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V5 Pre-alpha launch

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Happy 10th birthday, GDNet! I got you a present. It's not much. I'd hoped, planned, for so much more, but you know how these things go.

Yes, folks, the V5 codebase is finally at a point where I can start putting bits of it up for public dissection, consumption, digestion, and *ahem* feedback!

There's not much to show you today, but I'm planning on pushing out new stuff very quickly at this point; much of the infrastructure is now in place, reasonably solid, so I can really focus on things that you can see.

Things to note before we start:

Firstly, I've been developing it primarily in Firefox; it also mostly works in Chrome. It's broken in IE - I think the problem is the content-type - and I've not tested it in Opera. Eventually, the site will be supported in FF3, IE7 or later, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. I'm aiming to downgrade gracefully to older browsers, but it's not a top priority and it probably won't be pretty.

Secondly, I've been doing all of the graphic design work myself, and I'm no artist. I'm focusing mostly on the functionality of the UI; consider the way that it looks to be 'programmer art' for now. Somebody with actual aesthetic sensibilities will look at it later, I promise [grin]

Thirdly, speed-wise, what you can see today is an unoptimized debug build, sharing a server with the current site (and the current site does not like to share). I've not had a chance to properly stress-test it, which is partly what taking it public is for. So, performance will improve drastically as the bugs are ironed out and I can start turning off the debugging flags.

Lastly, it should all be valid XHTML, CSS, and javascript; it should all work correctly when you are increasing or decreasing the text size; and the URI schema should be generally RESTful.

Today, we'll start with the basics.

  • Login / Account home page

    • You can use your regular GDNet username/password for login. It's all connected up to the current site DB through an adaptor layer that maps V4 database records to the new schema formats to as great an extent as possible.

    • Submission of username/password info is now done over SSL, for greatly improved security. (Maybe you don't care that much about your GDNet account being secure right now, but this is an absolute requirement for some of the services we want to offer in the future).

    • Once you're logged in, you should see a little bug icon next to the welcome message in the bottom right corner. Click it, and you'll get a box that lets you submit bugs and feedback, right from the browser; reports go automatically straight into my bugtracker. This icon should appear on every page of the site for logged-in users. Go ahead and use it liberally over the coming weeks. (Please don't abuse it; all you do is make more work for me).

  • A forum topic

    • I've tried to minimize the amount of extra cruft displayed on each post, so you can focus on the content. Extra user info can be revealed by hitting the chevrons at the right end of the post header.

    • Avatars don't work yet. They're going to be hard to sync between the current site and the new site...

    • You can see a few people have badges next to their name. More info about their badges is displayed in the expanded info. At the moment there are only two kinds of badge - Moderator and GDNet+ - but it's easy to think of other badges we might create and apply.

So, yeah. Not much to look at for now, but gimmie feedback. I should have some more stuff for you in the next couple of days.
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As one of the world's three Opera users, I can report that everything seems to be running smoothly under Opera 10. [smile]

IE's a bit dense when it comes to MIME types; serving XHTML as text/html may be "considered harmful", but at least it works.

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Speaking as a longtime gamedev user (perhaps the longest), I welcome the rewrite. I look forward to seeing it grow and will be the first to post piles of pedantic comments :)

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Looks good, a little sparse, but that's to be expected. [grin]
Can't wait to see what it looks like when it's done after some graphics advice. There better be a Christmas theme and a "Classic" blue-and-black theme, because I just never could get used to the bright flavor of Gamedev.

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Works okay so far on my Chrome. Be happy to switch browsers though personally when it goes live if necessary.

I'm sure many will disagree, but I'd miss the Rate User and Profile etc buttons at the bottom of each post - having said that, for all I know you may be changing the system completely.

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The forum topic is very wide, and the static gamedev header at the top makes it shorter, which is kinda the opposite of comfortable text reading design IIRC. Are you planning to support lots of different styles / layouts? (Me, I'd rather have an option for a static useful links panel on one side, for example).

(On a side note, from a quick peek at the forum topic html, it looks like the same stylesheet is being linked in about 20 times at the top. Bug?)

Looking forward to seeing everything come together, though. :)

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Yes, things like logos, colour schemes etc are all subject to change. The logo you see there is actually what we used for GDC 2008 and is just what I had to hand to work with; we'll have a graphic designer in to do it properly at some point.

And yeah, layouts will eventually be customizable. At the moment all pages are just using the <gdnet:defaultLayout> transform, which just fills the central area with content; there will be other layouts to be used instead.

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Nice, can't wait to see these rolled out.

It feels like there needs to be a more visual separation between replies.

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The little AJAXy drop down box used to have some information in it when I first tried (not too long after it was twittered). But now it seems to be empty? Or are you just messing with it [grin]

HTTPS much appreciated BTW! I don't like sending my password for a service I have payed for in the clear.

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This Chrome user isn't having any problems.

Although I'm sorry to say I don't like the new forum topic look. It looks somewhat primitive and the colour scheme is naff.

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I found a bug:
When expanding the chevron and then minimizing it again (in IE8 non compat mode), you lose the space between the heading of the post and the body of the post. Viewing properties of an item of the post, such as of the avatar, will restore the space.

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