Ok, up front, "complete" might be a slight misnomer. The site is back online, and it is upgraded... but there are a lot of things that still need doing.
But rather than weigh things down with all that's left to do, how about I talk about what I've done.
This was a monster upgrade.
The not-too-techie stuff
Most obvious will be the redesign of the site. My goal for the look was a brighter, sleeker and overall much lighter (in size) template. I've tried to do away with as many legacy graphics and styles as I could. I've maintained the overall (red) theme, and a few icons here and there, but largely I cleaned house.
The problem with Hao Hao Report has always been (and remains) that it has so much damn content. This is a good thing. This is a wonderful thing. It's just hard to find effective ways of presenting it that don't overwhelm.
As such, I've also tried to redesign the listings, stories, comments and various submission forms in a more user-friendly, user-focused way.
Slightly more techie stuff
Some of you may know that Hao Hao Report is powered by the Drupal content management system. Long ago it used a CMS specifically designed for Digg-like sites called Pligg, a project that is surprisingly still around.
Around 4 years ago or so I moved the site to the much more robust CMS, Drupal (version 5), and a module called Drigg -- what at the time seemed a fantastic module that did everything that Pligg did, but with the power of Drupal behind it.
The Drigg project limped along, and somewhere in 2009-ish, the developer abandoned the project. There was a rough upgrade to Drupal 6, but absolutely no support for the (now current) Drupal 7. Essentially, the engine that powered Hao Hao Report had been discontinued.
So, for the last year or so I've been trying to gather up the courage to dig in and find an upgrade path that didn't leave me unkempt living under a bridge. My requirements were straight-forward -- keep it simple. Avoid anything that might box HHR in down the road and force me to revisit the headaches of this upgrade.
Largely, I've succeeded. I've completely removed the old Drigg system, upgraded to Drupal 7 and am using a third of the modules I previously had to use to power the features of the site.
Where things are at today
You'll no doubt notice a few features are missing. Currently pretty much all the Tools are down. I'll be working hard to get them back up and running -- with new versions of both the Firefox and Chrome plugins coming soon.
Ranks are going to be a little bit out of whack for the time being. Gold stars are largely still being earned, but there is work that still needs to be done on the whole Gold Stars/Karma section. Profiles also need work.
Otherwise the site *should* be fully functional. Please have a poke around and report back here (or PM me) with your thoughts, problems/bugs, suggestions.
Where things are going in the future
Because I've done away with a lot of the legacy tech, I'm able to push a bit more into new features. Here are a few things I'll be implementing in the near future, but simply didn't have the time to do yet:
- Badges or user levels gained through Gold Stars -- I'll be looking for names for these, so put your thinking caps on.
- OExchange compatibility -- this will allow Hao Hao Report to better integrate with sharing services like AddThis.
- Better searching of site content. With 15,000+ stories, there's lots of gems buried in there and I'd like to make it easier to get at them.
- A more robust Gold Stars/User Points system with integration with more actions on the site.
- Comment voting -- it's 100% a possibility now and will be coming soon.
Alright, I think that covers it. Looking forward to your thoughts, suggestions and bug reports.
IMPORTANT: And please excuse things for the next couple days. There is bound to be a crapton of crazy while I break and remake pretty much every feature and function of the site.
Oh, and apologies if your user picture went missing. I have no idea. Just no idea. I tried to have an idea. I spent a good amount of time trying to find an idea. But, as it turns out, I have no idea. Just edit your profile and re-upload it if you're one of the ones affected.