2019 Stormtrack Upgrade | Planned Outage

Steve Miller

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Jun 14, 2004
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It's time for Stormtrack's annual upgrade! We will be down for maintenance Friday morning (4-5-19) and when the site returns it'll be running on an entirely new AWS server instance on the latest completely stable version of Xenforo's forum software. Primary overall site changes that'll occur on Friday are listed below. Additional goodies and features will be announced/launched next week.
  1. The forum will default to a dark theme with user-selectable light/dark toggle
  2. The forum will benefit from a major modernization that'll include the following core features:
Greatly-enhanced mobile-friendly style

The new XenForo 2 style is the first thing you will notice in XF2. The entire style has been redesigned with a fresh new appearance, but also with mobile browsing at the forefront of the design. When the viewport shrinks, on-page content shrinks, shifts and reorganizes itself automatically to optimize the browsing experience for small displays.

A sticky header automatically activates when the window is scrolled, allowing the most important navigation controls to remain available at all times.



Emoji support*

All textual content in XenForo 2 now supports emoji, from message text to forum titles.

Retina avatar and smilie support

Avatars and smilies now support high-DPI imagery, allowing for a crisp, high-resolution display to match the text on displays that support 2x resolution graphics, such as Apple's retina displays.

Navigation manager

Both the public-facing systems and the admin control panel now have completely customizable navigation systems, allowing the content of the navigation bars and side-navigation blocks to be entirely controlled by the site administrator without any need to resort to template modification.

Enhanced message editing

Rather than opening an overlay, editing messages are now done entirely in-place, with the content of messages replaced by a full-fledged message editor that allows the complete range of editing and posting actions, including attachment management.



Alerts in favicon

When new alerts or unread conversation messages are available, the site icon (shown in the browser title bar) will have a badge added to it, showing that there are items waiting to be viewed.



Custom thread fields
An extension of the custom user field system, threads can now have their own custom fields, with all the functionality previously available for user fields.



Member tooltip

XF1's member card has been replaced with a new member tooltip, which appears on the first click on a member's name. A further click will load the member's full profile page.



Customizable member stats

The old member list page has now been replaced by an all-new, customizable member statistics system. Individual statistics (such as members with the most posts, most recently-registered members etc.) can be built using an interface in the admin control panel, and are then displayed as an expandable block on the member's page.

Generic payment framework

XenForo 2 has a new payment system that is open for development, meaning that add-on developers can quickly and easily build payment gateways for providers that are not part of the core system. Using this system, XF2 ships with a number of ready-made payment options that are easy to integrate with various system enhancements that administrators may define.

Attachments shown in previews

Content previews, such as those seen when hovering a thread title on the thread list page, now include attachments for a more complete and integrated preview experience.

Enhanced code block syntax highlighting

The
Code:
 block system has been greatly enhanced to display syntax highlighting for a much wider range of programming and scripting languages through the use of [CODE=language] tags.

[B]What’s New and Find Threads[/B]

To aid in content discovery, XF2 includes a brand new 'What's new' system, which can fetch new content from all sources across the system, including threads and posts, profile posts, media items and resources. The architecture of the system is fully extensible, so add-on developers can hook into What's new in order to add their own content types to the results.

Additionally, a new Find threads system provides quick links to unanswered threads (with no replies), threads you have started, and threads in which you have posted.

[B]New media embedding features[/B]

The BB Code Media system has been significantly enhanced, and now supports embedding Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram photos, Reddit posts and comments, Spotify and Soundcloud tracks, albums and playlists and a whole host of others.

The integration of oEmbed support allows almost any media to be embedded simply by pasting a link to the media within a message.

[B]Quick thread[/B]

Quick Thread is a brand new system for XF2. Above the list of threads on a forum page, you will find a title entry box. Focusing this box and starting to type a thread title will load a quick message editor, in which you can post the content for the first post of your new thread. Hitting the save button will then post the thread, leaving you on the forum page rather than redirecting you to the thread page. This makes the process of creating a new simple thread extremely quick and easy.

[URL='https://xenforo.com/community/attachments/qt-2-png.156936/'][IMG]https://xenforo.com/community/data/attachments/156/156936-3c8c65b43b574d724bd20c95075f994d.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[B]Thread prompts[/B]

In conjunction with Quick thread, Thread prompts allow the title input box to display a configurable prompt, giving members a hint as to what kind of content they should be posting in any given forum. Multiple prompts may be defined and assigned to forums, and an applicable prompt will be selected at random to be displayed to the user when the page loads.

[B]Keyboard shortcut system and enhanced keyboard navigation[/B]

XenForo 2 includes an easy method to assign keyboard shortcuts to commonly-used controls, such as searching and opening the alerts list. These shortcuts are defined with simple template edits, and allow for very rapid navigation with a keyboard.

