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changes next exitAs discussed a few weeks ago, your friendly neighborhood Cubs blog was badly in need of an overhaul behind the scenes. The framework upon which the site is built is five years old, has been hacked together over the years by an amateur (moi), and is no longer supported in a way that is guaranteed to keep working as the Internet (and the site’s software) changes around it.

In other words, we have for a little while been operating under the risk that, on any given day, the site could break in a relatively irretrievable way. Obviously, that cannot continue.

So, I had to make some very significant changes behind the scenes to the site’s functionality, while still trying my best to preserve what you like about this place. Later tonight and tomorrow, you will start to see some differences in the site. Here’s the rundown in advance, for people who hate change:

  • Yeah, the site will look a little different. In terms of website variance, it’s actually really, really similar. But, as we are all creatures of habit, it’ll take a little time for you to get used to. Try to give it a few days before you reject it entirely. I did the best I could to replicate the look and aesthetic of the current iteration.
  • Part of the difference you’ll notice (or maybe you won’t) is that there’s a lot less “stuff” on the home page. Mostly, that means those listed category things at the bottom of the page are now gone. I got the sense that nobody actually used those much, so I instead added pagination to the main blog (i.e., once you get to the end of the posts on the home page, you can just go back to the “next” page). If you want to navigate by categories (Rumors, News, Analysis, Minor Leagues, etc.), you’ll still be able to find the categories in a number of places.
  • But with difference comes good stuff: finally, a mobile site. The single most requested feature in the history of BN, and something that probably should have been around three years ago, is finally here. When you visit BN on your phone, it should be formatted to maximize your reading experience. As far as mobile sites go, I think it’s pretty clean, easy, and nice-looking. Whatever step back there is on the desktop site should be more than offset by the dramatic step forward on mobile.
  • The second most requested feature was an improved commenting experience – easier to follow, edit ability, more features, have “profiles”, etc. Well, the way to do that is to implement a third-party commenting system like Disqus (which you may recognize from, for example, MLBTR). So … we’re going to start using Disqus. There will be a learning curve, and you will have to register separately with Disqus to comment (or sign in via a social network, which is actually really nice for convenience and interconnectivity). But the features, man. It really is a fantastic system, and it overlaps communities (i.e., if you comment over at MLBTR, you’ll be able to access that comment/conversation from your profile here at BN). Once you get used to it, I think you’ll really be glad we changed. But, yeah, you’ll have to get used to it. So will I.
  • There’s also a BN Twitter stream in the sidebar, which was requested by a large number of you. I had no idea you would want that, so I’m glad I asked. In retrospect, duh.
  • Ads: Yup, there are still ads. With the new site, I’ve opted for fewer total ads, but in more prominent placements. At first, you’re going to be all like, “Ah! Ads in my face!” But you’ll get used to it, and the reduced total number of ads should improve your overall site experience. The thing about putting them in more prominent places … well, that’s kind of the point of ads. Companies pay to have you see them. And that’s what keeps the site free for you to use. So, please see them from time to time. (And if you use an ad blocker, please consider not using it on BN. You get to read for free, and all I ask is that you look at a McDonald’s cheeseburger from time to time. Thank you.)
  • After the site’s changes kick in, if you observe any problems – glitches, things not loading, pictures askew, mobile not working properly, etc. – please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ve tested this thing as much as I can, but I don’t have every device/browser, and there were also some features I couldn’t turn on until we actually went live.
  • One known issue: on older posts (including this one), threaded comments will get messed up on mobile. It’s an issue that is fixed with Disqus, but, since Disqus is kicking in only for new posts (after this one), you will notice it on all old posts. I hope to have it fixed, but it’s a low priority item, since old posts/discussions get buried in about a day.
  • Jon

    I hope I still get ads for that Phillapino Dating site!

  • Jason P

    I’m going to register for disqus and steal everybody’s names :P

    (No, not really)

  • ChrisFChi

    Die hard better get working on it.

    • jp3

      Hoover Damn!!! I’m going to have to figure how to post pics and memes again.

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    If the Saudis don’t like it will they cut off our oil supply???

  • kj1

    Don’t look now but the Cubs are in position for the first pick in next year’s draft.

  • 5412

    Hi Brett,

    For those of us who are computer impaired, can you do a short tutorial on how to sign up for discus for example? Maybe a “click here” type thing on the main page during the transition period. You don’t have any tech service folks in Bangledesh for us to call.

    I have your address in my cell phone, will it remain the same so I can find you on the phone?

    Some of us folks who are (you can’t say old the speech police will come get you) chronologically challenged, even the smallest computer things are not intuitive.

    Thanks,
    5412

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I will definitely help you through it if you need help – it’s basically exactly like when you signed up here, but there will be a button in the comments that will allow you to sign up for Disqus. And if you need more, you know you can always email me.

    • J. L.

      One thing you need to know right away about the Disqus system is that it vehemently forbids starting comments with “hi” as well as ending them with your signature. :P

      • J. L.

        By the way, I have a question on a crucial matter: does Disqus support emoticons?

      • jp3

        Did it change yet?

  • TWC

    How does this affect the Aaron Miles thread?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I believe it will be preserved for all of history.

  • Ed

    Does this apply to the bears BN page as well?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not immediately, but that’s only a logistical issue. Doing the work takes a lot of time, and I have to do it there separately. I’d expect the changes to kick over to BN Bears in a week or two.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Hope you lose the despicable advertising banners for Asian brides, herpes creams and adult video games. Do you really need to sell your soul to make this work Brett?

