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Site Stuff => Announcements => Topic started by: shavethewhales on May 27, 2013, 11:10:02 PM

Title: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on May 27, 2013, 11:10:02 PM
Since I finally have a little bit of downtime to work with this summer, I'm hoping to get some upgrades in place for this site.

The first thing on the agenda is to install a plugin that allows for easier photo sharing through the forums. I've been researching a few and have selected one to try out, so look for that soon.

The other major thing I have in mind is bringing back a home page of sorts. It will be similar to the old one, but without all the clunky features that I was experimenting with. It will have links to the old content pages that I wanted to keep around, feeds of forum activity, and a news feature that will allow people to submit links to news articles about Branson/SDC. I keep forgetting to update the 'What's New' feature at the top of the forums as it is, so I hope by building a feature such as this I'll stay more on top of it. Right now the process I have for updating that feature is so clunky that I just never get around to using it.

I'll be able to start working on these updates starting next week. The new home page will probably take until the end of the summer to implement because of how slow I am at designing things.

In the mean time, any requests, comments, concerns? I know there were some feature requests in the past that slipped through the cracks because I was so busy. Now is the time to ask.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: Junior on May 28, 2013, 04:16:48 PM
Thanks for the work you do! I would like to see a home page return. Also the galleries that used to be available, and the descriptions of rides and attractions that featured a history of them and a photo or two. I know I can go online and go through a search engine and occasionally still find those diving bell and float trip galleries I put together for the site. It would be nice just to click on a tab on the home page and go right to all of those things. Take your time, do it right, enjoy your summer! :)
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: sanddunerider on May 28, 2013, 04:18:14 PM
Yes indeed, try to enjoy your summer,

I am sure whatever changes you make will be appreciated. It sound to me like you have a finger on what needs to be changed/modified..

THANKS
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: rubedugans on May 29, 2013, 09:13:15 AM
a photo plug in would be A-mazing!
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: Joy on May 29, 2013, 02:32:09 PM
Speaking of photos, Flickr has restructured their free vs paid accounts, and now all free accounts have *1tb* storage. No more limit of 200 photos in your gallery if you have a free account!
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: Junior on May 29, 2013, 04:53:49 PM
I noticed Flickr had changed their formatting. Glad to know there is not a photo limit now.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: eagle1 on May 29, 2013, 07:59:06 PM
Make sure I can still Advertise the HomeStay Logo!  ;D
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: joshblakebran on May 29, 2013, 08:38:44 PM
Shave,
Very happy to see you bringing back the home page. I appreciate all your work on this website. This is by far my favorite and most used website. I look forward to seeing the changes you plan to bring to the site.
Thanks,

PS...For whomever does the "Where In the City?" game...Are you going to bring it back for this season?
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: shavethewhales on June 06, 2013, 07:50:39 PM
I've started implementing the new gallery feature. Try it out and let me know what you think: http://sdcfans.com/forums/index.php?action=gallery

It's a third party plugin, and it costs money to get many features with it, but I'm considering going that route eventually. The expanded version allows individuals to have their own galleries on the server, among other things.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: Junior on June 07, 2013, 09:01:59 AM
Gallery feature is simple and easy to use. Thanks!  Oh, can you reload the diving bell and float trip galleries I submitted some time back and place them here? If not, let me know and I will load the photos for you sometime when I have got time to do it.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: shavethewhales on July 26, 2013, 11:05:27 PM
Just FYI: it looks like a major targeted spam attack is underway. I've deleted several dozen spam accounts that were created just today. Hopefully we won't get overrun.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: shavethewhales on January 04, 2014, 08:31:16 PM
Better late than never: I'm very close to launching the new home page and de-cluttered main site.

It's a bit plain, but I will probably continue to work on it over the next few months as I have time. I decided to stop trying to be a perfectionist and just get something out there. It's taken far too long anyway.

Look for the root URL to start pointing toward the new home page sometime within the next few days or so. I have basically everything designed and coded at this point, I'm mostly just sorting through the old content at this point.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: biscuitcreek on January 05, 2014, 10:22:18 AM
Thanks, Shave, for all that you do for this site.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: shavethewhales on January 16, 2014, 02:46:07 AM
Getting there... I haven't worked on any of these files for over a year, and I've never exactly been a skilled coder, so there's been quite a few bugs. The new home page is up more or less now, but almost all of the content is still locked until I can sort everything out. I'll hopefully have some time this weekend though.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: sanddunerider on January 16, 2014, 04:58:31 AM
Like the looks of the home page so far..... Thanks for doing what you do....
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: shavethewhales on January 19, 2014, 11:22:22 PM
Got a lot done today. More of the old content is easily accessible again, but there's still a lot of styling to do and I'm sure there's a lot of bugs. Haven't really run through everything very carefully yet, I've got to work in spurts.

