Website upgrade August 2013 - changes and new features

Martok

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The website has just had an upgrade. :D

There are some changes and new features that I wanted to let you know about.

Responsive Design
The website now has responsive design, meaning that the layout of the site will be altered according to the size of your screen. On smaller screens, the sidebar will move to the bottom of the page and some elements will be hidden e.g. last poster in a thread. The menu bar will also alter and hide some items in a dropdown menu. User alerts/unread conversation counts will be folded into your user menu. If there is a selected navigation tab, it will always be shown as well. You can even test this out on a PC by resizing your browser to see what happens.

Responsive design now means that the website better supports smaller-screen devices such as mobile phones and tablets. So now you can access the full features of the website on any device more easily.

Here's some screenshots to demonstrate this.

responsive1.png
responsive2.png
responsive3.png
responsive4.png
responsive5.png
responsive6.png


New Editor
The old editor is gone and a new editor is in place.

editor1.png


There are several advantages to the new one:
  • Much lighter code and faster to load.
  • When copying and pasting from other websites, some formatting is now removed (typically font type and colour) whilst other formatting remains (font size, bullet points etc). This makes it look nicer when posting, rather than having the mish mash of fonts that we've seen in the likes of the PlayStation Update thread.
  • The overlays are now consistent with overlays elsewhere in XF.
  • A bunch of other things which are detailed below.
One thing to note is that currently there is no spoiler button in the editor toolbar. This will hopefully return soon. In the meantime, you can still use the spoiler tags as before

e.g.

[spoiler]I just spoiled your mind.[/spoiler]
gives
I just spoiled your mind.

[spoiler=Title]I just spoiled your mind.[/spoiler]
gives
I just spoiled your mind.

Auto save drafts
Have you ever typed a long post only to find at the end that you have lost everything? Well you won't any more on this website! While you are typing a message, every 60 seconds a draft of your message will be saved. If you reload the page later, your message will be automatically re-shown. Drafts will be automatically pruned over time (currently 24 hours).

Each draft is associated with a particular piece of content, such as a thread, forum, or conversations. A draft reply that you start working on in thread 1 will not be shown to thread 2 and so forth. Each draft is saved separately.

Additionally, unlike other forum software where drafts are saved to the computer you are on, here the drafts will be saved on the site itself, so if you start on one device, you can then move to another one and continue there without losing your post! Handy if you start typing a message on your phone or tablet and realise it's going to be longer then expected and want to finish it on your PC with a full keyboard!

Although drafts are automatically saved, you can also manually save them using the new Save Draft button (the one with the disc on it). You can also manually delete a draft using the same button.

Pasting images
If you use Chrome or Firefox and have an image in your clipboard, you can simply paste it into the editor. If the image was copied from another website (i.e. you right clicked on the image and chose 'copy') then when you paste it into the editor, it will add the linked image to the page (so it saves you using the Image button on the toolbar). If the image on your clipboard is from a program on your computer, then when you paste it into the editor it will upload the image and display it in your post! This works exactly like uploading an image and then clicking the "full image" button.

Drag and drop uploading
Provided your browser supports it, you can now drag files into the editor to upload them:

editor2.png


Smilies
The old editor had a smiley dropdown which wasn't great as it obscured your post when open and if you wanted more than one you had to click on the smiley button several times. In the new editor when the smiley button is clicked, the smilies show up at the bottom of the post window and remain there during your post. You can hide them again if you click on the smiley button again.

editor3.png


Display if messages have been posted since you started your message
When you're writing a reply to a thread, if someone posts a new message in the thread, a note will appear to indicate this. You can then display those new posts without reloading the page. Useful in case you then want to add anything in response to the new post without having to post yours first and then editing it afterwards.

editor4.png


Responsive editor
Not only is the website fully responsive but so is the new editor!

editor5.png


User preference to disable Flash uploader
Some people can have problems where Flash is enabled but Flash-based uploads would fail. Individual users can now turn off the Flash uploader in Preferences. Note that if you don't have Flash installed on your device the website will default to the standard uploader.

Watch a Forum
You could already watch threads. Now you can watch entire forums! The forum watching system works rather similarly to the thread watching system, just on all content within a forum.

To watch a forum, go into that forum and click on the Watch Forum link. You will then have options on how you want to watch it.

watch_forum.png


Notifications work identically to thread watching notifications: you'll only receive one about a thread until you view it on the forum.

You can see and manage the forums you watch via the Watched Forums link in the Forums menu. This works in the same was as the Watched Threads link for threads you are watching. This can also be used to simply filter only to forums you're interested in.

Where's "What's New?"?
What's New? has been renamed to New Posts to better reflect what it does.

