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After 12 years of manually updating my site like a 1990's throwback, we've finally moved the SuperSite for Windows to a modern content management system (CMS). I'm excited by this for obvious reasons, but the real work is still ahead.

Here's what's available now.

New look and feel/layout. This is something I'll tweak over time, but the new look is meant to offer some familial similarity with the other Windows IT Pro web properties without losing some of the personality. More important, perhaps, the home page is designed to consolidate all (currently "most") of my stuff in a single place. This will get better over time.

Consistency. Because of the hard-coded nature of the previous site, it was impossible to keep things consistent as time progressed. This will no longer be an issue, but for now, there is a consistent left pane side bar on every single page, a text column in the center, and a right pane/column with promo graphics for featured articles that appears on both the home page and each one-stop page.

Product-based one-stop pages. As with the original SuperSite, the new site is logically arranged by products, or categories, or article types, or whatever you want to call it. So the top-level topics--Windows 7, Windows Phone, Zune, and so on--are featured prominently on the menu bar, while sub-topics (Digital Media) and older topics (Windows 2000) are in drop-down menus. Each of these topics requires me to tag existing and new articles accordingly. This will be automatic for new articles but will happen over time for older articles.

But there's a lot of work to do. And this is all on me.

Topic tagging. I've tried to ensure that at least the most recent several articles appear on each one-stop page. But there are thousands of articles on this site, some dating back 12 years, and it will take a while to get that all in place. I'm doing it over time, and will work on the highest-profile topics (Windows 7, Windows Phone) first and then work down the list. Please bear with me, but remember that the articles are, in fact, there. It's just that many of them are not tagged correctly and so won't appear automatically. Search will always work regardless.

Article fidelity. The articles were mostly pulled over in an automated process that will cause problems. These problems can included truncated text (where an article appears to end mid-stream), broken graphics (because they were sized for a different width than the current site), and others. Please let me know when you find such a thing. I'll fix them as they appear.

Fit and finish. There's probably a lot of fit and finish work that needs to be done, and that too will happen over time. I'm interested in your feedback about the positioning of elements, the overall look and feel, and so on. But please understand that the next several days at least will be miserable, and potentially the next several weeks. I've got a lot to do here to shore things up, and of course I can't just ignore on my normal workload.

Commenting. Penton wanted the commenting system to go live immediately, but we've got an infrastructure update coming soon that will enable the type of moderation I require, so I put a temporary stop to that. Commenting on all articles will be available soon, and it will work like it does on the SuperSite Blog today, where I will personally moderate all comments before they're posted, preventing the type of troll-like stupidity that happens on the main Windows IT Pro site (and used to happen on the SuperSite Blog). Criticism is fine, constructive criticism is even better. But I want any comments functionality to be useful and inoffensive above all, and not a breeding ground for stupidity.

Anyway, welcome to the new site. It may stagger along for a little while, but we'll get it up and running in acceptable shape very quickly and, of course, it's in great shape looking forward. The aging technological infrastructure of this site has always been an issue for me, forcing me to deal with weird issues and manually write HTML code when I'd be better served just writing.  This switch will relieve those problems and dramatically so, allowing me to focus on what really matters here. In fact, this is the first article for the site for which I didn't have to create a custom, hand-coded HTML page. I can see the future already.



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