Once I get all the big issues ironed out, I'll work more on the actual design to make it more interesting and unique.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: Gilligan on January 20, 2014, 10:24:21 AM
Thanks, Shave!  Your efforts will be appreciated.
Title: Re: Site Updates (Summer 2013)
Post by: okiebluegrass on January 20, 2014, 04:42:31 PM
Site looks good Shave. Real Nice
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on March 22, 2014, 11:06:23 PM
I finally updated the 'What's New' feed to pull in news stories from the main site instead of the old links that I meant to keep updating but never did. I'm trying to catch up on all the new developments, I didn't realize I had fallen so far behind on everything. I hope to do a better job in the future, but for now the next couple of months or so are going to be crazy for me. The good news is that in about two months I'll have more time on my hands and I'll be looking to re-ignite my old hobbies again.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on May 16, 2014, 11:52:43 PM
I finally graduated from university last week, and for the first time in years things are starting to slow down for me. Now that I am moving into a more structured and predictable style of living, I'm hoping I can get back into some of my old hobbies such as web development and this site.

I've been writing down a list of things to knock out this week to get the site back to where it needs to be. This includes everything from visual updates to new content and new features.

I think I've mentioned this a few times before, but one of the reasons I created SDCFans was for it to be a 'sandbox' of sorts for me to learn web programming. Longtime veterans of this site have seen a number of my attempts at ambitious features come and go. I stripped all of that out of the site a couple years ago or so when we fell back to forums only. Now that I am looking at ramping it all back up again, I'm considering moving the main site off of my custom CMS into being a wordpress site. This would allow for a huge amount of custom third-party plugins that could easily be installed, freeing me up to focus on content. The downside is that it would be less easy to customize the site's features, and I tend to be particular about what I want. Still, a clunky feature that works is better than one that doesn't, so I think this is something I'll be working on over the summer.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: History Buff on May 17, 2014, 10:25:58 AM
Congratulations!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on May 17, 2014, 11:45:41 AM
That sounds like a good plan, and congratulations!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: okiebluegrass on May 18, 2014, 10:28:50 PM
So you graduated and moved to Tulsa. Congratulations!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on May 23, 2014, 10:24:41 PM
Glad to read you graduated. Congrats and all best wishes. :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on June 09, 2014, 11:37:11 PM
Progress on upgrading the site has been slow going. I'm theoretically about half-way through converting the site's current look into a wordpress theme, but it's been such a pain to do so and I still haven't really finished the design I intended anyway. At this point I thinking about just getting a "vintage" theme and modifying it a bit to suit our needs. That would probably be a lot less work for me and the end result would be a lot cleaner and more responsive. It will mean yet another overhaul of the look of the site though.

I just want to get back to content creation. I have a lot less time in the evenings these days than I thought I would, so any effort towards coding and web design just saps my ability to write and gather new content.

Hope to get something put together soon.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on June 10, 2014, 05:14:47 PM
Keep up the good work, we appreciate you. :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Duelist on June 14, 2014, 09:46:55 AM
Glad to hear you graduated and hope those job offers start pouring in!  This site is really something you should be proud of!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on June 17, 2014, 03:47:45 PM
Shave...thanks for all your hard work. The site is great and I have had many hours of enjoyment from it. This site is my most visited site and the only forum I will be part of. Thanks for bringing us all together. We have become, in my opinion, a family who loves to discuss our beloved SDC...
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on June 17, 2014, 03:55:23 PM
The first thread I read on this site still sticks with me and is one of my favorite..."The aura of SDC..." Reading those posts is an awesome experience...Where is or what is Andymeets1880 up to now a days? Haven't heard or seen anything from him for a while...
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on June 17, 2014, 05:43:50 PM
There are several folks who added much to the forums and then something in their personal life changed and they drifted away. I will continue to encourage all to keep posting, and that includes comments, photos and videos. This is a friendly site, some others are not. Keep up the good work, folks.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on June 25, 2014, 05:07:31 PM
Just curious...seems like activity on the site has been down, lately. Was wondering how many active users we have, and how many are visiting the site, and contributing to forums.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on June 25, 2014, 07:51:40 PM
I'm here!  I've been so busy lately that I do more quick looking than posting.  Junior, you're right though. Activity does seem to be down lately.  I just assumed that it was summer and everyone is very busy.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on June 25, 2014, 09:49:01 PM
I got super busy this week. Hopefully it will clear up by the weekend.

