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Old 10-01-2008, 19:57   #1
Eric
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Upgrade Announcements

Guys, I want to cover a few points that I would really like you all to keep in mind, in the coming days:

  • The changes happening are being done for important reasons. I know very well how many of you feel about change. I am asking for you all to bear with me for a few more days, until I am done.
  • Every change that I can work on non-live before springing it on you here is being handled just that way. Many of the changes will require me to tweak them once they are up and this may cause some of you a bit of discomfiture. I wouldn't be doing things this way, if there was a better way to do it.
  • If you see something you don't like during these changes, wait five minutes and it will probably chance. Everything is fluid right now, so don't work yourself up any of the changes right now.
  • I will post an update message here at least once daily, during this process, from now on. I will also post an announcement here if anything big is about to happen or has happened.
  • When I am done, I will post a comprehensive synopsis of everything that changed and why. I will also post tutorials explaining the new features and functions. Most of this will end up in the site's FAQ system, linked to above.
Folks, these changes may be frustrating some of you, but I ask again that you give some thought to the amount of time and effort I am putting into this and cut me some slack. I believe that when I am done, the end result will be well worth the effort for most of you. I hope the rest will come to accept the changes as necessary. I learned long ago though that I can't please everyone. Thanks again for everyone's participation here and for your patience, during these upgrades. Eric
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Old 10-01-2008, 20:23   #2
Eric
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Current Issues

There seem to be a few issues specifically that are bugging the people who are bugged by these changes. I am going to take a moment to address them.

  1. The front page changes: These changes are being made because the front page is very wasteful of space and server load and because due to its size, it takes a long time to scroll up and down the page. The new front page puts EXACTLY the same functionality of the original index page into a much smaller and easier to navigate design. All the forums are still there. They are separated into the categories which are linked to by the tabs across the top of the index box. Click each table and that category's forums will open below it. By the time I am done, this tab bar will be on every page and will link you back to the proper tab display back on the index page. I am looking into both being able to give you a user option to decide what tab opens on the home page, by default. I am also looking into the feasibility of putting each user's subscribed forum list under its own tab, on the forum index. This would be the best possible way for each user to have the forums he regularly visits right at his fingertips.
  2. Page width: As I have said before, more than 96% of the people here use 1024X768 screen resolution or higher. I other words, very few people here are using 800 pixel-wide screen resolution and keeping the site's design limited to view properly in that resolution puts a real constraint on what I can do with page space. I have switched to a fixed-width format, based on 11024 pixel-wide screen resolution, which is the design standard used by most websites today. Even so, when I am done with the site changes, I will create a lower-res theme that people using 800X600 resolution can use. It will happen by the end of next week, at the latest. I may or may not added a fluid-width theme as well, based on the 1024 pixel model. I will let you guys know about this soon, one way or the other.
  3. Banner Ads: Folks, something has to pay the bills here. The paid memberships and occasional memberships, while helpful and much appreciated, are not coming close to doing it. Advertising is going to have to. Many people got themselves worked up about the launch of the banner system today. It is not in its final format, folks. It will get moved around, tweaked, considered and tweaked some more. Ads, in some form, are going to be a part of the landscape around here though, as they have been for more than nine years. I will keep the ads as unobtrusive as possible, but they need to be there. In the end, there will probably spots that will appear in different locations, or disappear entirely, for paid members. I will also soon be added a horizontal box of twenty 75X40 pixel static ad spots, similar to the ones at the top of AR15.com, though they will be packed into a tight horizontal group here. They will have a little format, but same rough shape as a current standard banner ad. They will appear in the area above and right of the main content area on each page and will be fixed throughout the site. We will be losing the navigation box above, that resides between the header and content area of each page. The functional contents of that box will be relocated elsewhere on the page. The two rows of links, for instance, will end up located above and below the header table above, in place of the black rows, with thew brown decorative weave on their left. With this change, we will gain quite a bit of vertical space,even with the addition of the static ads, which will move the primary content of each page up a bit.
You are only seeing a slice of the overall pie at a time, right now and that pie is still being constructed. You all need to keep that in mind. When you see the whole thing,I think each aspect of the changes will make a lot more sense, and the completed package will be functional, attractive and easy to navigate. I'll post more tomorrow. Eric
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:14   #3
Eric
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Glock Talk Is Back On Top

As most of you are no doubt aware, GT was moved up into a 'forums' directory some time ago, in preparation for adding a new homepage tot he site. The homepage programs I tried did not work out unfortunately, so I turned the main forum page into the front page I wanted. Well, I am in the process of doing so, at any rate. So, I just moved the forums back up onto the main directory of the site. To get to the main index page now, you go to http://glocktalk.com/ instead of http://glocktalk.com/forums/ . The 'forums' URLs will continue to function for the time being, but the 'forums' part is no longer necessary. If you have bookmarked any pages here at links that no longer connect, you will be taken instead back to the main page of the site. This is the last move of the forums. Sorry for the inconvenience. Eric
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Old 10-06-2008, 13:12   #4
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10-06-08 Update

Ok, the site should now be running faster during busy times. The site has not been running slower lately because of the upgrades. it has been running slower lately because the traffic is picking up with the coming of cooler weather, as it does each year. The problem is that we have grown enough over the summer that the server couldn't handle the additional load. I have brought a couple of other servers online to help with the workload.

