** CiscoUnityTools.com getting a major overhaul **

Unanswered Question
Sep 3rd, 2009

Hey gang. Just a heads up, I'm completely revamping the CiscoUnityTools.com (aka AnswerMonkey.net) web site in the next couple weeks. This has been a long time coming - first version of the site went up in 1997 and I haven't changed the file structure under it in all that time. Suffice it to say the site has expanded WAY beyond the original design and I've needed to take this on for some time.

With the pending releases of Unity 8 and Connection 8 coming down the old site is about to collapse under it's arcane navigation and organization scheme - I have to do something. Further the new site design lets me completely automate all updates - which saves me a TON of time. Just update a database with the new tool version info, press a button and the tool page, the RSS feed, the updates log, the downloads grid is all updated and FTPd to the site in one easy step. Been my dream for a while…

So - I'm looking for some feedback from folks - I have the new site staged on my beta URL here:

http://www.lindborglabsbeta.com/

It's live, the site works and the links are valid - most of the tools links will take you to the old site's tools page but some of them go to the new site - more as I slowly move them over in the coming weeks.

Couple things to note:

1. All the same material is available on the new site - some of the 3.x material still hanging around will be removed but most of that was taken off already anyway.

2. All the links to all the existing tools, pages and documents will continue to work - I'll be using 301 redirects for all of them to the new site so there should be no broken links for folks who may save specific pages or tools for quick reference.

3. The site is way cleaner and simpler. The primary mechanism that allows me to do this is the “all downloads” page approach. It's a client side PHP/JavaScript page so it should run under most security setups and all browsers I've tried (Chrome, FF, IE, Opera). I'm keen to hear if folks have a problem with enabling scripting for this or if they have some version of a browser that doesn't work. Or perhaps folks want an alternative "flat HTML list" provided on an alternate page?

5. I know the filtering drop downs for the checkbox columns are a little weird - 0/1 isn't exactly ideal. I'll be doing custom drop downs for those before the site goes live with something a little easier for folks to grasp.

5. I'll leave a back door link to the existing site up for at least a year - CiscoUnityTools.com and AnswerMonkey.net will point to the new site when I cut over but “lindborglabs.com” will continue to point to the old site just in case something got missed and folks need a way to get there.

Any and all feedback/suggestions/whatever appreciated.

I have this problem too.
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Ginger Dillon Thu, 09/03/2009 - 10:16

Hi Jeff -

I like everything about the new site except for the Home Page. Rather than see all of the updates posted here in date order, I'd prefer to see some narrative about what's new or what's changed; what links are people using most - for example Sagem-InterStar's knowledge base has a "What's Hot" section - the top ten most interesting items. Maybe even a directory with links to the other pages? Thanks as always for your hard work and for encouraging feedback!

Sincerely, Ginger

lindborg Thu, 09/03/2009 - 11:09

So maybe a “site news”, “update log” and “top downloads” sections on the home page. Some of the stats information is available on the traffic page on the links section but it's pretty cluttered and doesn't have a page hit rank - I'll fiddle with the log file parsing tools to see what can be pulled out of there on a weekly basis and put up in a readable way. Probably a download rank (based on bytes transferred) and a page hits rank would both be of interest there.

lindborg Thu, 09/03/2009 - 16:01

just put a temporary update out there - I'll have to work with my provider to get the log parsing I need for proper "what's popular" page listings - it'll be a few days I think.

Ginger Dillon Thu, 09/03/2009 - 17:32

Hi Jeff -

Nice update! I like the changes you made - they work for me!

Sincerely, Ginger :-)

Tommer Catlin Fri, 09/04/2009 - 09:43

Looks great Jeff! Anyway to embed the Unity search links so they are not a separate link? So when I pull up ciscounitytools.com and hit search boxs at the top for each product?

Also, maybe put a flying monkey back on the page for old times.

lindborg Fri, 09/04/2009 - 11:26

yeah - I'm thinking of making the search page a simple tab affair so you can search the site, all Unity material or all Connection material on one page. Either that or just ditch the site specific search since the Unity and Connection custom searches pick up the tools just fine - not sure how much value there is in a site specific approach. I'll fiddle with it this weekend.

Don't want to run afoul of the user experience team... they don't like having anything "cheeky" on the site now that it's all big time and everything - Monkey pics would definitely get me a call!

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