I think I'm almost done with the new site changes. A lot of what's left is just moving content over to the new system. Might be able to start rolling it out next week.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on June 25, 2014, 09:49:56 PM
Probably right...I noticed in the past on weekdays when people get up, they check in...at work, they check in...and when they come home in the evening, activity picks up again, then, once more before bedtime. Just an observation. I noticed on weekends traffic usually gets real light.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on June 29, 2014, 09:25:53 PM
Got everything just about ready now. Changes will go live this week whenever I get enough content moved over.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Madtwins on June 29, 2014, 10:59:46 PM
Wow I can't wait, you do a great job. I really love this site.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on June 30, 2014, 08:30:35 PM
Can't wait to see the new site...
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on June 30, 2014, 09:16:01 PM
As always thanks for your work.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 06, 2014, 11:46:29 PM
I was more distracted this week than I originally thought I would be, so I didn't get much progress done on moving things over. There's still one fairly small thing I need to code to get the galleries to display, and then there's just so much re-uploading and copying things over. Plus a lot of little things. Next weekend I should have a fair bit of time to myself. Hopefully I can get the first phase done by then.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on July 07, 2014, 04:37:22 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 18, 2014, 08:58:08 PM
You should be able to see the new site now. There's still plenty to fix and change, but I wanted to go ahead and push something live. I haven't gotten all the content transferred over yet because I've been busy fixing bugs and finding plugins that actually work. I'll be moving galleries over starting tonight.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: History Buff on July 18, 2014, 09:10:11 PM
It looks great:  simple and clean.  Just to clarify, the Wiki is not really a wiki anymore, is it?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 18, 2014, 09:51:47 PM
^Nope, but I'm not sure what else to call it at the moment. I looked at some options for making a new wiki system using 3rd party plugins though. I might pursue that later on if there's interest.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on July 19, 2014, 08:24:10 AM
Shave, really like the layout on the "front" page.....  it all looks great!!.. :)

FYI-  on the front page you have the announcement is scheduled for the 15th.................  it is actually scheduled for the 13th
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 27, 2014, 09:50:36 PM
^Thanks, got it fixed

Finally getting some work done on the content transition. I'll be working on it a little each night, and should be done by the weekend. I'm also working on aggregating some stuff for some new content pages.

Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: okiebluegrass on July 28, 2014, 08:58:59 AM
I know this is a labor of love more than anything else, but I wouldn't complain if there was more advertising to make you a few $$$$
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 28, 2014, 09:35:18 PM
I actually need to get back into the forum code and get rid of those google ads. They were kind of necessary when I was in school because I didn't have a whole lot of expendable income, but it's not a concern anymore. I'm only keeping the big ad square around because another hotel was interested in renting it. I'm all for making partnerships with the local hotels and getting discounts for our members.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on September 03, 2014, 06:34:21 PM
So in general, a lot of the major work of getting the site moved over to the new system has been completed. There's still some things I plan to do whenever I have time to make it prettier and more functional, but all the basic pieces and content are here now. I'm slowly getting up to speed with adding new content as well. I've started the weekly "Attraction Spotlight" series and plan to do a throwback thursday series as well. I also want to add some more nostalgia pages featuring old brochures and whatnot.

If anyone has any requests, suggestions or ideas for the attraction spotlight or throwback thursday posts, let me know.

The wordpress comments system has proven to be essentially unusable. It's always bogged down with spam accounts that I have to keep deleting, and there doesn't seem to be a good way to sort out the bad accounts from the good like we do for the forums. I'm thinking about replacing it with Facebook comments. Any thoughts on that? Anyone know of any other options? There's also Disqus, which a lot of news websites use.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on September 03, 2014, 07:17:59 PM
Shave, I don't know enough about it to comment.  But, I do appreciate all the work you do!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on September 03, 2014, 08:41:38 PM
Shave, if you want me to scan and email you any of the photos and other stuff I have, just let me know.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on October 21, 2014, 05:42:04 PM
Wanted to thank Shave for the recent updates and improvements, I like the little freature pieces you have been doing.  :)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on October 21, 2014, 09:41:20 PM
Thanks Junior, I'm glad someone's reading those things.

Our facebook page suddenly got a lot more popular in the last week or so. We something like 50 new fans since the last time I had noticed, plus lots more views. Seems like more and more people are seeking out the fansites like ours to get the scoop on parks. I really need to get more work done on cleaning up some of the pages, but it's hard to schedule it in.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: DollarCityBoy on October 22, 2014, 08:38:09 AM
I've enjoyed reading your post on the homepage as well.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on October 22, 2014, 08:41:15 AM
I like all the upgrades also.

