[b]State Of The Site[/b] - June (Supplemental)
This post will be purely on the website work taking place! I have no idea where to being, so let me jump in at the big picture and forget about things which I can discuss later...
- Complete Rebuild!
Hahaha what a way to start. The entire site is being ripped apart and re-coded with both scripting languages as well as with the power of the new .Net framework. This should keep the site ahead of the curve and utilizing cutting edge web technologies. (Should improve server performance too!)
- Complete Restructuring!
This means that the site will no longer be the "AR15.Com" you are used to seeing. Gone will be the old days and in will come the new. The site was always a focused passion for the AR rifle, as we've grown as a site, community, and individuals, we have also widened our appreciation and role in life. There's a great deal of knowledge here on everything from Handguns, to AKs, to ARs, to .50s, and so forth. So my goal is to restructure the site to accommodate this knowledge and passion. I will go into details within each following section.
The GUI you are used to now will be changing. I posted a screenshot of it weeks ago. The focus is to keep the forums and the power at your fingertips, while we keep the content libraries separate. You will need to navigate to the homepage for news, articles, reviews, etc and no longer need to deal with the main menu cluttering the forum pages.
- Login/Email Addresses
Site security will be tightened a little bit. This means that you will NEED to have a functional email address at all times. If your email address is bouncing emails, then your account will be locked until the matter is resolved. With the amount of email the site generates, this is becoming quite a problem.
- New Account Registration
There will be a less strict policy on new accounts. The system will automatically scan accounts to find issues and problems with them. They will filter out improper username, emails, and scan our database of banned ips and accounts for matches. This will no longer be a manual task for the staff and free them up to harass people more. [=D] Very few accounts will be put on hold for approval!!!
- Profiles and Sites
There will be only ONE set profile. (Currently there is one profile, but the system allows for multiple sig lines per site, etc.) The separate sites will no longer exist as they do now. (Read more below in the forums section!) The profile tool will be easier to use and more flexible than it is today.
The heart and soul of the site will grow beyond anyone's imagination. The code behind the forums is very complicated and complex, so the upgrade to .Net will not be immediate. What will change is the very essence of how the forum is setup, how they run, and our goals for the future.
First off, there will no longer be an ak.ar15.com or a handguns.ar15.com. 50World will also disappear. What will happen is that the sites will all fall under the NEW AR15.Com. You will come here, log in, and have a world of information available to you. There will be an upgraded navigation bar when you hit the forums allowing you to quickly travel to any of the boards you wish. The highlights will be the main forum page, the industry forums, and the equipment exchange.
The main forum page will consist of a listing of all the available forum boards, including a "custom" board [b]YOU[/b] will be able to create to track [b]YOUR[/b] favorite individual forums! This means there will be a board for GENERAL Discussions, one for AR15, one for AK, and so forth. BUT you will also have a personalized one at your fingertips. Merely select the forums you frequent the most and make your very own grouping. Surf the basic boards one at a time, or just hit the forums you've targeted.
Each Board will be targeted at specific grouping of information. The handgun forums will basically be the existing handgun site without the General topics. As we grow, we will merely expand the areas of knowledge as needed/requested. There will also be a "Misc. Weapons" board allocated for discussions of Knives, Shotguns, and other weapons which need a home, but not an entire site board.
Navigation will be as simple as clicking on which board to view and having it pop up. No worries about browsers and inter site travel. You will click and go! Simple and effective!
Since all the new forums and boards will seem to complicate things, new tools will be added and integrated to work with the forums. I've already mentioned the "custom board" tool for users to pull their favorite forums into one place, but other items will be added to help keep you in tune with topics and forums that are important to YOU! The new instant messenger (see below) will notify you of any posts on forums you setup to track. Keep track of an entire forum or simply have it monitor specific posts! (A note about the Custom Board tool. Members will be allowed to allocate up to 10 forums in their personal board tool, while Team Members will be limited to 25 forums!)
The General Board will also grow to allow for the more proper collection of information. This means that we'll add forums based on need and requests.
(Phew that was a long one! Hope I didn't confuse anyone!)
The forums will also sport a new upgraded look to make it a little more "sexy."
- Instant Messenger
What started as a request and was quickly turned into a "quick fix" solution will finally get worked on to completion. The IM tool will be nothing like what exists today. This project will take on life and include options such as "skins" to customize the colors and graphics, sound notification, system messages, forum/post tracking message, and a number of options and abilities to customize your experience. (There will NOT be file sharing/transfers through the IM tool, just messaging!)
We will also place ads in Member IM messages (when you read a message) while Team Members will be able to disable them if they choose.
There will be an initial limit of 5 "friends" to track for Members and 25 "friends" for Team Members. Friends will track users online status, have them quickly available for messaging, and show their incoming messages next to their names.
That about covers enough for now and most of the large items.
I realize I didn't go into the specific SITE upgrades, but rest assured that each engine is being worked on with the new focus. Our main site goal is the quicker addition of information and files as well as the growth/use of the product reviews. We'll also be posting site news as we did in the old days to keep everyone posted on current news and events.
Much more to come as things move forward and being to near completion.
It's going to be an exciting future here, so I only ask that you please be patient and help me to fix problems and issues!!!