Some of you may have already noticed a few board design changes. Nope, that was not my doing. I received a notice this morning that the board hosting service had finally done a few board upgrades.
After I have had a chance to check over the information, and some of my new options, I will post more information about this board upgrade.
Oh, and by the way, a few vital functions have been moved. For example, to PM someone you now click on their username and choose "Send Private Message" on the drop down list. You may find a few other useful options on that new dropdown list too.
This is the full list of changes that the board hosting service sent me. Some of this only applies to me but much of it applies to everyone.
I now have the ability to make more board design changes. I may play with those options sometime soon. I did a quick skin change test and it worked. When I have time to work on it, and fine tune it, I may change the board's skin... if I do have enough control over the final design.
We are proud to announce that the message board system has been updated with an exciting group of new features and options. We look forward to hearing from you with your questions, comments, and feedback.
The message board URL has been simplified to be:http://www.websitetoolbox.com/mb/USERNAME(Where USERNAME is replaced by your Website Toolbox username.)
The old message board URL will continue to work normally. Switching to the new URL is optional. The new URL will also work properly with the subdomain setup.
Enabling this option will allow users to receive email notifications of new threads and replies in a forum by subscribing to it. This option is enabled by default and can be disabled in the General Settings section of the members area.
Automatic DST Adjustment
If this option is enabled, the system will automatically adjust the date and time if Daylight Saving Time is taking place in your time zone. This option is enabled by default and can be disabled in the General Settings section of the members area. Also note that each member of your message board can set this option in their account preferences.
If you are going to leave this option enabled and you have previously manually adjusted your time zone for DST, you may have to adjust it back to the normal time zone since now the system will automatically adjust for DST. If your members leave this option enabled in their account preferences, they may also have to adjust their time zone back to their normal time zone.
Advanced Custom Profile Fields
You can now configure many new aspects of each custom profile field you add to your message board. You can specify the following:
Visit the Custom Profile section to add new fields or edit existing ones.
Skins allow you to easily change the look and feel of your message board to a professionally designed layout. Visit the Skins section of the members area for more information.
Enabling this option will allow your users to view the last few posts in a thread when posting a reply. This option is enabled by default and can be disabled in the General Settings section of the members area.
RSS Feed Browser Integration
If this feature is enabled, browsers that support RSS feeds will display an icon that the user can click to easily subscribe to the RSS feed for your message board. This option is enabled by default and can be disabled in the General Settings section of the members area.
New Custom Images
You can now specify a custom image or text for 12 more major links/buttons throughout the message board. Visit the Custom Images section of the members area to view these options.
New options have been added to the Appearance Settings section of the members area that allow you to specify a gradient image for the heading or category background. 47 premade gradients are provided to choose from.
Other Small Changes
I received notice this morning that next Saturday, March 7, 2009, between the hours of 1:00 AM and 6:00 AM EST, the board service providers will be doing maintenance on the board system and making several new board features available. For those who visit the board during the maintenance/upgrade process, "you may experience intermittent service" until they are finished.
Some of the coming board upgrade items do look like they might be handy.
Below my portion of this post is the list of upgrade items and options. We may have some choices to make about some of these new features. Let me know which ones sound interesting, and which ones look like a bad idea, to you.
New Message Board Features (coming March 7. 2009)
After the maintenance period, the new features listed below will become available for the message board system.
Well, it sure took them a heck of a lot longer than an hour to make the board upgrades!
So far, from what I have seen so far, I am hoping they are not done with the "upgrade" process. Some of their changes are clashing with some of my custom design elements. Not cool.
I will see what I can do to fix things up a bit after I am sure they are done messing things up. I may try some of their new skins and see how flexible they are to my needs... and wants.
Anyway, so far, I would rather have the board design go back to the way it was.
Okay, I am getting my first look at the new controls for customizing this board.
The controls for this board just got a lot more complicated... but the good news is that I should have a lot more control over the look of this board now.
It will take a bit of study time and testing of the code to see what does what, to figure out what controls what, but I do see that I might be able to fix a lot of things that this last board "Upgrade" messed up.
I am not sure yet just how much of this mess I can fix, but I see hints that at least some of it is within my power to fix.
It would help if the board's toolbox were working properly. Lately, much of the time, the board’s toolbox site is down. The rest of the time, the controls are only working in a half hazard fashion, and some tools are just not working at all, so far.
Hopefully, the board, and its controls, will settle down and start working properly here soon.
Look for some new looks for the board as I test things out. And be warned, sometimes my tests will just make things a bigger mess. That is part of the learning process.
I will also be trying out some of the new skins that the board makers have made available. I was not impressed with their last batch of skins, in the last board upgrade (a while back) but some of these new skins may be worth checking out.
Okay, I like this skin. I may leave it for a while unless there are some objections.
I will see about changing some of the icons and making a few adjustments sometime soon, but overall, this skin may work well enough for now.
There is at least one other skin that looks nice too.
Maybe this board upgrade wasn’t as bad as I first thought. Yeah, it made my old board design look terrible, but it was time for something new anyway. Now I can use some of these new skins as jumping off points for new designs of my own.
Quote:Originally Posted by nannyjoI LOVE the background! I hate the color scheme, though. I have to "highlight" the text to read anything. Maybe that is something in my own settings, though?
I will look into a few text color changes tomorrow.
I spent some time trying to find a way to make the avatars larger, like they were before the board upgrade, but so far, I am having no luch finding a way to change their current size. Font color and size, I see how to change, avatars and icons, no such luck.
I wrote to the board hosts about the avatars and icons but they have probably been swamped with complaints these last two days, so it may be a while before I get an answer.