The updates you are doing look great!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: okiebluegrass on October 22, 2014, 10:17:52 AM
I enjoy the stories. If you ever want someone else to write articles about old SDC let me know, cause I'm definitely interested
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: cheesehead57 on October 22, 2014, 12:13:10 PM
The upgrades are great.  Doing a super job.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on October 22, 2014, 04:30:51 PM
I'd be glad to redo the diving bell and float trip stuff, and put my gallery of photos with them if you want to move in that direction again. Always glad to share.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on November 17, 2014, 09:37:24 PM
After an unusually annoying struggle, I think I've finally got it so that you can post comments on articles through facebook now.
If you don't want the comments to show up on your FB page, simply uncheck the box below the post.

This was necessary because the WordPress system can't be (easily) integrated with our forums, so you had to make a second account for posting underneath articles. Unfortunately though, Wordpress's native comments system is extremely easy to create spam accounts for, and I was simply deleting all the user signups because 99.9% of them were spam. This should work out much better. I know FB comments have some spam issues themselves, but if it gets too bad there are a few more tricks I could roll out to stem that.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on November 02, 2015, 09:51:56 AM
So I'm making some progress on upgrading the forums to a new version of the same software. This is necessary because the old version is no longer supported, and the language that it runs on is evolving and changing so that things are starting to break. I've put this off for a couple of years now because it's a messy process doesn't really change anything on the surface (hopefully), but it's definitely time to get it done.

The plan is to keep things mostly the same. The general layout, the wood background texture, the logo at the top, and the stack of paper icons that light up to show new posts will all stay. However the "theme" the current look is based on is not available for the new version, so I'll be taking a new theme and customizing it with the aforementioned things. It will look similar, but slightly different.

All that said, if anyone has any suggestions, now is the time to make them. If you see anything on the simple machines site regarding plugins or layouts that you like, let me know: http://custom.simplemachines.org/themes/index.php?action=search;version[]=84;start=10

Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Swoosh on November 02, 2015, 03:01:03 PM
The ability to block certain posters is still my #1
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: MissinTheGreenTrams on November 02, 2015, 08:13:22 PM
I am all for the blocking of obnoxious posters. You know the ones who cant stop themselves from back sassin......
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: mhguy77 on November 03, 2015, 06:55:13 AM
A " Like" button would be nice.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on November 03, 2015, 07:42:49 AM
A " Like" button would be nice.

^^
Or dislike?... ;)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Swoosh on November 03, 2015, 08:50:54 AM
Dislike buttons would cause drama.  Like buttons though are a good idea.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: chittlins on November 03, 2015, 08:20:49 PM
Dislike buttons would cause drama.  Like buttons though are a good idea.

Don't call it an "Ignore" button but an "Indefinite Suspension"  button as a tribute to college football.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on December 04, 2015, 11:20:33 PM
I've been playing around with the new software and it's working out really well. Shouldn't be as much trouble to get things moved over as I thought. I just need to have an open afternoon to do it in case things get messed up. I'm thinking next weekend on either Friday or Sunday afternoon I might be able to finally get this done.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on December 05, 2015, 09:51:44 AM
Good luck on the upgrades, thanks!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on December 13, 2015, 05:14:59 PM
So things should be more or less stable now. There are probably still a lot of bugs around. Let me know if you see any.

The layout will be a work in progress for awhile. I'll eventually get the logo, news feed, and facebook feed back up there.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Runner1960 on December 13, 2015, 05:33:48 PM
Love the new look. Looks a lot like some of the other v bulletin boards. Thanks
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on December 13, 2015, 05:47:50 PM
Looking great...Thanks Shave!!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Coaster on December 13, 2015, 10:26:08 PM
I like it a lot! Great work!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on December 14, 2015, 09:10:25 AM
I was looking at the different pages and format..  Saw we have 994 "members",  that's a nice number.  Shave, how accuarate is that do you think?  I know the other day we had a couple of new spammers..  When you dump/block someone does the number of members reflect that?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Sheriff on December 14, 2015, 10:28:33 AM
Everything looks good Shave. I hope you know we all appreciate your effort and time!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on December 19, 2015, 11:18:31 PM
Got the logo/fb feed/news feed back in.

Apparently this version of SMF should have an ignore feature built-in, though I haven't spent a lot of time figuring out how to use it. Apparently you can access it through the user control panel by going to the private message area and adding usernames to an ignore list. Names added to that list should be filtered out of both posts and PM's. Use it wisely...

