V-Announcements: Site Refresh and New Connections

I don’t know what it is about Production servers, but they’re always different from Staging and Test servers. And when I say “different” I mean “sinister and evil”. Never the less, we have successfully launched Velominati’s site refresh. It was high time, too; after serving us well for V years, the site’s infrastructure was showing its age and the site’s design needed to be updated to accommodate our plans for 2015.

Most of you will never see most of what has changed on the site; this was a ground-up rebuild that lays the foundation for evolving the site in accordance with our plans for 2015 and beyond. The majority of those updates will be transparent to everyone but me and some will only be visible to the Keepers and Guest Contributors, but the most exciting pieces are centered around the community and providing additional ways to track conversations and connect with one another.

When we launched in 2009, we never imagined what this project would grow into. Back then it was just a handful of us posting snarky comments on a few crappy articles and it was quite easy to follow the conversations (which, as they are today, were hilarious). As we’ve grown, it’s become harder and harder to keep on top of the various threads which is a great shame; the articles have always only been a launching point, the conversations are where the fun happens.

There has also been a clear desire for people to connect directly and hold private conversations; in the past I’ve been able to connect people via email but that also hasn’t scaled in the last few years so providing a way to do this safely directly through the site is the logical next step.

The biggest components of the site update are new ways to connect and communicate with one another. The site now gives us the ability to aggregate comments posts into our activity feed and also connect with other members and send each other private messages. You can follow and friend members on their profile page which you get to by clicking their name on the posts of all articles and pages. (You can also follow members directly from the articles.) These features are also available for all those who frequent the site but choose not to post publicly (which represents about 99.5% of our audience.)

The main difference between Friending and Following is that following is a one-directional connection and friending is a two-directional connection. In other words, in order to be friends, both parties need to agree to the connection while anyone can follow anyone. Friends can message each other privately and organize themselves into groups, while following allows for collecting their posts into a centralized activity feed so you can better stay on top of the conversations. (This actually doesn’t appear to be working as intended at the moment; it was tricky to test this while in development as I needed the live data to see it in action. Keep an eye out for improvements in this space over the coming weeks.)

Please keep in mind that these features are meant to add choices to the way we currently connect; the site continues to function as before so you can just keep on as you always have if you don’t want or need any of the new features.

Other features include, in no particular order:

  1. A fully responsive layout which means I no longer need to maintain both a mobile and desktop site. I’ve noticed some weirdness here too but it seems to basically work. Clear your caches before reporting any issues please.
  2. The homepage now shows the V most recent articles instead of 3. This change is mostly for symmetry and cross-v-ginations.
  3. Save for a few unavoidable cases, all CSS design elements are laid out in multiples of V units (i.e. padding: 5px, font-size: 1.5em; etc.)  This mostly serves to satisfy my OCD.
  4. The entire sites architecture was built using pluggable technology which means that the site shouldn’t need to crash every time WordPress or one of the plugins we use puts out an update.
  5. The login page now looks appropriately V.

Look for more changes coming in 2015; we look forward to another amazing year of enjoying Cycling together.

Cheers, and Coppi New Year!

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94 Replies to “V-Announcements: Site Refresh and New Connections”

  1. It looks great so far. My only complaint is one that I’ve seen you mention is a bug – the old “articles” link is missing and the “archives” only has a plain list without the old category listings that I depend on for my evening’s reading.

  2. Seems to work! First good thing-logging in now coming straight back to the page you were on, not the control panel

  3. Merci beaucoup, I can use my phone thingy-thing much betters now.

    The site is looking good, very nice!n

  4. Great work Frank, looks good and runs smoothly. A minor navigational suggestion: there used to be a “back to top” at the bottom of comments which saved scrolling up. Either that or a home link in the footer or a floating “up” tab?

  5. Wanna know what’s really messing me up?

    You’ve reversed the Previous/Next article links at the bottom of each article…was scrolling through the archives yesterday & it took me ages to realise I was going backwards!

  6. @Mikael Liddy

    Wanna know what’s really messing me up?

    You’ve reversed the Previous/Next article links at the bottom of each article…was scrolling through the archives yesterday & it took me ages to realise I was going backwards!

    Yeah that, and in the spirit of narcissism, we can’t seem to follow ourselves.

  7. @Glory Tyas

    @Mikael Liddy

    Wanna know what’s really messing me up?

    You’ve reversed the Previous/Next article links at the bottom of each article…was scrolling through the archives yesterday & it took me ages to realise I was going backwards!

