Welcome to The Tech Report v3.0!


— 2:59 PM on January 1, 2011

Why, hello there! I didn't see you come in. Unless you're a first-time reader, you've probably noticed something different around here. Yes, TR has gotten a fresh coat of paint—a snazzy new design to carry us into 2011 and pave the way for further improvements.

Since Scott is still busy working on his review of you-know-what, let me do the honors and introduce TR v3.0. This new version of The Tech Report is made up of two main components: a brand-new design, created and coded up from scratch by yours truly with input from Scott, and a state-of-the-art comment system called Metal, which was programmed also from scratch by our own Bruno Ferreira (also known to the TR community by his alias, "morphine"). Scott and I started brainstorming on the new look in late July, but the bulk of the work took place throughout December... hence the somewhat diminished flow of news and content last month.

As part of this switch, we've reverted the front page to the "at a glance"-style layout so many of you seem to like, and we've re-organized the layout of other pages to be simpler, more logical, and easier to navigate. We've also taken some cues from the original TR design, like the "top comments topics" and "hot forum threads" link lists located in a collapsible pane at the top of each page. Folks with average-sized displays will now have an instant overview of not just those lists, but also our latest articles, news, and blog posts without having to scroll down. None of our previous layouts made that possible.

At the same time, Metal represents a giant leap ahead of our previous comment system. Metal offers easier-to-navigate threaded views, in-place reply fields, instant editing, more view options, comment voting, easier-to-use BBCode formatting tags, and a shared login with our forums. Not only that, but Metal was fashioned using modern web technologies that should make server software upgrades relatively painless. Our old system, Ja.zz, featured wildly undocumented C++ code with some old dependencies that made upgrades difficult, if not impossible.

Now, if you're a die-hard TR regular, you've probably got some questions for us. Here are some preemptive answers to what I suspect will be the most commonly asked questions:

  • Where did the scrolly, blog-style news page go?
    It's still around in its former place. You can get to it through the "more..." menu in the navigation bar, by clicking "more news" in the center column on the front page, or by clicking here.
  • Where is the blue theme?
    Click the half-moon icon under the search field at the top right of the screen. You didn't think we were going to leave that one out, did you?
  • Where did ataglance.x go?
    The new TR front page supplants the old ataglance.x page, offering essentially the same content in similar spots. However, it's organized better and should be less intimidating visually for first-time visitors.
  • Where is the wide theme?
    Stay tuned. That feature ended up on the cutting-room floor for TR v3.0 due to time constraints, but it'll be back in full force with TR v3.1.
  • Why do the forums, price search engine, and job search pages look the same?
    Same as above. Stay tuned.
  • Why aren't BBCode tags working in the new comment system?
    Click "formatting tips" under the post, reply, or edit field to see a list of supported codes. In order to maintain backward-compatibility with the old system, discussions in articles created prior to the TR v3.0 switch don't support BBCode tags; you'll need to use the old Ja.zz tags in those, instead. The "formatting tips" box will tell you what tags you can use in either case.

And with that, I'll open the floor to further questions and input. Our to-do list for TR v3.1 is still wide open, so keep those suggestions coming!

   
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