The member number is fairly accurate. I go through occasionally and prune out spam accounts. So we've had 994 sign-ups that look authentic to me. Not everyone posts of course, and plenty of people pop on just to post a few times and then we never hear from them again. I wish we had some of the users from 7 or so years ago still around though.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on December 20, 2015, 05:43:00 AM
""The member number is fairly accurate. I go through occasionally and prune out spam accounts. So we've had 994 sign-ups that look authentic to me. Not everyone posts of course, and plenty of people pop on just to post a few times and then we never hear from them again. I wish we had some of the users from 7 or so years ago still around though. ""

That has to be a good number for you/us, since this site is aimed at such a specific group.  you should be pleases.

thanks again for all you do.!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Swoosh on December 20, 2015, 09:27:22 AM
I love that certain members have already been added to my ignore list for me.   ;D
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on May 16, 2016, 05:17:02 PM
I'm getting setup to move to a new host by mid june. I'm so tired of time-outs and slow posts, and even having the site unavailable for days at a time. We've been on the same host for 9 years now and I guess our server isn't on the priority list anymore. Definitely time for a change, but moving a site/database this big will be a pain. Nothing too technical though, should be minimal downtime when I make the switch.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Duelist on May 21, 2016, 08:37:14 AM
Thanks again for your dedication to this site, Shave!  I don't think anyone could have done a better job.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on October 09, 2016, 12:54:05 AM
I got side tracked with switching jobs and other things over the summer, so I never did switch to a new host, and we've been paying for it lately. For awhile I thought the issues would go away eventually as GoDaddy worked through the server issues, but it seems that essentially they've stuck us on an old legacy server in a back corner and are forgetting about it.

Like I said on Facebook, aside from hosting issues, there are some other legacy issues adding up that are causing some of our issues with the forums not completely working right. At this point there's no other option than to completely restart on a new setup. I've been looking around at various forum softwares to see if there's anything better than SMF, but I'm not seeing anything that works better for our purposes. So I think I'm going to try to setup a new SMF installation on a new server somewhere and point the domain to that. I don't know if I'll be able to move all the accounts and old posts over or not...

The site might redirect to some sort of "under construction" page for a few days. I'll post updates on the facebook page if the site isn't accessible.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on October 09, 2016, 07:09:56 AM
Thanks for all your work, Shave!  It's very much appreciated.  I'll be happy with anything you need to do with it, as  I just hope it never goes away.  SDC Fans is one of the few forums where anyone can log on and feel welcome.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on October 20, 2016, 08:08:05 PM
I've got a new host setup, but actually moving the site over will be a massive pain and will require a brief ~24 hour shutdown.

I'm planning the move for next Monday, unless I get home late or something. There will be three stages:

1. Site will be inaccessible for ~ 24 hours from Monday night till Tuesday night will I get the domain to propagate and the new forum setup.
2. "New" forum will accessible on Tuesday night (hopefully). I think I will be able to move all the user accounts and posts over, but we'll see what happens...
3. The rest of the site's old content will come back in a slightly reconfigured format that revolves around more automation and feeds vs. me trying to stay up-to-date with the seasons and latest news.

I have decided to stay with the SMF forum software. Everything else is virtually the same, or costs money. Plus I hope to be able to transfer everything over and keep the same look.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: biscuitcreek on October 22, 2016, 08:12:00 PM
Thanks, Shave, for keeping us informed and thanks for everything you do to keep this site going.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on October 25, 2016, 09:37:55 PM
Well, we're running on the new host now and it looks like I was able to save all the user accounts and 9 1/2 years of posts, so I consider that a huge success.

What I couldn't save was the old forum theme, so I've had to go back to the drawing board a bit. I think a bit of change will be good anyway since the feel of the forum hasn't changed much in years. Avatars will probably need to be re-uploaded, but I'll see if I can move them over tomorrow. Attachments that were posted in the past will be moved over tomorrow. The forum statistics have been reset. I'm not sure if that can be overwritten or not, but I'm not too concerned about it.

This is actually a more-or-less clean installation of the forum software, so hopefully some of the bugs we were running into will be squashed.

Let me know if you run into any issues.

