dev.to is pretty cool - I like the relatively stripped-down editing interface and very quick reading experience thanks to the team's amazing work with service workers and other fun stuff.
However no piece of software, or indeed no piece of design is ever perfect. I found a few places where dev.to could be made better - and this is the curated list.
The post editor
I like how simple the post editor is, however in a few places where the "no simpler than it needs to be" principle doesn't quite hold up. For instance, saving drafts still triggers a full page reload that also takes you to the post draft - so if you want to save your post midway through writing or editing it, you will have to click 'Edit' again and find where you were. This is actually at odds with the Preview button which renders the post preview in place, but doesn't actually save your draft.
Wish: Save Draft should not reload the editor and definitely should not take me out of the editor.
I also like the simple image uploader, however in longer posts that can be a little cumbersome as I have to scroll up to find the image upload button.
Wish: The image upload button should be floated next to the editor.
While I'm in the image upload screen - I sometimes have to use dodgy connections and would like to know the progress of my upload. This is generally possible with XMLHttpRequest, and would help me judge whether the upload is just slow or if something's broken.
Wish: Have a progress bar there!
The difficulty system
I like the idea of the difficulty system - perhaps you want to see fewer beginner articles and more in-depth pieces on the pros and cons of particular patterns - but as it stands it seems a bit limited and not very well documented. It's not intuitive when setting the difficulty level for a post - you have to go into the Manage Post menu - and definitely not intuitive when setting the difficulty level for your feed - you have to go into Settings > Misc to set your desired level. I don't think many people change it.
Wish: Make the difficulty setting more prominent for reading
Ideally I would like to see the difficulty slider right beside my feed, and possibly allow me to set specific difficulties for each tag - I might be quite experienced in Java or Vue, but not so much in Rust or hardware development.
Wish: Indicate what you can do in the Manage Post page, or add some of the widgets from it to the bottom of the post.
Wish: Suggested tags for draft posts
This one's self-explanatory - suggest some tags for your post as you write it. Cool machine learning project for whoever ends up implementing it!
I hope these suggestions end up reaching the dev.to team - after all, we'll all benefit from a better platform. I also don't think they are must haves, but would definitely be super nice to have.
What about you? What features would you really like to see on dev.to?
Top comments (3)
We really appreciate these suggestions. You are also welcome to create a feature request in our public repo any time that you'd like.
This is a great point, and I'm not sure what to do on my own content about this. Per-tag difficulty makes more sense to me than just a general 1-10 for everything.