Here at Standard.net we've been working
hard behind the scenes to update the site with a whole host of new
features, along with a brand new look and feel overlaying an
extremely optimized site template. In this post we'll cover what some
of those changes will be, some of the options available to our
registered site readers, and how you can take part in the beta test
phase of our upcoming template and theme.
A Brief Glance At Standard.net History
In early 2009 it was decided that we needed to abandon our outdated publishing system and move to a more scalable platform that would allow us to grow at the Web's frenzied pace. It was during these discussions that using Drupal was proposed, a flexible and heavy duty content management system that is developed by an open source community under the GPL license.
While definitely not without its challenges, Drupal allowed us to reach new heights in terms of site offerings and we achieved a new level of unprecedented site growth.
What we know now in relation to what we knew then isn't even comparable; hey, that's just how development works. We're hoping that our better understanding of Drupal and all of its capabilities will shine through in the upcoming new design beta, as we've worked extraordinarily hard to ensure that it's the experience you're going to prefer and relish, rather than one forced upon you.
Upcoming Beta Test and How You Can Participate
You might me asking yourself just what a beta test is and how it could possibly relate to you. A Beta Test is a stage of development that allows us to involve our public in the testing and tweaking process, giving us a greater scope to analyze and test within. By letting the public assist us during this stage it allows us to rapidly accelerate the speed in which we can bring you new features and designs while at the same time making them more stable.
The beta test is going to be completely optional for all users and will only be activated for accounts that specifically change the setting via their user control panel. Ideally we'd hope that the majority of our site regular viewers and commenters will take the time to make this change and help us make the site better. This is a way for you, the user, to have a voice in our development and assist us in the constant pursuit of a better Standard.net for everyone.
It's important to note that the beta test will be just that, and this will not be a fully functioning site template just yet. You might find some features that you enjoy on the current site to be absent, don't work properly on your computer, or are rendered improperly in the template. This is the whole point of a beta test and affords us a dialogue with you about any problems or requests.
At the start, we'll be carrying the discussion on via the comments of the new Standard.net development blog. From there, we can separate our topics of discussions and funnel them into different areas if need be. For now, we'll allow simplicity to rule and keep the discussion where it naturally belongs, in the comments.
More instructions for how to switch your user account template will be made available soon.
Out with the Old Comments, In with the Disqus(sion)
One of the major changes that will be made is to the Standard.net comments system and that it will be going away in favor of another system, Disqus. This change will go into effect for the old template at the same time we launch the new beta template.
The reasons for this change are numerous, a few being that the current system isn't as secure and allows spambots in more often that we'd like, it requires users to be registered to our system and endure a registration process to be able to post, and in a greater range it affects site performance on a level that we'd like to be rid of.
Disqus is a comment system you've probably seen before if you visit any kind of social media site, which is one of it' strongest selling points. As seen on sites like Mashable, Disqus is the latest and greatest in open-ended comment management systems and does cool things like:
- login with almost any account type (OpenID, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- setting individual preferences and subscribe to comment threads via e-mail and RSS
- option to 'Like' and 'Dislike' certain comments (after so many dislikes some comments are hidden from view)
- user reputations and linked profiles
- much, much more
As noted, this change is going to happen at the same time for Standard.net, replacing the old comments system. This is done for a couple of reasons, one being that it will bring the comment systems for both templates together, allowing cross-template discussions, and the second being that it will allow us to stop the recent infestation of spam posts on the old comment system.
More Coming Soon
As these changes near, and they will be happening VERY soon, we'll be keeping you informed. Right now there's nothing to do aside from staying tuned for future announcements that will be including instructions on changing user account themes, and the comments system changeover.
Comments for this story are disabled. Instead, head on over to the new Standard.net development blog to participate in the discussion.