The server loads were a primary consideration for me, in my upgrade strategy. I knew the server was pushing its limits. The site needs a new homepage, but the server did not have the resources to install any of the portal programs designed to work with the vBulletin software I use. honestly, I don't know that we will have enough server power to run one of these systems even now, but I am going to try to get one of them to work.

You have probably all noticed the tabbed front page is gone. I really thought that was a better system, but I was worn down by the opposition to it. My biggest frustration in doing upgrades like this is the amount of inflexibility and even obstinance I encounter from so many people. At any rate, I have shelved the idea of turning the front page of the forums area into a portal page for the site. This means moving the forums back into the 'forums' subcategory and making a portal software work, or, failing that, building a homepage that interacts with the software here. I will be working on all of this over the next few days. There should be very little disruption here during the process. I will post another update soon. Eric
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:10   #5
Eric
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Quick Update

Hi folks. We now have a content block on the front page that displays your subscribed forums, if you have subscribed to any. If you haven't, you won't see the block. The forum subscription system is a great way to organize the forums you like to see and have them grouped for you in one place. You will see the forums you have subscribed to in your UserCP (Linked to above and to the right) and now you will see them on the new front page. To subscribe to a forum, go into that forum's index page and look for a 'Forum Tools' link, to the top and right of the main content area. Under that link will be a 'Subscribe To This Forum' link. When you click on it, there is an option to choose email notification for forum activity or not. To remove a forum from your subscribed forums list, look for an unsubscribe link, in the subscribed forums block on the main page or in your UserCP area.

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I have resolved the problems with the forumjump drop-down list, in the navbar above. This drop-down list can be used to jump to any forum on the site, like the drop-down list at the bottom right of most forum pages, but this one is visible throughout the site. I am still working on fixing the links across the top of the page. They work within the forum areas, but not on the main page.

________________________

As many of you know, some workplaces and public venues block access to sites like Glock Talk, so some alternate domain names that point at the same location are available, like aritah.com. Adding the new homepage has complicated the use of alternate domain names used to access the site. I intend to have the site where the alternate domains will work with all the new features when I am done, but there is at least one known issue, at this time. If you visit the site from an alternate URL, like aritah.com, and attempt to log in on the main page, the login will not occur and you will just loop back to the main page. What you need to do is to go to {place alternate domain name here, like aritah.com}/forums (Which is the location of the forums, and log in there. Once you have done so, you will show as logged in everywhere, including on the homepage. There may still be some scattered hard-coded links that will take you back into glocktalk.com, so watch for them. I will clean them out, when I get a chance. If you discover one, there are a variety of different ways to navigate the site. Choose another one. The new forumjump droop-down list, in the bottom-left of the navbar, will work with alternate domain names.

________________________

Anyway, I am going to continue to work on things and will post another update soon. Eric
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:27   #6
Eric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric View Post
________________________

As many of you know, some workplaces and public venues block access to sites like Glock Talk, so some alternate domain names that point at the same location are available, like aritah.com. Adding the new homepage has complicated the use of alternate domain names used to access the site. I intend to have the site where the alternate domains will work with all the new features when I am done, but there is at least one known issue, at this time. If you visit the site from an alternate URL, like aritah.com, and attempt to log in on the main page, the login will not occur and you will just loop back to the main page. What you need to do is to go to {place alternate domain name here, like aritah.com}/forums (Which is the location of the forums, and log in there. Once you have done so, you will show as logged in everywhere, including on the homepage. There may still be some scattered hard-coded links that will take you back into glocktalk.com, so watch for them. I will clean them out, when I get a chance. If you discover one, there are a variety of different ways to navigate the site. Choose another one. The new forumjump droop-down list, in the bottom-left of the navbar, will work with alternate domain names.

________________________
The navigation box in the right column of the main page now works with alternate domain names. So when you show up using a different domain name, click on the forums link in that navigation block, and sign in on the forum's main index page. That column will soon replace the column elsewhere on the site, so these links will be available everywhere. Eric
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