Bronystate 3.0 is done!

After a very long month, two hundred commits, and four thousand lines of code, I think we've arrived at a point where I can call Bronystate 3.0 complete!

How did we get here? Well we were running Wordpress since Bronystate 2.0's launch in March 2012, and unfortunately not all of us were quite savvy enough to know how to keep it updated properly. It finally bit us in the butt in November, but thanks to Saturn's quick work didn't result in disaster. Still, it showed us how much we needed to get rid of Wordpress, and start using a system all the staff could understand.

Keep on reading for a big list of all the new exciting things you can look at!

Hey! Check out that finger. It will appear any time you link within a page, to show where you should keep reading.

The biggest change you've already seen: gone are the separate theater pages! We noticed a lot over the years that brand new users would think each pony linked to different streams and chat channels. While during an episode stream that was true, about channels anyway, it still led to a lot of people quitting and rejoining, and getting mad when nothing was different.

So now there is only the front page! One stream embed, clearly not changing. And one chat embed, with six buttons to connect the pony side channels. We still close and mute the sides outside of pony episodes, but it wouldn't be fair to completely remove the ponies from the site during the coming hiatus. Maybe in the future, if it's particularly demanded, we'll add a "random channel" button, or maybe a button that connects to just #bronystate. Liked the Spike theater in the past? Click on the bubble icon under the stream to remove the chat embed and make the stream take up the whole page! Click again to bring it back!

News has obviously changed, too. Before, on theater pages, the latest news posts were just links at the very bottom of the page, hiding among all the Wordpress meta stuff. Now, the latest news post is always shown with a full excerpt under the stream, and the latest lottery post is just above it! And if for some reason we forget to make a lottery post, it won't continue to show an old lottery post. Links to the next week's lottery form will be in the week's post for now, but maybe if people really want it we can add the lottery to the sidebar.

Speaking of the sidebar, new timers! The old system was kind of a pain to deal with, and Sumica would manually input several months of movie nights in advance. Even then, timers broke a lot, sometimes with people reporting two weeks old timers still showing. So, new system! The script will automatically generate the next couple weeks worth of movie nights, no matter when you refresh the page! The only time it will run out is if you leave the page open for two weeks straight without refreshing. For everything else, we have an easy data file we can input timers into, even way in advance, and the script will work out how to display them.

We've had a big content update too! The About Us, Rules, and FAQ pages have all been redesigned from the ground up, and we now have About Us, Rules, and Help!

Want to know a brief history of the site, and see an actually up-to-date list of our staff? The new About Us page has it all. Better still, the staff list is built from a data file so the next time our roster changes, it won't be two years before we update things!

Rules haven't changed too much, but are now much clearer to follow, and the page now also codifies all of the unwritten traditions we have about Movie Night and the lottery.

The old FAQ page is now Help, no longer hiding behind dropdown links, and also built from a data file it's easy for us to update. It was all written up very, very late at night, so there's probably a lot of important questions missing. We can fix that!

How you ask? You may notice all the links pointing to Github so far. That's because Bronystate 3.0 is now built from a Git repository, visible to everyone! Best of all, we have a public issue tracker that you can report bugs or make suggestions to! And if you really want to get on our techies' good side, don't just make a suggestion, fork the repository and implement it yourself in a branch, and file a pull request with us! Your code might just make it into the future of Bronystate!

So there you go! Bronystate 3.0 is officially released! If you'd like to know a little more about what goes on behind the scenes on a project this big, check out the Bronystate 3.0 Postmortem on my blog.

Until next time, stay tuned to Bronystate, where the fun always doubles!