I’m a veteran of a few domain name shifts, and this has been one of the smoothest and most trouble-free I’ve experienced. For a day, the domain name was pointed at the ZOE Group site, but that was a relatively minor inconvenience. Usually, a change of domain name from one server to another takes a few days to propagate across the globe anyway – and sometimes folks will get “404’s” for up to a week.
The past few weeks while I’ve been between jobs, I have really enjoyed getting the new site design in place, ironing out the kinks, transferring the necessary items from the old site, and adding new features.
My favorite new feature is expanded archives, with articles indexed by issue, author and topic (though I’ve only finished about half the topic pages so far). There’s also a daily quote from Christ on the home page called “From the Vine” and right below it, a linked quote from one of New Wineskins’ writing contributors and the article from which it was excerpted. It’s called – you guessed it – “From the Branches.”
At the bottom of each of the articles is a link marked “Comments” and “Trackback,” courtesy of HaloScan, which allow you to leave comments about the article or a trackback ping … and a link to the Forums, where you can also comment and discuss.
Forums are more fully-featured and there will be a home page poll or questionnaire as often as I can generate one. Also listed there are the articles for the issue that are coming.
And, at least until the subscriber database is transferred to the new site, access to everything but the forums is free. (Limited time offer! Void where prohibited!)
I just want to say a word about Alliance Software. I have described their content management system to friends as “simple and elegant,” which are two major points in my book. I could also add “practically idiot-proof,” which means that you can make boo-boos (I often do), but they’re easy to un-do. I’ve worked with a much more complex system – which will remain nameless – and even though it starts with a “v” like “VitaSite,” all resemblance ends there. It was bulky and pokey and error-prone, and that’s just all I’ll say about it.
Todd Austin and the good folks at Alliance have been holding this site in reserve for New Wineskins for the better part of three years now, looking forward to the switchover as much as any of us. They had a dandy design in place for it, but after three years it wasn’t quite what Greg Taylor was looking for, and (using some of its design elements) I hope I’ve exceeded or at least met his hopes for it.