Hey there, hope the day is treating you well!
For those of you who don't know me, My name is Alex Lee, if you've been to any of the last two conference i'm the tech guy running around frantically to trying to figure out why the Live stream isn't working or why the sound isn't working, that's me just helping out on an ideas we had 2 years ago, but my main occupation has been the development of the TechNet website, at first by my self and now 6 years on with a small team.
I've finally been granted special permission to leave the basement to socialise with you a bit more and give you some updates on what we've been cooking up in the in the lab.
For starters this may be a bit of a long one as well i've never really let you know what we are doing or planing on doing to the site and to be honest i apologies for that, its not really the way a Social platform is supposed to work. So from now on i'll be post as often as i can to let you, the members, know we are doing the work to improve your experience on TechNet.
Right then, let's dive in.
The main reason for this blog post is because we have launched the first version of the New and hopefully more efficient, TechNet Resource Library or the TRL as we like to call it. In its old state it was just annoying and frustrating, and we do apologies for that.…Long story short we used an out of the box component that we installed and has basically given us nightmares since. Its a nightmare to code or customise, the logic of the code is well just terrible and has been the reason for a lot of sleepless nights. So about 6 months ago now we started to rethink the TRL and how we could improve it… There was so much to do that we just decided to scrape it , Rethink and build from ground up and We have finally got to a stage where we can launch the first version!!
As we have, i thought it would be a good idea to explain a bit about the logic behind what we have done.
First, one thing that has always annoyed me is that you need to navigate to a million different pages to maybe find what you are looking for, click on a category click on this, click on that, go to the 8th page urg…its just annoying. Any way, All the navigating and going to all those different pages is finally over! OVER I SAY!!! What I've wanted from the start is a single page with every thing on it, with some simple filters that allow you to dynamically filter down but NEVER leave the page, apart from viewing the resource info itself of course, and the results just keep on refreshing and updating based on what you have typed or selected. Simple and efficient.
For the time being we have 7 filters: Type, Category, Language, Country, Disease, Tag and Author, those are our 7 main filters, we don't want to over do it but as i've said this is only a first version to see how you, the members, react to it and if members ask for more filters, that is of course possible.
Secondly. Speed, the amount of time each page took to load was just stupid. The reason it took so long is the way things are structured in the database nothing is efficient and it needs to query 20 different tables just to get one resource ready. That has now changed and loads as it should do which intern will make life a lot less frustrating for you.
Thirdly a cool little feature we have implemented is the ability to mass download. On the landing page you will see Showing X amount of Results of X next to that are three icons.
Grid view, List view and Download.
The download gives you the ability to download into a CSV file and zip your search results. An example, you have sorted by Presentation, Supply chain and logistics, in English tagged with Home-base Records which has given you a result of X amount of resources if you now click on download it will make a nice CSV file with your results information and create a zip file with all the files that go with it. Makes life a bit easier
Structurally nothing has really changed the upload fields are the same the category structure is the same so the way you upload hasn't changed that much. Oh that said i nearly forgot, one thing that has changed is the fields Topic Reference, you can now finally have one document in multiple topic tables, you just need to separate the topic reference with a colon.
What else is worth talking about.. Oh the TRL will now be integrated with the networks NewsFeed so that you don't miss new uploads while you zombie scroll the newsfeed, you know who you are ;-)
I think that's about it for the major changes in the TRL, we will be creating a new discussion in the Forum about it so that you can give us some feed back, because don't forget at the end of the Day TechNet's website is for you the members and your feedback is what will drive the site and make it as good as it can be.
I'll be letting you know about some more great news in the very near future, we have been working and testing on in the background, Drum roll please…. TechNets mobile app, YES, Finally!!! we will soon be releasing it to the public and is just another step in the master plan to make TechNet the easiest way to Connect, Share and Learn.
Thats it from me, Don't forget to give us some feedback on the New TRL!
Take it easy