Author Topic: [WEBSITE v2] MusicBee website and forum redesign  (Read 283825 times)

AvikB

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It's been nearly a week and no update!??
I was really busy with the markdown editor for MusicBee site. Also some major changes to the schema(database).

But most of all the new editor is the culprit, all i wanted is good simple and github flavored markdown editor. BUT, there are very few available. and most of them use Showdown for preview. I wanted to use markdown-it (since this is the only one i liked, and also is fast and extensible, while supporting github flavored markdown!),

For the editor i use WMD(the same one as the Stackoverflow), but THIS HASN'T BEEN UPDATE SINCE 2007!! and also it uses Showdown! so i have to heavily modified a lots of the major things, like using ``` for code, instead of four space, also changing the previewing to markdown-it, and then.... it does not work with ajax!! (well, after two days of debugging i finally solved the issue! YAY)

BTW, the new addon dashboard and admin panel heavily use ajax and dynamically load content(just like gmail).

The new update is not up yet. still gonna take some time. But it is still in work, and some major changes is coming.

well are the screenshots of the two new update.

This is addon dashboard. Still not live yet. But coming very soon.




and another major update to admin panel




When you are logged in at the forum, then close your browser, and later on re-open the website page, you see the login icons (little guy, envelope) at the top.
So you know you are logged in.
But on that screen there is no logout button.
also the new update has this improvement. now you can also logout from anywhere in the site.

also if you are not logged in it will show login link.

Alumni

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Impressive work, Avik. This looks like it'll streamline the whole process of publishing plugins, and also help new users to discover them.

hiccup

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Impressive work, Avik. This looks like it'll streamline the whole process of publishing plugins, and also help new users to discover them.

I fully agree.
This might also be a very important boost finally getting more developers joining, and contributing with new add-ons.
This new beautiful 'stage' AvikB is building will be much more rewarding to have their work presented and getting a wider attention to it.

hiccup

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This might be a good moment to have a look at the current forum structure, and see if some improvements could be made.

A few things that come to mind looking at the main forum boards on the start page:

"Latest Version"
It is a bit ambiguous. Is it a download link? Is it information on the most recent version only? Beta or Final?

"Customisations"
It currently envelopes both visual customisations, and functional (and functioning ;-) add-ons. It might be good to split those.

"General"
That's very general indeed, and it also resides under the identical named higher level "General"

"Rubbish bin"
That one doesn't really deserve a place on the main screen


Secondly we might need some new topic boards.

1.
I saw AvikB has created options for polls. That could be very interesting, and might be a useful and fun feature.
For developers to get input (votes) so to help on deciding on specific features or changes, and for mortal users for the sake of curiosity and maybe even add some fun.

2.
I have been noticing lately that there seems to be an increase in posts asking for help, which are difficult to understand because the poster seems to have some problems with the English language. Maybe even throwing their question from their native language though google translate...
For foreign languages users it might be very helpful to have the option to post in a support board for their own language.
For the sake of 'sharing knowledge' between all users it shouldn't be promoted, but it would probably be a blessing for some foreign language users, frustrated with explaining and understanding some more complicated issues.


Considering the above, I created a quick draft of what could be changed to provide for the above issues.

Currently we have:
GENERAL

Latest Version   -The latest version including fixes and new features
Customisations   -Child Boards: Icons, Localisation, Plugins, Skins, Screenshots, TheaterMode, Visualisers
General      -Got a question or comment?
MusicBee Wishlist   -What would you like to see in the next version?
Beyond MusicBee   -Talk about things not related to MusicBee

SUPPORT

Bug Reports      -To get bugs fixed, please report them here.   Child Boards: Portable Devices
Tips and Tricks   -Provide advice and tips to others - no questions please!
Developers      -Child Boards: MusicBee API, Skins, TheaterMode

OTHER

Rubbish Bin


This is a proposed change in structure accommodating for the above observations:


GENERAL

Version Info         Child boards: Release version, Testing versions
Tips and Tricks
Customisations     Child boards: Icons, Localisation, Skins, TheaterMode, Visualisers
Plugins
MusicBee Wishlist
General Board      Child boards: General discussions, Beyond MusicBee, Screenshot gallery, Rubbish Bin
Polls                    Child boards: Developers polls, General polls

SUPPORT

Questions             Child boards: Questions on MusicBee, Support in non-English languages only
Tips and Tricks
Developers            Child boards: MusicBee API, Skins, TheaterMode
Bug Reports



The current descriptions for the specific boards will need some adjustments too. We can work that out later if these suggestions get some support, but some ideas:


Current:
- Latest Version   "The latest version including fixes and new features"

Proposal:
- Version info      "Information on MusicBee versions"
      Child boards:
      - release version         "notifications and announcements on the latest official release"
      - development versions    "notifications and announcements on alpha and beta releases"

Current:
- Customisations   this one currently has no description

Proposal:
- Customisations     "Customizing visuals and languages"
- Plugins                "Plugins for enhancing MusicBee's functionality"


Ideas?
(i am sure at least some wordings I suggest here could be improved on)

edit:
I changed some board descriptions, and corrected myself mixing the terminologies 'topic' and 'board' in this proposal.
Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 01:23:13 PM by hiccup

Sofocl

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For foreign languages users it might be very nice to have the option to post in a support topic for their own language.
+1
Sorry for my bad English.

