• Welcome to MacTalk (4.0)

    Welcome to MacTalk 4.0 - the fourth major redesign of MacTalk Australia.

    The Mactalk redesign was just over 3 months in the making. The idea of the redesign was simple, to 'reset' Mactalk - bring it back to a simpler look - while re-emphasising some of the forum features that have been lost over the years. I also wanted to pay homage to some of the previous themes.

    Most importantly, I wanted a theme built around the vbulletin architecture, so the front page and forums have a unified look. This will also make Mactalk easier to upgrade in the future. To accomplish this, I searched the internet for Vbulletin Theme experts - Vbulletin is such a unique beast of a thing, we needed someone who knew it inside out. After many emails and Skype conversations, I found Sam for DigitalVB - who has many years experience taming vbulletin, and understood the idea I had in mind. I cannot thank Sam enough for his support, patience and hard work - in the planning stage, testing and finally helping us install on the live site tonight.

    While I'm very happy with the design, I'm still approaching it as a Point 0 release. I've lived with the design now for just over a month, and while it's infinitely better than our previous design, there's still a bunch of things I'd like to play with. I'm still not sure about the darkness of the grey nav bar, I think the Article separators on the front page are too thick, and I want simpler smilies and.. Sorry. The point is, the theme isn't perfect - but it isn't finished either. But I don't think it'll get any better sitting on a developer server. It needs to go live, to be scrutinised by you guys.

    There's also a lot of hope and faith here. Our previous design was not compatible with the newest version of vbulletin so although we were able to test the new theme on a vanilla install - we weren't able to test many of the new features against MacTalk until we installed it, tonight, on the live site. Very nerve racking - and if you're reading this, a massive thanks needs to go to Nugie and Sam for sacrificing a Saturday night to get this right!

    So I'm sure there are things that may not work immediately, and I'm sure there will be bugs. But again, waiting wouldn't fix the bugs. We need to ship, bugs and all.

    What's New


    And to give you a brief tour of the theme - Latest Discussions replaces the New Posts button. The Latest Discussions button sits beside the new Search bar as your entry to the forums.

    Underneath these forum tools is the main site navigation bar - with familiar links to the Front Page, Forum, and Podcast, as well as a "What's New" menu item, which replaces the old Live Post Spy. What's New is more powerful than Live Post Spy, and will include Front Page stories and comments, not just new forum posts.

    I really hope you like the new theme, but feel free to add your thoughts, suggestions and found bugs in the comments thread of this post. All constructive criticism is welcomed. I'm really looking forward to constantly tweaking the theme over the next few months.

    Finally, a massive thank you to Liana and the team in the MacTalk offices in Melbourne for giving me a redesign budget, and putting up with my sometimes stubborn demands and timelines. I hope it was worth it!

    I'm going to bed.

    Pete.
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