Filed Under: Front Page
That's right folks, it has only taken me eight weeks to write a post about an update which took something like two years to "complete". I write complete in quotes because the update itself was somewhat forced by my ISP discontinuing service on the server my old site was hosted on. This would be the kind of thing I would rant about normally, but they gave me something like half a year of notice with which I did nothing but plan to switch to my newly designated server. Needless to say, planning was not enough. In any case, that was then and this is now so welcome to Jimmy's World Version 6....
The version I slapped onto the new server in a panic was pretty badly broken, but I think most of the holes are patched now. Patched enough that I can and have started adding content rather than putting out fires. Adding content is something I've always been pretty bad at, but I have hastily whipped together or harvested from elsewhere a few articles to populate the site with. More should be coming in the semi-near future when I start importing old guest articles that were hosted before the change. At the same time I'll be syndicating some creative writing from other people as well, and that should fill out the page categories fairly well.
So what does the site upgrade mean, really? Well, in this case it means quite a lot. The page has basically become a big CMS, well, really a pair of CMS..es?. The whole site now is pretty much in the database, including the menus, article categories and category pages as well as the articles themselves. Like before, the devel projects are stored in the bug tracker. What does that mean? Well, it means that content on the site can be authored from anywhere by anyone. No FTP required. That includes things like menu structuring, image uploads and other stuff. Articles written are put in a submission queue and passed back and forth between the author and the editor until approved, then put up on the site. It may be comical to note that I am both the only author and only editor. Yes, as you may have suspected, this makes the whole things stupid. It WOULD be cool if there were many editors and authors. Trust me.
So what else is new? Lots of things actually. The front page now has an aggregated RSS news feed display which can keep track of which articles you 've read before and is customizable from the news feed editor. You can also choose to make your own feeds public so other people can opt to include them on their front pages as well. In addition to seeing the most recent headlines it is also possible to search headlines, excerpts and bodies of articles all the way back to when the site started aggregating them. This functionality is actually pretty cool since it lets you search news items from quite a few sources at once, check out the results for doom 3 for example.
Another big addition is 'watches' which show up all over the site as links called 'Watch this item'. When clicked on members will automatically be sent updates whenever the item, article, bug, project, comment or whatever is updated. Non-members will have to type their email and verify their addresses, but they will also be emailed updates. Of course, it would be easier and faster if you just became a user. But hey, your choice. Hint hint.
A lot of the old pointless features of the site are still intact like instant messaging and the ability to create development projects complete with a bug tracker etc. for site members. Like I mentioned before members can also write articles if they like, and more. I'm also slowly adapting the system to support livejournal like functionality for these news stories so I can completely move my journal to the site. Unfortunately there'll never be a substitute for friends pages, so I would imagine I'll always syndicate posts in both places. I can't even begin to imagine why anyone would want to switch away from livejournal to use a service here, so I doubt I'll put much energy into making it publicly viable.
As I've already said the site has been around for quite some time already, but I needed to get a post up at some point or another, so here it is. You're welcome to wander around and poke at things, of course. Quite a lot of stuff is undocumented still, and as usual the vast majority of the site is buried away behind a good three levels of links but *shrug* it's the best I can do for now. Also keep in mind that there are a couple satellite sites now as well: JWGames.org which is basically just a subset of the news on this site and so not too interesting. More interesting is the new-ish Onyx site which is only new if you haven't gone to it in ... well, many months. There's some new stuff in the Onyx database, but nothing terribly exciting or complete. More about that belongs in an Onyx post, not here.
So, that's it. A very belated announcement. Yay.