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RELAUNCH: PPCW.Net "2003" was launched today
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 09.10.03 - 17:37:23 CET under 06 - Site News - Viewed 6536x
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As you've  might have seen, PPCW.Net looks slightly different from what you have seen yesterday. No, you don't need new glasses, it's simply because it was re-launched in version 2003 today which I'm going to call "PPCW.Net 2003"! :-)

But PPCW.Net 2003 isn't a different design only but also includes lots of new features and enhancements and - maybe most important - a new, faster server!

Server
The previous server (Linux on a Celeron machine only) didn't perform good enough anymore that I've decided to upgrade to a new server (Microsoft Windows 2003 Server running an Intel Pentium 4). So please welcome the latest (and most important )member of the PPCW.Net team, my new web server:

The new server is more then double compared to the old one (doubled RAM, doubled CPU, doubled network connection speed) and in my tests it was a real speed demon! :-)

But also the overall file and size statistic is impressive now:

  • Files and Folders: 10,541 Files in 651 Folders
  • Source Code: 49,966 PHP Code Lines
  • Overall Site Size: 403.78 MB

Woohoo, I think I will enjoy the new server because also maintaining it is easier than before since I can access it via Remote Terminal Client from a Pocket PC now!

Design and Features
First of all, I've upgraded my Content Management System from version 1.55 to version 2.0 which offers me as the Admin more features. But that code was also optimized by the developers to works faster and more stable as well as I've tried to optimize the code I use. In addition I heavily tweaked the original code to let it do what I expected. Regarding the design I tried to make small but functional changes only. While I've enjoyed the previous PPCW.Net it was to "blue" and I've tried to light up the design a little bit with adding a new color which is green.
Basically blue is for content now while green is for navigation. This should helps you to navigate though PPCW.Net easier then before; also it looks fresher and cleaner then before:

On top of the main page you have three new boxes now: "Recent News", "Recent Thoughts" and "Recent Reviews" which gives you a quick access to the past five news (General News, Pocket PC News and Smartphone News), past five thoughts ands views and past five reviews:

Also the navigation moved from top to the left column because it has more items now then before. News are divided into General, Pocket PC, Smartphone and Site News and not covered by News only anymore. As before we also have Thoughts and Reviews (one category for both - Pocket PC and Smartphone) but also the Tutorials are finally divided into Pocket PC and Smartphone Tutorials.
Below you get access to the PPCW.Net Forum, the Hardware and Software Shops and several more links.
On the right column you will find a calendar now which highlights the days where an article was posted as well as it provides you easy access through older postings though the archive and the search function:

But Software Shops is a good keyword too. Together with PocketGear I've added a list of Pocket PC and Smartphone software top-sellers on the right side. This gives you a fast view of what's hot for your device:

But that's not all. Also together with PocketGear, I've integrated a Pocket PC and Smartphone software "shop in shop" system into PPCW.Net. This gives you access to the latest and greatest titles for your Pocket PC and Smartphone without leaving PPCW.Net anymore and if you buy any software from there, you help and support PPCW.Net because I will get a small amount of money from PocketGear for it:

On the item pages (the full story page) you have a "Next Story/Previous Story" link below the article now. This lets you browse through the articles without jumping back to the index page first:

That's basically the most important design changes you might notice. Last but not least is the deeper design and feature integration of the Forum into the overall site layout. I think you will feel more comfortable now as it isn't an "add-on" anymore but truly a part of the site:

Migrating the forum takes a lot of time (it's the one I've already used with the previous PPCW.Net version which was introduced some weeks ago) but while all the old stories included screwed code I've fixed it now with the PPCW.Net 2003 re-launch and it's a real pleasure to surf though the forum now. Also it's completely new indexed which makes searching even better
As before, posting on the forum is allowed for anonymous visitors as well but if you want to use features such as signatures, editing your own posts, etc., you have to register which is free anyway.
A brand new, long time missed and often asked for feature are the polls! Yes, - it's there now! Every registered forum member is allowed to create polls which also appears on the PPCW.Net front page. However, only registered members can create new polls while voting is possible anonymously also. In addition you can add your comments to every poll too - for sure:

Pocket PC and Smartphone
As before, also PPCW.Net 2003 is reachable from your mobile devices such as Pocket PCs or Smartphones and provides you access to the latest stories as well as to all story categories.

