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#1 2014-08-02 18:08:22

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Hi Everyone,

I'm extremely pleased to announce that on the 2nd of August, we completed an extensive site upgrade that introduced a number of fixes and improvements to ThinkClassic. We've been working on these improvements for a little over two months, including an extensive testing process across a number of machines and browsers.

The site's appearance perhaps doesn't look all that different, but be assured that the real changes are under the hood. Almost all of the code that makes the site look, feel and work the way it does has been rewritten from scratch. We discarded our old stylesheets and started over. We remade all of the graphics in Pixelmator. We revised the positioning, alignment and sizes of elements and text down to the very last pixel.

I can't demonstrate every last change we made, but there's a few I would like to show everyone.


New Post Editor

Our new post editor makes creating rich formatted posts so much easier. Based on WysiBB, the improved editor adds on to the capabilities of our existing editor with a drop-down colour palette and an emoticon panel to quickly add some character to your posts. Any controls requiring input, such as adding a link or an image to a post, now use a modal dialog that displays over the forum as opposed to a standard Javascript input that tends to lock up your browser and prevent you from interacting with any other tabs.

It's supported in most current browsers and it degrades gracefully back to a standard text editor on older browsers that don't support it.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_36_36_am.png

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_37_02_am.png

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_37_20_am.png


A Revised Appearance

We could have made all of these changes and kept our existing design, but we decided to have a little fun with it. We went over the appearance of just about everything and gave it a tune-up, from the appearance of the header and footer to the appearance of even the smallest icons, like the asterisks that denote required fields.

We didn't stop at small tweaks though. We recreated every site graphic from scratch and produced double-sized versions that look much sharper on Retina and Hi-DPI displays as well.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_41_22_am.png

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_41_43_am.png

We retired the Burnt Orange in favour of a Key Lime that looks much lighter and is easier to read, then we extended it to sticky topics and hovered links.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_42_24_am.png

Our hideous Quote and Code blocks have now been replaced with much nicer and cleaner looking content blocks that are designed to be effective without being overly disruptive to the flow of reading a thread.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_38_30_am.png

The redirects that appear briefly after creating a new topic, posting a reply and updating your profile settings were all given a face lift as well.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_02_at_3_54_53_pm.png

Even the tiny little icons on the Report, Edit and Delete links below each post were given a splash of colour to make them a little easier to see.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_38_51_am.png


Dynamically Generated Content

Anyone that uses social media will appreciate this one. Whenever you link to a forum, thread or specific post here on ThinkClassic, the forum now generates a summary of the page and provides it to Facebook. It automatically retrieves the contents of a forum, thread or post and allows Facebook to use it as the description of the URL you linked to. It will also retrieve the images from a thread or post and allow you to select which one you wish to use as the thumbnail for your Facebook post.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_39_51_am.jpg

What if you don't use any form of social media? You will still see the benefits of these dynamically generated tags as search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo index the forums. We're providing those same descriptions and tags to them as well, so search results will be more relevant to the content we have here.

However it's not only what we're providing to these search engines that matters, but also what we choose to withhold. We're preventing indexing of individual posts so search engines will no longer have a hundred results that all direct to the same thread.


More Informative Searches

Since we're still a relatively small community, searching through our database isn't all that necessary or difficult. We chose to improve on it anyway. We're now displaying the type and status of threads in our search results, so you can now see which topics have new posts, which ones are unread, which topics are locked and which ones are stickied.

You will also see these improvements if you use the filtering links - like Posted, New, Active and Unanswered - on the forum index. Finding your way around ThinkClassic's posts and topics has become much easier.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_03_at_2_43_13_am.png


Better Support & Compatibility

We've moved a few elements around and reduced the minimum required width to make ThinkClassic easier to use on smaller desktop and notebook screens. As a matter of fact, it is now much easier to use the forums on a 1024 x 768 display than ever before.

While we aren't officially supporting the use of the site on older machines in our code, we aren't making any changes to restrict it either. As a matter of fact, as a result of the optimisations to our CSS and images, ThinkClassic now renders better than ever in Classilla. It doesn't look fantastic and it doesn't have all the benefits of using a newer browser, but the site does at least work. We've also tested the site with TenFourFox 26 and later, and of course it renders beautifully. We just wanted to make sure it worked perfectly there too.


