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Jim's Lab Notes
— Site News, Baseball Talk, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Monday, November 26, 2012

BBTF.org Beta, Take 2

After taking a much needed hiatus from my work on the site’s redesign. I am back to work. In June, when I realized I would not be able to finish off the Beta in time for the All Star, I decided to take a break. I needed it. I was burnt out from all the work that I was doing. Additionally, with the summer at hand, I knew it would be a good idea to spend some time with my kids and family whose patience I was beginning to try. So, other than some bug fixing, I put the update on the back burner. With the break, I have refreshed my energy levels and am ready to do all the necessary work to finish things off for a switch over to the new design in January.

First up on my schedule, moving all the old blogs into the updated site structure. In the next day or so, all the old blogs will go offline and will not be available until I finish off the new beta area. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

Next, I will continue work on the new member profile pages. Once that is completed, I will reorganize and revamp the way stuff is archived on the site. Included in this portion of the update is a total overhaul of the site’s search functionality.

I will then work on finishing all the sidebar content and miscellaneous pages before taking the Beta fully live and removing the old design.

With that in mind, I suggest people begin using the Beta to get used to the new set-up and to help me identify bugs, and to suggest additional features.


Here’s a screenshot of the new homepage:

homepage

For the most part the beta is self-contained; that is, you can view the site entirely within the beta, including using your mobile device. At this point the exceptions are the new member profile pages and the archives.

The framework for the micros is in place:

micro

One of the primary reasons I am opening the beta is to get input from our new volunteer moderators on the design and to get help setting up our new moderation system (which will be finished after the Beta goes live in January). At the same time I’m looking for additional input and feedback on the updated mobile design.

If you haven’t already and would like to volunteer to help out as a moderator or help out with other input on the beta follow the links.

Thanks for patience and help,

Jim


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Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2012 at 02:22 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4309893)
On the beta site, top left has "BBTF.org/micros". When I hover over "micros" it generates a drop-down box, but the box disappears behind the logo and the rest of the page.
   2. Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4309916)
What's your browser version (IE 8, Safari 5.1.7)? What are you viewing it on (iPad, Android phone, Macbook)?
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4309921)
When you say "Old Blogs" do you mean things like Count The Ringz or are active blogs (e.g. Sox Therapy, Gonfalon Cubs) included in that list?
   4. Randy Jones Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4309925)
Just took a brief look at it and one thing that immediately jumped out at me. Lots and lots and lots of wasted space on the sides. It seems like it is using a set width for the content. The current site uses the entire screen. As I am on a desktop with a widescreen monitor, this means that something like 30% of the horizontal screen space is wasted. Assuming that the content does use a hardcoded width, there will be even more wasted space on a monitor with a higher resolution(like my monitor at home).
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4309928)
What time is Dance Mom's on?

   6. JJ1986 Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4309933)
Is there anyway to set it so that "My Hot Topics" is always the default of the options shown?
   7. villageidiom Posted: November 26, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4310110)
What's your browser version (IE 8, Safari 5.1.7)? What are you viewing it on (iPad, Android phone, Macbook)?
IE9 (64-bit), good ol'fashioned desktop PC (though not that ol'fashioned if it's 64-bit).

I'm also getting the spacing thing Randy mentions in #4.
   8. Lassus Posted: November 26, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4310122)
Additionally, with the summer at hand, I knew it would be a good idea to spend some time with my kids

Spend time with them banging out code! Win/win!

"YOU'LL GET DINNER SOONER IF YOU TYPE FASTER."


On a less hilarious note, I did volunteer as a Mets moderator or general moderator but didn't hear any yea or nay or anything. I understand if I was getting a talk to the hand, but if not, just let me know.
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4310221)
Same issue as #4, on IE7.
   10. Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4310430)
On the beta site, top left has "BBTF.org/micros". When I hover over "micros" it generates a drop-down box, but the box disappears behind the logo and the rest of the page.
I fixed this issue but I must have reverted to an old copy of the CSS file. I will have this fixed by some time Friday. (I hate IE, BTW.)

Regarding the white space, there will be more extended content in the right sidebar. Right now the site is designed to be responsive; that is, I have one design which changes according to your screen resolution. This means the site is viewable using your cell and larger monitors. At some point, I will increase the max size.

Lassus, I haven't forgotten about you. I have a list of all volunteers. I will address the moderation issue in more detail once the redesign goes live as I'm revamping the way permissions are handled on the site. Next week, I will create a moderator micro to get input on ideas for how the moderation system will work.
   11. Randy Jones Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4310436)
(I hate IE, BTW.)


