As undoubtedly many of you have noticed, things have been fairly quiet on the site development front here at freshmeat.net. During the past several months, we've rethought some of the core concepts behind the site and developed a new platform to operate upon.
However, I'd like to seek active participation of our loyal community in ironing out bugs, soliciting feedback about design decisions we made, and ask for general suggestions and improvements before we make the big switch in a little while.
But let me put some of my ideas and motivation behind this new version out in the open first.
The main goal for this incarnation of freshmeat.net was, as mentioned above, a modernization of the underlying foundation. It has not been a top priority to implement every feature requested since our last feature update. Rather, this newly built foundation will provide us with the necessary breathing room to bring freshmeat.net to the next level, to an extent where it can compete in the current market and to create an even more useful tool for our users.
We've also carefully considered every feature we have in the current code base and evaluated its use on the site. We've deliberately opted to not re-implement everything in an attempt to reduce feature bloat and ease of use.
Some of these decisions were easy, some of them were hard. We're fully aware that we will face criticism for some of the decisions we made and we're willing and able to communicate openly with our users with regards to the constructive feedback they give. While we simply won't be able to please everyone with a change as big as this one, we're striving for pleasing as many as we can in the best manner possible.
Now that we have that out of the way I'd like to address how I intend to make the switch over to the new site.
First of all, we're launching a closed beta test of the new site today. If you like, head over to the beta site using the link below and sign up for the beta test. Everyone is free to join, it's just a matter of throttling access to the site and channelling feedback in the best way possible. While you can sign up today, we'll not start sending out invitations before Friday, January 23rd, so don't feel left out if you don't get an invitation immediately. We'll send out the invitations in batches since it's hard to predict how many signups there will be.
The beta site itself will not be fed with any data from the current site. We're purposely starting from scratch. Data import will happen the weekend we switch over to the new site.
Once you get your beta invitation, signup for the site and start exploring. We'll have a chat, a forum, and a bug tracker ready for your valuable feedback.
Over the next few days, I will publish additional articles outlining specific sections of the new site, complete with screenshots and some background information about how we built the new site.
As soon as the confidence level of users, administrators, and developers has reached the comfort zone and all the bugs are ironed out, both of which hopefully don't take too long, we will communicate a switch date to the new site.
I'm looking forward to all of your feedback.
Beta signup: http://freshmeat3.net/beta_signups/new
Founder and Site Director, freshmeat.net