think about having the large question title at the top turn into a link to the question. I know that there's a small link at the bottom (see above), but I instinctively tried to (Ctrl+) click the larger link before I found the smaller one.

* You may want to consider allowing sorting by vote, in addition to your presently available view and answer count options.

* You may also want to consider making it a little more obvious that "topic" means "tag". The most popular tags are for languages, so its easy not to realize that it's not limited to just that.

* Deselecting all tags doesn't collapse the other portions of the page (top users, questions). This is a bit confusing when you're trying to select a new topic.

n.b. Ctrl+Click is the same as middle-click. On most laptops, there isn't a middle button under the trackpad, so we use Ctrl+Click instead. My laptop is like this, so I can't say whether a true middle click would make a difference, but I expect it wouldn't.

Thanks again.

I've taken care of most of the issues described above and from various comments.

The click handler issue was an artifact of my adding an XML response into the question and answer divs. Really strange behavior, but it's fixed.

I've opted for a simple link on the question to toggle the q&a. Also the data issues should be resolved, and instead of seeing a answerer's 'acceptance rate' I'm showing the total score.

Unfortunately I can't enable multiple-tag searches (API limitation). Single tags will have to do, and I'll add search soon to make it more robust.

I realized that with Stack-Ed.com, all I need to do is change the 'site' parameter in the StackAPI and I get access to the vast array of StackExchange services. Photography, Math, Home Improvement, Server Fault, Webapps, Cooking, etc. Crazy.

Just wanted to add that 1) this is freaking awesome, and 2) some of the formatting gets messed up and makes the answer difficult to read. For instance... well, actually I don't know how to link directly to one of the answers. Scroll down to "Difference between __str__ and __repr__ in Python" on this page[1]. I was having difficulty understanding the sentences, then I realized they were actually bullet points put together.

[1] http://www.stack-ed.com/#tag/python/user/14343/Ned Batchelder

> http://www.stack-ed.com/#tag/python/user/14343/Ned Batchelder

Also, URLs with spaces in them appear to be harder to share, in that they are not always automatically hyperlinked correctly. Would you consider using dashes (or underscores) in place of the dash in the stack-ed URLs?

URLs can't contain spaces; the space needs to be "URL-encoded" ("%20"). Many browsers these days render URL-encoded characters in the URL bar. Firefox (actually Iceweasel) 18 handles this by displaying a space in the URL bar, but "%20" when I copy/paste it. Without doing any extra work, just copy pasting that URL after visiting it:


Having URL-encoded values certainly is a usability problem, however, I do think that this should be registered as a bug with whatever browser you are using.

Fair point. That portion of the URL is simply used for display purposes, so I can pretty much do anything; dashes, underscores, or encode it as a URI component. Seems that dashes/underscores are preferred?

Thank you for all the feedback! There are numerous points listed above that I'm aware of and definitely want to refine (just simply wasn't able to get to it in order to launch). Others are a result of my building it and not using it extensively. That said, I'll definitely take these tips and cross them off. I appreciate your taking the time to write this up!

Great idea and execution! Very good work.

One thing I immediately wanted is the ability to search through tags. An insta-search widget would be cool. Also, selecting multiple tags might be nice, but I don't know if you're limited by the API.

Keep it up, I look forward to seeing more releases.

    > selecting multiple tags might be nice
The UI hints that this is possible because it uses checkboxes for tags, I tried exactly that when i first loaded the site. Radio buttons please :)

Otherwise this is very cool - smooth and responsive UI, interesting use of the mass of information on SO. Love it

Same here, I spent minutes loading tags and C-F-ing for Smalltalk, until I gave up.

Came to the same conclusion for Scala after some clicks :-)


I almost didn't click through because of the verbose and unhelpful landing page. When I hit "get started" I was amazed at the quality of the app! This is a great view on SO, I will definitely have it in mind.

Fixed. Thanks for the feedback and glad you like it!

I went through checking a bunch of topics I was interested in and it took me a while to notice that the checkboxes were mutually exclusive. It's a bit confusing because that's the opposite of how checkboxes are normally used (consider radio buttons instead), and I had hoped to be able to see answers from more than one topic at a time (feature request!).

Aside from that, pretty cool and handy. Nice job! (:

You're absolutely on point - my intent was to enable selecting multiple tags (since the SO API supports it), I just wasn't able to get to that this weekend. Will implement it asap.

In addition to that, you should fix the labels for the checkboxes. For me (Chrome 24 on OSX), clicking them doesn't seem to (un-)check the checkboxes. Other than that, really nice work!

That's a great idea, and I really like how it looks (and how usable it actually is for a first release).

The only flaw I see is that the most popular questions on SO are those with the most views and upvotes, thus those everyone can understand and appreciate the value of.

This is fine, but it also means that they're the ones most people already know the answer to.