Easier To Maintain

This is something most users will never see, but they'll be pleased knowing it's there. These revisions to the site move a lot of our custom code out of the core of the forum and into custom modules, making it much easier for administrators to fix issues, make improvements and most importantly - install the very latest versions and security fixes to our forum engine as they're released.



We're extremely pleased with how these revisions have come together over the last few months. We'll still be making some adjustments and fixing a few last minute issues over the coming days and weeks, but we've worked hard to make it work as smoothly as possible.

For everyone that tested our Public Beta and sent me feedback - Thank You. Many of the changes made in the last week or so were the result of the feedback we received. Please note that we've automatically moved you on to this finished version, so no manual switching over in your profile is necessary.

If anyone finds any issues or experiences any problems with the site following the revision, please report it in the Community Bug Tracker thread or contact a board administrator directly if you can't post or if the issue is major and requires immediate attention. All of our contact information can be found here.


I'd like to thank everyone that's been involved with ThinkClassic over the last few months. We certainly didn't expect the response that we received and it's fantastic to see everyone in the forums working on projects, sharing information, answering questions and generally having a great time. We hope that these improvements make the forums a little more enjoyable.


Cheers,

Michael (iMic)

Last edited by iMic (2014-08-24 06:08:49)


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#2 2014-08-02 18:15:04

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

A more comprehensive list of changes for those that are interested. I'll continue adding to it if anything else comes to mind.

Optimisations

  • We've reduced the amount of CSS needed to produce the same visual appearance.

  • We're using TinyPNG lossless compression on all of our images to reduce their file sizes.

  • We've moved most of our custom code out of the forum engine, making it easier for us to perform maintenance and apply security updates.


Appearance

  • We've redesigned the header and footer to make them a little nicer to look at.

  • We've redesigned the redirect pages displayed after making a new post, reply or changing settings.

  • Special content pages (like the Contact, Disclaimer, etc pages linked in the footer) have been redesigned to match the overall forum motif.

  • Site graphics and images are now optimised for Retina Displays on supported devices.

  • Browsers will now use a new high resolution favicon where supported.

  • Sticky Topics are now Lime Green instead of Burnt Orange.

  • Hovered links are now Green instead of Red, including the sidebars in Profile settings.

  • The Page Links and Post Buttons (Post New Topic, Post Reply, etc) have been swapped. Post & Reply buttons are now on the right.

  • We've completely redesigned the Quote and Code blocks.

  • The appearance of buttons (such as Post New Topic) have been tweaked.

  • Post controls (such as Quote, Edit, Delete and Report) now have subtle coloured icons to make them easier to find on screen.

  • The standard window title separator is now a dash ( - ) instead of a slash ( / ).


Usability

  • We've increased the standard font sizes on many elements, including forum links and the navigation trail links.

  • When performing searches, the search results now visually indicate whether a topic is new, is unread, has new posts, is locked or is a sticky topic.


Functionality

  • ThinkClassic has a new post editor, complete with colour palette, emoticons and on-screen dialogs to make it easier to create formatted posts.

  • We now provide information about a linked topic, post or page when posting links to Facebook, Twitter and other networks that support Open Graph.

  • We're now providing dynamically generated meta data to search engines to make ThinkClassic threads, posts and content easier to find.

  • When bookmarking ThinkClassic to the home screen of an iOS or Android device, it will now display a special ThinkClassic icon.


Compatibility

  • ThinkClassic has been tested and is usable with Classilla and TenFourFox.

  • We've reduced the minimum supported screen size to make the site easier to use on 1024 x 768 displays.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#3 2014-08-02 23:02:49

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,081
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Hmm. Looks like part of your resources are being blocked by Adblock Edge. I had to turn it off on thinkclassic.org to get it to match your screenshots above.

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#4 2014-08-04 05:49:13

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

I'd be interested to know which resources are being blocked. Perhaps some of the DIV classes and IDs match common ones used for banner ads? We can always look into it.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#5 2014-08-05 00:47:25

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 449

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Tangent: I noticed that websites are getting more and more sophisticated in detecting adblock, if its present sometimes entire site access is blocked .

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#6 2014-08-05 01:40:19

cc333
Member
From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 562

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

They want us to be good consumers smile , because those ads are one of the ways they make money, and if we're blocking them, they don't make as much money off them.

