A long, long time...

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It's taken more time than I care to admit to get to this stage, the stage being that you are reading this article on the "new site" I use the speech marks as for you the site could be brand spanking new, just launched! However, for me, it's been nearly a year in the making pretty much since the original version launched I have been trying to find time to chip away at the new version of the site and based on the fact this blog post is live I somehow made it so yay for me!

I did try to keep a track of my changes on the site changes page but even that is fairly recent and does not include a whole heap of crap that I put on my list of stuff to look into; everything from new platforms, varied forum types and much more oddball aspects of site building such as category structuring and menu routing. I would pretty much sit down at the end of a workday and install some new forum system or content management system or a basic CCK platform, play with it and see what I can make it do and how easy it is to do what I wanted it to do. 

Platform Decisions

In the end, I stuck with the same platform but dropped a LOT (most) of the original extensions that powered the site in favour of an external forum platform to sit alongside the main site. My platform of choice was Joomla! I know it way too well (UX/UI) to the point it's almost natural getting things done, complex problems are often far more logical for me given my history with Joomla! That said I love what the TVDB has done with their API frontend website using Concrete5

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I did investigate this idea but found the learning curve a little steeper than I wanted it to be (i.e I didn't want to spend a ton of time learning how to make it amazing, Concrete5 isn't all that difficult to use and/or learn it's more once you get past the basic stuff onto the more advanced stuff is where I didn't want to put in the time.) and given that custom extensions are likely to play a part, the cost of using Concrete5 is a little rich for my blood (extensions are quite pricey (in general, not a comparative with Joomla! extensions as those are also rather expensive but due to work and history, I actually have access to and licences for a lot of the big Joomla! extensions already.) 

New Age Forums

After the platform was decided it was onto the forums, which was a little more complex than I wanted it to be, mostly due to the fact some of the powerhouse forums of yesteryear have not really changed in terms of methodology they are still basically the forums you knew (and loved) from 10 years ago just with vastly updated code. This didn't click for me, gamers and gaming in general often sit more on the bleeding edge of technology rather than the timid land of stable releases - which means gaming users (IMO!) are in general more likely to gravitate to modern approaches. 

So I turned to the new breed of forums with the likes of Vanilla, Flarum and NodeBB being my personal top #3 spoiler alert, in the end, I went for Flarum - I felt that some of the best features advertised for Vanilla were in their hosted release which costs more than I have, NodeBB would work but as my hosting is provided by donators I didn't feel like stressing out the sponsors server so Flarum which is still in beta (tho working towards a 0.1 release) took the cake, mostly because it has a healthy extension development, community as well as a VERY VERY light core, perhaps too light but it gets the job done. 

The Bands Playing me Off!

So platform and forums picked up I figured hell just import old data into the new site right? Wrong! Horribly wrong, something in the then current site (read old) was screwing things up, oddly between the 5 servers, I tested backup restoration or git based deployments from, the only server the site would work with was the live site. Which means I had the option of either abandoning the old posts and starting from scratch or and this is where I question my sanity - I could spend the next 3 months manually importing all the data one article at a time after a hards days work of my actual job. 

You would think I would just start again as the content loss isn't all that big of a deal and most of it wasn't very well written (still isn't, this, for example, was written at 6:21 am which means I just hit 24 hours of awake time) however I put a lot of effort (I did) into the original articles and felt like having them as a base would be cool and it'd be interesting to see further down the line if new users could pick up on the near year in posting gap. 

Anyway, I'm very tired right now so this probably does not read very well I just really hope that you do enjoy the new site and feel compelled to engage by adding lots of comments in the comments section, joining the forums and chirping in with all your gaming related ideas and thoughts... or at worse you say hey on twitter ;) 

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