That means I might not use your tool to learn more on subjects I already know a lot about, but it definitely looks like a good way to start learning a new one.

I was going to say the same thing. Perhaps a better metric of interestingness would be questions that more than one highly reputable user has answered or commented on. The larger number of reputable users, and interactions between them, the more interesting the question/answer.

My feeling after browsing the Java section was that the most popular questions deal with "curiosities" of the language. It is not wrong per se, but I think I have read the majority of them.

On a related note, I've developed a small browser plugin for my agency to track which questions my team consults on StackOverflow.

It's completely opt-in and anonymous and in 1 month we collected near 500 consulted questions. Right now we have a widget which show the last consulted questions and a tag cloud. But wanna improve upon the insights we can extract from this data.

What do you think about this?

Wow...this is cool. I was going to build something similar to this - but call it "best of stackoverflow.com".

I was actually going to focus on the tags, and the individual questions - rather than the answerers.

That's an interesting approach.

I wonder if just clicking on the tags and seeing the top voted questions/answer combo would be just as interesting.

Nice UI though.

Realy cool idea. Also like the hidden ASCII gem in the source code.

   #####                                   #######        
  #     # #####   ##    ####  #    #       #       #####  
  #         #    #  #  #    # #   #        #       #    # 
   #####    #   #    # #      ####   ##### #####   #    # 
        #   #   ###### #      #  #         #       #    # 
  #     #   #   #    # #    # #   #        #       #    # 
   #####    #   #    #  ####  #    #       ####### #####
Check out this awesome archive for more related ASCII art: http://geon.github.com/Programming/2012/04/25/ascii-art-sign...

This one of the most useful Show HN projects to turn up in a long time . Just add user registrations so we can track the answers we've already read and get updates on our favorite tags and this would be pure gold.

Thanks! Just a heads up -- I have added user registrations (currently using Google to do the Auth work for me). If you look at the top right of the navbar, there's a sign-in link. If you sign up, you'll be able to star questions, and then retrieve them by clicking on the 'number' of starred questions next to your username. I thought that having that functionality was part of the MVP since otherwise it's just a firehose of info. I was going to implement a recently viewed list.. and your request makes that official.

Very cool! It seems though that if links are in answers, they are broken. Very nice work though!!

Am I the only one where the "Get Started" Button is not doing anything?

(Firefox for Ubuntu, 18.0.1)

Works on Chrome though...

Same with Opera 12.12 on Windows 7. Chrome works.

I have the same problem with Opera 12.12 on Windows XP. Firefox works

For me, it didn't work because the Twitter Button plugin was being blocked. (I use Ghostery)

Same for me, arch linux and opera.

Looks pretty nice. Couple of issues I found (others may have already mentioned these):

* Checkboxes imply that you can select multiple tags. But Clicking on a second tag is clearing the first. You might want to use a radio button, or (better) allow multiple tags to selected.

* As a minor but useful improvement, clicking on the tag name should select the checkbox (the cursor is already changing to hand, implying that the name is clickable, but it is currently not.)

* When I selected Perl tag, the first stackoverflow user displayed (ikegami) shows 0%. A bug?

* When you change from one tag to another the user list is refreshed, but the article list on the right is not. That seems a bit of disconnect for me. I am not sure what the best way here, but I think I prefer that article list also cleared out (or at least, display it faded or something).

That's all I have for now.

EDIT: Also, it would be nice if there is a text box to enter an arbitrary tag, instead of clicking on Load more tags... and hoping that the tag you want will show up. Useful for less popular tags.

The issue of the checkboxes is simply a matter of me enabling it. I set it up for being able to select multiple tags, but I suppose in hindsight launching without implementing it wasn't the best idea.

The second checkbox point -- definitely hear you.

The perl tag -- the 0% is acceptance. I don't know why some of the data is showing that some users while they are the top answerers dont have an acceptance rate. I'll dig into this.

The last disconnect -- I know what you mean; I've been feeling it too. I'll take your suggestion (and nix the questions).

The last point about the tag search.. I gather it's the most desired enhancement. I'll tackle this soon, too.

Thanks for the write-up!

Awesome, I just checked this out. Great idea! Can you please change the font though, I'd be happy to help if its OS? Josh

Sweet. Yeah, I had a hard time settling on which one to use.. would be happy to get some help. It's on GitHub -- https://github.com/nirvanatikku/stack-ed. Thanks!

Just pulling it now ill submit a pull request :)

This is pretty great. It's a neat way to minimize SO. I noticed that you're planning on preparing it to be ready for mobile; I'm really interested in checking it out when you do that.

I too find it very cool. I first viewed it via mobile on my iPhone and found the "get started" page wouldn't load. I then noticed that it hasn't been set up for mobile yet. However, after viewing it in a browser I am very impressed. Look forward to it being optimized for mobile browsing!