On a Pocket PC 2002 and Smartphone 2002 it looks as following (no changes made here to the previous version):

But if you are already an owner of a Pocket PC 2003 device, you will get even more as PPCW.Net 2003 is more or less completely mirrored in a Windows Mobile 2003 optimized version which might makes PPCW.Net one of the highest integrated mobile enabled sites on the Internet. You get the same new and fresh look and feel on your Pocket PC 2003 as you you get it now with PPCW.Net 2003 including features like site search and Google search right from PPCW.Net:

For all mobile versions, doesn't matter if Smartphone or Pocket PC 2002 and 2003 adding comments is enabled which allows you to post your thoughts to our stories even if you are on the road with your Windows Powered device only.
As before, you don't have to take care about different URLs as PPCW.Net is identifying your Windows CE platform and browser version (as long as you haven't tweaked it) and redirects you to the proper version.

Syndication
If you are using the XML RSS-Feed to stay up to date, you will also notice some small but not less important changes. While the previous RSS-Feed didn't included that much text and a direct link to the article only:

the new RSS-Feed contains a little bit more text as well as it indicates the category now and includes a direct link to the comments section also:

The changes and updates above are the most important I think. Still some stuff in the pipe to work on but anytime you have to make a cut, freeze a project and release it. I had a lot of fun but for sure a lot of work also to re-develop PPCW.Net in its 2003 version and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I tried to make it as much user friendly as possible since PPCW.Net is for you - not for the webmaster and Admins only.
It was busy days, nights and vacations to work on it (as you might remember I had my Notebook with me and I really enjoyed to work on PPCW.Net 2003 at a pub on the beach with a beer in my hands and the sun and sea around me) but overall I think the results was worth of it!

Also I want to thank my lovely girlfriend Gaby for her patience with me and my work, Calin for rebuilding my Windows server 10+ times because the "Mobile Device (only) MVP" crashed it permanently :oops: as well as helping me with configuring it, the PHP and SQL stuff as well as for his work on the CMS, Nicu for his PHP and SQL support, Slawek for "wasting" his time on my server as well and his support in integrating the Pocket PC and Smartphone software shops into PPCW.Net and finally you - for being a loyal visitor of PPCW.Net! Thanks a lot all of you!

Overall I'm pretty sure that the new server, together with the CMS integration and design changes, will be the best PPCW.Net we ever had! :-D

Cheers and enjoy ~ Arne

Poll : [What do you think about PPCW.Net 2003]


 

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Comments
Posted by msmobiles.com on 09.10.03 - 18:01:52

you moved to Windows2003 server, but not to ASP.Net technology. Still using PHP? Why not moving to ASP.Net ?

Posted by Arne Hess on 09.10.03 - 18:10:13

Why not?

Well, honestly I don't see any benefits for me to migrate to ASP.Net today. Migrating to the updated CMS, layout and features was enough work. If I would have to migrate to a complete different CMS I would screw up and therefore I've decided not to move to ASP.Net, especially because I don't see real benefits for a site like mine.

Posted by Arne Hess on 09.10.03 - 18:38:17

Oh, and yes - not to forget here... In the next days also ppcw.net as domain will point to the new site instead of using the IP address...

Posted by Tekguru on 09.10.03 - 23:06:09

Arne - the new site looks awesome from the Pocket PC - absolutely amazing - well done! Even this longish article looks good. Needless to say the news has been posted on Tekguru!

Posted by JackAce on 11.10.03 - 12:11:43

Wow, a piece of great work!

I like the look of the Windows Mobile 2003 page; makes it worth to buy a PPC 2003 now. ;-)

Also the comments form for Pocket PCs is a great addition. Was in holidays and when I cam back yesterday, PPCW.NET looked "completely" different but much improved.

Also I like the new colors, this green/blue/white combination looks fresh and light, simply awesome! :-D

Congratulations Arne and team for a fine work!

JA

Posted by rcobourn on 20.10.03 - 21:47:22

Somewhere in the process, the RSS feed broke.. I see the link but the only test is "Disallowed (XMLTools)".

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