Give us your feedback! Why the web console?

Hi everyone,

As many of you may know, we deprecated the Stardog web console when we released Stardog 6, encouraging users to use Stardog Studio instead. Studio offers a number of features that aren't available in the web console, and just about everything that the web console does provide. Even so, we occasionally receive feedback from users who are still using the web console. Are you one of those users? If so, we'd love to hear from you!

We'd like to get your general feedback about why you use the web console, as well as any answers that you can give to the following questions. What are the things that cause you to use the web console rather than Studio? What features might make you happy to leave the web console behind? Do you use the web console in addition to Studio, or do you pretty much stick to the web console alone?

Your feedback here will help us to better align our progress on Studio with users' needs. We're looking forward to hearing your responses.

Thanks!

Jason Rogers (Studio team lead)

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#1 Studio doesn't work on Centos 7. I know it's not your fault and that it's a problem with Electron but I'm somewhat surprised you're pushing so hard on deprecating the webconsole because of this. It might not be your fault but you can't be expecting to just tell customers, "Well, install Ubuntu!". I don't know where Centos/Redhat rank at the moment but I'm guessing it's 1 or 2 or at least in the top 5.

I only got around to really playing with Studio when I had regular access to a Windows machine.

It just occurred to me that you might want to consider bundling Studio with the main Stardog download. It's not that big. You'd have to include all the platforms but I think including every platform would be ~200Mb. I know just going and doing another download isn't that big a deal but anything that lowers the friction helps. Alternatively maybe you can have a single download but split it into client, which would include the client cli and Studio and server which would just include Stardog.

Have you considered open sourcing the web console? Even though it's a bit long in the tooth it's still one of the best web consoles out there. The only OS thing I can think of is maybe YASGUI or Pubby and I don't want to even think about how old Pubby is.

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I use the web console in addition to Stardog Studio because I enjoy navigating the entities though the links, which is a functionality not available in Studio.

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I use the web console because not all database creation properties are reflected in Stardog Studio. For instance, I just came across this when working with it tonight: SameAs reasoning settings are not available in Stardog Studio when creating a database using Stardog Studio.

Christoper, thanks for the feedback. We're actively working on ensuring that all properties are surfaced in Studio and plan to have that functionality either this month or the next!

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Being a Government department we are required to have all software "whitelisted" and "packaged" (ie made installable and useable in our environment) before it can be used and managed by our Software Management tools. We cannot install software ourselves.

This process can take up to 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the software.

Stardog Studio consists of a large number of DLLs each of which will require individual whitelisting.

So, the time to get new versions into a useable environment can be very long (if you include that each new version ( even if it's a point upgrade) has to also go through an "evaluation" process that is usually 3-4 weeks duration!)

The Web console has none of these issues so allows us to easily administer our Stardog instance from day 1.

Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone. I wanted to offer a few brief comments related to some of the things said in this thread so far.

I use the web console in addition to Stardog Studio because I enjoy navigating the entities though the links, which is a functionality not available in Studio.

I'm happy to say, in response to this, that Stardog Studio will be getting search functionality very soon. The initial release of the functionality will include the ability to search a specified database (as in the web console), view results in a table, and visualize sub-graphs for entities in the results. The visualization will show connections to nearby nodes and also associated data properties. This isn't quite the same "browser" experience as that in the web console, but it provides much of the same information. Adding additional browsability is something that's in the Studio pipeline.

I use the web console because not all database creation properties are reflected in Stardog Studio. For instance, I just came across this when working with it tonight: SameAs reasoning settings are not available in Stardog Studio when creating a database using Stardog Studio.

This should be resolved in our next Studio release!

Being a Government department we are required to have all software "whitelisted" and "packaged" (ie made installable and useable in our environment) before it can be used and managed by our Software Management tools. We cannot install software ourselves.

This process can take up to 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the software.

Stardog Studio consists of a large number of DLLs each of which will require individual whitelisting.

#1 Studio doesn't work on Centos 7.

We intend to address each of these concerns by providing Studio as a dockerized web application in the near future. Providing Studio in a docker container means that it will run on CentOS 7 (and other currently unsupported OSes) and also that it won't require installation on individual machines. Since the dockerized version of Studio will be a web application, it can also be run either on the local machine (without installation on the local system) or on a different machine that is accessible from elsewhere via the browser. This should, we hope, address the remaining concerns in this thread. We'd love to hear any feedback from you all concerning this.

Thanks again for all of the feedback! We take it seriously and we aim to use it to make Studio a joy to work with for all users.

Jason

Since you're asking and now that I can use studio more often, vi key bindings would be nice.

I don't know if it came through with the usability studies you did (unfortunately I wasn't able to find time to participate in that) but it feels like a lot of the buttons are spread out. I'm sure there's some special UI/UX word for what I'm describing but I'll give it a try. When I go to look for a button I usually expect it to be in close proximity to what I'm doing so like on the query panel I'm generally looking in the upper left of the window and there are a bunch of controls right above, query tabs, "run", "show plan" etc so every time I want a new query I look up there, discover that it's not there and scan all the way to the right to find the "+". Even after you learn not to look up for it it's somewhat jarring to scan all the way to the right to the "+" and then back to the first line in the query panel. It's especially bad when you're running full screen.

If I look around I think I can probably find a few other examples. It just feels like your eyeballs are ping-ponging around a bit.

Since you're asking and now that I can use studio more often, vi key bindings would be nice.

This is also something I desperately want as a developer. :slight_smile: We've got an internal ticket for adding this, but I regrettably have to say that it is low priority at the moment.

Regarding the UI/UX issues you mentioned, we have some sense of what you mean and are in the process of trying to make some improvements here over the coming quarters. The usability studies you mentioned were motivated by this and will also inform our decisions going forward. (We may still ping you here and there for feedback, by the way, if that's something you're interested in!)

Thanks for the feedback!

Jason

Please, ping me any time.

An update - we just released Studio 1.13, which includes the ability to run Studio in the browser via a docker container. The instructions/docs are in the Stardog docs [1], we'd love any feedback about the setup process and your experience using Studio in the browser.

https://www.stardog.com/docs/#_stardog_studio_in_the_browser

Running great from docker and it's a nice small image :wink:

Thanks!

It looks like the release notes for 1.13.0 haven't been pushed yet.