Topic: New site: status update

muiz and jtdoom pointed me yesterday to the fact that I hadn't posted a single status update publicly. Several folks who are helping with the project have tested some part of the site to make sure things are straightforward, that they really work and whatnot. But the other many thousands of users haven't gotten to see anything at all so far. I realize this is a big mistake and I apologize for it.

Now let's change that smile

First off: what the heck have I been doing the past months? Well... mostly school. I've worked a lot on the website, but there's projects and exams. The former requires quite some time, the latter demands complete exclusion from all things not school (if I drift off course once, it's really hard for me to focus on the exams again). Today I have made my first exam of this last exam series. Three more to come, but they're not too difficult anymore smile

Secondly: I'm building the new site using Drupal. This is a CMF (Content Management Framework) written in PHP, with an excellent architecture. The API documentation is great and the community even better. The various IRC channels are vibrant, with more than 100 members connected at any given moment during the day. When you add all this up, you get nothing but good stuff: good framework + good docs + good community = greatness!
Or to put it another way: I'd recommend it to you any time.

Because Drupal is a CMF, not a CMS, there's a lot of fucntionality to be gained "for free" (without a single line of code) by installing more modules (of which there are hundreds by the way) and configuring them. Some are difficult to set up, some are not. The most difficult is not the configuration itself though, but choosing the right modules: module A is better than module B, but does not offer integration with module C, but B does. Which one to choose?
Things like this come up all the time. But again, this is not the hardest part. Again, the infamous 80/20 rule applies: the first 80% of your functionality is relatively easy to gain, the last 20% is the hardest. The last 20% would be the custom module development here.

You could say I have set five main goals for the new site:
1) it must be prepared for the future (mainly in terms of extensibility, in lesser degree scalability)
2) it must be as straightforward in use as possible, but still trying to let the user (as in: not a developer) do as much of the work as possible, without requiring prior knowledge
3) it must integrate the bug tracker into the forum
4) tools to collaboratively write online documentation
5) more features (private messaging, uploading files, inline images in the forum, ...)

These have been finished about a month ago. A lot more is yet to come though - of which I won't disclose any details to not disappoint if some of it doesn't make it into the final site. A very important speed boost will be achieved in the form of a JS aggregator, a functionality that will be in the next version of Drupal by default, but of which I have sponsored the backport to Drupal 5.1 (on which the site is built, Drupal 6 is still in development).

I think this summarizes the past months quite well. I've faded into the background of this project, as undoubtedly at least some of you have noticed. But my great successors are working at a pace I couldn't have kept up with when I was still doing this alone. The most important amongst them are muiz, jtdoom, OverFlow and recently also mr_smartepants. I'd like to thank these Four Musketeers in particular for their hard work! smile

And now last but not least: some links to the development website to show off parts of the functionality smile
1) A new frontpage (duh!).
Also click the login link at the top for some fancy effects. And see the User and Forum "blocks" at the right side.
2) Next: let's click on the "Recent posts" link in the upper right. Wait for the page to load... and especially note the "Status" column at the right. This column only exists for the topics in the various DriverPacks forums and the DriverPacks BASE forum.
3) Let's get a glimpse of the new forum. Click on that inline image to see it in preview size (and again some fancyness!).
4) Here's one of the most powerful new features of the new site: the Forum Filter. This allows you to narrow down the list of topics to just the ones that match certain tags. Please click "Chipset" and see the whole new array of further options dynamically appear.
5) Here's the shiny new beginners guide (written by mr_smartepants).
6) Google-powered search, which takes away some load from the server, but more importantly, allows us to keep the current forum searchable. (This forum will be closed, but kept online when the new site launches.)

You'll see a lot of small CSS bugs, much more missing content, but that's normal: it's a development site!

Looking forward to get some feedback in the comments!

Founder of —

Re: New site: status update

Wow, this is freaking awesome!

Definately worth the wait! big_smile

Re: New site: status update

Yeah, great smile
However new forum posts take a lot of space .... actual one are less "verbose".

Re: New site: status update

I hate waiting yikes

Re: New site: status update

@maxximum: I see what you mean. I may decrease the size of the avatars, then less screen real estate will get lost.

@muiz: tongue

Founder of —

Re: New site: status update

And again , we hear nothing..

Lots of people and  specialy those who donated, wondering what happened with their money.

Last news on this was on 2007-06-26

Bashrat  ???