We’re pleased to report that soon the old BitSharesTalk Forums will be switching over to a brand new, from-scratch version at the same web address. Feedback and testing has been taking place on the demo until now. The work is aligned with overall branding and marketing efforts taking place around the BitShares blockchain in the past 12 months or more.

Seamless switchover soon

Waiting to go live are just some formalities around proper legal process in handling the private data within and in compliance to EU laws / GDPR. Once ready, the switchover will be seamless for users.

Feature packed

Further below in this article, you’ll find a gallery to take a look around the new interface. First page we are presented with is the new BitSharesTalk Forums homepage and login/register box with the unique color scheme and branded logo.

In relation to the logo/branding, this was utilized from previous work, which delivered an entire set of category-specific BitShares brandings. You can find more about that here.

In another screenshot, you will see the new BitSharesTalk Forums profile page and site footer. One of the major complaints of existing forums, relates to spam and bots. Footer shows that the forums are now using latest SMF v2.0 which brings much better security/spam control.

Check out the gallery below, showing the highly functional new menu structure and proper search tools. It is even now possible to call other users in replies or posts using the ‘@’. Most noteworthy, users can finally search by exact or fuzzy matches, users, date ranges, and by individual boards.

Not a mere upgrade – customized

None of the old functionality is lost. Only enhanced and new features from the latest version of SMF. However, it’s not just a default installation – note as you browse the site it has also had several hours of web developer time, mainly CSS:

  • Placement of all elements
  • Styling of boxes, backgrounds, custom icons where possible
  • Fitment and placement of BitShares logos
  • Fix mobile responsiveness wherever possible
  • Style / Color matching all buttons (note rounded corners on these and other places for example)

Optimized for constant and fast access from China

Big issue with existing forums was access from China. As with any foreign website, load times can be 5-8x longer from China. Since our community has a substantial Chinese following, Google Analytics and globalization settings have been tweaked on the core code level of new SMF install. The new forums will load substantially faster and easier in China. Users in other locations will experience even faster loading times (down to ~2.5sec).

China speedtest - new bitsharestalk forums
Load tests from China
GTMetrix.com Speedtest - Dallas
GTMetrix.com Speedtest – Dallas

BitSharesTalk Forum Anywhere, Anytime

Styling/customization took place with sensitivity in keeping a professional/clean and usable forum. Further ‘under the hood’ work was to try and ensure usability on many types of device (mobile responsiveness). It should now also be possible to use the forum on many modern smartphones in landscape mode. No more rushing back to the PC to respond to that burning topic of the day!

On the above point, another highly useful feature in the new version, is the ability to call users (including admin) by their ‘@’ handle.

Here are the screenshots demonstrating the new forums on mobile …

Upgrade allows advertisement, sponsorship and more

Hosting a forum produces costs for servers (running and maintenance), potentially administration, traffic and for future upgrades and enhancements. This upgrade adds the capability for the operators of the forum to host advertisements or launch sponsorship deals (the bitcointalk.org ads are probably familiar to many readers) in case it becomes necessary or beneficial for the community. This upgrade is delivered outside of a worker proposal and as such finances need to be considered for a long-term commitment.

Conclusion

The new forum will provide a fresh start for the BitShares Talk Forums. With a clean interface, mobile capabilities, and superior spam control.

View the demo at https://demo.bitsharestalk.org/