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Site revamp

Posted by ckknight Jun 17, 2009 at 18:45 UTC

Hey beautiful people, ckknight here.

I've been working on the revamp of WowAce for a long time now, and I've gotten to the point where I'm comfortable launching it as the main site.

This is the largest change to happen to the codebase since WowAce moved from its old technology to the new CurseForge-based one.

Apart from the following, many, many bugs were fixed in the process.

  • There are gradients and rounded corners now. This provides a feeling of weight to the widgets on the page. (also: I'm pretty sure this makes us Web 2.0)
  • New color scheme for WowAce and CurseForge (though they do borrow some shades from the old).
  • Widgets are more spread out than before, allowing an easier eye-travel path.
  • Streamlined pages where every page of the same type (e.g. details, listing, main page, edit) have the same feel, rather than differing from page-to-page.
  • Many various layout fixes.
  • Improved form layout, as you can see on http://www.wowace.com/create-project/
    • the most important field (Project name) is larger
    • icons show where they make sense, e.g. on the categories and languages.
    • Many-to-many editing pages are far, far easier to use. Examples would include project membership assignments.
  • Tab-based navigational interface instead of a pseudo-tabbed interface or dropdowns.
  • Visible user actions in the upper-right corner of every page, this replaces any dropdowns that the user might experience.
  • Easy to access, but hidden by default, admin actions, below user actions. This would appear only if a user has special rights to an object.
  • Listings: (good example: http://www.wowace.com/projects/pitbull4/tickets/)
    • Much more advanced filtering system
      • Icons in some filters
      • More advanced filters in most cases
      • Date-based filters
      • Per-page specification (if you are an author or QA person and want to see all the tickets on one page, you can. This is limited to authors so that the database doesn't become overloaded unnecessarily.)
      • Bulk editing is a lot cleaner and easier. This is used for ticket management.
    • Better visibility of sorting and pagination
    • Heavy use of icons for graphical feedback.
    • Create links on the top-right. e.g. On the projects listing, "Create project" shows up. On a tickets listing, "Post a ticket" shows up.
  • Use of openable widgets, e.g. post a comment. Instead of seeing a big white box before all comments, you click "Post a comment" first.
  • Contests system, for if we have code contests (which we just finished one), or image-based contests (if we want a logo contest or something along those lines). (http://www.wowace.com/contests/)
  • Theme system, which handles the styles of a site, where each site has a separate theme, but users can create their own themes and post them for others to use. (http://www.wowace.com/themes/)
    • This is very powerful and will allow custom theming of sub-sites (e.g. atlasmod.com or support.curse.com) very easily.
  • Greater consistency for posting. Previously, the "Preview" of a post might look very different from the final result, now, they look exactly the same in both situations.
  • Due to the hidden admin actions, more actions can be placed inside. On a project, the mainline repository is far more accessible because of this. Many authors had issues figuring out what was possible before, but this alleviates most worries.
  • Categories have all been given icons. This was mostly in anticipation for the upcoming Curse Client 4.0, but it's also adopted on the new CurseForge as well. Everywhere a category would show, its icon shows now. (Eventually, Curse.com will sync these icons as well.)
  • Comments
    • banning options have been added to make it easier to fight The War on Spam.
    • direct linking of comments now provide links that will work regardless of pagination.
  • Users now have all their IP addresses tracked, rather than just one. This will allow us to better track gaming of the system, but mostly for spammers.
  • Sites have much better management, so that if we want to launch a new site based on CurseForge tech or change an existing site, this is very viable. This will become more prevalent later, if we launch a non-addon site (since CurseForge's technology is a very good project management system), a ticketing-only site (perhaps for support.curse.com or potentially other sites), or for authors to host a site with us based on one or more of their projects (e.g. atlasmod.com).
  • Implemented a data caching system. This should make page loads quite a bit faster overall, but their shouldn't be any horrible invalidation issues (here's hoping).
  • Set up for localization of the whole site. Every string is properly wrapped, but it doesn't hook into the localization app yet. That is low-priority and a few months off, after some more important things are taken care of.
  • Implement CCIP support (used by Curse Client 4.0). On files pages, there is a "4.0 Install" button in the top-right. Once CC 3.0 supports CCIP, the standard psyn links will be replaced with CCIP links.
  • Add icons to projects, as specified by the project owner.
  • When hovering over images that have been shrunk down, show the full image in a popup. (e.g. http://www.wowace.com/projects/)
  • When making a large comment, the textarea size will expand as you make more lines.
  • For search boxes, add an eyeglass icon as well as a grayed out "Search" text.
  • More Semantic HTML, which should help Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a bit.
  1. 18 comments

Responses to the new layouts

Posted by Kaelten Jun 18, 2009 at 15:52 UTC

Many people have very specific likes, and some people (like those with eye problems) have very specific needs. I think it's important to try to give a way for everyone to be able to use the site.

