SDCFans Forums

Site Stuff => Announcements => Topic started by: shavethewhales on July 30, 2011, 10:28:02 PM

Title: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 30, 2011, 10:28:02 PM
I'm starting a new updates thread since the last one was so old and convoluted.

Been a lot more busy the past few weeks than I expected to be (as usual), what with a summer class I ended up needing to take, vacation, work, etc. However, things are settling down for a few weeks before I head back to uni again, so I'll be trying to force myself to get some major work done on the site again.

Tonight I'm throwing the final touches on the somewhat re-vamped user features and pulling them out of "beta". Tomorrow or the next day I'll finally open the HFEC wiki and get some pages started on DW and WW. Then over the course of the next few weeks I'll be adding and editing content and preparing yet another new site template that I hope to have installed before I start class in three weeks. I'm not re-writing much of the site's actual code this time, just changing the layout and graphics to make the site cleaner and to present all of our content better. I want something that shows off our features such as photo sharing and the wiki. Speaking of the wiki, I need to spend some time fixing that up as well.

If you have an itch to write some content or make some edits, let me know.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozark Outlaw on July 30, 2011, 11:12:20 PM
It's good to hear about the site updates.

This place just gets better, and better each day. With such a busy life, and school schedule you do an incredible job of keeping the wheels spinning.

The vast information on this website is incredible, and changing things up to highlight the features would really be a great help.

Keep up the good work! :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on August 09, 2011, 08:05:18 PM
Got another couple of bugs fixed with the photo feature, but right now I'm having problems with handling large file sizes. If you try uploading a photo over about 2MB on any of the 'regular' forms the site ends up timing out even though I've set all our memory and script-run-time settings to very high levels. I'll probably have to re-write some of it again somehow...

I also fixed some of the pagination issues in the photo gallery section. You can now browse through pages of photos again.

Haven't gotten a chance to work on any new content yet, hope to get started in the next few days.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozark Outlaw on August 09, 2011, 11:49:20 PM
Sounds awesome shave, and thanks for the updates!

It’s good to hear of the many facets of progress. I look forward to more enhancements down the road. :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on August 16, 2011, 02:22:46 PM
The photo sharing feature will be down for most of the rest of today as I'm re-building part of it.

The new design is coming along, albeit slowly. It'll definitely be much more open, faster, and easier to navigate. I don't know that I'll be able to get it done before I start class again though, so it might end up being a few weeks.

I still need to get started on the new content sections, but I just don't have the time at the moment.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: okiebluegrass on August 16, 2011, 05:23:03 PM
You're doing a great job shave. Keep up the good work  ;D
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: thelarsonsix on August 16, 2011, 06:23:03 PM
I'm sure it's a big job, but what's involved in creating a mobile compatible site? When reading the forums from my Blackberry I don't see pics, and most of the features don't work, I'm mainly only reading the text. It may be cockpit error as well, I know there's things it will do that I haven't the slightest idea how to use. I'm not asking you to do this, just thought you might know what's different about mobile sites. Thanks again for all you do.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on August 16, 2011, 09:09:32 PM
^Eventually I'll have to try to make a mobile version of the site, but it's not on my list yet. I don't have a smartphone myself yet, so I haven't even really looked into it much, but I know it will take a good bit of work.

There's not much I can do with the forums though, they run on a third party system that I thought worked with smartphones. Some of the photos from other sites that have been posted on here might not work because of something with the Blackberry system.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on September 26, 2011, 12:51:21 AM
Update -

I'm currently in the middle of the first semester of my third year as a Civil Engineering student, and to say I'm short on time these days would be a pretty big understatement. My classwork is taking until the early hours of the morning each night to get enough done, I'm heavily involved with two engineering groups on campus who are both busy with a lot of things right now, and I've been working on getting an internship for next summer.

So I'm not doing a lot with the site right now. I didn't have time to write an article when Wild Eagle was announced, I haven't had time to get the banners rotating again and to add new upcoming events, and the new pages I started over a month ago are still empty. Also the photo sharing feature is still pretty much a hot mess at the moment.

I hope to be able to put some more time into the again soon, but we'll have to see what happens as things go along. I'll try to get the home banner and events updated tomorrow, and maybe I can pick up where I left off with the photo feature and wiki pages by the weekend.

