Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Long Overdue Site Upgrade Completed

Tonight is a big night for me. I’ve been wanting to upgrade this site for a very long time… in fact, I wanted to have it ready for Vista’s launch, but that never panned out. Community Server is not the easiest community engine to skin from scratch, and a while back, Telligent made some pretty hefty changes to their skinning system. It makes themes far easier to upgrade once the transition is made, but the transition itself is awful steep. It’s one of the many reasons I have been so quiet lately, but I finally got it to a point where I like it, so I *finally* was able to roll it out a few minutes ago.

A lot has changed, so here are some of the highlights:

Cleaner Design
I spent quite a bit of time making sure this version of the design was much cleaner than the last. It may not appear much different at first glance, but we’ve actually done a lot to make everything more consistent. The first thing that you’ll notice is that the site is a bit wider. That was done to accommodate the improved banner ad placement. I’m tired of not making much money off this site, so this redesign is a first step to a more concerted effort to deliver better-quality ads in a much more effective way. I’ve tried to make them as unobtrusive as possible… please feel free to leave me feedback if you think it needs to be different.

I’ve also changed up the home page, to make it a bit more portal-esque. I’m putting more of an emphasis on Reviews, so those are up top now, followed by the most recent blog entries. I still have a fair amount of tweaking here to do too, so keep watching this page.

Cleaner URLs
Another neat feature that is possible with CS2008 is the ability to eliminate the “/archive/date/” nonsense from the blog post URLs, making them leaner and more SEO friendly. We were able to do this in a way that the old URLs still work, which I am very happy with.

Comments RSS
In addition to our Main Feed, each blog now has an RSS feed just for comments. Taking a look at mine, I need to do some moderation, and the spam filters need adjustment too… but they’re there for you if you want to subscribe to them.

E-mail Subscriptions
For people unfamiliar with the benefits of RSS, you now have the option of receiving an e-mail every time someone posts new content to your favorite blogs.

Integrated Media Gallery
CS2008 combined the Files and Photos functionality into one integrated Media Gallery. I’m still tweaking this section quite a bit, so please pardon the dust in there. I’ve got a bunch of new photos that will be going up here soon, so keep an eye out for them.

More on the Way
This new design gives me a lot of leeway to play around, and ensures that future upgrades will go a lot smoother. I can guarantee the site won’t go two years without an upgrade again.

Anyways, I’m off to bed. Please kick the tires and let me know if you run into any major problems. I’ve tried to test it out as best as I can, but there are bound to still be issues. Hope you like!

-Robert

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