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November is now over and I am happy to announce the winner of the "Gotta Screencap Them All" competition at TESNexus. A brilliant success, over 10,000 images have been uploaded for files by members of this site where the image does not belong to the user in question. What an awesome testament to the success and partnership of the Elder Scrolls community.
Without further ado, in third place, taking home honour, respect and prestige is Loana, uploading images for 568 files.
In second place, taking home more honour, respect and prestige is Herosinger, uploading images for 793 files.
And the grand prize winner, who will receive a game worth £35 (or local currency equivalent) of his choice delivered to his house is Fredie, uploading images for 918 files.
I want to thank everyone who has helped this site, and the community, by taking time out of their lives to upload images to this site for files that aren't actually theirs. Keep it up!
I've made a few minor tweaks to the site this evening. The first is the introduction of small icons next to updated files in the updates today log. You can now see what aspects of a file entry the author has updated by looking at the icons next to the file name. This feature has been requested for quite some time and was one of the reasons the action log system was coded. If there's enough demand I could probably code in some filtering options so you can choose what sort of updates (only new files, only new images, etc.) you see. This all leads towards a future feature for premium members to receive daily updates on files via email.
Other minor changes include a fix for authors who like to sort their mods by last comment, which will now log comments left with ratings as well. Lastly I've added a htaccess redirect for people who are still using the tessource.net and tesdb.com domains -- it seems people were trying to login using these domains and wondering why the login wasn't working/cookie wasn't setting. These domains now redirect to the tesnexus.com equivalent. Hopefully there'll be less login failures now.
After returning from a particularly fruitful tutorial with my operations management lecturer at university today I set about working on a few site layout changes I've been meaning to make. First of all let me apologise to those people trying to browse the file database while changes were being made, by the time I realised I was doing live changes instead of changes on my test server it was too late. Oops.
The main focus of these changes has been on increasing the overall size of the main content area, not least for those users who are still in the archaic blind-man 1024x768 resolution. I've pretty much given up on the 1.55% of visitors to this site who still use 800x600 or lower resolutions.
The edits made yesterday with the introduction of an AJAX page loader were a precursor move to gauge feedback and assess a new file page layout that would have this AJAX loader at the core of the layout in the form of a tabbed navigation. The navigation reduces the number of information boxes on the page (see: clutter) and replaces most of them with a centralised, tabbed navigation. This has enabled me to completely remove the right-hand columns taken up by the image gallery, files, actions and tags information boxes respectively. This has saved on 210 pixels of space, enabling the main content area originally taken up by just the file description to expand into this new space. The gallery has been moved to the top area with the author name, uploader name, file version, number of downloads, number of views and rating boxes wrapping around it. The other sections have been moved to the new centralised tabbed navigation.
So the plus side is that 210 pixels have been freed from captivity and put to use expanding the width of the core content area. Similarly certain features, such as the file comments, tags and action log were originally displayed in seperate pages or pop-up windows, but are now displayed on the same page at the click of a button. This reduces the need for the user to traverse multiple pages in order to get the information needed.
The down side is that the new system is not browser tabbing friendly. You can't directly open new tabs for the description, comments and images, for example. That is, not unless you access the file page three times and click each navigation tab in each tab. Similarly certain pieces of core information, such as the downloadable files themselves are now an extra click away. Web developers are often taught the common sense concept that the less clicks users need to make before getting what they want, the better. My choice was between making the downloadable file links available directly on the page somewhere, adding to the clutter I'm trying to remove, or adding it to a tab that is an extra click away.
I can't really find a place for the downloadable information on the page. I have to take into account that there are some entries, like Midas Magic Spells of Aurum, that have a lot of downloadable files. If I put the downloadable information at the top of the page then it has the possibility of making the user scroll to reach the central information (i.e. the description) on the page. Putting it to the right of the central area, as it was before, would defeat the whole point of the changes, and putting it below the main central area would mean users would have to scroll a mile and a half on some pages just to get to the downloads. So you see the riveting predicament.