The updated layout I was working on probably won't happen until after Christmas.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on September 26, 2011, 06:34:27 AM
Shave,  Do what you can.....Take care of your personal responsibilities first::::

We know you have your hands full
We know your doing your best to update
We appreciate your effort
We like this site.   
We will use it as is, and enjoy it

And dont worry, if anybody complains, we will hog tie them to the front of the train, and let the Bolen brothers handle 'em!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!             KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: MissinTheGreenTrams on September 26, 2011, 09:45:31 AM
you have done a great job! we all love the site regardless!!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: DollarCityBoy on September 26, 2011, 09:47:43 AM
Thanks for all your hard work! I like the site as it currently is, and am very happy.
Just don't get all 'facebook' on us with any major changes ok? haha  :D
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozark Outlaw on September 26, 2011, 10:16:13 AM
You have already done the hard part of creating this website, and getting it going. Now, like a freshly planted seed, you can sit back, tend to other responsibilities, and let it grow on its own.

We don't need new fancy bells, and whistles to make this website great. Just having a place that we can all come together as a SDCFans.com family is more than enough. :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on December 29, 2011, 07:51:38 PM
Been a long time since the last update, but as I said in the last update I was very busy all last semester and had to really fight for the last two months to save my GPA. I basically didn't sleep the last 3 weeks of school.

Anyway, now I have some free time again and I'm using at least some of it to work on the site. Today I've wrestling with the cleaned up layout I want to implement soon. I'm not a design guy, and vintage/grunge designs are probably the hardest to get right so this is a real challenge. However, I'm optimistic that when it gets done it will be much easier to actually see and use the range of features that are available on the main site. The old wiki, review, and photo features will be fixed up when the new layout moves live.

I'm also planning to work on the main site content again soon. I hope to update the ride pages and get some content in about the other HFEC properties including Dollywood.

Finally, I'm going to try to keep our news feed updated more often. I'll have some kind of year-in-review article up soon, and eventually I'll add a feature where users can send in links to SDC stories so I can put them up there.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 02, 2012, 01:35:36 AM
Got a couple of new stories written up on the main site. Working on getting some of the upcoming events for 2012 set up now. Hope to get the new home page design done tomorrow.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Duelist on January 02, 2012, 10:00:26 AM
My Stetson's off to you Shave.  You're doing an excellent job on this site as always!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on March 20, 2012, 05:53:56 PM
As I'm sure you've noticed, nothing has been done around the site for some time now. I had once envisioned setting the site up so that it could run pretty much autonomously, but I just don't have the time to make that happen anymore.

Right now I am considering cutting the front page of the site completely and turning the forums into the index of the site. So when you go to SDCFans.com, the forums would pop up instead of the current home page. I would keep a link at the top of the forums to a content directory of some sort where we could keep some links to the current content pages that we want to keep, such as some of the history and ride wiki pages.

This would basically cut out all of the news stories that I write from time to time, as well as events, user photo galleries, trip reports/articles, and a multitude of empty or expired content pages.

I would possibly redesign the forums a little to accommodate for some of the changes.

Would anyone have a problem with this?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: DianaGail on March 20, 2012, 05:56:34 PM
While I like the news stories and trip reports/articles, I can see your point and don't have a problem with it :).  Those could be relocated to the forums if you wanted to keep them.  I say go for it.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: thelarsonsix on March 20, 2012, 06:37:45 PM
As I'm sure you've noticed, nothing has been done around the site for some time now. I had once envisioned setting the site up so that it could run pretty much autonomously, but I just don't have the time to make that happen anymore.

Right now I am considering cutting the front page of the site completely and turning the forums into the index of the site. So when you go to SDCFans.com, the forums would pop up instead of the current home page. I would keep a link at the top of the forums to a content directory of some sort where we could keep some links to the current content pages that we want to keep, such as some of the history and ride wiki pages.

This would basically cut out all of the news stories that I write from time to time, as well as events, user photo galleries, trip reports/articles, and a multitude of empty or expired content pages.

I would possibly redesign the forums a little to accommodate for some of the changes.

Would anyone have a problem with this?