There are some very hard realities. We're not the greatest designers. At times we can bust our asses for days and be lucky to have something the won't make you run in terror. We're also under a very heavy workload and have a lot going on, and there is only two of us. So please keep in mind that the new design isn't really the target end point it's a stopping point into perfecting the main designs.

Approximately 25% of the users have voted a dislike for the new theme, with only about 17% showing a strong dislike. That's understandable.

For these reasons we've brought a theming system into the mix. It's currently not possible to replicate the old theme 100%, but it does give you a lot of control over the look of the website. The corners, the paddings, the fonts, and the colors, and more. We're also open to working with people to get more power added to the theming system so that their needs and wants can be met.

I'm hoping that as time goes by we'll be able to see an amazing set of templates that will provide to the needs of all of the users.

So I apologize to the people who are hating the new theme and want something different, or just the old one. However, I do thank you for all of the feedback and the honesty with us. Please keep it coming.

A few links people may find useful:

  1. 24 comments

New site enhancements

Posted by ckknight Jun 26, 2009 at 20:14 UTC

Hey there, ckknight here.

I've been slaving over the keyboard for the past few days getting some cool features in that I hope a lot of you will appreciate:

  • Private Messaging
    • Previously, there wasn't any real good way of sending a message to another user on the site, hopefully this will help that out. Please provide constructive feedback if you can.
    • You can PM more than one person at a time. You can also specify people as CC (like in e-mail).
    • This is a proper conversation system rather than a one-off messaging system, so if you message back-and-forth, it's all properly grouped together.
    • Indicator in the top-right showing what you have and have not read.
    • If you receive any spam, report it (button in the bottom-right of the page) and it will be dealt with harshly and as quickly as possible. Banning people is easy and it properly deletes all their content.
  • Signatures on comments
    • You can now specify comments that you post to have a signature. You can set this on your profile
    • By default, you will see one signature per user per page.
    • For those who don't like signatures, you can easily turn these off at Edit settings in your profile
  • Attachments on comments, pages, and themes
    • Previously, attachments were only available on tickets. This has been expanded to allow attachments on themes (if you want to include your own images or logos or whatever), pages, and comments. This has been sorely lacking, as sometimes it's very nice to upload a file or two as part of a conversation.
    • If this is abused, just report the abuser. If widespread abuse occurs, more restrictions may be put in. (But hopefully it won't come to that.)
  1. 7 comments

Author Store is Launched!

Posted by ckknight Jul 02, 2009 at 17:10 UTC

Woo, the day has finally come when the author store is launched. A lot of hard work has been put into this, both on the technical end and on the business and legal side of things.

You can visit it at https://store.WowAce.com/.

If you redeem an item, you won't receive it immediately. For the first little while, I'll be going through and approving all the redemptions manually, just to make sure everything's running smoothly.

In case you didn't read the previous announcements, in order to receive points which can be redeemed at the store, you must have an addon which has over 100 installs (as determined by the Curse Client).

The author rewards program is our (i.e. Curse, Inc's) way of rewarding our content producers which create incentive for users to subscribe to Curse Premium. 20% of all Curse Premium revenue goes directly into the Author Reward Program. This is our thank you for all your hard work.

Addons receive author reward points based on their popularity as determined by the Curse Client. Due to the amount of addons out there and the vast diversity, even the most popular addons only receive a few percent of the total pool, so don't give up hope. There are a few other details, but that is the main statistic. We feel that that provides the best relation as to what users actually want who use our services. We don't want to reveal all the nitty-gritty details in order to prevent gaming the system. If you do suspect gaming the system by someone (e.g. trying to actively manipulate statistics, uploading addons that aren't theirs, etc.), please report it. We want to reward those who actually deserve it, not those who think that they're crafty.

As a side note, everything store-related as well as standard logins now use HTTPS for security reasons.

  1. 14 comments

Experimental Projects

Posted by ckknight Jul 06, 2009 at 19:38 UTC

Hey beautiful people, ckknight here.

There has been some hub-bub about project approvals recently and one way we figured that we could help on the backend side of things is to introduce the concept of experimental projects. If you have a cool idea but nothing fleshed out, your project is best considered "experimental". This is especially true for libraries. Many of the best libraries out there have a lot of rehashing, discussing, even without much in the way of code. Previously, a lot of projects (especially libraries) were left in a limbo state where this should fill that gap.

You can flag your project as experimental when creating, or it may be flagged for you by an administrator while in the approval queue.

If you flag your project as experimental:

  • It will not sync to Curse.com
  • Unless it violates the terms of service or is plagiarism, it is likely to be accepted.
  • You will be able to use all the features of a normal project, including repositories, pages, etc.
  • Once a release file is uploaded (or created through the packager), it will be flagged as needing standard approval.

At any time, you may resubmit your project for approval to make it a non-experimental project.

  1. 6 comments