I've made my file layout changes and set it out in the most aesthetic and efficient manner possible, in my own eyes. After 6 years of developing this site I've learnt that, for one (wrong) reason or another, people don't always agree with my opinions on these things. So here is your time to shine and express your opinion on the layout of the file page. What would you change? Where would you put things? Are you taking into account that advertising is paying for this site and has to be in the top-fold (visible without having to scroll)? Mumm-Ra forbid that you might actually like this change!
Another updated feature has just been cranked out for the file database in the form of the action log. This is an updated version of the original Change Log feature of the site but provides more detailed information on specific updates that authors have made to their file entries. On top of this RSS feeds are available for the action logs of all files in the database, so those people who like to RSS it up can keep up-to-date with their favourite files through their RSS programs.
Tied to this is the introduction of a new content navigation for the file pages themselves. The description, action log, image gallery and mirrors are now linked to a single content area that dynamically loads without having to reload the entire page. The idea is to reduce the amount of page loads you need to make to find out the information you want on files. It's possible I could add file comments to this system as well.
There's more to come in the future.
Personally I think this update is quite an exciting one. Not only has the upload limit on the site been increased from 50MB to 300MB, but there is also a constantly updated upload meter available for all file uploads. The upload meter shows you how much of the file you have uploaded, how much there is to upload and the percentage of the file that has been uploaded, along with a simple bar display of the progress. I think this is a great improvement on the old system where no visible display was given of the file progress.
There seems to be a glitch on IE7 that means the progress meter and stats are not updated. I can't seem to find a fix for this problem at this time, and would be interested to hear if other browsers are experiencing the same issue. While the stats are not updated your file is still being uploaded, so just hang in there and the upload will complete irrespective of the problem.
In the time old fashion of site updates for TESSource/TESNexus you, the users, are the true beta testers. This is a new feature and I cannot test every hardware and software configuration possible, so please make use of the feedback section of the forums to report problems. Please do not email me as I'm already swamped with emails!
I hope mod authors can put these two updated features to good use.
I wanted to let you all know that I am updating the site over the next 48 hours. A number of new and improved features are planned for the site that might require the site server to go down for a short while. Similarly some aspects of the site may not work for a short period. If a feature does not work for more than 2 hours then please report it on the forums. The sooner it gets reported the sooner it will be fixed!
Thank you for your patience during this time.
RSS feeds are now available for use on TESNexus. At the moment there are four feeds available: latest site news, latest site blogs, new files today and file updates today. Please feel free to use them to keep up-to-date with all the new Oblivion mods and site news.
I'm considering doing an over-haul of the way the file database records and shows all the edits made to files on the site. My intention is to add more transparency and detail to edits made so people know exactly what has been changed, and no doubt if I can create such a system there will be feeds for every file in the database. Sounds pretty cool, huh?
I have just launched a third file server located in London, England. European downloaders should choose to download from this server to get better file transfer speeds.
On a similar note file server 1, located in Chicago, is now back in full operation after a small hacker issue was discovered over the weekend.
The Chicago file server is now back up and running. The files are being transferred from a mirror, but you can still make use of the Chicago server. If you see a blank page for a short while then this is the server retrieving your file from another mirror -- if you're patient your file will be available for downloading momentarily.
A London based server will be available at the start of next month.
Thought I'd let you know that the Chicago file server has been hacked today. I believe the hacker was attempting to use the server as part of his Denial of Service attacks on a univeristy, and this was not a pointed attack against the site or community in general.
How the person gained access is unknown and under investigation. The server is simply used as a file mirror for all the files at TESNexus. As far as I know all the files have been lost, but the server is only a mirror, so the files can be retrieved from one of the two other mirrors available for the files. The result is that you may need to wait for a couple of minutes for the chicago server to retrieve the file from a mirror before you download from the server. If you receive much better transfer times on the Chicago server than on the Texas server then please just be patient.
Your personal security should not have been affected by all this.
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