Well it finally happened! The new site is up and running. Over the next few days I’ll be making a few more fixes and updates – but really just to get it to a point where everything’s once again working as expected.
This site update was a lot more than just a superficial style update, it’s actually the culmination of a mountain of work. I’ve posted about these changes before, but I think it’s worth bring up one more time.
- All Form Tools code now publicly available on github.
This is a massive change. Form Tools has always been open source but it was hidden away in an SVN repository, lacking visibility. And for a project of this size and scope that’s just not good enough. So, I’ve moved over all code to github where other developers can contribute to the codebase. This is absolutely vital for pushing the project along: it can’t always just be me writing the code.
- All documentation is now editable.
Previously the Form Tools documentation was in a closed database that only I could edit. Now on all documentation pages you’ll see an “EDIT” button that takes you to github to fix whatever typo I created, clarify the intent of what’s being said, or make whatever other change you think it needs. The entire documentation can also now be downloaded to run on your own computer, offline.
- The website has been completely rewired.
Any project that’s been around as long as Form Tools has a lot of accumulated chaos and noise going on behind the drapes. This new site throws out or rewrites a lot of old code, and now connects with the new github repos. In all honestly, it’s been a long, tedious process getting to this point, so despite its imperfections, it’s really great to see the new site out. 🙂
The upgrade and custom build scripts and currently offline. I’ll be working on getting those two back up tomorrow. Shouldn’t take too long – I’ll post about it on twitter.
Exciting times! Once I’ve done a little more housekeeping I’ll be making another post about what I’m planning for the project. Keep you posted.
Let me introduce you to the new site! There are still a few wrinkles to iron out, so bear with me another day or so then I’ll make a full post about it.
I’ll be putting up the new version of the website soon, to be found at a temporary URL where I can iron out the various bugs before going live. Part of this means copying over and updating the Form Tools website database to make it compatible with the new site – and that means halting any changes here.
So, this’ll be the last piece of news posted on the old site, and Form Tools accounts have been taken offline until the new site is released. Feel free to continue posting in the forums: I’ll tackle that separately.
Once the new site is up and running, I’ll post on the twitter account where it can be found.
See you on the other side!
Just a quick heads up that the Form Tools twitter account has been renamed to @formtools. I’ve been posting my various progress these last few weeks. It’s coming along! 🙂
Quick note. The new site is coming along – I’ve updated the documentation to use Jekyll 3.3.1 and I’ve gotten it hooked into the new site design. I’ve pared back virtually everything I can think of and the priority is to the site out as fast as possible, then iterate to improve it. Things like searching the user doc won’t be in the first release, I’m afraid – and a few other things are going to be nixed. But it’ll be worth it!
I’m doing some spring cleaning around here: moving subdomains around on the host, removing old DBs, old subdomains and so on. You wouldn’t believe how much junk has piled up over the years.
Pretty sure there won’t be any interruptions to the site being online, but here’s a heads up in case…
Hi all, long time no see!
I’ve been taking stock of the scope of Form Tools project these last few days and in order to push the project forward I’ve got to trim a few things back first. Think of them as austerity measures. 😉 As such, I’m removing the demo and bug tracking sections of the website.
The demo feature has been a bit of a disaster from the start. It’s a really cool idea and I don’t regret doing it: roll your own sandboxed demo, play with it for 24 hours and if you like what you see, download the script and get it going yourself. But it’s an unbelievable memory hog, impossible to maintain in its current state and taking up a lot of server resource (meaning: costing a lot of money).
The bug tracker is simply dated and no longer used. The entire Form Tools codebase is now over on github. Github has a much better bug tracker which is a better replacement. I’ve transfered all the reported bugs to github.
I’ll also probably put the old “donate” section back up again. I know sounds painfully self-serving, but donations go a long way to keeping this script online.
I’ll be reporting on the FT website update via a Twitter account, found here. A lot of news is too small to warrant a whole post (e.g. new screenshots, sections being completed, etc.) and this sort of news suits Twitter a lot better.
On the new site, the Twitter feed will replace the “Recent Updates” section on the current Form Tools webpage. That existing section has a whole thwack of custom logic and code which I’ll be able to drop.
Plus Twitter is a way more interactive way to post news. It feels extremely one-way right now.
Alrighty! Back to Form Tools at last! 🙂 Thanks so much for everyone’s kind words.
So, my first task is to get the new website finished and out the door. There’s still a lot of things to solve, but it’s come a long way. The new standalone documentation is ready
and has a temporary home here. Tonight I updated the README to include instructions on how you can download it an build it on your local computer, should you want to.
Oh and here’s a screenshot of a working design for homepage of the new site. It’s okay… I’m not really that happy with it, so I may start afresh… still, just wanted to show that I’d been doing something. 😉
Mostly I need to sort out how how all the dynamic aspects of the site will work with one another. I want to reduce the vast bulk of the site to a static site (html files, not php). This will make the site run far, far, far faster than it currently does (oh boy it’s slow!) and allow me to move it to a different host.
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on how things are coming along. Kind of want to get the whole website thing out of the way so I can get back to the fun part: Form Tools development!
EDIT: here’s a second design for the new website. I think it’s a lot snappier, despite the clip-art computer. Also, notice the new logo. With each major revision of the script I’ve done a slight redux of the Form Tools logo, so I think it’s time! Originally it was a green stellated dodecahedron then it shifted to a plain blue dodecahedron. Now I’m thinking… icosahedron. Feels a little cooler. My wife has just thumbed-up the new logo + design, so I think I’m good to go now. 🙂
Hi all, I just wanted to make a quick post to apologize for not returning to Form Tools yet. It ended up being a heck of a few months – sick wife, new job. Well, now my wife is a lot better and I’ve settled into the job. Go 2015. 🙂
Rather than embark on Form Tools (a BIG task) I decided to spend what little time I had in finishing off a feature for another of my open source projects: generatedata.com. I’m just wrapping up adding a REST API and should be done in the next week or two.
So! Here’s a timeline. I’ll be returning to Form Tools by Feb 15 at the very latest. I’ll post more then.
Again, sorry for the wait! That’s life sometimes. 🙂