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Switching from Disqus to Muut

Tero Piirainen • 2015-03-26

Disqus has been around for a while, and it is certainly a popular blog commenting system. To embed onto your page, they still use a technology that’s almost as old as Internet Explorer: the iframe. Since then, the technological landscape has significantly changed.

Today, JavaScript can remotely communicate with a 3rd party domain in real-time. We can ditch the old iframe and opt for real embedding instead. A discussion module will actually sit on your site, inheriting your existing CSS styling. Real embedding makes a difference, and we can help you move from Disqus to Muut using a data importer.

Skinning

The problem with iframe is that it’s not really a part of your website: it’s a window to a remote site. With some work, this window can be integrated to the parent page to make it look seamless, but iframes never seemed like the optimal solution — albeit a convenient one.

Muut commenting is a true part of your page, just like all the other stuff: text, tables, forms, or images. It automatically inherits the font choice, background color, and sizing from the parent page, and tries its best to fit the existing style. You can use @media queries as usual to make it perfect on mobile.

Use your everyday deployment tools and CSS pre-processors just like before. Muut takes care of the real-time remote server communication – all the way down to IE8.

The minimalistic, uncluttered user interface becomes a seamless part of your website, your brand, and your site’s overall experience.

Performance

Iframes are slow. You are forced to load another complete website in addition to your own: an HTML page, the CSS files, and JavaScript files.

Current version of Disqus uses following assets:

  • 1 font file
  • 7 system images
  • 9 JavaScript files
  • 2 CSS files

These files contains external tools and libraries such as Google Analytics, Backbone framework, and jQuery library. A lot of (duplicate) files and kilobytes to slow down your page.

Muut is only 3 tiny files. To further improve the performance you can combine them to your existing files.

Pair this with record breaking server response time: a 5ms median.

Users value performance, whether they acknowledge it or not. Amazon.com reported a revenue increase of 1% for every 100 milliseconds they managed to shave off their total page load time (2). Performance is an important part of the overall usability.

Custom user database

Have you ever needed to login or sign up on the same page twice? If you are like most people, you close the page in frustration.

Muut can be embedded on any page with custom user credentials so you can safely use your existing user database and login screen. Federated Identity means your users won’t have to sign up or login to Muut separately from your own page, so you remain in control. Instead of just looking seamless, it really is seamless. And that’s pretty fracking cool!

An example:

$("#comments").muut({
  api: {
    signature: 'c83d3955262bb704510a51590aaab7baa757bbf9',
    message: 'eyJ1c2VyIjp7ImlkIjoiNjcyOSI...',
    timestamp: 1426848331,
    key: '7Qplz0GSSR',
  }
})

The user information is hashed inside the message string. Think of configuring a jQuery plugin, but with secure server generated values.

Forums

Muut isn’t just commenting, and isn’t just forums either. It’s a discussion platform:

What does that even mean? True integration lets you place commenting on one page, another on an entirely new page (maybe on a different domain), and all your community’s discussion can be accessed and searched from the comfort of your discussion forum. A discussion forum that you can split up and place anywhere! It just makes no sense to use a different software and login for the same basic functionality. It’s devastative for the user experience and a management hell for the site administrator.

A glimpse to the future

We are working on something we call “micro commenting”. We’re not kidding! It’s kind of awesome, and it looks like this:

iframes just won’t cut it here; the only way to deploy a feature like this is to use true embedding. It would be impossible to load a page with dozens of iframe instances floating around, effectively grinding your site’s performance to a halt. (Though, we’re sure someone on Geocities tried.)

Our technology stack is already prepared for this. Expect to hear more about this by the end of the year.

The embed code

Why not try Muut commenting immediately? Paste the following code on any web page and see it in action:

<a class="muut" href="https://muut.com/i/goma/comments">Demo comments</a>
<script src="//cdn.muut.com/1/moot.min.js"></script>

Once you fall in love you can change the name “goma” (Gallery Of Modern Art) with the name of your own community, which you can create at the bottom of this page.

Disqus importer

Our Disqus importer lets you switch to Muut in a painless way:

It is free and there are no data limits. And our JSON export tool gives you a full access to the discussion data at any time.

Import now

…or you can start with a fresh and empty Muut community and use it side by side with Disqus. Feel free to make the import after you’ve experienced all the above benefits yourself.

[2] Why Websites Are Slow & Why Speed Really Matters

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