Tech Industry

Announcing a smarter, faster TechRepublic for 2013

TechRepublic has revealed its latest transformation, both inside and out. And, we've got several exciting new announcements to share.

microphone-announce-072013.jpg

Welcome to the new TechRepublic. As you can tell, we've been busy doing some house cleaning and redecorating. And, what you see on the outside is only part of the story. We've also rebuilt the foundation, reinforced the walls, and integrated some powerful new infrastructure that you'll never see but that's going to make this a much better place to visit.

So what does that mean for you?

It means that you're going to find the new TechRepublic site is:

  • Simpler and less cluttered
  • Easier to navigate by topic
  • Aligned with the IT Buying Cycle
  • Readable on any device or screen size
  • Quicker and more responsive when loading pages

You'll also notice:

  • Photo galleries now offer a full bleed display and much faster flipping through images
  • Email newsletters now adapt automatically to all screen sizes
  • The Resource Library has a much cleaner display and the topics match the rest of the site
  • We still have all the same great writers (you can find them under All Writers)
  • We still have the same great community of technology professionals and executives (you can find them under Community)

We have a new backend infrastructure that makes the site much more flexible and scalable. This new infrastructure enables us to handle larger amounts of traffic without blinking, launch new international editions like the Australian (2011) and United Kingdom (2012) editions we launched over the past two years, and eventually even launch editions of TechRepublic in foreign languages.

The new backend framework also gives us more power to launch exciting new features. In fact, we've got three big ones that we're announcing today:

  1. "Long Feature" articles: We're putting extra focus on quality and depth by launching a completely new page design for long articles. This provides an immersive reading experience by stripping almost everything off of the page so that you can focus on the words and images of our biggest and most profound stories. Look for the first ones in the coming weeks.
  2. "Special Feature" packages: One of our biggest challenges has always been that we publish so much content that it becomes difficult to find previously published stuff as well as valuable resources on the same subject. So, we are unveiling a new way of pulling together some of our best content into an attractive and user-friendly package. This will mirror the Special Feature packages we launched on our sister site ZDNet at the beginning of 2013. These will roll out on TechRepublic in August.
  3. TechRepublic Pro is now Tech Pro Research: Our premium product, TechRepublic Pro, has long been a valuable source of tools and insights for IT leaders. Now, we're greatly expanding it and spinning it out into its own site as a joint venture between TechRepublic and ZDNet. It's all grown up! Look for more exciting news and announcements about that in the weeks ahead.

Since TechRepublic first opened its doors on May 4, 1999, this site has been here every day to help executives and engineers and project managers and IT administrators do one of the most challenging jobs on the planet: Make wise business decisions about rapidly-changing technologies and make the world more efficient and productive than ever. Helping you do that remains our driving force today, just as it was in 1999 when we were one of dozens of IT sites competing for your attention.

That said, we know that change always brings discomfort and frustration. Because we exist at the intersection of three industries that are changing as quickly as any on the planet--media, IT, and the web--it forces us to continually adapt, evolve, and reinvent ourselves. In this environment, it's never been more true that if you're standing still then you're going backward. So, as much as changes like the ones we've rolled out today will involve things that are a little uncomfortable for all us, it's all part of the growth process. If you find things that are different or confusing or frustrating, let us know in this forum post where we're collecting your feedback.

This new version of TechRepublic represents the largest set of changes we've made to the site since we launched 14 years ago. It's not just a new coat of paint. It's a fundamental rebuild of the backend, frontend, publishing system, and community, all aimed at providing you with a better experience, both today and in the years ahead. We'll be busy refining things and doing touch up work over the next few weeks to make sure everything looks and works great. 

Finally, if you'll pardon our pride for a moment, we have to say that we have long felt a lot of gratitude about TechRepublic being one of the survivors of the Dot Com Boom. We've watched a lot of excellent competitors fade away or morph into something quite different. We're grateful that you've given us the opportunity to stick around. The only reason we're still here is because enough of you show up everyday and find what we do useful. Thank you!

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

110 comments
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SerrJ215
SerrJ215

So my discussions aren't back yet.

My favorites, stuff that I have referred back to and used for other projects gone.

