It's finally here! After all the waiting, the new site is now launched, and is waiting for you to try it out!
It's been a while since we first announced that we're working on a completely new site with a lot of new features, and a new design. It wasn't easy, The new site is rewritten from scratch using a different programming language than the original BraceletBook site was written in, and I've been working on it only in my free time. Looking at the whole process now, I can say it took a lot of effort and time to make this possible. For this blog post, I wanted to write a list of new features and updates/changes on BraceletBook, so enough of the intro, and let's get to the list.
We've been working closely with Adrián Řezníček, a talented graphic designer to bring you a design that aims to look nice, and be easier to comprehend than the old one was. Thanks to this, the new site is easier to use mainly by new members of our community who just discovered BraceletBook. The new design is a lot more consistent in different sections, and the flow of some sections has been reworked from scratch to provide an experience that's easier to grasp. We're now using retina and super retina assets for the whole web (not just the iOS app, as it was before) so that the site looks sharp on displays that support it. You'll really notice this if you're using the site on an iMac, MacBook, iPad or other retina-capable device. For pattern images, we're now using SVG which is becomming a new web standard in the last years, and also allows us to have interactive pattern images. You're now able to click on a string in a pattern, and see only that one string with the others faded out. It is a vector graphics format, which looks well no matter where you use it. You can print it out, zoom in/out and it won't become blurry. There is a lot of new design updates to the site which you'll surely notice, like new fullscreen photo viewer, revamped tutorials section, revamped pattern detail screen, ...
We've added a completely new concept of variations to patterns, as we noticed that a lot of users tend to submit patterns we already have on the site, but with different colors, or repeated multiple times. The process of adding a variation is the same as for patterns. If you create a pattern with the same knots we already have in the database, you will see a message in the create section informing you that it will be added as a variation of pattern XXX after the submission. There are no extra steps involved from your side. Variations can be viewed either in the 'Variations' section that you can find on the bottom of the page, or when you open up a pattern which has variations. This prevents us from having the site cluttered with a lot of same patterns, but still have the option of listing multiple variations of a pattern. For this we first had to rethink the mechanism that is used for pattern similarity detection. It's pretty intelligent and it works also for different rotations, or multiple repetitions. There is already a lot of variations on the site. In fact, almost 700 patterns which were listed on the old site were migrated as variations to the new one, cleaning up the patterns section a bit.
The new site uses 2 types of mentions, similarly to the old one. In sections where you post your messages (chat, forum, comments, messages, ...), you're able to mention either some other user, or a pattern just by including it in the text. The pattern mention scheme stays the same as it was before (#123), but we've changed the user mentioning scheme a bit. While before you could only mention a user at the start of your message by adding his/her username (Admin: text), now you're able to do so in the middle of your text (text @Admin text). As you may have noticed, we had to change the format that is used here. Instead of adding a colon (🙂 after the username, you now add an 'at' sign (@) at the beginning of the username. This functionality now works pretty much in all sections, and sends out notifications to the users involved. This means it also sends notifications to pattern owners when a pattern is mentioned.
There is also a lot of changes in the way we notify you about events hapenning on the site. We have tweaked the text for the notifications so that it's easier to understand, and added a lot of notification events. The new notifications also use improved formatting options such as links to the related content in the text, emoji, and other features. Currently, push notifications are only supported on the iOS platform. Other users can view their notifications in the notifications section as it was before, but we're planning on adding push notification capabilities also for web browsers, namely Google Chrome and Safari, so that our Android and Windows users will be also able to receive push notifications on their mobile devices and PCs.
Some of the new notification events are:
username mention (someone mentioned you in chat, forum, comments, ...)
pattern mention (someone mentioned your pattern)
forum topic reply (someone replied to your forum topic)
variation (someone added a variation of your pattern)
and many more...
The tutorials section received a big update, design-wise, and tutorials are also now properly divided into sections. All the images they contain can now be enlarged and viewed full-screen. This makes it possible for us to implement adding tutorials using the website in the future (no need to send us them via email anymore). Tutorials can now also be rated and commented the same way as patterns, and they can be also linked directly to patterns, so that they are displayed under the pattern when you open it up.
Forum received all the updates described in other sections like user mentions, pattern mentions, emoji and many more.
The 'Create' patterns section is now completely redesigned and contains a LOT of new features and changes, starting with a completely new pattern generator which is the core engine for designing your patterns, improved messages, SVG effects used in pattern while editing, variation features, and many more. The new generator contains a lot of fixes compared to the previous version, is better optimized for performance and the output images it generates also received a lot of tweaks and improvements. It's hard to describe all the changes included in the generator, because the whole architecture of it is different, but you should definitely go there and try it out! 🙂
Messages received a huge update, but the main and key difference here is that they work in the same way as a lot of other platforms that you're used to. Before, when you sent a message to someone, it disappeared from your messages, and if you wanted to send another message to the same user, you had to start a new thread, which was pretty complicated and inconvenient. Now you can only have 1 conversation with a user, can post multiple messages to it, and open it up anytime you want to read or update it again. Before you also had to delete a conversation when you wanted to get rid of the badge showing you have x unread messages, and that's no longer needed. You just open the message, and it's immediately marked as read, so you don't need to delete conversations which you don't want to.
We've renamed the original 'Site Updates' section to 'Blog' which we created so that we can write longer posts. You can now click on a blog post to open up the full article for reading. The plan is writing more articles regarding the news and updates on the site (just like this one).
This is a feature which has been requested by a lot of users, and for a long time. Patterns can now be loved by clicking the 'Love it!' button on the pattern detail page, and you can see how many users love a pattern in all pattern listing pages. We're also planning on adding a page listing all the patterns you've loved, and adding it to user profiles.
This is also a feature that has been requested for a long time, so now it's here! All sections have been designed to support emoji 🙂
This section is not accessible by users, but our administration section has also been redesigned so that it makes the life of our administrators a lot easier 🙂
HTTPS with a solid certificate and encryption techniques is now used for the whole site to ensure that all your interactions, and the information you enter is sent to our servers over a secure connection preventing any potential attacker seeing your private data.
A new version of the iOS app is also already available @ the AppStore. It contains an improved compatibility with the new website, emoji support, new messages flow, new tutorials design, a lot of tweaks and fixes for iOS 12, and a lot better support for iPhones without the home button (X, XS, ...). It's also more secure and fixes a couple of rare occurring crashes and UI glitches. Currently, not all of the new website features are supported by the app, but we will definitely be adding them soon!
We've made BraceletBook a lot easier to update from the programming perspective, because the solution we're using now is much more robust, and allows us to develop new features a lot quicker!
... and a lot more! It was pretty hard to list all the major changes, but I tried my best to do so and hope I didn't forget anything.
If you have any questions / suggestions, I will be happy to help. You can contact me by sending me a direct message over BraceletBook, or use the contact form on the site, anytime!
So, happy tying everyone, and I hope you'll like the new site 🙂