    Yeah that, and in the spirit of narcissism, we can’t seem to follow ourselves.

    Both excellent observations; Mikael I never noticed that! @Glory Tits – that would cause a singularity!

  8. @Glory Tyas

    @Mikael Liddy

    Wanna know what’s really messing me up? You’ve reversed the Previous/Next article links at the bottom of each article…was scrolling through the archives yesterday & it took me ages to realise I was going backwards!

    Yeah that, and in the spirit of narcissism, we can’t seem to follow ourselves.

    Both excellent observations; Mikael I never noticed that! @Glory Tits – that would cause a singularity!

  9. @frank

    @Glory Tyas

    @Mikael Liddy

    Wanna know what’s really messing me up?

    You’ve reversed the Previous/Next article links at the bottom of each article…was scrolling through the archives yesterday & it took me ages to realise I was going backwards!

    Yeah that, and in the spirit of narcissism, we can’t seem to follow ourselves.

    Both excellent observations; Mikael I never noticed that! @Glory Tits – that would cause a singularity!

    Ok, another glitch. Although “Glory Tits” is a mighty fine name, why in the hell is that listed as mine? Or perhaps that’s not a glitch but some crafty high school styled buggery. This is a test posting, by the by just to see if I remain “Glory tyas”…

  10. And I cannot upload photos. Logged in, but no button and no drag and drop. Safari 7 point something.

  11. @Glory Tyas

    Glory Ta-tas, you appear to have this listed as your name under your profile. Perhaps you did this when you signed up originally and only now it is being carried through?

  12. @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon?  If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    @girl, @’clops: every plan should include bacon and chocolate. Sometimes both. There is nothing in life that cannot be made better with bacon. And chocolate makes you lose weight.

  13. @frank

    @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon?  If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    @girl, @’clops: every plan should include bacon and chocolate. Sometimes both. There is nothing in life that cannot be made better with bacon. And chocolate makes you lose weight.

    So very true. Nice work on the upgrade, looking forward to exploring the new features properly. Currently I can only focus on chocolate.

  14. Hmm…I too seem to be having issues posting pictures – either that or my post in The Bikes is being moderated for being too anti-V – because it’s not just the pictures that aren’t showing up, it’s the whole post. I’m using [IMG] tags from Photobucket in Chrome v39 (64 bit).

    Otherwise, I have to say, I’m a fan of this new layout, other than the category tags missing from the right-hand side.

  15. A minor thing, but I can’t see the post number under each article, simply the # symbol. I found it useful when threads get long to have in the back of my mind “I got to post 50, and there’s another 30 new ones!” meaning I could get to the right place in the thread quickly.

    Other than that – looking good!

    DAvid

     

     

  16. Mmmm…….i wanted to show photographic proof of the awesome level of V I laid down but I don’t seem to have the upload photo option despite being logged in. Drag and drop doesn’t seem to work either.

    Cheers,

    David

     

  17. Frank your long hours in the saddle obviously have prepared you well for the suffering the v servers are dishing out as you flog them thru this upgrade. Thanks for the hard work.

  18. @frank

    @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon?  If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    @girl, @’clops: every plan should include bacon and chocolate. Sometimes both. There is nothing in life that cannot be made better with bacon. And chocolate makes you lose weight.

    I made candied bacon for a Christmas party and it was gone within a minute of me opening the container and setting it the counter.

  19. Thanks – Frank – however whilst I now have the button to add media but when I try it tells me I don’t have permission. The photo is under the 64k limit.

    Cheers,

    David

     

  20. Ah – a 2 stage process seems to work…….

    Anyway – here’s proof that I was laying down some serious V recently. for some reasons once the bottle(s) were empty I forgot to take pictures…..

    V Bottle

  21. [caption id="attachment_31989" align="alignnone" width="800"]The Golden Tickets with Flemish mud (cow shit) The Golden Tickets with Flemish mud (cow shit)[/caption]

  22. @davidlhill

    What is the two-step process? I just tried and it seems to work fine (you can add captions too btw) You can also private message me about it if you don’t want to expose your technical frailties!

  23. @frank

    @Glory Tyas

    Glory Ta-tas, you appear to have this listed as your name under your profile. Perhaps you did this when you signed up originally and only now it is being carried through?

    Just trying again to see how the nom de guere appears. Not sure what happened with the whole “glory tyas” business. I blame inanimate objects as the cause (the non-wheeled, self powered ones should not be trusted).

    Also, since “Sports” is included in the site description, the web filters on my work computer prevents me from accessing the site. Perhaps if you instead used some sort of medical term like “probably infectious” it would be to my betterment.