Honestly I can't read the site more then 15 minutes without it hurting my eyes and I am almost exclusively on it via the android app.

Now it is September and these issues have still not been resolved, and there has been no mention on when they are going to be.

I am sorry this is not an upgrade. 

I have asked before and I will ask again. Please can go back to the old site I miss the useful parts of this site.

lastchip
lastchip

So here we are, three weeks of the new "super-site" and I'm still nowhere near seeing my full postings list (I've actually got one post!).

Not exactly a glowing indication of efficiency or indeed of proper, substantial testing prior to launch.

Perhaps someone said; "it's good enough"! I seem to remember someone else saying that and subsequently producing Millennium, Vista and 8.

I accept one has to have patience in such circumstances - but how much?


tcavadias
tcavadias moderator Staff

@lastchip The full posting is still being worked on - the issue is that we are now using a third-party for commenting (LiveFyre) for commenting that is not within the forums, so we are building in the ability to pull that content so it will display in your profile as it did previously. Once completed, all your comments will be listed.

deepsand
deepsand

Aside from fewer 404s, and some of my contacts now showing on my Profile only (still show NONE under People), no signs of substantive progress.  

This thread continues neither shows under My Activity nor generate activity alert e-mails.

Seems that this forum platform does not now support BBC, which is a serious shortcoming.

tcavadias
tcavadias moderator Staff

@deepsand LiveFyre offers it's own formatting, which you can use by clicking on the "pencil" icon to pen the formatting menu, then click on one or more of the icons to select your choices (click again to deselect the choices)


As for contacts displaying in your people's tab, that is forth coming (it will display "newly" added contacts, it is the previously added ones that are missing, for now you can see them all on your main profile page.

deepsand
deepsand

@tcavadias @deepsand  

In re. LiveFrye's formatting functions, that's a mighty slim list.  Any chance of getting support for full set of BBC?

In re. Contacts, presumably you speak of those that one has "followed."  What of those which show who has "followed" you, as had been previously displayed?

Additionally, what of thread activity e-mail alerts, which, as noted in my post of 23 JUL, are not being received?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I once read that it takes two weeks of repetition to establish a behavior as a habit.  Apparently that's about all it takes to break one, too.

DimBulb
DimBulb

Had to switch to Compatibility mode for IE10 to see toolbars and for 'editors picks' to work.  Probably should have beta tested a little longer. Sad when an IT site can't get it right.

widd11e
widd11e

Been  keeping up with articles on TechRepublic since 2001.  Sometimes change can go either way.  I am not sure how things will go, but you seem to be on target.   On PC the changes look good.  Can't say how it looks on my iPad or cellphone.  You have such a following because your crew is the best.  You shine above others in content, and you show you care in being meticulous on the presentation of it.  Just be sure you keep it up.  I have seen many fall because they did not keep their standards high.  I am sure you have seen a few take a dive also.  OK that is enough of that... get back to work.   j/k

deepsand
deepsand

I notice that I am not receiving e-mail alerts re. activity in this thread, even though I am both active in it and clicked on "Follow Conversation" - which, by the way, now seems to be inoperative.

Bug?  By design?  Reason unknown?

Jimmy S
Jimmy S

When ever I refresh this page I get the cookies notice, how do I tell it that I accept the use of cookies?

I have logged in and then click on "My Profile" to get the error message:

Nothing to see here folks

Oops! Looks like this page has been removed or no longer exists... *scratches head*

What has gone wrong?

Robiisan
Robiisan

So, I haven't had time to read oll 77 (at this point) comments, but do the problems with the new platformlook/feel/whatever also affect the access to all the previous articles and posts?  I have saved editions of nine or ten newsletters going back several years because the articles would remain useful, particularly in explaining concepts to my less tech-literate business partners.  Now all I get form any of the older editions is 404 errors.  Scratches head, indeed!  If all the stuff I've kept for reference in the past is gone, permanently, so am I because I'll never know when the next batch is going away.  It ain't worth the time to read it here and save it, only to have it lost.

lozzags
lozzags moderator

@Robiisan Are you still getting 404 errors from the newsletters you've saved? If so could you please let me know a sample URL that is failing? 

deepsand
deepsand

Had time for a cigarette break while waiting for Profile page to load.  Finally got a 404.