I wouldn't. To be perfectly honest I rarely hit the homepage. My bookmark is set to go straight to the forums, so unless something in the forums mentions the home page I don't look at it. We all appreciate the forum so much and understand you need to do what works for you best.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: KBCraig on March 20, 2012, 09:07:11 PM
The only time I don't go straight to the forum is if I'm on a new computer, and then I'm only on the front page long enough to log in and go to the forum.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior on March 21, 2012, 05:44:49 PM
Do what you have to do...but I like the photo galleries and a home page. As long as we have the forums to visit with each other and keep each other up to date! Thanks for all you do.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on March 21, 2012, 07:12:05 PM
I agree with Junior, I enjoy the homepage, however you have been very gracious in creating and sustaining this site and should do what works best for you as I know you are very busy. I would much rather have the opportunity to read the thoughts of all the wonderful people of this site on the forums page if it comes to that or the home page.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Injun Joe on March 21, 2012, 10:40:27 PM
The site's great.  Just keep doing as you will.  The forums are great.  The content available from the front page is great.  Your enthusiasm is great.  Thank you very much!  This place is my permanent vicarious vacation home away from home.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on May 12, 2012, 12:00:34 AM
Now that I am finally done with this semester and not staying up till 3-4AM every night doing homework, it's time to fix the site again. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I'm planning on making the forums into the home page of the site that users will see when they first visit Sdcfans.com. The top part of the forum index will be rearranged to include a "What's New" section that will showcase major news being discussed on the forums and   any updates made to other areas of the site. Most of the content that is on the site now will remain and will still be accessible through a link on the top of the forums.

The first stage of setting the forums to be the default index of the site will probably happen at the end of this month, and I'll work on the rest of the overhaul and other tweaks and updates over the course of the summer.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior on May 12, 2012, 08:23:29 AM
Thanks, Shave. Keep up the good work! :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on May 12, 2012, 10:14:14 AM
sounds great shave.!!  thanks again for all that you do!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: MissinTheGreenTrams on May 12, 2012, 10:40:37 AM
awesome! Cant wait to see the new page!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: mhguy77 on May 12, 2012, 04:50:44 PM
Looking froward to the new " Look"  You are appreciated!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozarks Gal on May 18, 2012, 12:38:15 PM
Shave, thanks for all you do!!! Looking forward to the changes. :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on May 18, 2012, 05:29:09 PM
Your the man. I appreciate you keeping this site going for us avid SDC fans.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: MissinTheGreenTrams on May 23, 2012, 08:18:46 AM
I like the little tweakes you made to the site. The FB stamp is a nice change from the normal thumbs up thing. The stacks of paper instead of purple/blue faces is nice too. Great work!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozarks Gal on May 23, 2012, 08:22:17 AM
I hadn't even noticed the Facebook stamp until Trams pointed it out, but I really like it. Nice touch!
Loving the stacks of paper! Keep up the good work. We really do appreciate all you do for the site.  ;D
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozark Outlaw on May 23, 2012, 08:26:54 AM
Also noticed several tweaks on the SDCFans Facebook page, and post. Very cool theme additions over there too!  :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on May 23, 2012, 09:38:00 AM
Thanks guys. More little updates to come.

I'll probably try to figure out a new logo soon. The one I put on the facebook page was just something I threw together in a few minutes. We've never really had a real logo yet, but if I can actually make something that looks halfway decent for a change we can stick with it for awhile and put it on t-shirts or something.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: betamike on May 23, 2012, 06:03:54 PM
Love the changes!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: tiffanylynnt on May 23, 2012, 10:17:54 PM
I love them too!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on May 24, 2012, 11:58:55 AM
All good for a good cause!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on June 17, 2012, 11:32:23 PM
I've been delaying some of those changes I talked about earlier due to my recent trip and the photo update that I posted. We've been getting a ton of traffic because of those photos, so I'm letting that die down a bit before changing the home page and everything since that might break all the site links for awhile.

There might be some down time and a lot of random little bugs this week as I make the changes.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 10, 2012, 09:59:16 PM
Today I finally made the change to redirect all traffic to the forums. You can still access pages on the main site if you have the direct URL. Eventually I will make a new directory page of sorts that will have links to all the content from the main site that I wish to keep. Most of it will be purged except for the history pages, some of the "wiki", my photos, and archived news.

