It’s been a while since I’ve done any work on the-spot.net … in fact it’s been nearly 6 years to the date (3/31/2008) since I updated the MySpot page with some of the “new” features that page has. Now many of those features are broken because the technology or application or service they used has disappeared.
In those 6 years, though, I’ve gotten out of the user support business, and gone through an IT Administrator position that tasked me with rewriting a Yahoo! Store website using Yahoo!’s crappy “RTML” editor, and then developing a bit of software named Jada to manage everything in that store using XML, PHP, MySQL, and MSSQL to tie into the [also crappy] Order Management software that was in Microsoft Access. When that company went out of business, I decided web-based software was the route for me, and got out of the IT Admin role and landed a job developing the UI for FireScope’s Stratis product.
That was nearly 3 years ago, and I’ve learned even more helping to write this software… things like how to code on a team, use version control, and even MongoDB. My use of jQuery and PHP’s object-oriented code has expanded, and I’ve seen the web go from rounded corners to the flat style in the time it took us to bring the Stratis product to market.
Now that I’ve learned way more by doing actual work than by working on the-spot.net, it’s time to return to tsn and put some theme and user experience ideas to the test, in the form of an updated website. No trade secrets, just integrations and design elements that would require too much approval to do at work. The type of stuff that tsn was created to test in the first place.
I don’t know what I’ll actually be able to improve on the site, since I have to relearn how the phpBB code base works, and their templates and conditional HTML strings are implemented. However, there are some things I know I want to improve, like:
- Better AJAX handling of content
- More use of existing libraries to handle the customizations
- Better UI elements
- A new, flatter style, instead of the graphics-heavy translucent Aero style
- Better Social Media integration
- Integration with the new tsnBlog
- And this time it will all be open source on Github, and done in a php IDE instead of Notepad++
In the past, I always had a new design lined up before I ever started working on the new version, making function fit the form. This time, the technology will be developed first, and the design will be minimalistic and will fit the function.
My goal is to have it done for the summer, but it’s purely an arbitrary goal, and less than a handful of people actually visit the site currently, and even that is infrequent.
So, with this post, I announce the development of tsn8 has begun. For anyone that’s curious about seeing a broken website in progress, you can visit http://www.the-spot.net/phorums/tsn8/ and you should be able to log into it and use it like normal as long as the page you’re viewing isn’t currently under development.
If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see in the new version, leave them in the comments below, or on thepizzy or tsn’s facebook/google+ pages.