Thu Apr 28, 2011, 03:41 PM
EarlG (14,094 posts)
What's new at DU! (updated Dec 6 2011) [View all]
This discussion thread was locked by Skinner (a host of the Announcements group).
Please be aware that since this software is still under development a number of features that you currently enjoy on DU are not available on DU3 Preview at this time, but rest assured they will be included in the final release.
The following is a list of working improvements that are included in this preview version of the software. Think of this as the foundation upon which the new DU will be built.
NOTE: This thread will be continually updated as new changes are made to the software.
Latest update: Dec 6 2011
Previous updates: May 17 2011, Feb 16 2011, Jan 20 2011
What's new at DU
Too many things to mention
Seriously, there have been a vast number of changes we have made to the software since the last revision -- and since we didn't write them all down at the time it's pretty much impossible for us to recount them here. So we'll just say, for everything you need to know to post on the new DU: click here.
--Updated May 17 2011--
Forum and group rearrangement
Most of the DU2 forums you've come to know and love (and of course, hate) are still present on DU3, but we have made a few fairly significant changes. First, only a few forums are now referred to as "forums". These are:
* Latest Breaking News
* General Discussion: Political Videos
* General Discussion: Recommended Reading
* General Discussion: Soapbox
* The DU Lounge
* DU Help & Meta-discussion
Everything else on DU is now referred to as a "group". There are some good reasons for this that we aren't going to go into a lot of detail about at this time. But don't worry -- unlike DU2, groups on DU3 are now open to everyone. You no longer have to be a donor to post in a group.
You'll have noticed from the list above that along with a few cosmetic adjustments we've also made some fairly significant changes to the "classic" lineup of DU forums. The most important of these are:
About this forum/group
Confused about the purpose of a specific forum or group? Unsure if your OP will be considered on- or off-topic? Every forum and group now features an "About" page which you can get to by clicking the "About this forum" or "About this group" buttons which appear in the bar with the large blue "Post a thread..." button near the top of the page.
These pages describe the exact purpose of the forum or group along with a wealth of other information and statistics. Note that the forum and group descriptions also appear on the main Forums & Groups page.
One of the other major upgrades that's been implemented since the last preview is the My Subscriptions page. You can visit your My Subscriptions page by clicking the My Subscriptions tab at the top of any DU3 page.
The My Subscriptions page currently lists the most recent threads from every group that you have subscribed to (in future versions you'll be able to subscribe to other DU members and keyword tags). Essentially it creates a customized Latest page that only shows you threads from the groups you're interested in. We believe that this will help to make the groups much more active.
Note that you can only subscribe to GROUPS, not to FORUMS. This is because the content in those forums moves so fast that it would quickly flood your My Subscriptions page and make it redundant with the Latest page.
You can subscribe to any group by visiting the group and clicking the "Subscribe to this group" button found next to the large blue "Post a thread..." button near the top of the page.
Once you click that button, the group will be added to your My Subscriptions page. (The button will then change to read "Unsubscribe from this group" in case you subsequently want to unsubscribe.)
As well as appearing on the My Subscriptions page, groups that you are subscribing to will appear in the main site navigation in the left-hand column of every page, as well as on your Forums & Groups page.
All group listings have been updated and are now categorized, and groups are assigned to both primary and secondary categories. For example, the "LGBT Civil Rights and Activism" group is assigned to the "Gender & Orientation" category, and also to the "Activism" category. Categories can be found on the Forums & Groups page. (If you think we put your favorite group in the wrong categories, please let us know.)
You can now self-delete any of your own posts at any time, whether they are an OP or a reply. If an OP is self-deleted, all the replies will remain intact but the thread will be automatically locked with an explanation. Self-delete also completely deletes a post's edit history. Look for the "Self-delete" link in the bottom-right corner of any of your posts (don't worry -- if you click the link, you'll be taken to a confirmation page before the post is deleted).
Automatic mobile device detection and "Preferred format"
The software will now recognize if you are visiting the site from a mobile device, and if so will automatically display the site in Mobile format. If you want to override this setting, you can change your "Preferred format for mobile devices" in the Preferences section of your My Account page. You can also set your "Preferred format for regular web browsers" -- so whether you're visiting DU on a mobile device or from a regular web browser, you can set your default view to Standard, Wide, or Mobile formats. The choice is yours.
--Updated Feb 16 2011--
Avatars and signature lines
Avatars and signature lines are now available and can be selected and edited from your My Profile page. Just click the My Profile link which can be found at the top right of every page. (Please note that it is not possible to upload your own avatar just yet, but that functionality will be included in the final version.)
Emoticons are now working on DU3 Preview -- and we've added some new ones. For a full list of emoticons and their codes, click here. (Please note that the list of emoticons currently opens on a new page and you will have to hit "Back" to return to your post -- the emoticons list will be better integrated in the final version of the software.)
There is now a Wide format version of DU3, which removes the left-hand navigation bar on many pages and stretches the site layout to fit the full width of your monitor. The Wide format is a little closer to the original DU layout. You can change formats at any time from the Preferences section of your My Account page. Just click the My Account link which can be found at the top right of every page.