Recent Posts
There's now a Recent Posts link for those who prefer that to New Posts. It will show all recent posts, not just the ones you haven't read.

Improved RSS
The RSS feeds for each forum now show full posts (previously it was just titles).

Private Conversation Improvements
Most of the changes can be seen in this one screen shot:

conversations.png


Conversations now have their own tab, which allows for a few additional navigation links to specific lists.

Conversations can be starred. Starring works in the same way as in some email systems (e.g. GMail); it's mostly to allow filtering.

You can bulk manage your conversations (over multiple pages) using the inline moderation-style check box. You can star/unstar conversations, mark conversations as read/unread, or leave conversations with this.

Finally, you'll note that all participants are listed on the conversation list.

Thread title editing
If you started a thread and need to change the thread title after posting, you can now do so. Just click the Thread Tools dropdown at the top right of a thread you have started, then click on Edit Thread Title button to do this.

edit_thread_title.png


New User Banners
These show whether you are a member of staff and or a full member (Senior Citizen). We can also use them for other things in the future...

user_banners.png


New password storage: Bcrypt
A more secure password storage method known as bcrypt will be used. Most hashing schemes are designed to be fast, which makes them unsuitable for password storage. Bcrypt is intentionally slow and is also tunable so it can do more work over time as computers become faster.

Whenever a user logs in, their password will automatically be upgraded to the bcrypt format.This protects you and your data further than many other gaming forums!

New members page
The old members page was a bit unwieldy and not that useful. The new version has some more interesting information such as
  • Most messages
  • Most likes received
  • Most trophy points
  • Today's birthdays
  • List of all current staff
Notification emails: easy unsubscribe
Thread notification emails now have 2 unsubscribe links that do not require you to login to use them; one link stops email notifications from the thread the email was from, while the other stops them from all content.

Extended Post editing
Senior Gamers now has a much longer editing time on their posts! Posts can now be edited up to 30 days after they have been posted. This is useful for anyone organising an event over a period of weeks where the results are all put into the first post. We will review this time in the coming months to ensure it is long enough to meet members' needs.

The reason that unlimited post editing time is available again is because there is full post edit logging and history on this site. So if anyone should make mass changes to posts, we can restore them back to the way they were (and then deal with the naughty person ;) ).

Note that extended post editing this isn't available to those who are just Registered members, who still have a short time limit in place for editing their posts.

Robot identification in online visitors
The online visitors lists now distinguishes guests from robots based on user agent and counts them separately.

When viewing the list of online users, robots will be displayed differently, showing you a bit of information about the robot. The online users list can now be filtered to just members, guests, or robots.

Quote height limited
Quoted posts can dominate messages particularly if an entire post is being quoted. Quoted posts now have a height limit and if the contents won't fit in the box, you'll see a Click to expand... option at the bottom of the quote box. Clicking on this will show the whole quote.

Embedded media and images with the quotes will be further shrunk as well. Quoted images can still be clicked to be viewed full size.

Signature permissions
The new website has signature permissions, meaning we can better control what members put in their signatures.

The Signature Guidelines have been updated accordingly. There are a few changes to what we had previously but in general it is fairly similar to what we had before. Senior Gamers can see the original in the Archive.

The new signature permissions will come into force in 1 week and a notice will be posted on the site about this. All signatures will then be purged as they can't be applied to existing signatures. If you want to use the same signature after this (assuming it complies with the sig guidelines) then you should make a copy of your signature so you can paste it back in afterwards.

Where's the Help link?
The Help link has been moved to better use menu space on small devices. It can now be found at the bottom right of the forums.

Where's the Log Out link?
This has been removed to better use menu space on small devices. There's still a Log Out link in the menu when you hover/click on your name at the top right of the forums.

Member Map
The Member Map has now been removed. It doesn't work properly with the new responsive design and it was only used by a few members.
 
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The_Carpet_Frog

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Good stuff.

One thing, the URL of the link in the notice about the signature guidelines is wrong, it takes you to the media page.
 

Martok

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Good stuff.

One thing, the URL of the link in the notice about the signature guidelines is wrong, it takes you to the media page.
Thanks, now corrected. I also got the date wrong in the notice, it now correctly says 17th August! :fool:
 

Spruijt

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Slaine

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Have you changed the website @Martok ? You couldve told us?;)
 

Jkrohn1

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Balls to reading that, I'll just copy someone's post and pretend I read it. Awesome stuff!
 

Martok

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Balls to reading that, I'll just copy someone's post and pretend I read it. Awesome stuff!
If you didn't read it, then you won't know about any stuff that I could be removing. Like Tapatalk. ;)
 

Jkrohn1

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You would have prewarned me if that was true :P
 
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