Eventually got to Profile, only to find that just about everything there is FUBAR:

..1) People (formerly Contacts) is now empty.

..2) My Activity/Discussions show a paltry 38 Discussions out of 100s participated in over the years.  And, no matter which sub-page is viewed, shows only the same 15 threads, which are neither the 3 most recent or 3 oldest.ns

..3) My Activity/Questions shows only a single thread from 2007.

..4) My Biography is truncated to far fewer than the max. 2500 characters.

It's taken me over an hour and one-half just to review my Profile related.

I've been a member here for a little over 12 years.  In the early years this forum made great strides in both usability and functionality.  Sadly, the past few years saw it devolve into something that is barely usable.  As a a result, many of us old-timers simply stopped coming here.

I strongly suggest that you stop trying to roll your own, and, for the member area, get and use a real forum platform, one that actually works, such as vBulletin.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

@deepsand It's true. The Forums are having all kinds of performance at the moment and we're working through some major bugs (especially around My Activity/Discussions) as you mentioned. We actually are using a forum platform now and no longer using our own hand-built one. In the past, we had to build our own because none of the third party platforms were very good at handling the kind of scale that TR had (millions of unique users per month). However, they've gotten much better. Nevertheless, when you roll out something like this and it has to talk with all of your other systems as well as your cache, it's super complicated and difficult to replicate in a test environment. We apologize. It will get better, but it's going to take us a little longer to iron out all the kinks. 

deepsand
deepsand

@jasonhiner @deepsand  

Hello, Jason; long time since we last conversed.

If you don't mind my asking, what forum platform did you migrate to?

Also, are the missing Profile related data recoverable?

 

SerrJ215
SerrJ215

Okay, its been a few days, and I am still having the same issues. Look can we swap back to the old site for a while just so we can get some work done? Now that you have seen what the new site is like you can take it back to development, bang out these dents and we look at this week as a beta test?  Then lets say in September October, we can try this again?

Please?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

@JSerrago@lanternslight.us I hear you, believe me. And, I know that you're making that suggestion in a construction way and I appreciate that. However, we've just rolled out some fixes that have improved page loads and general site stability and so I think we're over the hump. Comments and forums are still going to be a little slow -- we have some refining and bug fixes still going on. But, I think you'll find the rest of the site is settling down and becoming much more usable. And, of course, we're going to keep working hard to improve things.

ibmtech
ibmtech

What happened to all of 'My Favourites'? All the pages I had saved for ongoing and future reference now appear to be no longer available and reads zero favourites.  The site has become extremely slow and a lot of pages just never come up (icon spins forever).  As well, some pages just come up blank.

Sometimes it's wiser to follow the old adage of, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it".

Mehul Bhai
Mehul Bhai

@jasonhiner

"What happened to all of 'My Favourites'? All the pages I had saved for ongoing and future reference now appear to be no longer available and reads zero favourites." as ibmtech says.

This is still not solved

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

@ibmtech My Favorites will be back. That's a bug. The slowness is a caching problem that we are resolving. Sorry for the inconvenience. We're working through the issues and will have things back to normal soon. In fact, we're confident that it's going to be easier to use and more responsive once we work out the kinks.

SerrJ215
SerrJ215

"jasonhiner moderator5ptsJul 19, 2013 @ibmtech My Favorites will be back."  I would like to ask, when sir?  Also I am not finding the new format to be very engaging. I use to spend a while on TR going from article to article. Now, I am having a hard time finding what I want to read, and I am not wanting to stay for long.

I am having an better time using the mobile app then the main site.

PeterM42
PeterM42

YUP - the new site is SERIOUSLY SLOW on a PC and just does not work on my Android (Samsung Galaxy II)

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

@PeterM42 That's a short-term issue. It's a caching issue that we're resolving. Hang in there. It will load much faster soon.

PeterM42
PeterM42

Either page loads on Android are S L O W!!! or it;s not working on Android.

Vandy-SJ
Vandy-SJ

Thank you Jason! Well done TechRepublic! Multi-device compatible, Yes!

medfordmel
medfordmel

Thank you for a great site, featuring great content from great contributors.  That's what's kept us coming back for more.

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