For the last 4 or 5 weeks I have been working on a big project - a complete overhaul of Vampire Rave. I am far from done, but I wanted to let everyone know that it is in the works. I have a lot more work to do. It's hard for me to project a completion date. My best guess is somewhere around September or October.
I can't understate how large this project is. I am completely rewriting Vampire Rave from the ground up. I am going page-by-page, section-by-section, updating and modifying Vampire Rave.
The work is being done on a new server, so you won't see any of it here until the transition is made.
At some point I will open up the new server to beta testing. During beta testing you can go over to the new server and play with the new system.. Look for bugs, try to break stuff. But we're still a ways away from that stage.
So what all is being done? A lot of it is procedural (programming) and visual enhancements. The web is a very different place from when Vampire Rave was launched in 2005. I'm modernizing Vampire Rave in every way that I can. Here are some of the new features I am working on:
• A totally new responsive layout that is desktop, tablet, and mobile friendly.
• Extensive social media integration throughout the entire site. Like/share pages via Facebook/Google/Twitter.
• An enhanced login system that lets you log into VR with your Google or Facebook credentials.
• A new focus on article writing, and a totally new section.
• Some revising of the Society System and Favor spending.
• The Mark of Shame is finally coming.
• More ways to interact throughout the site. More ways to comment on existing site pages.
• The entire site will be SSL encrypted, further protecting your logins and online activity. This is mostly an issue if you log into VR via wifi. Currently a hacker on the same wifi network might be able to sniff your login credentials.
• More and more code enhancements. My number one priority is making Vampire Rave load as fast as possible.
This is just a small sample of what's being upgraded. I am working 6 days a week, 6-8 hours a day on this project. I won't stop until it's done. I can't overstate how massive this update is. Vampire Rave has over 500,000 viewable pages. We have an enormous amount of content.
For now this thread will remain moderated. When it's time to open up beta testing I will open up this thread (or maybe start a new one) for bug commenting and feedback. For now I just wanted to let everyone in on what is coming and in the works.
So I've already received a lot of messages regarding beta testing. Thank you. However we are at least a few months away from that point. Beta testing will be the final stage before the new site goes live. It will last one or two weeks up to a month or more, depending on how many issues are found.
No one will have to sign up to beta test. Everyone will be able to participate. What will happen, is the new site will be live under a different domain name, probably VampireRave.net. So you'd just go over to the .net version, log in, and start using the site.
What will make it a "beta test", is the data over at the .net site won't be permanent. You can mess with your profile, delete your profile, whatever. I'll probably turn on premium memberships for every one.
When the new site moves out of beta testing and is ready to replace this version of Vampire Rave, both sites will go down for 4-6 hours, all the data and images will be transferred from .com to .net, and the new site will be live. The .net and .com versions will be running the same version of Vampire Rave.
At approximately 4:30am EST on July 8, the Vampire Rave server experienced a severe hardware failure. Services were offline for about 2 hours while I repaired the affected systems.
Everything should be up and running fine now, but if you experience any unusual issues, please message me immediately.
This hardware failure has made me accelerate my timetable for the switch to the new VR server. I'm putting in many more hours per day into the project (10+ hours per day). I hope to have the new server ready for testing in a matter of weeks, not months.
It's a lot of code to rewrite. I'm maybe 30% of the way done so far, but if I log more hours coding I will hopefully get through it and we'll be ready for testing around August 1st.
I'll keep you all advised.
I wanted to post a quick status update.
Work is continuing on the new server. I expect to open it up for beta testing no later than the second week of August. If possible, I will open it up sometime in the first week of August.
My current timetable is to have everything completed and switched over completely no later than the end of September. My goal is middle September.
I thought I'd post a preview of the new mobile-optimized layout.
Screen shots taken via a Samsung Galaxy S5. Screen width in portrait mode is 360 pixels. In landscape mode, width is 640 pixels.
You can see the social media bar at the bottom, which shows Google/Facebook/Stumble Upon shares, along with direct links to sharing.
The layout expands very well to tablet and large desktop displays.
I've still got a lot of work to do on this layout, which will be the new default for Vampire Rave.
Screen shots are limited, so I created a video that shows the new system.
