The *NEW* BeOSNews
Stephen B. - March 18th, 2007

It’s hard to believe that almost a year and half has passed since BeOSNews was originally launched in November of 2005 – and that I’ve been using the same default theme for that entire time. The BBlog software and its default theme have served me quite well – but it appears that its development has largely stalled and BeOSNews was getting seriously-overdue for a visual update.

Since I’ve been playing around with WordPress quite a bit at work – and have a professional web designer in the family – I had the opportunity to kill the proverbial two birds with a single stone (disclaimer: no actual birds were harmed during the writing of this post). The result: a largely-completed WordPress-based redesign of BeOSNews.

Read on for some details on the new version of the site and a sneak-peak at some features we have planned.

There is still some tweaking left to do, but it’s finished enough at this point that it’s “suitable for public consumption.” Presently, I’ve just been posting updates to both sites in order to keep them in sync – and eventually I hope to get all of the older content directly imported into the WordPress database.

I’m hoping to finish up the last few bits-and-pieces over the next week – so those with voyeuristic inclinations are welcome to watch me break things, fix them, and then break them again (all while fumbling around ineptly with CSS). If anyone has feedback or suggestions regarding the new version of the site, feel free to post in the comments.

In addition, there are a few new features that I hope to launch along with the redesign (or shortly afterwards). In general, we have some plans to help ensure that the BeOS community has input into the content and focus of BeOSNews. And less-generally, we have some ideas in mind for implementing forum functionality on the site – I won’t give away too many details at this point (still being sorted out), but I’m planning to do something a little bit different which will hopefully avoid contributing to the current fragmentation of discussion within the BeOS community.

One of the secondary reasons why we’re moving from BBlog to WordPress is that the latter can accomodate multiple authors/editors (while BBlog is effectively a single-user system aside from some convoluted hacks). So the redesign will also give us the ability to create posting accounts for contributors – if anyone is interested in contributing content, please drop me an EMail.

Another difference between WordPress and BBlog is that WP has much more robust options related to comment posting. With BBlog, we currently allow posting by anonymous users – but any posts containing a URL are held for approval in the moderation queue. Since almost all spam posts contain URLs, that setup has been fairly effective – and it’s also the reason why there aren’t hundreds of “Lesbian sex” and “cheap vi@gra” comments attached to every post. With WordPress, however, posting can be open to everyone – or it can require registration. One thing I’m curious about: do people have a preference? If you have any thoughts either way, please post in the comments.

Lastly, I would just like to give a huge thanks to everyone who has read BeOSNews, submitted story ideas, commented on a post, or sent feedback about the site during the last year and half. For a few years now, I’ve been much more active as a BeOS user than as a member of the BeOS community – and a large part of the motivation behind the creation of BeOSNews was a desire to contribute something back. The BeOS community is – in my experience – one of the of the most reasonable, civil, and friendly groups of people that I’ve encountered online. Thank you for all the of the encouraging feedback!

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