I'll continue to play around with the look and feel, and I'll eventually add the FB and news feeds back in.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sdcfan88 on October 25, 2016, 10:13:11 PM
Looks like some user profile info will need to be re-implemented and the user avatars will have to be re-uploaded. (already fixed mine)
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: WolfHunter on October 25, 2016, 11:02:11 PM
Figured I'd take the time to update my profile a bit. I like the new design, but I wish the blue was a deeper color like a dark red.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sirwillow on October 27, 2016, 06:08:40 PM
Looks good to me!  I know moves like this are never fun, especially when it means a complete reinstall of everything on top of migration.  I'm liking what I'm seeing and it looks like everything important is there, so that's always a success in my book.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on October 27, 2016, 09:59:09 PM
Shave,
I appreciate all your hard work on this. Not to be critical in anyway but I much prefer the old look and theme. It fit the theme of the park much better. This new look feels more business like and not recreational. It just does not feel as nostalgic as the old look...not the same aura. Still I appreciate the site and all your hard work.
Thanks
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: History Buff on October 28, 2016, 07:10:21 PM
^It's a work in progress.  You should have seen it before he put the wood background back up.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sdcfan88 on October 28, 2016, 07:54:51 PM
Another thing I noticed would be to fix the "new post" flags. The black is kinda obscure. Can it be changed back to orange?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on October 29, 2016, 06:09:23 PM
I definitely like the wood background. Regardless of how the site looks, I love it and appreciate Shave's hard work. I'm definitely a SDC Fan fan...
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on October 30, 2016, 07:39:31 PM
^Me too!  Thanks, Shave!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on October 30, 2016, 08:24:54 PM
I'll probably experiment with some other color options and try to work in some more "retro" details. Just got to find another afternoon when I have time. Maybe next Sunday.

I liked the old theme too and would have kept it with some improvements if I could, but it's not even available in the theme library anymore. I messed around with it for nine years so it had tons of little edits and quirks.

I've got to get a new logo made up as well...
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Joy on October 30, 2016, 09:40:05 PM
I don't know if you've already thought of this or not, but since the forums seem to be SDCFans' most trafficked part, maybe for the front page you could use something like Tiny Portal? I just learned about it the other day when re-visiting Shyguy's World (anyone else been on there? it's a fun RCT-and-other-sims fan forum). Their main page is the SMF forum, but uses Tiny Portal to add articles, highlights, shoutboxes, etc. It's pretty cool and it might be something that could work for SDCFans.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Pudgy Jones on October 31, 2016, 11:00:43 AM
Hello...I appreciate what you do for us on this site. It is a free service to all of us, and for that we are grateful.

Is there anything you can do to flag the unread posts again? That was very handy for me.

Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Pudgy Jones on October 31, 2016, 11:01:32 AM
Ooops...never mind! I just realized that I was logged out. When I logged in to make a comment, I now see the unread post notifier!

Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: biscuitcreek on November 01, 2016, 07:37:16 PM
Just found the new site. Got error message when I used my existing bookmark. Good to see things are up and running!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: thelarsonsix on November 16, 2016, 07:33:24 PM
Just found the new site. Got error message when I used my existing bookmark. Good to see things are up and running!

My existing bookmark worked just fine, although mine is a direct link to the forums not the site home page.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 06, 2017, 07:04:44 PM
So now that all the fall craziness, holidays, and personal projects are out of the way I'm finally able to budget out some time to work on this site again.

I'm currently working on getting the rest of the site moved over from the old host. I'm also going to setup a new home page that will hopefully include things like a weather feed for Branson, news feeds from Branson newspapers, the FB feed, and of course our own occasional upates.

If you see some error messages or the site gets "locked down" with a login popup that comes when you try to access the site, just ignore it for a little while.

I'll also try to get back to adjusting the forum look and feel.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on January 07, 2017, 09:31:18 AM
That sounds great, Shave!  The weather feed will be a nice addition.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 08, 2017, 10:15:57 PM
Step 1 complete: got the old content management system and content transferred over. If you go to sdcfans.com now it should show the old home page and all associated content again.

That was the most painful part, now I can get to work on actual improvements.

Anyone see anything not working? The forum feed has to be added back in - in addition to everything else I'm adding, but can everyone access all the pages fine?

You might have to refresh a few times to get your cache to update, otherwise it will still send you back to the forums.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on January 09, 2017, 09:00:08 AM
Shave, it looks good, I am not seeing or having any problems/issues..   

Good Job
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on January 09, 2017, 06:55:13 PM
Looks great and seems to be working fine -
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 09, 2017, 09:13:45 PM
Got the forum feed back on the home page and added the weather widget. I will have to re-arrange things to bring in the external news feeds.

I've also obviously been playing with the forum style. What do you guys think of the red? It's definitely bolder... but maybe too bold. I need to figure out how to bring back more rustic elements.

There should be a new logo in development as well. I'm getting it done through fiverr, so we'll see how that works. If it goes well I might get more graphics help through that source.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sirwillow on January 11, 2017, 10:44:49 AM
Liking a lot of the changes so far.  Not sure on the red, but then color changes usually take a while to grow on me, so don't put to much into that.

Like the newsfeed popping up on the top of the forum as well!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Tmboote on January 11, 2017, 07:17:36 PM
The red seems a little weird now, but the blue looked weird at first, too. I think the red theme makes more sense, but I'm not sure why ???
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on January 13, 2017, 06:41:04 PM
You guys were talking about the red a couple of days ago... I was lost,   LOL./.    I finally see the red today.  looks good.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: History Buff on January 14, 2017, 12:18:37 AM
The red is much better than the blue.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 14, 2017, 01:47:32 PM
I'm probably going to adjust it one more time, but I'm going to stick with red. I'll probably go with less bold hues though.