Steven

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for the foreign language support, keep in mind the userbase of musicbee is quite small and i imagine it will be very unlikely there will be enough people who speak the language and able/ willing to help. At least with english only, its open to a wider audience of people who can help even if there is some misunderstandings.

hiccup

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for the foreign language support, keep in mind the userbase of musicbee is quite small and i imagine it will be very unlikely there will be enough people who speak the language and able/ willing to help. At least with english only, its open to a wider audience of people who can help even if there is some misunderstandings.

I fully agree and believe that's very true.
Yet, there are MB users that can't express themselves in understandable English. Some of them have gone to the wikia to get some help.
Also, I would expect increasing popularity of MusicBee after the new website, forum, v3 etc., so probably an increase in non-English speakers too.

It should be very clear that posting in such a board has repercussions on chances to get good support and is not encouraged.
It also will have to be moderated, which is slightly more difficult.
But it will probably fill a need. Also I can imagine some current foreign-language members subscribing to such boards to help-out such fellow members. (I would)

AvikB

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Some really nice suggestion.

"Latest Version"
It is a bit ambiguous. Is it a download link? Is it information on the most recent version only? Beta or Final?

"Customisations"
It currently envelopes both visual customisations, and functional (and functioning ;-) add-ons. It might be good to split those.

"General"
That's very general indeed, and it also resides under the identical named higher level "General"

"Rubbish bin"
That one doesn't really deserve a place on the main screen
I agree, the latest version sounds ambiguous. although i don't know if removing rubbish bin is really necessary or not.  :/


I have been noticing lately that there seems to be an increase in posts asking for help, which are difficult to understand because the poster seems to have some problems with the English language. Maybe even throwing their question from their native language though google translate...
For foreign languages users it might be very helpful to have the option to post in a support topic for their own language.
For the sake of 'sharing knowledge' between all users it shouldn't be promoted, but it would probably be a blessing for some foreign language users, frustrated with explaining and understanding some more complicated issues.
to be fair google translate is not THAT ACCURATE! and also it will be hassle for English speaking user to help. I am not against the idea though. but i highly doubt any english speaking user will be willing to help them using GOOGLE TRANSLATOR! maybe any user that speaks the op's language can help them.

But then again what language boards to include! Chinese! japanese? spanish? there are tons of user speaks different language. we could only allow handful of language boards.

we need more input if any non-english speaker is willing to actually help users.



This is a proposed change in structure accommodating for the above observations:

GENERAL

Version Info         Child boards: Release version, Testing versions
Tips and Tricks
Customisations     Child boards: Icons, Localisation, Skins, TheaterMode, Visualisers
Plugins
MusicBee Wishlist
General Board      Child boards: General discussions, Beyond MusicBee, Screenshot gallery, Rubbish Bin
Polls                    Child boards: Developers polls, General polls

SUPPORT

Questions             Child boards: Questions on MusicBee, Support in non-English languages only
Tips and Tricks
Developers            Child boards: MusicBee API, Skins, TheaterMode
Bug Reports

Few improvement suggestion:
i have divided up the boards much more, also reduced child boards


ANNOUNCEMENT

MusicBee Release
MusicBee Beta

GENERAL

General discussions
Polls                    Child boards: Developers polls, General polls
Tips and Tricks
MusicBee Wishlist
Beyond MusicBee                       Child boards: Screenshot gallery

MUSICBEE ADDONS  (or maybe extensions... :/)

Customisations  Child boards: Icons, Localisation, Skins, TheaterMode, Visualisers
Plugins

SUPPORT

Questions             Child boards: Questions on MusicBee, Support in non-English languages only
Developers            Child boards: MusicBee API, Skins, TheaterMode
Bug Reports
[/quote]

GRAVEYARD

Rubbish Bin


This is a rough sketch.

hiccup

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Quick response to only 1 and 2:
Rubbish bin is not removed, just relocated under 'general'

I think you misread my intention about google translate.
I meant that google translate currently might be the cause of 'Lost in Translation' in some difficult to understand posts lately.
So having the opportunity to post in your own language, and be answered in that language too might help to avoid that.

We could start out with some language boards such as German, Russian, Japanese, Dutch, Australian, since I think we have some active members from those area's.
There could then maybe be the option to request for a new language to be added by new members, that then to be decided on by moderators?

hiccup

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And commenting on your rough sketch suggestions:

Adding 'Announcement' is good. That will make it obvious those boards are there only for 'informing the people'.
Not to be contributed or discussed on.