As someone who does a lot of web development, let me assure you that you are not alone in this sentiment.
   12. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4310438)
In the future, will there be a way to see a member list of any individual community?
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4310446)
When I open the beta the hot topics bar is not visible until I scroll down a bit. It's not a huge problem but it's nice to see the hot topics when I first open the page. Is it possible to move stuff like the BBTF Cloud and the advertisement to the left side of the page so the Hot Topic window is up further? (or move the HT bar to the left I suppose).

I'm on FireFox 16.0.2.
   14. Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4310466)
When you say "Old Blogs" do you mean things like Count The Ringz or are active blogs (e.g. Sox Therapy, Gonfalon Cubs) included in that list?
The inactive blogs will be removed from the current design. They will reappear within the Beta once I revise their data. Once that's complete I will revise the data for Sox Therapy and Gonfalon Cubs and tweak their current templates so they still appear in the old design.

I'm keeping the Hall of Merit within it's own container as I hope, at some point, to help them come up with a completely new design.

Jose, the Beta Info block will be removed. After the redesign goes live, it will also be possible for patrons of the site to completely remove all advertising. I've always wanted to reward contributors with something and that seems like something they might like.
   15. Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4310472)
In the future, will there be a way to see a member list of any individual community?
I'm not sure. I can see why people might like that but I have privacy concerns. It might be something people will be able to opt-in on.
   16. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: December 07, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4319614)
I hesitate to complain about *anything* at this website, especially something so minor, but I have to say that I find the font for the beta version awfully hard on the eyes.
   17. Jim Furtado Posted: December 18, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4327496)
JJ1986, that's a nice suggestion. I've added it to my list.

There will be more stuff in the right-hand column, including blocks which highlight other related/popular content.
   18. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4327536)
Seems the time to ask, will we ever be able to call up posts by username? Including our own? If that could ever happen, it would be awesome.
   19. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4327697)
I hesitate to complain about *anything* at this website, especially something so minor, but I have to say that I find the font for the beta version awfully hard on the eyes.

Agree with this sentiment in both respects.
   20. Jim Furtado Posted: December 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4330858)
Lassus, you will be able to pull up entries/threads that people submit. You will also be able to pull up a list of entries which you have commented on. Although you won't be able to see what threads people are commenting on when the Beta goes live, I do plan on putting in a friends-like mechanism that will allow their friends see which threads they like and/or comment on. Although I can appreciate that people enjoy the posts of individual members it's important to respect each member's privacy as well.

The complaints about the font are noted. A change is possible.
   21. Lassus Posted: December 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4330862)
You will also be able to pull up a list of entries which you have commented on.

Just from the Beta forward, or going back to pre-beta and the like? I admit interest in mining old threads for not just my own but other members' posts.
   22. Jim Furtado Posted: December 27, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4332847)
Lassus, I am not sure yet. For performance reasons, it will only be for a relatively short period. What I might do is add the ability to go into the archive for members who have donated. Does that sound reasonable to you?
   23. Lassus Posted: December 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4332867)
What I might do is add the ability to go into the archive for members who have donated. Does that sound reasonable to you?

If it costs more bandwidth to maintain the archives, sure. I mean, even if it didn't, it's your site, so I can't really whine about it anyhow, even if I'd want to. :-)

Regardless, I do understand if it's impossible for whatever reason. I WOULD like the ability to do a search on what I or someone else commented on in 2007, and what was said. I see that as one of the benefits of an internet-based persona, not having to rely on the imperfect human memory for interesting minutiae like that. In such a case, the "short period" part of that puts a damper on such an interest.

Again, it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, it's not anything to really get bent out of shape over. It's mostly a more comprehensive search feature that I thought would be really cool. I never imagined it would be difficult with a registration process in place to call up posts by registration. That has struck me as particularly odd over the years here.
   24. Jim Furtado Posted: December 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4333567)
To clarify...
I am completely overhauling the archives. This part of the update will not be done when I take the redesign live in January. I expect to have this part complete in February. Everyone will have access to the archives.

What will be limited is the ability to pull up threads *based on which threads you commented on*. Because of its size anything involving the comment table requires more resources. If I limit the searches to a shorter time period, the impact on performance is smaller. Queries that search the whole table us more resources. Since I have been looking for ways to reward people who generously donate to support the site, I am adding some features that those users have specifically asked for.

While I want to responsive to request from users, please keep in mind I'm always considering how the implementation of certain features impact privacy. Although your motives are good, some members might use such a feature to harass other members. That's why any feature which queries information about a particular user will only be implemented with safeguards and permission from those individual members.

BTW, I appreciate your feedback.

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