  24. @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

     

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

  25. @PeakInTwoYears

    @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon?  If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    I’m holding out for narcotics.

    Good man! Nothing says NYE like strong drugs… (though I do like chocolate too).

  26. Here is to another great year of cycling and conversing about the greatest sport right here! This year will bring a different year of ridin’ for me, but shouldn’t they all include some change?

    Already have my Classics Calendar tacked to my office wall, pondering a new wheelset or two, and getting ready to fly high come spring. For now, I’m slogging through the rain and cool weather, but that doesn’t mean doing it aboard a steed isn’t fun as hell.

     

  27. @Ron

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @girl

    @Cyclops

    Do the plans for 2015 involve bacon?  If so, I’m in.

    Or chocolate? If so, then I am in too.

    I’m holding out for narcotics.

    Good man! Nothing says NYE like strong drugs… (though I do like chocolate too).

    My NY resolution is going to be to try my hand at wheelbuilding, which I suspect will lead to a lifetime of addiction and dependance and probably quite a bit of pain.

  28. @Ccos

    Perhaps if you instead used some sort of medical term like “probably infectious” it would be to my betterment.

    I think for most of us you can remove the “probably”.  Maybe “certifiably infectious” would be closer to the truth?

  29. Didn’t the old site quote the lead from the new post when you “quote” a previous post rather than the contributors and lead from the old post?

     

  30. frank,

    if I use the button by the input box I’m told I don’t have permission. However I can if I add the picture to my library using the ‘add media’ button from the top of the page and then insert into the post.

    Hopefully that’s clear!

  31. @Ccos

    Interesting, I’ll look at that. Velominati is probably infectious, so I wouldn’t even be lying.

    @SamFromTex

    @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

    I’d love a screen shot, also I don’t officially support any Windows-based visual “defects” as Windows fundamentally produces sub-quality results.

    At least you didn’t say “Internet Explorer”.

  32. @Ron

    Here is to another great year of cycling and conversing about the greatest sport right here! This year will bring a different year of ridin’ for me, but shouldn’t they all include some change?

    Already have my Classics Calendar tacked to my office wall, pondering a new wheelset or two, and getting ready to fly high come spring. For now, I’m slogging through the rain and cool weather, but that doesn’t mean doing it aboard a steed isn’t fun as hell.

    Ah-Merckx, brother.

    @Teocalli

    Didn’t the old site quote the lead from the new post when you “quote” a previous post rather than the contributors and lead from the old post?

     

    Not following you on this one…

    @Davidlhill

    Screen shots please. Sounds very odd.

  33. @frank

    @Ccos

    Interesting, I’ll look at that. Velominati is probably infectious, so I wouldn’t even be lying.

    @SamFromTex

    @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

    I’d love a screen shot, also I don’t officially support any Windows-based visual “defects” as Windows fundamentally produces sub-quality results.

    At least you didn’t say “Internet Explorer”.

     

    Untitled-1

    Here’s the mysterious scrollbar, which works and everything, there’s just nothing to scroll to.

    I think the odd-looking “THE REST OF THE WORLD” is just a font size not looking great at my resolution. They can scale oddly. At 200% it seems to be rendered fine.

  34. Oh, and to add that picture I had to go up to the top menu for the “new media” dropdown. Hitting “add media” just above the posting box and going to the uploader from there got me a “do not have permission” same as @Davidlhill

  35. At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

  36. @frank

    @Ccos

    Interesting, I’ll look at that. Velominati is probably infectious, so I wouldn’t even be lying.

    @SamFromTex

    @frank

    Site keeps looking better and better. For some reason the navigation bar is giving me a little scroller that doesn’t go anywhere. And unless my eyes are crapping out, I think you’ve ended up with a multiplier for the Rules ad that doesn’t play nice with the fonts – the smaller text looks oddly kerned and a bit fuzzy. OCD, I know, but I figure this is the thread for bug reports.

    Firefox on a windoze, if it matters.

    I’d love a screen shot, also I don’t officially support any Windows-based visual “defects” as Windows fundamentally produces sub-quality results.

    At least you didn’t say “Internet Explorer”.

    Frank what I meant was that I think the summary post for this will start “Interesting I’ll look at that….” rather than the previous version that would have started “Frank what I meant was….”

  37. @Hagueman

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but seems functionality to register my profile is missing. Or deliberate choice, site for level 4s being “invite only”?

    Hover your mouse over your name (top right) do you get a drop down with Profile as one option?

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