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#7 2014-08-05 01:52:29

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 449

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Surprising thing is, Google still allows adblock to function, and googles primary income was advertising. At least it used to be.

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#8 2014-08-05 13:53:00

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,081
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

iMic wrote:

I'd be interested to know which resources are being blocked. Perhaps some of the DIV classes and IDs match common ones used for banner ads? We can always look into it.

Possibly. I'll try to sort this out. The other thing that is local but might be biting people is that the old redirect for thinkclassic.org -> thinkclassic.org/forums/ is stuck in my cache and I have to manually add "index.php" to get it to work. A cache flush should solve this, but maybe a temporary redirect in /forums/ to the proper URL for people who might not realize?

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#9 2014-08-05 15:03:47

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

That cache issue... I swear we had that in place for about an hour, and it's caused us more grief than anything we've faced on here before.

I'll most likely throw something there to move all requests for /forums/ up a directory.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#10 2014-08-05 17:36:28

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 932
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

I put an Apache rewrite rule in to redirect requests for /forum to the root domain.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
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#11 2014-08-06 00:50:39

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,081
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

That's got it, thanks.

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#12 2014-08-06 03:06:19

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 449

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

I havent tried it yet, but does it render ok in classilla?

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#13 2014-08-07 05:19:25

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

It renders much better in Classilla than our previous version. It isn't perfect, and the styling of some elements isn't accurate, but the site is definitely usable. Keep in mind that a 1024 x 768 or greater resolution display is still required.

TC_Classila1.jpg

Forum titles span the entire width of the forum table instead of displaying as a "tab", mainly due to the use of inline-block. The subtle Box Shadow around the forum content (white background) also doesn't render.

TC_Classila2.jpg

TC_Classila3.jpg

TC_Classila4.jpg

FluxBB uses absolute-positioned text blocks that overlay on some site elements. You can see that for some reason, the "Quick Reply" overlay is positioned in the text area. This doesn't occur in all cases and seems to only occur on pages that contain posts with code blocks. We could possibly disable these text overlays entirely since they don't seem to serve much purpose other than aesthetics.

TC_Classila5.jpg

TC_Classila6.jpg


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#14 2014-08-07 16:52:33

ClassicHasClass
Member
From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,081
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Yeah, absolute blocks were problematic in Gecko for years. I don't think they got it right until Firefox 3/Mozilla 1.9.

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#15 2014-08-07 23:46:35

techknight
Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 449

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

which firefox engine is the Classila code running? just curious. is it possible to compile the firefox 3.x.x into classila? probably a dumb question, but I am not really a mac programmer.

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#16 2014-08-08 04:02:01

cc333
Member
From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 562

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

If I understand correctly, while they both have a common ancestor, they're not really directly related to each other (Classilla has more in common with the old Mozilla/Netscape codebase than the new, modern Firefox codebase). However, since they are related, it seems like it should be possible to backport stuff written for the later Firefox codebase to the earlier Mozilla one.

ClassicHasClass would know best, though.

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#17 2014-08-08 06:25:29

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,081
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

Long and short: yeah, maybe, but the toolchain would probably need to be updated and the old Mac build system rebuilt (the old build system was removed in 1.4). Classilla is based on Mozilla 1.3.1, the last one that would compile out of the box, but with a lot of later patches rewritten for it. The current engine is more or less Mozilla 1.6-1.7ish (some is patches from the 1.8 era, and the JavaScript is from 1.9, but some other layout features and much of DOM are still 1.3).

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#18 2014-08-08 17:17:57

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
Website

Re: ThinkClassic v2 Site Upgrade Complete (August 2nd, 2014)

iMic wrote:

http://s30.postimg.org/kyrwjagxt/TC_Classila4.jpg

FluxBB uses absolute-positioned text blocks that overlay on some site elements. You can see that for some reason, the "Quick Reply" overlay is positioned in the text area. This doesn't occur in all cases and seems to only occur on pages that contain posts with code blocks. We could possibly disable these text overlays entirely since they don't seem to serve much purpose other than aesthetics.


Earlier this evening I rolled out a minor revision to the site that corrects a few last-minute issues and makes a few small changes. One such change corrects the absolute-positioned titles issue in Classilla.

Screen_Shot_2014_08_09_at_2_44_10_am.png


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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