- The childboard 'Screenshot gallery' should not be under 'Beyond MusicBee'. That board is for all stuff that is not directly related to MusicBee. (what headphones do you use, your favorite albums, etc.)

- 'Rubish Bin' gets even more attention when under something like 'Graveyard'. It also might attract vultures.
Lets' put it a level deeper underground ;-)

- To me 'Addons' (as your suggestion is) feels slightly better there than 'extensions', but hey, let's have a poll!
(Oh, wait, Catch22,  we'll have to wait for the new forum to be able to do that)

All these considerations aside, of course it is crucial that you and Steven decide on what is best and doable, also  considering that all links and references between the forum and the new website, and all the wordings and descriptions used should be as streamlined as possible.

hiccup

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although i don't know if removing rubbish bin is really necessary or not.  :/

Giving the bin some more thought, I believe it was created by Steven for an I think very decent motive; namely that he didn't want to completely delete nonsense (rubbish) postings, but at least give them an (unworthy) second life in the bin.

In my opinion it would be legitimate to completely delete such postings from the forum, memory, and so perhaps also from search engines finding them.
In that case the bin could just be completely removed. But that of course must be Stevens call.

AvikB

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I think you misread my intention about google translate.
I meant that google translate currently might be the cause of 'Lost in Translation' in some difficult to understand posts lately.
So having the opportunity to post in your own language, and be answered in that language too might help to avoid that.

We could start out with some language boards such as German, Russian, Japanese, Dutch, Australian, since I think we have some active members from those area's.
There could then maybe be the option to request for a new language to be added by new members, that then to be decided on by moderators?
:O, damn i misunderstood what you said. But yeah, if we have members to help out in language problem, then we can open some boards.

- The childboard 'Screenshot gallery' should not be under 'Beyond MusicBee'. That board is for all stuff that is not directly related to MusicBee. (what headphones do you use, your favorite albums, etc.)
Maybe we could put it under general discussion


- 'Rubish Bin' gets even more attention when under something like 'Graveyard'. It also might attract vultures.
Lets' put it a level deeper underground ;-)
that also works.

- To me 'Addons' (as your suggestion is) feels slightly better there than 'extensions', but hey, let's have a poll!
(Oh, wait, Catch22,  we'll have to wait for the new forum to be able to do that)

All these considerations aside, of course it is crucial that you and Steven decide on what is best and doable, also  considering that all links and references between the forum and the new website, and all the wordings and descriptions used should be as streamlined as possible.
well i am all for new board structure, i am sure steven won't have any problem with this.

there is some extra work will require for steven to do(i have a sollution.... ). for an example. new release announcement for both beta and stable. also updating beta release is a hassle since beta evolves really quickly and almost 1-2 patches everyday. and also the download page also offers beta version. so keeping track of that AND also a discussion thread about the beta....damn it will get hard.

THE SOLUTION! The new admin panel for the will have the ability to update and post in announcement thread and download page in a SINGLE button click! YAY!

thanks to simplemechineforum's extremely simple form database structure, this is possible.

AvikB

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Also a BAD news. As the forum is upgrading from 1.1.21 to 2.0.11, i just tested it on my side, while the upgrades work, but the THEME i developed for the demo forum ISN'T COMPATIBLE :(
BUT i am glad that it is MUCH easier to theme the new forum. Only CSS tweaks and some minor and few major changes. I will provide a NEW demo for the new updated forum SOON!

on the other hand, the new forum does not break site integration :) YAY!

Alumni

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there is some extra work will require for steven to do(i have a sollution.... ). for an example. new release announcement for both beta and stable. also updating beta release is a hassle since beta evolves really quickly and almost 1-2 patches everyday. and also the download page also offers beta version. so keeping track of that AND also a discussion thread about the beta....damn it will get hard.


In my opinion I don't think the beta version (or 'nightly' as I call it) needs an announcement/notification.
Only a small group of users will be involved in testing, and they will know to check for updates when Steven replies to a bug report.

hiccup

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In my opinion I don't think the beta version (or 'nightly' as I call it) needs an announcement/notification.
Only a small group of users will be involved in testing, and they will know to check for updates when Steven replies to a bug report.

You are right that there will probably not be (m)any explanatory posts about these 'nightlies'. In that sense your point is a very good one.
Yet I think it would be good to have at least some landing page for these nightlies and beta's on the forum.
At least for the purpose on clarifying what is what, how and when to use what, and where to find it.
Even if only the most recent version identifier and it's date released would be updated and shown there, that would be very useful.

I believe that the way at this moment the different versions, updates, patches, etc. are explained, are still confusing quite some users.

If you agree on all this, would you have another forum board structure proposal for this?