Welcome to the brand new AlpineGarrison.com! This new website is a big step forward to help improve our communications internally and with the general public. The first visual difference you may have noticed is that the blue is now gone. The red and black theme was chosen to match our Garrison logo.
For those of you who may have stayed up late tonight in order to see the new site, sorry for the wait. The database conversion and search indexing took *A LOT* longer than I had anticipated. It will be worth the wait as the indexing makes the search function *MUCH* faster!
*NOTE* - If you are having trouble logging into the new site, please clear your browser cookies or click on the "Boards" button on the site and then click on the "Delete all board cookies" link.
Now, I need to mention that this website launch is not perfect. There will be some bugs, glitches, and errors here and there. I made the decision to move forward now because I felt the new site code had progressed enough to be functional and to be frank... It was about TIME! If you spot something that appears to be a bug, please post in this thread or send me a PM.
Many, but not all, of the new features of this website have been tested earlier this year by members of the Website Committee. The final days of testing in the last two weeks have been checked by myself in Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer. I have not had time to test with Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, Netscape, or other browsers.
The biggest change here on the website is the boards itself. For seven years, the Alpine Garrison website has run on version 2 of the popular phpBB
message boards. We have now been upgraded to the latest version of phpBB version 3. This brings *A lOT* of new boards features. Most of you will pick up the new features quickly, but if you're feeling a little lost, you can read the phpBB3 Users Guide
or feel free to post or PM a question if you're not sure how to do something.
One of the new features that's sure to be loved by many is the ability to add attachments to posts. One of the most frequent boards questions we've had over the years is "How do I post images?" The answer usually given was to register with an image hosting service. You don't have to do that anymore. Simply browse the the image you wish to post in the "Upload attachment" section of the post screen. Files of other types may be attached as well.
Another common question for new users of phpBB3 is "What are these red dots on the icons next to each topic?" The red dot on the icon indicates a thread that you have previously posted in. It's a nice visual cue to quickly show which topics you've responded to.
Here are some notes on the new Garrison features...
* Portal Page. The main "Home" page now has a "portal" style page that is similar to the old one, but with different info blocks and a slide-show. There will be additional blocks coming in the future.
* Member pages. The pages for the active members of the Alpine Garrison has been revamped. As I mentioned earlier, the infamous lid to the medal box is now gone. The medal case now has spiffy new medals courtesy of Mark Fordham. The medals, pins, and stars now reflect the new rank advancement system rules. The member summary box now lists the rank points towards advancement as well as the total events attended. The sortie pins will be coming soon. The Tour-of-Duty lists now include the region of the event.
* Birthdays. The only birthdays now listed on the calendar or upcoming birthday lists are for active members and cadets.
Here's a list of what needs to be done in the near future. They're not in any particular order of priority. I will get to each of these items in the next few days as time permits...
* Port the phone list. The phone list has not been converted to run on the new system. Now would be a good time to go to your "User Control Panel" and verify your phone numbers in your "Profile" section. They should have carried over from the old site.
* Chat. The chat room also needs to have the code converted to run under phpBB3.
* Embeded YouTube videos. For security reasons, HTML markups in posts is no longer allowed. That means all embedded YouTube videos in posts are now broken. I will be creating a new BBCode for YouTube videos and then I'll need to write a conversion script that goes through the database and converts all the old video postings to the new system. Once that's done, all old YouTube posts will work again.
* RSS Feed. I've found it quite convenient to monitor what's happening on the boards with a good fee reader. This feature will be down until I can install a new feed server.
* Contact form. I'll be adding a "contact us" form on the main page for the general public to request information or appearances.
* Event Commit System. You can still commit to scheduled events in the same way done on the old website. However, the old calendaring system is gone and I'm *NOT* porting it over. The old calendar system was an open-source mod for phpBB that I spent hours hacking up and fixing bugs in it so that we could use it for our needs. This system is such a mess on the code side, I decided that it wasn't worth porting the code over. I've nearly completed writing a new calendar system from scratch that is tailored to our needs. For now, if you need an event on the calendar, please send me a PM and I'll add it manually. Watch for an announcement soon on the new way to schedule events.
* Online Cadet Application. Another long promised feature. This will allow new recruits to offically request Cadet status after attending their first event. The officers will then be able to review and approve their application online. With the new website code, it will be added soon.
* Join page. This new link on the top menu will supply all the needed information in order to join the Alpine Garrison and 501st Legion.
* Events page. This page will have different views depending on whether you are a member of the public or a signed-in member/cadet. For the general public, they will see a list of upcoming events sorted by date and region. It will post instructions for the public on how to come to our events and which characters are expected to be there. For members/cadets, this page will serve as an upcoming events "at-a-glance" page displaying all events previously committed to. There will also be a "history" page for past events collecting all information/media about each event in one place.
These items are farther off on the horizon...
* Games. I know a lot of you enjoyed playing the games on the boards and comparing scores with other users. Once again, the old games aren't compatible with the new site. Sometime down the road, I will be bringing back the games system along with monthly trophies for the top game players.
* New Image/Video Gallery. This feature has been promised almost as long as the new site. Our current gallery is antiquated and is not fully integrated with the rest of the site. All of us, especially me, very much appreciate Mark Laird(Dount Cooku) for serving as our "Photo Sith" for many years. Without his help, I wouldn't have nearly as much time to administrate/code the main website. It has been on my mind for many years to make it much easier for our members to upload photos and videos themselves directly into each event gallery. This system has been partially coded and will debut sometime in early 2010. *crosses fingers*