Today I completed the navigation menu. I added a bunch of new totals within the menu. I did a screencast from my phone:
I hit some roadblocks in the development of the new site. Updating certain sections is taking me a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I am keeping at it, and I will continue to keep at it, until it is finished.
I did up another video showing what has been completed.
I've been continuing my work, making slow and steady progress. Sections continue to take a long time to work through and update. I've posted another video containing my work completed so far:
As of now I feel I am past the half way point.
I've gotten through a bunch more sections. I've completed updating the Profiles section, which was a huge hurdle.
I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. In another 6-8 weeks, I think we'll be ready for beta testing. The main sections that still need to be completed: Portfolios, Journals, The Forum, Mentorships, Societies. Everything else is pretty much done.
I just wanted to post a quick update on my progress.
Progress continues to move slowly, but I am keeping at it. I've finished the webcams and journals sections.
Webcams too far longer than anticipated, but it was a complete rewrite. It looks and works great. No more flash player. Everything is HTML 5 and there is wide-ranging mobile support.
Journals took a while too.. but there's some great enhancements to the section.
I'm pushing for completion by the end of the year.. but there's some big sections that still need to be done: the forum, societies, and mentorships. This week I'm finishing up some minor sections: polls, member pages, member articles, chat, portfolios.
If I'm not ready for beta testing by the end of the year, it will be soon thereafter. I've also decided to open up the test server ahead of beta testing, so you can have a look. You have all been very patient and this has been a long road. It's the biggest project I've ever worked on.
As soon as I get the test server to a point where every "logged out" viewable page is done I'm going to open it up. Again, this will probably be around the end of this month. At that point you'll be able to go over there and surf around, but you won't be able to log in or post anything. You'll get a sneak peak before beta testing starts.
An update on the updates.
Since my last post I have completed updates to VampBox, Polls, Member Articles, all Dominar pages, VR's internal ad system, Member Pages, and Portfolios.
Portfolios took especially long, as it was a total rewrite. New features:
• Better picture viewing/navigation.
• Better picture uploading.
• More file types. JPG, GIF, and PNG are now accepted.
• Larger file uploads allowed (up to 8MB). Automatic picture resizing to 1024x1024 max.
• You can rearrange the picture ordering in your portfolio.
• Free members get 50 pictures, Premium Members get 500 (previously was 20 and 200).
There's one more modification I want to make - albums. It's a pretty big update though and it will have to wait.
So I've made lot of progress, but there is still work to do. Societies, Mentorships, and the Forum still need to be done. I am starting work on the Forum tomorrow.
Since my last post I completed a total overhaul of the Forum. It's pretty amazing and looks great on mobile.
Then I got sidetracked for about 3 weeks. Some server stuff came up I had to deal with. I'm back on track and working on site updates as of today.
The major sections I have left to complete are Mentorships and Societies. They should take me about 2 weeks to update.
The final stretch is just some odd pages here and there... personal settings, premium settings, etc... all total, 2 weeks max.
The new server is open for a sneak preview. Instructions for login have been sent to all members via System Message.
I hit the March 15th deadline a little early.
I'm a little behind, but we're almost ready to begin beta testing. I expect to open up beta testing in the next 3-4 days. A system message will go out when I'm ready.
If all goes well, the new server will open up publicly a week or so after that (if no major issues are found).
Beta testing is now open. Instructions have been sent out to all members via System Message.
If you're interested, please help out.
Beta testing is going well. I am getting comfortable with the current operational status of the new site. I'm setting May 5th as the tentative transfer date.
Around midnight EST on the 5th, Vampire Rave will shut down for 6-8 hours. All data will be transferred over to the new server. When the site comes back up, Vampire Rave 2.0 will be live.
The server transition is going to happen in roughly 24 hours. Around midnight EST the site will be offline for 6-8 hours while everything is copied and transferred over to the new server.
This project has been going on for about a year now. I'm not done, I'm just getting started. Along with the new mobile-friendly design, you'll notice numerous updates throughout the site. Specific areas, like The Forum, Journals, Webcams, and Portfolios have been heavily updated and modified.
If you run into any problems at the new site, please report them via the new feature, Report a Bug.
Many more updates are coming. Once the new system is in place I can move on to updating other areas, areas that depend on the new code.
It's time to close this thread. All future updates will be reported in the new section Updates, on the new site.
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