Forum Overhaul

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puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
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Joined: 09/01/2007
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Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am being forced to upgrade the forum. I spent more than 25 hours of the last 48 hours working on the modifications and it should be mostly the same as before. There will be some slight differences but I think everyone will figure it out.

As a result of this massive upgrade to the portal area, the site will be offline for maintenance for an undetermined amount of time beginning at 8:00pm ET. During this time, I do not expect any interruption to the service.

Some of the changes to note are:

  • Much larger font size used in the main forum area
  • Somewhat larger font size in the topic listing areas
  • Certain functions have been moved/added to a dropdown box found at the bottom of pages
  • There are new features, such as list all unanswered posts, active posts, etc
  • The sub-forums, such as the soon-to-launch Project Proposal & Awarded Projects, will show more clearly beneath their parent category
  • Now there is a preview of a topic available by hovering over the topic link in the listing
  • Collapsible forum areas to streamline view to what's important to you

That's really it on the user side. I have gone to great lengths to keep the same basic flow and look-and-feel.Unfortunately, we had no option other than to upgrade immediately but I hope you like the changes!

Cheers,

Brandon

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
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Joined: 09/01/2007
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Ok, the site is back online. This was a massive update of several big pieces of the system, but I verified that no users had their service affected as a result of these upgrades.

GEEK-SPEAK
There were a few obstacles that I ran into in regards to the ugprade of the "Advanced Forum" module for Drupal. Namely these were CSS issues that should not be issues but the maintainer of the module insists that the text labels on certain buttons should be kept. So to hide those is an extremely complicated matter of positioning and tweaking the entire layout across several modules and stylesheets.

Hopefully I can convince the maintainer that it is OK to use ALT tags instead of actual text. Her position is that it is necessary in order for mobile and text-based devices (such as e-readers), such as readers for the blind, to be able to navigate the pages. However, those devices will often times support the ALT tag and it's really up to them to do so. In any case, there should at least be an option because the ONLY means to hide that text is to use bad code and "this is sucks." lol

-The Brandon

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
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Joined: 09/01/2007
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GEEK-SPEAK
Here is a link to the thread on the obstacle for hiding the button text:
Redo image replacement handling

And to my feature request post on handling the topic link/title separately from the author information: Separate Topic Title from Author Info in $rows var. That will help the forum look better and be more readable in the topic listing.

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
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Joined: 09/01/2007
Visit puravida's Website

GEEK-SPEAK
Ok. I think I got the forum tweaked as much as I want it. I spent the past 5 hours learning a bit about the Drupal Views module, which is required by "Advanced Forum." Turns out that my request on handling the topic link/title separately was solved by a simple manipulation in the View UI module. Very cool.

I also noticed some tricky issues with the layout in certain cases, such as collapsing the forum blocks on a topic listing that contained sub-forums. If you would collapse the sub-forums block, the "New Topic" button would overlap a bit. Fixing that caused the CSS layout for the rest of the page to change, so it took a bit of playing around with it to get it just right in all cases. I think I've got it now.

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