New design, improved functionality and quicker searches highlight forum improvements.
Posted by Daniel Tonks on February 17, 2009 at 8:06 AM
Anyone visiting Remote Central’s forums
today will find that something’s... quite different. Don’t adjust your monitor or double-check the URL, because everything really has changed! For the first time in nearly 3 years, the forums have been given a complete visual overhaul. One could go even further back and claim that they’ve looked substantially similar for the past 8 years, so obviously it was time to improve!
The design update is actually a secondary effect of a complete overhaul of the forum’s code and storage system, something that I’ve been planning on doing for several years... 10,000 new lines of code later – here it is!
And yes, Remote Central’s forum system (as well as everything else) really is custom written, and not based on any off-the-shelf forum software. As such there are bound to be bugs, so if you spot any please report them in the Official Bug Thread (or use the Contact Form).
So what’s all new? Take a look at this quick list of major new and improved features:
- IMPROVED! Completely new design that maintains the original “just the features you need” concept, while modernizing appearance and updating functionality.
- IMPROVED! Entirely rewritten source code abandons over 137,000 flat files in favor of a single database server. That means more versatility and easier integration of new features in the future.
- NEW! Support for sub-forums (not that we have any just yet...)
- NEW! Single-post display mode (linked from the post number on a thread) provides easier printing and hyperlinking – this is also where you’ll find the old option to display a message as “Code”.
- NEW! Sort a forum’s threads by different fields including date, author, replies and so forth, as well as restricting display to a particular date range.
- MAJORLY IMPROVED! Blazing fast new search program is based on a professional open source full text search engine with phrase support and full relevance sorting. What would take nearly 6 minutes to perform on the old server can now be done in under 1 second. Plus, you can finally search through forum groupings (such as all “Pronto” forums), and there’s even text preview samples from matching posts!
- IMPROVED! The “Favorites” section is now fully integrated with the rest of the forum, and has been redesigned to more closely resemble viewing a thread index. Favorites can also be sorted by different fields to make it easier to find the thread you’re looking for.
- NEW! You can now subscribe to daily or weekly reports on threads that receive new responses. Subscriptions can be started when you create a thread, reply to one, or from the link at the bottom of a thread, and are fully managed through the Favorites section.
- IMPROVED! RC Mail now offers a “Storage” folder that you can move messages into. Messages you have already responded to are also now indicated by marker color.
- NEW! Use the “My Content” section under “My Account” to automatically track your recently started threads, as well as other recent threads that you have replied to.
- NEW! Ever search for something late at night, finding the exact post you needed, but in the morning couldn’t remember what it was or the exact keywords you used to find it? You can now access cached results from the last several searches you’ve performed under the “My Content” section.
- UPDATED! No longer do you need to double-log in to “My Account” for simple tasks, such as displaying “My Content” or changing basic forum preferences (as was required before).
- IMPROVED! Additional customizable forum preferences and profile fields.
- IMPROVED! Threads now display both “jump to first new post” and “jump to last post” links.
- IMPROVED! Forum “Jump to” box is now better organized and more functional.
- IMPROVED! Redesigned automatic URL “short” hyperlinking will discourage non-functional link copying (such as http://news.google.com/nwshp?ta...s&topic=e, which has been shortened for display with “...” in the middle and thus no longer works). The full original URL can be seen by hovering the mouse cursor over the link.
- NEW! Auto image resizing helps prevent pages from becoming too wide to comfortably read due to large embedded photos.
- Numerous other improvements and bugfixes have been rolled into the rewrite, including a new paging system and a greater level of integrated help, tips and feedback.
Feel like some forum nostalgia? Newer to older: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6.