Really awesome app! I like the design, and it's definitely got great functionality.

A little curious -- what's your middle/backend like? Curious which frameworks/platforms you chose

Thank you!

The setup:

AppEngine, HTML5BP, Bootstrap (I got rid of the rounded corners), jQuery, Backbone, Require.js, Less and Moment.js.

To resolve the question and answer content, I make a request out through YQL for the given question_id. For all the StackOverflow information I'm using the StackExchange API. For icons, I'm using the Pictos web font and for fonts, Google Web Fonts.

It's a pretty slim app, tbh. I was originally thinking about posting the code up on GitHub. Thoughts?

+1 vote for github. Seems like a wonderful learning opportunity for others.

Would seem to me that he has a Node backend. Most of the heavy lifting seems to be done in the front-end with Backbone/jQuery.

I've been really digging AppEngine and Python lately. You're right that most of the work is done on the front-end, but I enjoy many things about the AppEngine ecosystem and in this case the ease in integrating user auth was one of the reasons I decided to go with it.

Great idea! One UX suggestion, after logging in it would be useful if I didn't have click the "Get Started" button again.

Great tool thanks a lot for this! Some things I found while browsing on my iPad:

- Viewing this on an iPad and the third Q/A column is not on the same level as the rest of the columns and is pushed down.

- Titles are cutoff with no way of seeing the full title even if I click on the question.

- Title overlaps # viewed and # created.

Very cool site!

Noticed a few issues, the most obvious of which is sometimes the answer doesn't belong to the poster you're looking at. An Example: I drilled down to C#, Jon Skeet, 'What's the worst gotcha in C#?'. There is an answer int the field that doesn't belong to him.

o_O, oops? I'll check this out. Thanks for the heads up.

This is great! Already found a partial solution to a problem about divisors of a number at answer http://stackoverflow.com/a/171784/470560. A search would make this even more useful.

I second that.

nicely done. It would be extra awesome if you could weight the answers a little by date and whether the current version of the language matches the date. Actually that would probably be a pain. Maybe just some (optional) sorting by date?

Firefox 18. My display does not look like the front page screensnap. I see the questions below the Answerers column, not next to it. Are you expecting a certain screen width? Just 1024 x 768 here (yeah, laugh...).

Sometimes, I find myself surfing in StackExchange looking for the most upvoted questions or tags of each site. Using Stack-Ed I think it will be easier to see the best questions/answers to learn. Thanks for sharing.

I say remove the front page and have a language and an author selected by default and have it as your front page. Beside that, amazing work! Bookmarked and definitely going to use it a lot. Thanks for the work :)

This is amazing, nice work! In 5 minutes, I learned two useful things about Java and Object Orientation :D.

Definitely a useful tool just for exploring SO questions and answers.

Keep it up, and thank you!

Very cool stuff, just spent 10 minutes on it out of sheer curiosity.

Perhaps you could expand the question/answer section a bit. Since I'm on a laptop it was a bit difficult to read.

Nice! I just have one or two remarks about the UI: it is really annoying that when you click the text of an answer it closes it back, and the font is two small.

Pretty cool. One minor bug I noticed was that links in answers are not clickable. When you click them they just hide the answer box instead of open the link.

At first i thought "why?" Can't you just go to SO and look that up, but i fell in love with your execution. Way cool! Will definitely use this!

I'd like a button to open and close questions instead of clicking anywhere. It's annoying and you can't select text easily. Brilliant idea btw.

As a beginning ruby on rails programmer this site was really helpful. It makes expert knowledge from stack overflow easily accessible.

Keep up the good work.

That is very good. My recommendation would be to add an RSS feed of some kind so I can flick through the posts on the train.

I understand that you haven't optimized it for mobile yet. But that's no good reason to ruin it with that fixed banner.

Very impressive, especially for a weekend "hack". What did you write the site in?

Thanks! Check below for the stack/setup. It's also on GitHub: https://github.com/nirvanatikku/stack-ed

This is awesome. I guess I'm going to use my upcoming weekend on browsing stack-ed

Despite being a weekend hack, I'm finding it to be a very useful and practical tool.

Nice work!

This is very helpful ,thank you very much. anyway I too had this idea.

Thanks! I'm already finding this useful, because I'm learning php.

Very well done! bookmarked it. This would be a wonderful resource.

Really good idea and execution. Thank you for building this.

I like this and I think I'll actually start using it.

This is awesome! In which language is it written?

good idea, great execution. Thanks a bunch. A minor UI fix to be done: If the title is lengthy, the text is not wrapping around.

Yep, and you can't read the whole question since it gets mixed.

Great app, kind of tldr for stack overflow :)

Excellent work, thank you for sharing.

I've been looking for this! Thanks

any plans to open source this?

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