You must have been in a SAP-less World for a while if you hadn’t noticed yet that the S(D)N site has been undergoing a metamorphosis. I’m not referring to the cosmetic changes – which are as good as none, which is a pity in my opinion – but the technical side. Our beloved side was upgraded/migrated to Netweaver 2004(s?) on November 10 th . As Mark Upgrade Time Tomorrow Friday Thankfully not the 13th, the old one couldn’t handle >600K members that smoothly anymore. Being now a month further on and now that the most inevitable bugs have been smoothed away, it is – in my opinion – time to make a critical evaluation.
First of all, there is the overall speed improvement, which is massive. Until now, I haven’t had any performance issues when accessing the S(D)N site at all. That’s a big contrast with the past, once noon CET and people in the US wake up, things went slowly and more and more viscously. It is clear that things like the SSL accelerator and other nifty things are doing their job properly.
There is of course more than that. Let’s pick out the eye catchers.
- I’m happy to see that my From the Grumpy Old Man: Searching for the needle in the SDN haystack about the search engine have melted away like wax under the sun. I can bury my web log Daedalus-wise (and start building a temple). The search engine is much improved: its fast, doesn’t show unnecessary double or dead links, and has a much simplified URL, which makes it a lot easier to make a search engine plugin. Speaking of plugins, discover the new S(D)N search plugin for Internet Explorer 7 AND Firefox 2 in this The beloved in sweet harmony.
- The next most noticeable innovation is the forum. The upgrade to Jive 4 is a huge improvement. Searching in the forums goes at lightening speed. So I don’t want to see any From the Grumpy Old Man: SDN Kindergarten for posting that same question for the X-th time. That is of course in the assumption that you don’t want to use the Wiki or From the Grumpy Old Man: Wikid little things to it.
- I’m glad that we’re finally rid of the auto login, which closes your session after e.g. 2 hours, regardless of whether you happened to be working the very minute that you’re kicked out. That makes typing in long answers to a question very comfortable.
- Browser support is very good. I’ve been working with all kind of flavours, even the very latest (beta) version, and haven’t noticed any problems (yet).
It’s not all roses at S(D)N though. There are some minor things like annoying bugs which take a bit longer than expected (I guess for both sides). Btw if you find bugs, don’t forget to report them. There is one major thing that I find very disturbing: the web log system. It clashes with the rest of S(D)N:
- It is painfully slow. The best example is the web log overview for a user. Not only is it slow, certainly when a user has a certain amount of web logs, but it starts up in a small (i)frame, which only shows a picture until everything has been loaded. If you are impatient like me, you can try to scroll in that frame, but that’s a bit unworkable since things add up.
- There is still no proper editor for submitting web logs. It seems that the open source SDN and Open Source didn’t result in a new system (yet). A missed chance, no? And yes, there are intermediate solutions like Xinha!, which allow you to have a WYSIWY editor for textareas. The drawbacks are that it’s a Firefox only plugin and secondly it doesn’t care about the S(D)N web logs formatting rules as described in the SDN: Weblogs and Formatting! (which is a bit outdated btw). There is a simple, 15 minutes work solution though. On top of that it’s already present at S(D)N!. All one needs to do is to deploy it in the web log system and define what’s allowed and what not. I’ll prove things in another web log.
Having said all that, the overall impression leaves me very contented. Or if I may say it with the words of the – my all times favourite – cartoon character Droopy : “You know what? I’m happy” (speak out real slow).