Site Update on it’s way – some notes

Hi all,

Hopefully you’re looking at the new version of Trollhattan Saab.

There’s a number of changes already, and a number that are still to be made.  Allow me to run you through a few of the important ones.

First, the layout.  I’ve chosen a two-column layout to get the content right where you want it, on the left, at the natural focal point for the eye.  I think it looks a bit cleaner than the old site as well.

Just under the banner you’ll see a number of words – Front Page, Archives, About etc.  These are navigation links.  The “Front Page” link is self explanatory.  I’ll try and get the banner image to become a link to the front page as well as I think people are accustomed to that function and I think it works well.  The other links aren’t working just yet, but will be shortly.  The “Archives” link will house the links to archived material sorted by either category, or month.  This info used to appear in the sidebar on the old site.  The “Shop” link will contain all the T-shirt info and the “About” page should be self-explanatory as well.

What about functionality?  This is where it gets a lot better, and most of the changes have been made to allow easier interaction on your part.

First of all, there’s no more passphrases when you enter a comment on the site.  The passphrase was a necessary evil on the old platform and did its job well.  This new site uses a plugin called Akismet which should catch 99% of the spam automatically.

I’ve also enabled a plugin that allows you to subscribe to comments.  If there’s a particular discussion you want to follow then just click the ‘subscribe’ button near the comments form and you’ll get a subscription email.  You can manage your subscriptions quite easily and opt out at any time – the email will explain it all.

There’s also a new ‘preview’ button on the comments form.  When you’re writing a longer comment you can’t see it all at once to review it before posting.  The preview function takes care of this and allows you to proof read the comment prior to publication.

Please note: your first comment here may go into a moderation queue.  This will be for your first comment only and subsequent comments using the same username and email address should come through without queueing.

I’ve also enabled a social networking feature.  If there’s a particularly groundbreaking post here (aren’t they all?) that you want to share, then you can use the “Share This….” link at the end of the post to send it to a) a friend via email, or b) one of the more common social networking sites (Digg, Delicious, Stumble Upon etc).

Other groovy features:

The old site had one front page and any posts that fell off the bottom had to be searched for.  This now platform offers two solutions for that: 

First, I’ve set up the “Recent Posts” area in the sidebar to show links to the last 20 articles on the site.

Second, at the bottom of the front page there’s a “Previous entries” link that will allow you to click through the previous 10 posts.  So instead of being a front page with archives hidden away, this is now THE front page showing the first 10 entries in a 2500-entry encyclopedia.  The “previous entries” link will take you through, 10 posts at a time.

A “Recent Comments” plugin has also been enabled and they’re categorised by entry, keeping the discussion threaded and relevant.

—–

Ads.

As you can see, there’s a Google Ad at the bottom of the leading entry on the site.  This will continue and there will be occasional ads in the content itself.  These will be easily identified and I’ll attempt to keep them as unobtrusive as possible.  These aren’t put in place for regulars here, they’re mainly for the benefit of people arriving through search engines. 

It’d be nice to be a purist and not have to have them, but the site’s got to continue paying for its own existence.

—–

Obviously there’s still a bit of work to be one to complete the re-design.  There’s some images missing in the sidebar that will be located and sorted out soon.

There will be some tweaks here and there over the coming week and I’m planning some major additions in content and functionality to further enhance the experience here.

Please do let me know if there’s any features or functionality that you miss or want and I’ll do my best to try and source it.

Things already on my to-do list:

  • replicate ‘previous’ and ‘next’ links at the bottom of individual entries
  • set title image to become a homepage link

Any others, please let me know.

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18 Comments

  1. I have to say I like the “What Time is It?” graphic, especially for Tasmania.

    Keep up the improvements!

  2. Thanks Greg. I love my clocks!!

    I still have to switch some stuff around. I think the recent comments would be better placed above the recent posts, for example. But it’s getting there.

  3. I am loving the gadgets on the right side of the screen- the dual clocks and the poll feature. Excellent features, IMO.

  4. I like the banner — seems a little familiar!

    So, let me see… it’s 9:18 PM here in the Central US time zone, it’s 12:18 pm the next day in Tasmania, and 4:18 AM the next day in Sweden. You’re +15 and Trollhattan is +7 hours with daylight savings in effect.

  5. Indeed it should be, Eggs. i couldn’t get the full effect without some major work (beyond my skills) but the inspiration is defintely from your suggestion from O so long ago. Cheers!

    I need to do a tweak to get the poslls to render a bit better in IE. That will come soon.

  6. You have a done an excellent job with the new look, Swade. Keep up the good work and – most importantly – the updates about everything Saab. Even the greatest looking site would mean nothing if it were not for the brilliant content.

  7. i concur with eggsngrits–i like the aero-x language at the top. the banner.

    the site has a good visual flow, as well. my clocks don’t work [could be my browser or somethin’ on my end like “pebkac”–problem exists between keyboard and chair), but they seem like a nice feature. they give viewers a more “scenic” route or a related diversion.

    and the “notify me” feature is good; although, i’m such an addict here, i doubt i’ll need to use it.

    congrats!

  8. hi swade,

    congrats for your ‘official launch’ of your new blog. let me know if you need any help on the site, that’s probably what I can offer in return for your wonderful post about SAAB! 🙂

    btw, the link of SAAB Singapore should be http://www.saabstance.com .. the old link was a deprecated link that’s finally removed last weekend due to the upgrade of the forum.

    Thanks Zen – updated! – SW

  9. Could you re-enable full posts via the RSS feed rather than just the two-line version? I know that even with the full posts showing up in the old feed, I still oftentimes clicked-through to the main site (and its ads) just to see comments and the like.

    Thanks so much!

  10. Raj,

    It’s not for the ads, believe me. It was because of the number of places I find that scrape the content off the feed.

    I only discovered the ability to do it a few days ago so I used it for the novelty. At a user request though, I’m happy to switch it back. Thanks for the feedback.

  11. Hey Swade,

    I know this may still be a work in progress but I can’t get the RSS feed to work. I note that the URL for it changed, but it never loads. I’m sure I’m not the first person to relate this to you.

    The new look is slick! Good work.

    John

  12. John,

    I’ll have a look at that. Raj seems to have a feed working, but I can’t get one through Bloglines, so it’s something I’ll have to sort. I’d say it’s a migration issue and it looks like there’s a re-direction I can do (once I figure out how). Will try and get to it shortly.

  13. John,

    The feed is working on Google reader, but not on Bloglines. I’ll be installing a feed plugin tonight that hopefully should re-route all feeds through Feedburner and make things accessible. I may still have to write some code to divert them though, which seems to be an issue because I’ve migrated from one platform to another.

    Will hopefully have a solution soon.

  14. Swade,
    I’m seeing the same behavior you are: works on Google Reader, not on Bloglines. When I view the feed directly on Firefox, I still only see the summary of the posts. Oddly, though, on Google Reader I see the full posting (just like the old site).

    Good luck! Thanks for the great site.

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