For those of you on the forum, none of this will be news. For the rest:
phpbb2, while a wonderful forum application, has been driving me crazy as of late. In WordPress, when I want to extend the app, I download or write plugins that do what I want. If something’s not working it’s easy to shut off, and if the software upgrades don’t get along with the plugins, the upgrades don’t destroy the plugins.
But there is no plugin interface for the forum. When you download changes those changes are to the source code, and every change you make is going to be absolutely stomped on by the next iterative upgrade of the forum application. And reinstalling changes is either tedious manual updates or fighting with a 0.3 beta application that doesn’t understand the idea of either reinstalls and uninstalls.
To sum up, every time I found code to block the spammers, I’d be good for a few weeks, then phpbb2 would update and I’d be hosed. Over and over and over.
Rather than embody the definition of insanity, I decided it was time for a change. WordPress, after all, has built-in comments functionality. I didn’t use it before because I preferred the forum, but now I’ve reconsidered, especially considering its extensive anti-spam features. The forum will be shut down, probably in a few weeks, and comments will post here instead. And that leads to…
The new UI
So if I was going to have to rewrite my existing WordPress templates, I figured I might as go all the way. The old templates were written for WordPress 1.5 and I’m running 2.1 now. I knew there were features of interest to me in the new interface, and this is an easy way to add them. It took about a week of constant work, but I’ve redesigned the site to accept comments and trackbacks, with a new look and new background. It’s not perfect (it feels really cluttered to me) and more tweaking will come, but now at least the Project Wonderful ads are above the fold most of the time. And speaking of changes….
Get Outta My Head is now Night Fugues
That’s right — I changed the name of the primary comic. GOMH really didn’t have any meaning, and since many of the themes of the comic involve nighttime and strangeness, this felt like a better fit. But I couldn’t do it alone.
Most of all I want to thank the ideaphiles
Many of these decisions (well, not the UI obviously, or it wouldn’t be so busy) had a very heavy influence from the folks that hang out in the forum. My co-moderator, jzimbert, and jamie, and peri-renna, and larksilver (where are you, girl?) and Mark, and squeak, all have given me both support and constructive criticism throughout not only this insane process but also through the two plus years that we’ve had a forum. They rock and I’m very humbled and glad to have them visiting this little corner of the internet so very often.
As an aside, if you folks don’t have your avatars saved locally, you’ll want to do that soon.
So where do we go from here?
Well, here! Feel free to register and comment and tell me what you think of the new design, the new name, and all of that jazz. (Are the bricks too much?? I love the way they look but I’m nervous. Did I mention the clutter?) There are other ideas and features I might want to add too… and as always, I’ll be here soliciting your great ideas for most of them.
Thanks for reading!