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Spring Site Design

A while ago I started a new project. This was a secret project, and I told only a handful of important people a few weeks later. In light of tim blodjiks somewhat troublesome disappearance the work on the svn site had gone stale and progress had not continued. Tim said he would return to finish the job he started in january, but alas this was not so.

When talking to other members of the community, the general consensus on tims site was that he had underestimated what he needed to do to finish his plans, and that he was doing too much work for what he wanted, and overcomplicating things. Since a new site was needed, and the current development effort was seeming more and more innappropriate, a fresh start was needed.

Tims website design involved using a custom system written in php to manage the pages of the website. This allowed him to build his translation system too, and he underestimated the time needed to build it. This also required custom php for pages such as the download page, and the screen shot gallery. He also further complicated his design via Java drop down menus and theme support. The aesthetics of his site have also been questioned by the community.

All in all, Tims site resulted in the maintenance of 3 systems, mediawiki, phpbb, and the custom code. I on the other hand wanted a simple website design that had everything Tims site envisaged without any of the complexity issues. I also believed that dokuwiki would have been a better choice than mediawiki. So I set about making a site that was entirely driven by a dokuwiki install with a phpbb forum. This would mean minimal maintenance and much better simplicity than tims design.

So I started work on my replacement spring site:

Oddly enough, while I was building the site, Argh started a front page competition. I did not want to reveal a near completed site until it was completed infrastructure wise, I still had CSS layout issues regarding conflicting stylesheets with phpbb3 to resolve, so I stayed out of the competition. My site had no frontpage at the time anyway so my entrance into the competition would have been somewhat pointless. Indeed it still doesn’t have a front-page, and this is something for the community to handle using the <php> and <html> tags in dokuwiki.

The template used in the new site is fully stretchable, and it has been tested under Internet explorer 7, firefox 2 and 3, safari for windows, and even safari for iPods, as shall be seen later if I can retrieve a picture of the site on my iPod touch using my web cam. There is no discussion for a slogan or banner text since there is no slogan under the spring logo, and I have emphasised the ‘engine’ aspects of spring by placing a ‘games’ menu item and putting ‘spring engine’ rather than ‘spring’.

Currently the background used is derived from one of smoths content show off images of his Z’Gok remodel. However it is my aim that the community should offer similar background images so that they can be randomized so some people may see the Z’Gok, some people may see arghs floating cubes, or some people may see Mr.Ds core remodels.

Regarding tims original plans for translations and themes, all this functionality is provided without any special modifications by dokuwiki and phpbb natively. A small modification to phpbb 3 was needed however in order to add rss support. This rss support and dokuwikis built in rss feature allows forum threads and updates to be listed anywhere in the wiki.

Currently I am committing the website into the spring svn under the ‘Site2’ folder. The site infrastructure is completed, and it could be totally finished using just a web browser with the community contributing now. The spring developers have not passed judgement yet on whether this is to be the new spring site, nor have they seen this site prior to me writing this post. Again I do not consider this an entrant in the frontpage competition because it is not a front-page, and it doesn’t have a front page yet either, so the front-page competition still serves a purpose, albeit within a new framework.

If you wish to view the website, you can do so here:

Frontpage designs are all welcome, but keep in mind that currently the frontpage on the test site is locked to administrators so create a new page.

6 replies on “Spring Site Design”

Awesome work AF, I can’t wait to see it in action (I love wikis).

I declare a Renaissance in the Spring Community!