For smartphone users there is now a Mobile format available. This is a radically different format which is optimized for smartphones and other mobile devices -- but you can still use Mobile format in your computer's web browser if you like. You can select Mobile format at any time from the Preferences section of your My Account page. Just click the My Account link which can be found at the top right of every page. (Please note that while Mobile format is currently working, it's not fully functional yet. In particular, we have not yet programmed functionality to automatically detect when you are visiting from a mobile device -- for now, you must manually choose the Mobile mobile version from your My Account page.)
My Posts is now available -- just click the My Posts tab at the top of any page. The new DU3 My Posts page is different from the old DU version. Here are the main changes:
* The new "Replies to me" column lists the exact number of direct replies to your post.
* If there are replies, you can click the little arrow to show the title and poster of the replies, right there on the My Posts page.
* When there are new replies, the arrow turns yellow. (Click the "Mark as read" button to reset icons to white.)
* Posts now kick to the top of the page when there are new replies, just like in a regular forum.
* The page can be sorted either by the time that you posted, or by the time that someone replies.
* We no longer have a 48 hour time limit on the My Posts page. The new time limit is... infinity!
--Updated Jan 20 2011--
Under the hood
DU3 has been built from scratch by the DU administrators, with a great deal of attention paid to every detail and every aspect of the user experience. Our emphasis has been on perfecting the core functionality of the Democratic Underground discussion forum.
The software has been programmed using fully standards-compliant HTML and CSS code, so your web browser won't get slowed down by errors. The site layout is now handled entirely by CSS so pages will load faster.
DU3 also takes advantage of today's modern web browsers, allowing us to provide functionality that does not exist in the old software.
User-friendly tabs give quick and easy access to the most important pages of the site. The tabs indicate if you are on that page.
New left-column navigation gives you instant access to all of the forums and groups on the website.
Page numbers have increased in size to make them easy to read and easy to click, and pagination shows "Prev" and "Next" links.
The Latest page
The Latest page can now be sorted and filtered in various ways. As well as the default Latest Threads view, you can now sort by Most Discussed, Most Viewed, and Most Replied.
You can filter the Latest page to show all forums and groups, just the main forums, just the topic forums, just the groups, and a number of other different ways. (Note that this feature does not currently remember your preference, but that functionality will be included in the final version.)
There is now an RSS feed for the Latest page. (In fact, there are now individual RSS feeds for EVERY forum and group.)
The Lobby (now "Forums and Groups" )
The Lobby is now known as "Forums and Groups." There are two ways to view this page: Browse Mode and Show All Mode.
Forums and groups are listed together by topic, which makes it easier to find similar forums and groups that might interest you.
Browse Mode displays the total all-time number of messages posted in each forum or group, as well as the total number of messages posted in each forum or group during the past 30 days. Browse Mode also displays the title of the most recent thread posted in each forum or group.
Forums and threads
Forums now show the start time and time of last reply for each thread without having to click an extra link.
The "mark" function has been improved. The traditional method of marking a forum (after marking, new posts are displayed with yellow icons) has been retained, but you now have the option to highlight the 10 newest replies to each thread instead. If you choose this alternative, then whenever you view a thread then only the 10 most recent replies will be displayed with yellow icons.
A large "Reply to this thread" button now appears at both the top and bottom of each thread.
The "Thread info" button gives you useful information about each thread.
Replies to threads are now slightly indented making it much easier to see who is replying to whom. In addition, the top right corner of each post now displays the username of the person being replied to as well as the post number, again making it easier to see who is replying to whom.
The number of views that a thread has received is now displayed in-thread.
Single-post mode clearly shows the title of the thread at the top of the page, and a link to the Original Post.
Every post shows a link to its location in-thread, and also a "permalink" to see the post by itself.
The new Post page features a wide input area for writing your message subject -- no more side-scrolling.
When you preview your post, it actually looks like your post -- same font, same formatting, same everything.
You now have unlimited time to edit your posts (previously there was a one hour edit window after which posts could not be edited). Each post has a public edit history which displays all the edits that have been made.
User registration and log-in functions
Although user registration is currently turned off during this preview period, the user registration and log-in functions on DU3 are much more robust. You can select the password you want at the moment you create your account, rather than having one assigned by the software and then changing it later. You can easily retrieve your username, password, or both if you have access to your email address. A security question feature has been added.
You can now send an alert without leaving a thread. The "Alert abuse" link will allow you to send an alert directly from any post.
You can easily edit your profile information without leaving your profile page.
The software sets a maximum screen width which makes it easier to read on very wide screens.
Much shorter URLs make it easier to link to pages.
The software sets a relative time for visitors who are not logged in (for example, "Last reply: 4 hours ago" ) and the exact time if you are logged in (for example, "Last reply: 9:30 AM" ).
Contextual buttons change depending on which page you are viewing. You don't see the same icons on every page any more.
Missing features (don't worry, they're coming back)
Right-column Latest Breaking News feed on Latest page
Full profiles including post count
"My Forums" (this will return under the umbrella of "My Subscriptions" which we will talk about at a later date)
Advanced search function
While these features are not currently implemented in this preview version of DU3, we expect all of them to be present in the final version.
Also note: the list of forums and groups on DU3 is not completely identical to the list of forums and groups on DU. This will be fixed in the final version.
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