Merlin Mann | Sep 21 2007
This afternoon we're (softly, gently) rolling out a new version of 43Folders.com. Here's some of the new stuff that's happening.
Without going into extreme amounts of nerd detail, 43 Folders now runs on a content management system called Drupal that lets us do a bunch of neat stuff I've been wanting to do for a while now...
- Membership - You can now become an o-fficial 43 Folders family member, with your very own profile, comment and posting history, plus, of course, a clever little avatar of your own design that shows up next to stuff you do. More here on membership (including how to sign-in with your previous 43f forum login)
- Reader contributions - This one will start out slow, but do watch for contributions from more folks who aren't me. I promise we're not going to start shoveling peanuts into your bowl every minute, so don't sweat it. But a whole bunch of Friends of the Folders you already know and love will soon be contributing to the site with their own blogs and guest posts on a regular basis. More on this soon.
- Forums integrated - Our messageboard (which used to live at board.43folders.com) has always been a wonderful place to ask questions and talk to other 43folk, but it was kind of an island compared to the triple-dub. The new forum is much more a part of the site and has a less overwhelming feature set. Also (and I love this), that means the posts live right alongside blog posts...
- Easier to find related stuff - Now that blog posts, forum threads -- even static pages and news stories -- all live together in perfect harmony, you should have a much better time finding stuff that's similar to what you're looking at at a given time. For example, look at most pages (look, here's one), and notice the handy "Related Stuff" note that points you to other things on the site you might enjoy. We live to serve.
- Much better topics (tags) - I've way trimmed down and cleaned up the tags we use to run the site. This means there's a lot of interesting stuff we'll be introducing to help you, again, find stuff that's similar or related to things you enjoy here. I'd also note that we now have a separate feed for every topic. So if you hate Macs but love GTD, this feed should help minimize the noise in your RSS reader. And, as long as we're on the topic...
- More feeds - That sitemap page gives you an idea where we're heading with RSS feeds. I know some of my best pals never visit the site, ever -- preferring to live only in a feed reader -- and I want to make that easier and more flexible for everybody (even as we try to make the site more fun for the folks who do enjoy visiting). Other good feeds to know about?
- New design - Oh, yeah. Guess I should mention we've got a stellar new design courtesy of my personal hero, Chris Glass (you know him from Wire and Twine, his amazing photos, and, most importantly, Being Fiona Apple). He did an astonishing job and just makes me want to be a better person now. It will also not go without noting that RoopleTheme were indispensable in taking CG's design and slicing it into an amazingly flexible Drupal theme (more on that later if you Drupal nerds want details). I'll just say that a Drupal site doesn't have to look like "a Drupal site" if you've got talent behind the knobs. And, man, I've had that in spades.
OK, that's most of the big stuff. I'll add more as it occurs to me.
- Permalinks are broken thither and yon (especially on the forum). We're working on this.
- You'll see the occasional visual fart (esp. if you're on Explorer, God bless you)
- Broken stuff and bugs are out there. We're working on them, but we encourage members to post bugs to the forum. It's a mitzvah.
- Added 1:12pm: And, well. Yes. As we already can see, the load issues are going to be a homemade bitch. We're working on it, so don't be surprised if the site bobs up and down like an apple throughout the weekend. First-world problem, from my PoV.
I'll close by saying a few thank you's.
- You. Sorry things got so slow on the site while our skeleton crew worked on this. It's not because I stopped loving you; I just needed to get this up. Thanks.
- Ben Durbin - My consigliere, producer, and president-for-life who did all the heavy lifting and code-wrangling necessary to move my show from WordPress to Drupal. He did tons of other stuff too that you won't find that interesting, but essentially, he completely saved my ass. Ben's starting to accept freelance work, so if you need a stud, totally hire him -- and tell him I sent you.
- Chris Glass - The man went above and beyond with this design. For real. I mean, come on, a Hipster PDA? How awesome is that? Maybe help me thank him by purchasing a Tii Shirt or other Wire and Twine goods that suit you.
- RoopleTheme - Bill and his posse did the impossible day after day -- mercilessly fileting Chris's design into an insanely flexible theme. For a further taste of RoopleTheme magic on your own Drupal site, download one of their sweet-ass themes (demo all of them here). Better still. Hire RoopleTheme. I can highly recommend 'em.
- My pals, the moderators and testers - Especially Berko, emory, and mathowie. Double-plus thanks to Matt for letting me steal his idea.
- The Lullabots - jjeff and his team provided irreplaceable advice on best practices and how to make a Drupal site that scales and takes a load.
- Ethan Kaplan - Maybe more than anyone I know of, Ethan is insinuating Drupal into places you might not expect. Watch this man. His advice to me has been priceless.
- Madeline - My lovely wife's patience with this mess has been infinite.
Anyhow. Thanks, have fun, and feel free to use your newfound membership privileges to tell me what you think.