Planning OSNews Version 4

So we’re really beginning to talk about the next iteration of OSNews. There are several things we’re talking about right now, but since I’ve gotten a lot of web experience since the coding of OSNews 3, written several new and powerful web applications, and since we’ve, since rollout introduced several new features and several new optimizations, including multiple caching techniques, I’ve been trying to decide whether it’s best to just fool with the interface, or whether I want to actually rewrite parts of the front and backend. I’ve written lots of apps for work – some are completely AJAX based, some don’t use Javascript at all. Some are completely object-oriented, some are procedural. Some are very tied to MySQL, some use Microsoft SQL Server.

There are definitely ways to continue to optimize OSNews, but it would require some major changes. I’m not sure I’m up for that, and it would also mean changes to the mobile site. That said, I think the smartest thing to do is to do some rewriting.

I told David today that I have some requirements – yes, requirements, if *I’m* going to be coding OSN4. At the top of the list is reliance on CSS for the majority of layout and liberal use of javascript for the UI. I want freedom to go for the whole kit and kaboodle — AJAX (where it makes sense) and javascript in many places to accomplish what we can on the client side. Things like moderation should not require a page load – or two, as it currently is.

I love our claim that we render everywhere, it’s unique and we are probably one of the best sites on the net for mobile use. But I’m so over coding in HTML 3. It took me less than an hour to get threading working properly on this site. It took me days to plan and code it on OSN.

So, as I approach the run for OSN4, I’m thinking of what we ought to be implementing and the best way to do it. We’re going to do some slimming – we’re probably give up themes initially. We’ll probably give up multi-mode comments: you’ll get to choose between flat mode (all comments, in order) and expanded threaded. We’ll probably scale back some features, but expand others.

Either way, it’s sure to be an adventure as we get there.

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