From here on the focus of the site will be on the forums, which is really already where it has been for the last year or two. I will have more changes to this effect throughout the week. I'll try to get a countdown clock at the top of the page tonight or tomorrow so we can count down the days to the big ride announcement.

Someday I might get back to adding the features that I attempted to build on the main site for years, but I will probably use third party libraries and plugins instead of trying to code myself. I'm no longer a web developer, and I wasn't a very good one when I was anyway. I'm already looking into a third party photo sharing plugin to use so people can upload photos to the site and share them on the forums easier.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: eagle1 on July 10, 2012, 10:10:37 PM
Hey shaves! If you are a new member or existing and want to access the main site, I'm having problems getting to it when I click the tab or just trying to type in sdcfans.com. I just want to be sure the logo/link to HomeStay will still be shown as the same as previous. If not, then we have to re-think or I may have to look into getting logo/link onto the forums pages? I know at one time for more $ we could purchase that space but looks like now those are "taken" for good???? Feel free to PM me on this or call if you get a chance. Thanks! We want to continue to sponsor and of course get our hotel name out there too!  ;D Love the quickness to get straight to forums quickly idea as I'm on here all the time and that's great!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 10, 2012, 10:19:52 PM
^PM sent, I will get a new ad space for you guys on the top of the forums as soon as the ad company refunds and closes out the old ad space. The old home page is going away completely since it hasn't been updated in forever and I don't have the time to keep it filled with content like it should be.

There will also be a 'What's New' section on top of the forums that will have links to the latest happenings related to SDC on the forums or elsewhere, and probably some type of tie-in for our Facebook page.

If anyone is having any troubles with the new arrangement, let me know. I don't know if any anti-virus programs will freak out or not since I'm using a redirect.

Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 12, 2012, 10:55:03 PM
Got a first pass of the 'What's New' section up. Ideally it should probably only show up on the index of the forums, but right now it's showing up on a few other pages as well. I'll keep going through it tomorrow to make sure it only shows up where I want it to.

Any problems with it or thoughts about it? I'm thinking I'll probably work a little more on it later to make it look a little more thematic.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: mhguy77 on July 13, 2012, 07:48:33 AM
I always enjoyed the quickness of the " Last 5 posts" Is there any way those could be incorporated back into the new page when you complete it?
Appreciate all your hard work!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on July 13, 2012, 09:08:27 AM
I also like the way the "new" site is shaping up...

I have to agree with MH, I would to be able monitor the last 5 postings when we pull up the home page.  Made it much easier to check on new posts..

OR even IF you colud put a "counter" of some kind on the home page telling us how many new posts since our last visit.. Then we could go through the steps to access them.. ??? ???

I dont know what that would take to modify site accordingly..

 We all appreciate your work and efforts and I ma sure whatever you come up with will be more  than acceptable..

THANKS!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 13, 2012, 10:39:00 AM
Those sound like good ideas. I can definitely add the last 5 posts box back in, but I'm not sure about the unread posts counter. I'll see what I can do. 
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on July 13, 2012, 11:06:32 AM
How about a "scroll back to top of page" button?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior on July 13, 2012, 12:37:27 PM
So with the "home" page gone now, how do we find the galleries, videos, and so on?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 14, 2012, 04:32:26 PM
^Right now there's no easy way to access them, but they are still active if you have a link (like http://www.sdcfans.com/news/ ). I'll hopefully have a new archive page put together here in the next week or so where you can access all the content I deem worth keeping. Some of it will probably get carried over to new features in the future.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Ozark Outlaw on August 01, 2012, 12:00:41 PM
I love the more simplistic look the website is taking! I do miss the regularly changing seasonal pictures they were prominently placed on the front page. It added a bit of color, and enhanced the Silver Dollar City ambiance. Overall though, this website is streamlining nicely, and you have cultivated it to the point where it all but runs itself.  :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: marolinesdad on March 13, 2013, 04:28:01 PM
Really miss the old home page. 
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on March 14, 2013, 02:08:32 AM
^I kind of do too, but if it were still in place it would not have been updated in over a year probably. I can't even remember to update the What's New links at the top of the forum these days. I just have too much going on at the moment.