Still waiting to get the new logo back though.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on January 15, 2017, 11:11:29 AM
That sounds good,, after a couple of days, I agree with you the red seems a  "bold"
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on January 15, 2017, 11:46:02 AM
That sounds good,, after a couple of days, I agree with you the red seems a  "bold"

Yup, agree with you!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on February 19, 2017, 08:22:15 PM
Got the new logo finally in place, and I've updated the colors again just a tad.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Coaster on February 19, 2017, 09:47:53 PM
Wow, I really like the new logo. Colors are also looking good and mesh well with the forum. Great work.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on February 23, 2017, 04:13:11 PM
like the logo..!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Duelist on February 24, 2017, 10:51:34 PM
Yes- the axes and log are very cool!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: mhguy77 on February 27, 2017, 10:51:49 AM
What about the return of the spellcheck?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on March 01, 2017, 06:00:31 PM
I didn't notice spell check had gone missing. If you use almost any modern browser (chrome, firefox, safari, etc) it should do the spell checking for you anytime you type into a text box. I thought Internet Explorer did this too, but I haven't used it in ages.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Joy on March 02, 2017, 12:51:46 AM
Yeah, I didn't even know there was spellcheck on here, LOL. I always assumed it was my browser (Opera, previously Chrome).
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on March 19, 2017, 09:44:38 PM
Added some stuff to the home page. Now there is an RSS feed of Branson Tri-Lakes News and SDC's twitter feed. Probably going to have to come up with a better RSS solution though since this one apparently costs money after 30 days. 
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on July 11, 2017, 11:03:45 PM
Hi Shave,
I love this site as I've mentioned before...it's honestly the only forum I wii be part of. I really do miss the way the site used to look. It just seemed more rustic and fit the SDC theme better, in my opinion of course. The content of the site is great. Is there any way we could go back to the more rustic look? Or maybe it's just me...totally not complaining and I'll always be a "SDC Fan." Has anybody else ever asked for this? Again, just a thought on my part...maybe I'm just being petty..:I know this takes a lot of work and I appreciate you keeping the site up and running.
Thanks!!!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 13, 2017, 11:53:42 AM
I'll try to give it another once-over when I get the chance and add some more rustic details. I'm not much of a graphic designer or web developer anymore so it's not as easy as it once was. Are you referring to the main site, the forums, or both? I'm back to not being sure what I'm going to do with the main site again. Might cut back to the forums and the FB page once again unless someone is interested in maintaining that side.

Tomorrow is actually the tenth anniversary of the site. I'll have to give it a long look and make some decisions about what we can do to celebrate and plan the future.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Swoosh on July 13, 2017, 12:17:42 PM
There's a reason I made the decision to move to a blog format with MiG.  The "needs" of people have changed since we first started out.  People want info now without much fluff.  I'm sure it'll change again in a few years.  I just know that there's a reason a lot of the other sites closed shop and that's because they refused to change with the times. TBQH I'm surprised TPR is still going with its antiquated format. 
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: joshblakebran on July 14, 2017, 05:12:32 PM
I was more referring to the forums...but it is a great site and I'll love it regardless so if it would require a lot of time to do please disregard my request.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Swoosh on July 25, 2017, 10:11:27 PM
Steve is there a way to make it more obvious when we have private messages? I had one from this past weekend that I just happened to catch tonight but as is - it's easy to miss unless you're looking for it
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on July 25, 2017, 10:28:00 PM
I will see if I can add a badge or something if you have new messages. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on this stuff over the weekend.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Junior, too! on October 18, 2017, 09:39:03 AM
Hello to all the SDCFans...this is Junior, Too...our site director/administrator has allowed me to post away on The SDCFans FB site, so be looking for many old pictures and memories. I have also promoted the FB page on several other pages I contribute to. Hopefully it will draw new people here. Your input is needed, too...so post on the FB page, too...PLEASE. Thanks and God bless!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 02, 2018, 06:19:31 PM
With a new year comes a new push from me to refresh and improve this website. It's been a challenge for the past several years to keep the site relevant and useful as other mediums like Facebook take over and I find myself with less time and other priorities. I've been debating with myself for a long time about what to do to make the site "work" in the current era where small sites are going extinct and most people are moving over to just Facebook and Youtube to share and manage content, and I think I'm ready to push forward with some new things. 

