OMGN: Online Movies & Games Network

OMGN Release Notes: 4.1.4

Gamer of Darqness; Sep. 3, 2010; By Robert F. Ludwick
Type: Thoughts
HTML emails, printable pages, Meebo Bar and more

It's been nearly a month since we had a major enough release to let all of you know about it. This one's got plenty of goodies and I hope you'll like some of the new features.

HTML Emails

We've been sending email in plaintext here at OMGN for quite some time, even back to our old site design, which is now the OMGN Archive. Today marks the first day that OMGN will be sending out HTML emails!

We've had this planned for awhile now but we've finally implemented it. It's not terribly robust right now as we aren't filling out our emails with tons of extra links and content from the site. But the ability to send HTML emails allows us to prep for the future, with things like weekly content digests that we have planned. However the HTML emails were also prep for our biggest offering this release for you, our readers, which is...

Subscriptions

Many forums allow you to subscribe to updates on a particular thread. This is useful if you're planning on keeping up with a conversation but you don't want to have to login to that site every few minutes to keep things going. Thus, subscriptions are very useful because you'll be emailed when there's an update to that thread.

We now have this capability here at OMGN. The following four subscriptions are available:

  1. Article Comments - If you subscribe to an article's comments, anytime that particular article is commented on, you'll be notified.
  2. Blog Post Comments - The same deal here as with articles.
  3. Forum - Anytime a particular forum you're subscribed to has a new thread created, you'll be notified.
  4. Forum Thread - Anytime an existing forum thread is updated that you're subscribed to, well... You get the idea.

We hope you enjoy this new feature of the site, we know we're excited to start using it ourselves to help track the conversations our community is having. But is there something else you might want to get email alerts about?

Email on Message & User Preferences

Our user messaging system has been here for a little while now, since we introduced the Forum. While you're on the site you'll get an alert if you have a new message, but you've got to visit the site to figure this out. As I'm sure you're expecting me to say, we now offer email alerts for when you are messaged, much like many other community-based systems.

Coupled with this release is the beginning of a new User Preferences system, which you can access via your User Account. Currently there is only one option - email on message. By default everybody will start getting emails that they have messages, but if you want to turn this notification off you can in your preferences.

Meebo Bar

When we relaunched OMGN we built a set of sharing tools into our content pages - articles, games and resources. When we deployed blogs we also added these tools there. However this was limited and required quite a bit of maintenance to keep going. And the interface wasn't elegant.

Well, you won't see those tools anymore, and I'm sure by now you've also noticed the new Meebo Bar at the bottom of the site. We're really excited that we are able to bring you the Meebo Bar for use here at OMGN. It allows you to share any page you're currently on, including any images (if sized large enough) and links appearing on that page. You can also chat within Meebo while using OMGN, which means you can sign in to any of your IM accounts through Meebo to chat while browsing our content and interacting with the community here.

Never used Meebo before? I highly recommend for you to go check them out. When I'm on IM networks I'm always using Meebo. It's just too good of an interface to not use, especially since it's web-based (or an app for your iPhone, for example). I use it while working on OMGN, for example.

Printable Pages

On our archive site we had a link you could click on articles that would open up a window so you could print the article in a printer-friendly format. Well... This system is a bit archaic in this modern age.

All you need to do to get a printable version of any page on the site is to simply print it. Cascading Style Sheets, one of the technologies we use here on OMGN and supported by all major browsers, allows us to define what the page should look like when bring printed as opposed to being displayed on a screen. So there you have it! You can print any page on the site, although why you would want to print the Staff page is beyond us... Unless it's going to your OMGN shrine, that is.

Bottom Forum Reply Link

This is just something we realized we needed - a link on the bottom of a forum thread to allow you to reply. We already had a reply link in the top-right panel of links when reading a thread, but when you get to the bottom of a thread, you'll want to reply. So why scroll all the way up to reply?

IFrame Removal

Gone is the DarqFlare Network IFrame at the head of the site. It has been serving the sites in the DFNet well for quite some time but we wanted to expand these links in our website footer and free up even that smidget of space at the top for OMGN itself. So as you can see, the IFrame is gone and our footer has been expanded.

Tabindexes Added

At least for the user side of the site, not admin. We've added tabindexes to all of our forms so you don't have to worry about tabbing to a link when you're writing a blog post or filling our Registration form. Unfortunately the tabbing isn't working 100% correctly with any of our rich text editors, such as the aforementioned blog post add and edit pages. You can tab out of one of the editors just fine, but tabbing in from a surruonding field isn't working correctly. We're still looking for a fix. We may have to chalk it up to a browser limitation, unfortunately.

Admin Panel

Not that this concerns the common reader much, but we've enhanced our own internal admin panel for editors (and up) to give us a snapshot of pending content to publish. Hopefully this makes it easier for us to get mroe content to you more quickly. It's just a nice tool I felt like mentioning. It also gives me a quick view on recent interactions with OMGN so I don't have to delve as deeply anymore.

Specific Screenshot Linking

Anytime we've been linking to screenshots in our articles, we've only been able to link to the first screenshot. Additionally, we haven't had an easy time in using a different "medium"-sized screenshot other than the first one to do the linking. Well using a small enhancement to the user-side of the site and a couple tools on the administrative end, we can now link to a specific screenshot from within the article, not just starting at the first one. We can also more easily select a different screenshot to display in the article too (such as the one that the viewer will start on when clicked?).

Various Fixes

We've put in various fixes on the site, as always, from Javascript variable declaration correctness to simple text fixes to changing a couple URLs around so they read better semantically. Nothing big to report here, really.

Well, we hope you like the new additions (and subtractions) for OMGN we've released today. Go ahead and comment on this post (and subscribe!) or talk about these new features in the Forum (and again, subscribe!) and let us know what you think.

OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.

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