We’ve been working a lot over the past several months to get from our old version of the site to this one. There are going to be a lot of cool things we are able to do with our new backend that were simply not possible on the old OS.
How we reached this point was actually technically a lot harder than it appears, as we had to convert the site’s custom CMS from 2007 (which mind you, was a huge technical feat at the time) into a more modern architecture. This means some sacrifices with old content were made along the way — but new possibilities were unearthed.
For starters, we’ll be a lot more flexible with our content and look. When news is busy, the frontpage will be able to spotlight more stories and when things are a bit more steady as she goes we’ll also be able to accommodate that.
Another thing you’ll notice is you can still log-in and comment on news stories using your forum handle, and the stories are still appearing in-line inside of the forums. This was a bit harder to implement than expected but it was essential to retain the core essence of what makes OS what it has been.
You’ll be able to browse game pages like before, but now they’re presented much more visually which is more in line with modern web standards versus the old OS where it was a wall of text (I hated that thing after awhile).
Another thing you can do is click into related topics at the bottom of articles to find related articles covering the selected topics. We’ll eventually be doing crazy things like setting up pages dedicated to these for easy content discovery.
Its Good on Every Screen
While the forums aren’t quite to the responsive world yet, the frontpage of OS is now responsive to every screen its put on.
The site will load and look great on anything from a smartphone, tablet, to desktop PC. The smaller screen versions of OS are also smaller in terms of size, so the site will load fast when you are on the go.
We are planning on the forums getting a similar skin treatment in the coming weeks and months.
New Search Function
A big problem with our proprietary CMS we developed a decade ago was the search function wasn’t very functional. The new version of our search bar for the site will allow you to find content and topics with greater ease than ever. If you are looking for an article which mentions Mark Trumbo for instance, the search engine will find that for you. Obviously this isn’t truly groundbreaking stuff, but it is functionality we’ve lacked while making the transition over to our new CMS.
New Ways to Discover Content
We have several new ways which related, relevant, and top content will be discoverable by you. Our trending sections will feature the most visited and commented on articles over the last 5-14 days (depending on the section it is displaying in). This will allow you to see the top and most important stories on OS even if you miss a day.
Another thing you’ll notice is our related content suggestion engine, which displays content which is directly related to the article you are reading. We’re still tweaking this one, but this will allow you to discover relevant and impactful pieces of content you might not have already seen.
There’s More to Come
We have some big plans for OS going into the future. The new site is just the first step towards our bigger goals. We hope you keep coming back and we hope to see you around as we continue to improve the experience here at Operation Sports!