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Here you'll find helpful tips regarding the operation of the Discussion Boards at First Tracks!! Online, as well as general announcements for our users.
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New Look, New Features for FTO

Sun May 15, 2011 3:45 pm

Regular visitors to First Tracks!! Online have noticed that there’s been no new news or feature content published over the past 10 days or so. We’ve been skiing of course, but that isn’t it. We’ve had bigger fish to fry and we’re now ready to unveil the results to you, our loyal readers.

The database that forms the backbone of our publication had become corrupt and unusable. Couple that with the fact that our publishing platform has been all but abandoned by both its creators and users, and we knew that it was time for a change.

There was, however, no conversion script already written to modify our database from the old format to the new. This required countless hours and many sleepless nights to by hand reconstruct the database in a format recognized by the new platform with a minimal loss of content. We’re tired and brain-dead but we’re nearly done, and we’re close enough that we can now throw the switch and show our new magazine format to the world.

The good news is that the new platform is active, robust and used by tens of thousands of publishers worldwide. This means new features for you, including a mobile version of our website, improved search functionality and better categorization of articles. If you were registered for our main website before we regret that you’ll need to re-register, but forum users are unaffected by this.

We still have a few final pieces to the puzzle to finish, such as recreating more than the first paragraph of news articles over a year old, but we’re anxious to show the new FTO to the skiing world. We look forward to your feedback!

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Sun May 15, 2011 4:22 pm

Thanks for the update and for hosting this awesome forum.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Sun May 15, 2011 4:38 pm

All that, AND you've been skiing too? Bravo!

New Look, New Features for FTO

Sun May 15, 2011 8:19 pm

Admin wrote:....The database that forms the backbone of our publication had become corrupt and unusable.


Hey! Just a short Perl script away from Nirvana. What could be simpler? Right...

Cheers
Jeff

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Sun May 15, 2011 8:26 pm

lookn4powder wrote:Hey! Just a short Perl script away from Nirvana. What could be simpler? Right...


:rotfl:

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 7:30 am

Mobile site is great. Thank you.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 10:29 am

The look of the home page and news has definitely improved. The feature articles remain the stepchild of FTO in terms of appearance and presentation. Many of the pictures don't display now, the tables still look like crap and there is random html code now scattered throughout the text of articles.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 10:31 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Many of the pictures don't display now, the tables still look like crap and there is random html code now scattered throughout the text of articles.


Read. The. Announcement. I'm still cleaning all of that crap up. With nearly 11,000 articles that's going to take a while, especially after four 18-hour days spent just getting it to this point. I haven't even showered since Thursday. :-# And if you knew how much extraneous $hit is included in the code for those tables you submit to me you'd be amazed that I even get them to display at all.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 10:33 am

I also checked the archives. As the Forum has not changed in appearance the archives are also the same, as I expected.

Why are tables such an ordeal? Software such as Wordpress have no problem with them. I am trying to be constructive here. Perhaps people such as Patrick and Harvey44 would not have cut back their FTO participation in favor of their own blogs so much if FTO's platform had more flexibility.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 10:41 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Why are tables such an ordeal? Software such as Wordpress has no problem with them.


Because you create them in Microsoft and as a result they have an absurd number of proprietary tags that are not interpreted by HTML.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 11:58 am

Interesting stuff. I think I like it. Though I still vote with Tony on at least the visibility of the feature articles.

Mobile is much streamlined... thank you. I'll have to try to post using it to see if tap-a-talk is still under consideration (by me anyway).

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 11:59 am

EMSC wrote:Mobile is much streamlined... thank you. I'll have to try to post using it to see if tap-a-talk is still under consideration (by me anyway).


Just to clarify...the new mobile site is for everything except the forums. The forums run on a separate platform. For the forums, Tapatalk is still the best mobile option.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Mon May 16, 2011 12:02 pm

Admin wrote:With nearly 11,000 articles that's going to take a while, especially after four 18-hour days spent just getting it to this point.

You should have hired a programmer. After all, what's your hourly billable rate?

Admin wrote:I haven't even showered since Thursday.

Um....gross.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Tue May 17, 2011 10:22 am

Harvey44 wrote:Mobile site is great. Thank you.


It's even better now for touchscreen smart phones -- click here for further info and a demo.

Re: New Look, New Features for FTO

Tue May 24, 2011 12:06 pm

Admin wrote:It's even better now for touchscreen smart phones


FYI, actually the last couple of days my phone just loads up the full desktop version of FTO and no longer the mobile site... (Android 2.2 with stock browser)
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