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Coming Soon - Better Features/New Platform

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
Dear Members of SMF,

Over the last while we have received numerous requests for options such as:
  • Better handling of pictures
  • Inline video
  • Easier and faster user registration
  • More and better perks for premier members
  • A better way to handle stickies
  • Better forum search engine
  • Ways to list smokers and equipment in profile

..just to name a few.

The wonderful news is that we are getting ready to make all of this possible and then some.

The not so wonderful news is that we are going to be changing platforms to make this possible.. I know.. scaryyyyyy!!

To be honest, vBulletin is outdated, stale and not very progressive. It has not changed much over the last 10 years and while some of us like things that don't change, change can be a good thing.

There is a trade-off for the good things that we are getting out of this deal.. the new platform will require us to do a bit of changing as uncomfortable as that makes us.

I am the first one to say that change is not something I always embrace, however, over the course of my life I have observed that change usually brings about better things.

This platform change will bring us a lot of wonderful capabilities as well as make it much easier for Brian, Dutch, Jerry and the moderators to do what they do in the background from day to day.

We will also be allowing some smoker/grilling/outdoor related companies to do some marketing on the forum.

Not only will this help to fund all of the great things that we want to do here at the SMF but, over time we will be able to hopefully convince some mainstream manufacturers of smokers and smoker accessories to become an active part of the forum as well giving you complete access to the think tanks behind the equipment that they manufacture and sell and hopefully get them involved with some of our contests and such.. that could be a sweet thing if you think about itPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

This will also give manufacturers direct access to your valuable feedback on their products. Another very sweet thing.

There are a couple of features that we will not have that we are used to having.. one of them being highly customizable signature areas. The new platform area does not allow pictures in the signature area for now. I am certain that this will change over time.

One other thing is chat. We will find a way to remedy this but for a bit, chat may be on hold until we find a good work around. The chat program we have been used to using is made for vBulletin and will not work in the new platform.

The company we have partnered with is known as Huddler and they are more than just a platform designer, they actually partner with their clients to make sure everything runs smoothly and that your feedback is taken into account when they add and adjust features on the platform.

I have been watching this platform progress over the last while and I have come to realize that this is just the ticket for us.

I can promise you that most of the good stuff that you like about vBulletin is still going to be available, it just may not be exactly in the same place that you are used to finding it. I am sure there will be a little bit of a learning curve however, I do think you will find it to be pretty intuitive as well.

I am asking all of you to give it time and let yourself get used to it.. I think you might just find that you like it.. a lot!!

The plan is to take the site down on or around May 24th and have it back up hopefully within just a few hours pending no major problems. Huddler engineers will be doing a lot of this for us so with their experience I feel very confident that this will go off without a hitch.

We will be setting up a place for you to give constructive feedback and post any problems/bugs that you see so they can be looked into as soon as possible.

I also want to take this time to thank all of you who spend your time at SMF helping to make it the best and friendliest smoking meat forum on the world wide web.

This is to be the next chapter in the life of what has become the largest, friendliest, and most informational smoking meat forum on the planet.

We have succeeded at what many others have tried and failed and will continue to be the better answer to all of your smoking meat questions.

Having said all of this, no matter what platform we use, or what features we add or take away.. just remember that YOU are what makes this forum great and for that I am very very thankful.

You guys and gals are THE best!!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Here are a couple of mockups to show you what the forum will look like on the new platform. These files are quite large so give it time to load.

post #2 of 93
Well said, I look forward to the new platform.

I have been through a change or two in the past .... I know all will be well & BETTER!
post #3 of 93
OK great looks nice, color and layout are good & thank you for all you do too !!! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #4 of 93
"vBulletin is outdated, stale and not very progressive..." You are so right, Dutch. So much has changed in a decade -- and the changes will come even faster in the near future. Surprised about the chat feature, though (not that I really use it). Seems so much a part of the norm on forums. Will there be any adaptations/applications for things like iPhone, Blackberry, etc.? Might be something to consider if its not in the pipe already.

Good luck with the transition.
post #5 of 93
I believe there will be features for the Iphone, Blackberry, etc.

As for chat it is something that is a high priority and they are working on ways to incorporate it. Right now they are focused on not having things broken in the main sections.
post #6 of 93
Change is good. It hurts, but it's good.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Thanks for the info Jeff looking forward to all the new features!
post #7 of 93
The new platform may take a little getting used to as it will be different than what we are used to but I think it will have enough added features to compensate for that.
No Chat eek.gif I guess that means Jeff expects me to work more and play less biggrin.gif
post #8 of 93
Thread Starter 
Jerry, you're catching on fasticon_mrgreen.gif
post #9 of 93
Gonna have to get my SMF depravity kit ready: Blanket, percaset, IV of BBQ sauce, stash of emergancy forum screen shots.... ect., ect.

OK ready for the site take down! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Look forward to the changes, and hats of to all you admin types that will be tackeling this. To err is human, to realy screw things up takes a computer!
post #10 of 93
I think it's a great move forward so let's getter done.
post #11 of 93
I like the new look, seems like quite a few ads on the page though, not complaining but 4 ads one one page kind of seems like a bit much.
Just my 2 cents.
post #12 of 93
I found an example of this new FORUM at _http://www.epicski.com/" It is a ski Forum and may show some of the good points.
I am GLAD Jeff is updating this forum and moving on.
I also know that at other sites that changed, they lost people, some for a few weeks and some forever. this site appear to have great people and will "fight" thru the "I can not find it" and relax and enjoy.
Glad to be apart of the future....
post #13 of 93
Thread Starter 
Good point..

We are doing some marketing.. as bad as that may seem to some, I have done almost no marketing at all on this forum for the last 6 years and it's not because I have not been asked.

We will do our best to make sure the ads are relevant to our subject matter as much as possible.

Whether it's TV, Radio or Internet.. good things in life have to be paid for and as we grow and dream of bigger and better things for this forum, we have to be willing to let a little marketing pay for the realization of those things.

Having said that, I think premier members will be able to turn the ads off.
post #14 of 93
Nice! I like that it has a Wiki, too. smile.gif
post #15 of 93
Thread Starter 
The wiki system will mark the end of the stickiesPDT_Armataz_01_01.gif We have so many stickies right now that we can't even find them. This defeats the purpose of making it a sticky in the first place.

Many of you have written excellent tutorials on various methods and processes.. these will go into a wiki where they are completely searchable, taggable and easy to find.

Then there are recipes.. I could go on and on.

I think everyone is really going to like it. I know I am.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #16 of 93
Hey I am stoked you picked my rib post as the example Whooooooobiggrin.gif
post #17 of 93
Maybe talk any spice/rub advertisers into offering free samples! biggrin.gif If members like them could drive up sales.icon_cool.gif
post #18 of 93


Change may be good or may not. IE: Hope and change.
Hope this change is for the better and doesn't lead to another crash and loss of info.
No chat is going to suck the Big one .
But i will still be here as will others .
post #19 of 93
Thread Starter 
The crash we had back a year or so ago was due to ME not having an adequate backup. Since Brian has been on board, someone who ACTUALLY knows what they're doing, it has been all goodbiggrin.gif

The Huddler folks are very good at what they do, I have been watching over their shoulder so to speak for the last 2 or 3 conversions they have done and I am pretty impressed.

I'm not pretty.. just pretty impressed. Just to clarifyPDT_Armataz_01_05.gificon_mrgreen.gif
post #20 of 93
Well I got all my pics and recipes backed up, bring it on Jeff! points.gifPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
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