Anyway, I hate using a canned skin, but I like this background too. Plus, something I am working on would go great with this background.
Speaking of my graphics project, it is progressing well but it still needs a lot of work. It did not help that I have had to skip work on it three days out of this last week. Although I worked on the project yesterday, while the board was down, today I skipped work on graphics to look over the new tools and options for the board now that it is back online and upgraded.
I still hope to have that art project done within a couple weeks though. I am having fun working on it... when I do find the time to work on it. It is one of my more complicated small-size works (you all will have to wait and see what makes it such an involved process). I still do not know if the concept will work as I intend though. It will take another day's work to find out, but even then, it will not be finished. Even if the project does not work out the way I want it to, it should still be good enough to display after I get it painted and polished. Once it is posted, I will explain what the heck I have been talking about.
I just added a poll to this thread (polls are one of the new features of the board).
The poll is located near the top of the page, just above the first post in this thread.
Please take a look at the poll questions and chose one of the three options.
Quote:Originally Posted by Questmaker I like this background but as nj says it's hard to read. If we all start using light text it wouldn't be so bad but that doesn't help the old pre-update posts.
Okay, as I think I said, things are going to be chaotic around here for a while. The board design is in a state of flux.
I will be trying out several new things and testing over the next few days, and maybe for weeks to come.
From time to time, I will load a canned skin to study its code. And, from time to time, I will load my own skin to build on from what I learned from the canned skins.
So, you have been warned. I do hope that you all hang in... and more of you join in on this ride.
Well, I am making progress anyway.
If they had the controls better organized, and put into categories that made sense, it would help a lot!
To adjust the icons for the board, for example, I have to look through a long list of settings on one page to find the few icons settings that are mixed in with a bunch of other none icon settings. However, the rest of the icons are mixed in with setting on another long page of settings, most of which have nothing to do with icons.
It is like that for about everything that has a setting that can be adjusted. I think I finally have the right setting for a board element; I adjust it, and see that it worked. Cool! I think... until I discovered that that was only the settings for one part of the board. What looks like the same element needs a separate adjustment for another section of the board. Oh, and wait, there is another section after that. Oh great! Where are the settings for that section? As of the time I write this, I am still looking.
Plus, all these lists of code have descriptions of their function that are, at best, just a hint of what the purpose of that function is. Sometimes it is clear to me, other times… not at all. So, I adjust the setting to see what it does or I just pass on it for now.
Anyway, as I said, making progress, but this may take some time.
Okay, I am working with the new advanced code (CSS) for the board now.
I am taking this one section at a time, starting from the top, but with some skipping around sections. There are 30 pages of CSS code to go through and I am on page 2 right now.
There are many places in the code where I can insert, or change, graphics for the board, such as buttons and icons. I am working to replace the canned board graphics with my own graphics but this will take some time.
The first images I plug into the board will, for the most part, just be temporary test graphics. The way the code is labeled on the code pages, I often cannot tell just what buttons I am plugging into the board until I actually see where they end up on the board. I have changed two set of buttons so far, and I guessed wrong, both times, on what and where they would show up on the board. Go figure. Well, at least I now know what those two sets of button code are for.
Once I map out what everything does, and where everything goes, I will then start work on polished graphics for the board.
This is just an update to let anyone interested know where things stand right now, as far as my fixing this board after it was messed up in the last major board upgrade.
Now that I have had more time to look things over, I am no longer unhappy with this latest, major, board upgrade (even though my old board design was severely mangled by this upgrade).
Yes, this latest board upgrade gave me a huge amount of unplanned work to do, but I am having fun doing it. I was already in the process of making new graphics and adjusting my board design before the upgrade mangled things anyway. However, I hadn’t planned on getting stuck with this much work. Oh well.
By the way, I edited the poll at the top of the page. Even though I have decided to go with a white background and dark text for now, poll votes can, and will, influence future board designs (skins) I make.
Today I took a look at this newly upgraded board with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, and then it became clear to me that Internet Explorer does the best job with this new board design.
The second best browser, of the three I tried, was Firefox. Firefox has been getting better and better over the last few versions but it still cannot match IE in power and grace. Okay, so that is just my opinion.
I admit that I am biased in favor of IE (Internet Explorer) because I like how it handles code, which I believe is better than any other browser I have tried. This is why I design for IE and only try to make my designs fit the others browsers as best as I can without throwing my designs off too much for IE.
This board's design is still in the process of being remodeled so, right now, things are still a bit out of whack no matter what browser you are using. However, I am getting things under control faster than I first expected I would after seeing the huge amount of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code that came with the last major board upgrade. I had to go through 30 pages of CSS and learn each function before I could rework this board in a desirable direction.
I have now gone through the code from top to bottom once, but I did skip over some sections that I have to go back over in the next pass through.
There be gremlins lurking about in the back recesses of this board!
Sometimes after I have been working with the board styles for a while, and then go have dinner, or watch TV for a while, and then come back to the board, I sometimes find that someone has made a change, or a few changes, to the code that modified, or wiped out, the work I had done earlier.
Sometimes these changes are for the best, sometimes, they are not. It is like there are good gremlins and evil gremlins both loose and running amok in the dark corners of the board.
I wish they would notify me when they have made changes... and tell me what they did. While some of the changes they make are obvious, other changes, I might not notice right away. Notification would also be nice because sometimes I work with the entire set of CSS code in Word, and then paste the entire set of CSS code into the Board's control panel, which would wipe out any changes a good Gremlin made as well as the changes done by the bad gremlins.
Anyway, off to fix something an evil gremlin did. I’m taking a baseball bat with me just in case I find any of them.
If anyone sees one of those good Gremlins, while I am off chasing evil gremlins, give them my regards.
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