TUCOWS ARTICLE

What's New @ Tucows [2008-05]

Home page reno. Software Freshness. Comments-a-gogo.
Published: Apr 30, 2008
Author: Alfred Ayache

Previous editions:
What's New @ Tucows [2008-01]
What's New @ Tucows [2007-11]

Home Page Reno

In the past few months, not only have we made a lot of changes, but a number of these have been significant, reaching across all pages of the site. Without a doubt, the most far-reaching has been the home page renovation. I'm sure you've seen it; it's hard to miss.

First, we moved the sponsored software up and out of the tabbed areas, to just beneath the Tucows logo. Then, in addition to the Home and Solutions tabs, we added explicit tabs for each software platform. We also added links to the major software categories within your default platform.

Finally, we moved the search box from the right side of the page to the top of the content area, just under the tabs; and added a platform dropdown selector. The search box has been repositioned on every page of the site.

The dropdown platform selector in the search box turned out to cause a small artifact in IE 6. As I understand it, IE 6 uses a third party component to draw certain page elements, such as dropdown lists, and this component didn't know from layers. So the dropdown appeared on top of the sign in and sign up boxes, and only in IE 6. We now have a JavaScript gobbet which hides the dropdown when the sign up/in dialogs appear.

By the way, if you're still using IE 6, we strongly recommend you consider upgrading to IE 7. We also support Firefox. (In fact, the site is developed first in Firefox, then tested in IE.) IE 8 is in beta right now. Once it is officially released, IE 6 will be even further back on the software horizon. Don't be left behind.

Software Freshness

Great news for both authors and users on Tucows: Chad Cramer, our Development Manager, Content Division, has been hard at work drastically reducing wait times for our software add and update free queues. Adding a new title, for free, now happens in a little over 200 days; while updating a title for free is a little over 21 days.

Of course, you can handily go to the front of the line and get your title added or updated in one business day, starting from as little as $40 to add, and $25 to update.

The great news for our users is this means the Tucows software libraries will be more up to date, and have the latest versions sooner.

We've also restored the icon on the preview page, next to the software title.

More importantly, we've made it easier for you to cast your vote for a software title or solution. We used to have the thumbs up/thumbs down vote box at the bottom of the software and solutions pages, just above the comments. The vote totals appeared at the top of the page in the author's box. This was a user experience disconnect, and we've now fixed it: you can vote right in the author's box, and see the totals updated straight away. Moreover, unlike virtually every other site which allows you to vote, here you have the option to change your mind! Imagine that! You can change your vote, or even decide not to vote after all.

Tucows: we're all about choice.

Now, I don't want you to feel you have to give my articles a thumbs up. It would be nice if you did, of course, plus it would be a good opportunity to test out the new feature, but it's not necessary. No pressure. ...OK, I'll wait.

Comments-a-Gogo

We've made a number of significant changes to the comments this quarter. Let's start with the easy stuff, making our way to the more involved modifications.

First off, we've changed the "Add your own" link to "Add a comment". We feel this change provides more context for the user. This link moves you down to the comment form at the bottom of the page. The form may be a ways down depending on the number and length of comments already entered.

We've seized the occasion to revamp our comment logic, so if you've been frustrated in the past with adding comments, do give it another go. The authors and your fellow users want to hear your feedback and opinions, and this is the place to put them.

Another new feature when adding comments is that the page jumps to the top of the comment stack, where your newly inserted comment appears.

Finally, you can now vote on comments: your own as well as others'. This works exactly like voting for a software title or solution: you can change your vote, or cancel it altogether.

We have features coming up which will be using these votes, so do use the thumbs, but use them conscientiously. As Stan Lee said: With great power, comes great responsibility.

Well, that's about it for now. You know we're going to have more mind blowing new features for you next time, so keep checking back. In the meantime, be safe and be good to one another.


About Alfred Ayache

Born at a young age, Alfred showed early promise in programming when he coded what is largely thought to be the world's first online casino on his father's calculator. When the tax evasion charges didn't stick, he fell in with a bad crowd (telecoms). It wasn't until the full flowering of maturity that he discovered his true calling: web application development. Alfred feels honoured and privileged to work at Tucows, with the very talented Content Division.

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