Additionally, the system can determine whether the user is currently using touch, mouse or keyboard navigation at any given time, and will highlight the currently-selected link or control appropriately when keyboard navigation is enabled while hiding the selection when using touch or mouse methods.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
That all sounds great Steve, appreciate you keeping the site not only maintained and updated, but also upgraded and optimized! Sounds like the new Xenforo platform will optimize the user experience on mobile devices and eliminate the need for Tapatalk? Maybe even eliminate the need for the Stormtrack app?
 

Steve Miller

Owner
Staff member
Supporter
Jun 14, 2004
1,699
838
21
43
Moore, OK
www.stevemillerok.com
That all sounds great Steve, appreciate you keeping the site not only maintained and updated, but also upgraded and optimized! Sounds like the new Xenforo platform will optimize the user experience on mobile devices and eliminate the need for Tapatalk? Maybe even eliminate the need for the Stormtrack app?
I truly cannot thank our volunteer staff enough. This is an enormous upgrade; the largest since we moved the forum onto Xenforo about 5 years ago. I cannot wait to see it in action. A special thank you goes to @Mark Blue for his work managing the processes and contractors behind all of our site work here.

As for mobile, I would really like to get away from the third-party service Tapatalk simply because we do not have much control over its functionality. The mobile web version after the upgrade will be ridiculous cool but for some reason people like dedicated applications. XF2 does have better app integration so if we decide to build an app from scratch, it'll be much, much easier. That is a possibility.

We're seeing a very encouraging uptick in activity here from both members and visitors. Social media is running its course and forums are becoming popular again as micro-communities flourish. This upward trend began in about July of last year.

We're committed to the Stormtrack mission. Always feel free to reach out if you have questions or ideas!
 

James K

EF1
Mar 26, 2019
87
29
6
Colorado
Sorry to say this, but not looking forward to that...

Whenever I see the word "upgrade" for a website, it turns out to be a bad thing..
 
May 18, 2013
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Upgrade broke the app for me. It showed no forum, had my avatar, but said guest. Logged out and tried to log back in, but got the error in the attached pic. Force stopped app, cleared cache and data, tried again, now app will not open (same error). Uninstalled and reinstalled from Play Store and app crashes on open with same error. Good news is forum is much better on mobile browser like you noted.Screenshot_2019-04-05-17-59-33.png
 
Nice work Steve and Mark. I greatly prefer dark mode so even just having this option is really nice for me. I'll probably check out the mobile interface when I'm sitting at the airport tomorrow, but I anticipate the new XenFro mobile UI will preclude the need for an app (which means one less thing to clog up my home screen on my phone and also is a positive)
 
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Didn't see this thread until after I posted in the technical issues thread. The dark mode was pretty much unreadable for the red print - just doesn't show against the dark background. But once I figured out how to change to the light mode, all is well.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
I appreciate the efforts to keep the site fresh and updated! After playing with the settings a bit, I'm happy with the changes. At first I wasn't, but after taking the time to just make a few tweaks, I have no problems.

If you want the site to most closely resemble the old site (on mobile and desktop), switch to the light setting and choose a font size of small. The medium was much too large for me compared to the old site, but that's a personal preference. I actually don't mind the dark mode either, as I use a similar function on Twitter. If there was a way to either darken the grey in that mode or change the red font to another color, that would be awesome, if not, it's no big deal.
 
Jul 5, 2009
842
513
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Looks good so far. Note Tapatalk is unable to connect to the forum. Per the above post from Steve, that may be intended, but just wanted to mention in case others are having issues; may be worth making an announcement if intent is no longer to support Tapatalk.

I normally like dark backgrounds, but agree the red text is unreadable. Maybe it’s just because I am now at the reading glasses phase of life, but the text is just not sharp enough. Some other color text might work better. For now I’ve switched to light mode.

Thanks to the ST team for the upgrade!
 

Steve Miller

Owner
Staff member
Supporter
Jun 14, 2004
1,699
838
21
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Moore, OK
www.stevemillerok.com
The site is officially upgraded! We had a few stragglers due to DNS getting caught up but outside of that, everyone is now able to get reacquainted with the site at this point.
The app has been disconnected. Tapatalk was our third-party app provider and I decided it was time to change directions. XF2 offers a fabulous mobile browser experience. If enough people scream at us about wanting an app again, I’ll have a native one built. I’ll need to figure out a way to monetize it though unless we have any iOS/Android app devs out there reading that are willing to build one as a contribution to this community. If so, I’d certainly like to talk with you.
Thanks everyone for your patience and for the feedback.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
Anyone else having major issues with staying logged in on their browser ever since the changes? About half the time I visit the forum, I will be logged out even though I leave "stay logged in" checked. Then some of the time I can't even log in, it fails with something about cookies needed to be enabled. This wasn't an issue before...
 

Mark Blue

Staff member
Supporter
Feb 19, 2007
2,772
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Colorado
Andy, accept the cookies first and when you login make sure your favorite links for ST all start with https://

If you still have issues delete the data in your browser like, browsing data, cache, cookies, etc. If you dig into the settings of your browser you’ll find the options you need to get what needs to be deleted.