I'm going to re-organize the site so that there are three sections: the forum, a functional wiki, and a photo sharing plugin. The blog will be discontinued since I hardly ever get around to updating it. We'll probably have a section in the wiki area for important updates, and of course we'll share announcements and news on Facebook and in the forums as always.

Junior's posts on Facebook with all the historical photos has shown where a site like this can still be useful. All those great photos get lost in the void after a few months and it's hard to search for them as they get deeper in the pile. One of the main features we've been missing here is a good way for people like Junior to archive and display photos and nostalgia like that in a way that is easily browse-able. I've tried to tackle this before in a few different ways including writing my own scripts and using some of the features of this forum, but now I'm willing to just fork over some cash and buy something a little more professional and turn-key. Something like this plugin: https://codecanyon.net/item/user-gallery-wordpress-plugin/16122370?s_rank=3
Or something similar, I haven't finalized my choice just yet.

The current SDC "Wiki" hasn't been an actual wiki in a long time, but I'm planning on finding and customizing a plugin for that as well. It also started off as something I tried to code myself and tie into the forum features. Some of the content is very old and was originally written when I was in early high school, but I doubt anyone reads it much anyway. Some fresh content curated by more knowledgeable SDC veterans would make it relevant again.

Finally there's the forum, which has always held it's own pretty well. After 10+ years, a hosting transfer, and an "upgrade" to a completely new version of the software it is showing it's age in some funny ways with odd errors here and there, but there's not a lot I can do about most of that except install a fresh copy. I'd rather keep our ten years of forum archives around, so I plan to put up with it as long as we can. I will get around to taking another pass at smoothing over the look and feel of the forums though. Still need to add that new messages badge as well.

Hopefully all this will result in the site being cleaner, more relevant, and more usable so that more people venture off of Facebook and take part. If anyone has any ideas or knows any good plugins let me know. I'm going to try to get this stuff setup over the next couple weeks before I get distracted again.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: Gilligan on January 02, 2018, 09:17:14 PM
Shave, you've put a tremendous amount of time and thought into keeping this alive.  Thanks for all your efforts!
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: KBCraig on January 05, 2018, 09:56:09 PM
I like SMF, but I'm kind of old-fashioned about forums. I do not like vBulletin, especially from an admin's perspective. I also don't care much for it from a user's perspective, especially if the owner sets up too much bling.

I don't know which way you'll go, but thank you for this place. It's nice to have something that is archived, instead of forgotten in 30 seconds like FB groups.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sirwillow on January 06, 2018, 08:56:36 AM
Shave- really appreciate all the work you do on the site.  Love the mix of "new, modern" formats while keeping things like the forums around.  And it looks great.  Especially compared to some of the other sites that are out there.  You do a great job.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 14, 2018, 08:55:50 PM
Home page should redirect to the forums at the moment until I get things switched over. Got the new photo system - should be a lot of fun.

I can't find a good plugin for a wiki system of the type I've been wanting... I'm not sure what we'll do for that. I might end up writing something simple for it that would basically just email me with people's edits. It would be more work on my end, but I doubt it will be a highly used feature anyway.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 25, 2018, 08:27:53 PM
I'm about ready to push the new home page changes live. It's basically just a bunch of feeds now, but it will be a good landing page if you want to stay on top of SDC news from our FB page, the forums, SDC's Twitter, and even Branson Tri-Lakes News. Plus there's the new photo sharing feature.

I'll probably need some feedback this weekend, particularly to see how difficult it is to log into the photo feature. It's not connected to the forums, so you'll have to make a separate little account to use it.

Also, I went ahead and finally tweaked the colors on the forums. Notice that the reds aren't quite as bold anymore?
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on January 28, 2018, 08:24:56 PM
Home page changes are live. Photo sharing seems to work OK. I do have to manually approve each individual photo before it shows up though.

Unfortunately photos have to be a minimum of 350px each way to be uploaded. I'm still working on adjusting that, because they didn't make that into an easy setting to adjust.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: shavethewhales on February 03, 2018, 12:24:23 AM
So after a bit of hacking around, I finally figured out how to display a bigger message to notice people of new messages in their PM inbox. It should display a big "You have new messages!" link below the date in the upper right hand corner.

Only took me like six months.
Title: Re: Site Updates
Post by: sanddunerider on February 11, 2018, 02:43:26 PM
So after a bit of hacking around, I finally figured out how to display a bigger message to notice people of new messages in their PM inbox. It should display a big "You have new messages!" link below the date in the upper right hand corner.

Only took me like six months.

WORKS great!! had a new message and I knew it the minute I opened the site....   GOOD JOB!!!

LOL.  Oh yes,  the rest of it all looks good too ;)

THANKS!!!!