The gradual reinvention of PointBuzz

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 15, 2014, 10:46 PM | comments: 0

PointBuzz has been with me since 1998, only then it was called Guide To The Point. Eventually I connected with Walt, who started Virtual Midway in 2000. On May 12, 2004, we launched the joint effort that is PointBuzz. It was a good match, because he's a great designer and enjoys creating content, while I love the process of writing software for online community.

You would think that splitting the duties would mean it was easier to maintain the site, but sadly that's not the case. You know, day jobs, families and stuff. We didn't launch the second version of the site until December 16, 2007. The new version we're kind of calling v2.5, because it's mostly just a port to new tools with a new skin. It's not so much new features. But yikes... November 15, 2014, almost seven years.

From a professional standpoint, the most striking thing about this reinvention is how much things have changed in that seven years. These days we're using Git, and the use of MVC is making it exceptionally easy to collaborate on our respective parts. Instead of going for a big bang moment, we just wanted to get it out there and start iterating over it.

From a geek standpoint, consider that the old site was built on WebForms, the forum version was v8 (I'm on the v13 now), and it was really hard to change. Now we're using MVC as the presentation framework, really simple Entity Framework for data, and most importantly, we're using Bootstrap as the front end framework. I wrote before about why I hated all the frameworks that came before, but having completely overhauled the forums with it, I'm sold. It's not too heavy (though not light). That you can realistically do a responsive design without a lot of extra work is the win.

Next up at my end is to finish the Q&A functionality for the forum. There is a bunch of back-end stuff I'd like to do as well, but I've gotta ship v13 eventually. It has been awhile.


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