    • TWC

      [inserts amused reply that ads are tailored to one's personal internet viewing history]

      [inserts comment that the ads you see are not selected by Ace but are inserted by an ad service]

      [inserts comment that you've been told this many times before]

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        ^——-Approves of all inserted comments

      • Jon

        So I’m the only one getting Phillapino Cupid ads? This is a bit embarrassing now….

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          We all have different tastes Jon, now we all know yours.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Browsing history and metadata that the advertisers think they know about you (demographics, mostly), as well as geolocation data, are the main drivers. Site content plays a role, too. It’s really complicated stuff that all happens in a microsecond, and I have very little control over it because I’m not the size of ESPN.

        • jp3

          I’ve been getting that too😄. I should probably clear my site history huh?

    • mjhurdle

      this post reminds me of all the times my friends would call me to fix their computers. They would always have viruses and malware that they just didn’t know how it got there.
      looking through the logs would always show a heavy dosage of adult material browsing. I would clean everything up, then recommend not visiting certain sites. They would always act shocked that I thought they would do that, then call me 3 weeks later when their computer was all messed up again for the same reasons.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I understand your concerns, Blackhawk. I’m very sorry for your experience. I hope you’re able to find a community with better ads to suit your needs.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    Geesh! No wonder I get all the Viagara ads.

    5412

  • Darth Ivy

    Im scared, brett

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Reasonable reaction. I’m terrified of flicking the switch. Which I’m doing shortly.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Please be advised the interwebz will be shutting down in 3, 2, 1…

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          called it Ace broke the interwebz

  • Voice of Reason

    Don’t fear change, Brett.

    I enjoy your site. While I like the layout as is, I’m excited to see the changes.

  • BlameHendry

    Alcantara tearing it up tonight. Triple in first AB, double in second AB. Can’t wait to see him give Barney the boot… They better not. try to put him in the OF. We need that kind of production out of 2B.

    Also, I’m excited for the chances. Especially Disqus. Already got a disqus account so I’m good to go.

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    So please tell me there is an option on the mobile/phone page to view the page in “full” mode. I hate all mobile pages on my iphone. I really don’t like being forced to view “mobile” pages, and since I’m reading BN primarily on my iphone it would be great if there was a way for it to remember my preference.

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    And here it is

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    something is broke

  • J. L.

    OK, this doesn’t look right.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Good it wasn’t just the beer I was drinking

      • J. L.

        You would have to be taking more than beer for this effect.

        • Darth Ivy

          Good, it wasn’t the 238 boxes of frosted flakes I just ate

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Where do I find the recent comments thread. Everything just changed BAM!

  • ssckelley

    Omg omg omg…….PANIC!

    • Darth Ivy

      We need 1908 CCs of Jameson, stat!

  • BlameHendry

    Yeah I hope we still have a recent comments sidebar after switching to disqus, that was my favorite feature =/

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      It was my favorite feature also. Bring back the side bar Brett, please!

  • BrianH

    I’m all for change, that’s what keeps IT rolling…so here is my bug report.

    I’m using Safari on Mac OS X and the page doesn’t format properly. It’s like the frame that would normally be on the right side (ads, your link to your financial piece, twitter button) is on top and the rest of the content is below, (i.e.: the article, comments)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Things are unintentionally (but temporarily?) going to be broken for a little while. Bear with me.

    • Darth Ivy

      This is kind of. Its like the first day if vacation at an exotic location that we didn’t quite expect.

      • Darth Ivy

        “Kind of *fun*”. The new site is making me type errors. #firetheo

  • addks

    Did Soler get injured again?

  • Eric

    Don’t like the layout of the articles. Just seem too bunched up, ofcourse we are used to a certain way we adjust. But it’s your site, just making a personal observation. Old way was much nicer looking AND easier on the eyes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The layout of the home page, or the individual articles?

      (Also: setup is not complete.)

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        I think when its all done the new look will be cleaner and more vivid… which is great. The comments are much larger in space which = takes longer to read through them.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Ignore these comments. These are the old comments (just with the new site display). Disqus is entirely different. Doesn’t kick in until tomorrow, though.

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Please give me an option to view the full site from my phone thats all I need

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I’m researching it, but it appears to be very, very complicated for someone like me to code. There’s a lot I can do under the hood, but that’s a particular tough one.

              One very good thing: once Disqus is in place, the comments will be much better on mobile. Right now, they’re essentially broken entirely. That fixes tomorrow AM.

  • ssckelley

    It is like watching a new world being born.

  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

    I like the new logo but I loved the bleacher one vs. this new ivy one. But change is good.

    • Darth Ivy

      I’m glad I recently bought a BN shirt. If Brett changes the shirt logo, I’ll have the “old school” one.

      cough cough Saturdays game in the bleachers wearing blue shirt cough cough

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        No worries – that logo is still around. It’s going in the currently blank space in the upper right. There are steps – taking longer than I anticipated.

        • Darth Ivy

          BTW / FYI- the medium was a little big so I exchanged it for a small. The people who handle your shirts did an excellent job helping me. Very easy breezy

  • BlameHendry

    Baez just barely missed an oppo bomb. But he’s still 0-4 with 2Ks on the night.

    • J. L.

      Hendricks pitching a gem.

  • J. L.

    Some tweaking will be obviously required, but I dig it so far.

  • renegade4196

    I’m liking the rebuild of Bleacher Nation a lot. Too bad the Cubs themselves have no clue how to rebuild.

  • TonyP

    I like the new look!!!

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