Major Update of Blogging System

(please note: this is a very active blog detailing very important changes and updates to the ChristianBlog.Com website. It receives multiple comments and replies every day during this process. Please be sure to review and comment on anything that you feel you have something to share.)

Hello Everybody,

Over the course of the last eleven (11) hours we have been working on a major update of the Blogging System here at the ChristianBlog.Com website.

While we have not 100% completed the update, we have gotten to a point where we can open the website back up to members logging into the website and publishing new blog entries.

We do apologize we had to lock down the website for a few hours, but due to the extensiveness of the update we had to perform it was the only option we had.

Very few people will notice any changes once we are finished. 99% of the scheduled update was within the software that powers the website.

For the last four years we have been using the same database architect and it was starting to get out-dated. It was also starting to cause some strain on the entire Service.

The best option before us was to totally rewrite the entire Blogging System (on a database level) from the ground-up.

This meant doing a completely new database schema and hours and hours of database optimization.

This also meant doing a major rewrite of the code of the website. Every page that queried the database table for the blogs has to be updated. Obviously with this being a Blogging website, that means a large percentage of the website queries the blog database tables.

Present Status:

At this time we are about 85% complete. We had hoped to be done within ten (10) hours but some things did not go as smoothly as we had expected. This resulted in delays. Those delays resulted in lost time.

That lost time results in our inability to 100% complete this project within one major update.

Not Presently Working:

So at this point in time, the following feature are not yet working - but will be by the end of tomorrow (Saturday January 09, 2010) - unless something very drastic goes wrong.

(1) Featured Blogs = 100% totally not working (common sense should indicate to you that THIS is what went wrong in the course of our day - lol)

(2) My Blogs = 60% not working. The page loads, but none of the "edit/lock/delete/stats" pages are presently working

Working:

By "working" we mean we have tested it - but that does not mean it is going to be working 100% for 100% of those visiting and using the website. If you encounter any issues that you feel is not apart of the "not presently working" (listed above) please report back within THIS BLOG that something is not working and we will look into it!

We honestly do not expect 100% of everything we have done in the last eleven (11) hours to work. While we have tested them that does not mean that somebody out there will use something in a way we have not yet tested.

(1) Home Page = 100% working (minus featured blogs)

(2) (Logged In) Home Page = 100% working (minus featured blogs)

(3) Create Blog = 100% working

(4) All Right-Side-Nav links that interface Blogs

(5) Recent Blogs

(6) All Profile features that interface Blogs

New Blog Creation Design:

While we are at it we further developed the recent "Add A Blog" design we released a short while back. We have tried to clean up the page. Hopefully it looks nicer to everybody.

Everything should still work the same - with maybe the exception of "Blog Tags"... as we redid that chunk of code to try to make it work better (does it???)

We also made a change to the "auto-save / last saved" feature. We had noticed that it was (sometimes) causing a small chunk of the Blog Message to be lost... it took us awhile to figure out why, but we did. As a result we have now increased the auto-save-time from 20-seconds to 2-minutes. That should solve this issue.

Our Apologies:

We would like to offer our apologies that our website is not working 100% as it should. We know that some of the features that are not presently working are pretty major features. However, because they are such important features, and we have already been working for eleven (11) plus hours today, we figured it would be better to put it off until tomorrow rather than run the risk of doing something very wrong.

First up tomorrow will be getting the ability to edit/delete/lock your blog finished. After that will be the dreaded Featured Blogs problem - a problem we have no idea how we are going to fix. The new database schema has caused our old method to no longer work... so, we have to blueprint an entirely new methodology for Featured Blogs... than develop it, test it, and release it.

Again, we are sorry for these issues and the down-time of the website today. We know that 99% of it is a result of something very few will notice any change from... but, sometimes you just have to take care of things and this was as good of time as any to deal with this one.

Many Blessings,
ChristianBlog.Com

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello All,

After some much needed rest we are back at it as of 10:00 AM PST (GMT-7/8).

We will report back throughout the day as we have been able to activate additional features.

Thank you,
John B. Abela
Founder/Owner, ChristianBlog.Com

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

For those who are [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Premier/Gold Members[/internallink]... we know have the ability to Lock/Unlock blogs within the [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/myblogs/]Manage Your Blogs[/internallink] section working.

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

The "Delete a Blog" within the [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/myblogs/]My Blogs[/internallink] is now working as well.

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

The "Blog Stats" within the [link=http://www.christianblog.com/myblogs/]My Blogs[/link] is now working as well. Took a little longer than necessary... FedEx showed up (even on a saturday - wow!) with some rice ( [amazon=B000EH0RU2]Whole Grain Texmati Brown & Wild Rice with Soft Wheat & Rye Berries[/amazon] ) that I've been looking forward to trying. Nothing like a bowl of rice and some tea to start the day! I'll report back in 45 minutes or so on whether or not the rice is any good :mrgreen:

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Ok, I brief update here...

The "Edit Blog" feature is now working. It is crippled in features but it is working.

Allow me to explain...

For some time I have been wanting to make some serious changes to the "Edit Blog" system... changes that would make things much more advanced. I just never got around to it.

However, this appears to be as good of time as any...

So, over the course of the next few days I will work on getting these changes made.

For now, you can edit the Blog Message... but that is it.

Editing the Blog Title/Subject, blog tags, category and so forth is just not finished. Only the ability to edit the Blog Message itself is done right now.

I will update this post as I get the rest of the features done.

btw, that rice is AWESOME stuff !!

John

@kiwibird
Alison Stewart @kiwibird ·

I'll just keep praying. At least you and God know what you are doing :wink:

Brillian job John. Thank you.

kbird

PS. Flash rice. I don't think I have even seen wild rice more than a few times! Glad you enjoyed it

@kreynolds
K Reynolds @kreynolds ·

@John,

Thanks for all of your hard work. You're awesome!

@Kbird,
You know, Minnesota is the home of wild rice. Up north... well, I am making a note of it... when you make it to Minnesota we will have to have some wild rice!

K :princess:

@theunworthyservant
Larry Crowell @theunworthyservant ·

Rice or no rice I appreciate the hard work that I know you have been putting into the site. I am very grateful for your abilities in Christ Jesus and I pray for you always.

The Unworthy Servant

@miraclechild
Christen Rich @miraclechild ·

I am just happy to see that there is something worthwhile on the Internet! God bless.

@galahad
Benjamin Foulks @galahad ·

I was working on a blog today..got most of it done, but choose to finish later...maybe a big mistake...it now shows it's status as "Unknown". Does this mean that what I worked on is gone and I must start over, or it is still saved to edit later?

@happytoberestored
Virginia Sills @happytoberestored ·

I'm still trying to figure all the changes out. Whew.

Lotsa work here. :clap:

Love ya much my brother.

h2br

@greybear
Rob Henson @greybear ·

every so often ya just have to do what ya have to do... and I'm glad of 2 things, one is that you have the talents to do these kids of changes and two is that you actually have the patients to hash through them!

Blessings Brother as you continue to serve the Lord,
PapaBear

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

I'm back to working on CB today. Needed to take a couple days off... brain was fried.

Ok, I just got the [link=http://www.christianblog.com/tracker/]Tracker[/link] finished working. I did the cosmetic changes last week, but now the Tracker is using the new Blogging system.

I'm still a bit stuck on how to interface Blog Tags into the new Blogging System. I think I might just pull the plug on them for now, so it doesn't complicate and delay things.

I should have the ability to edit Blog Titles finished later today. It's a complicated process because we use blog titles as blog links which means the title of the blog is also the url to the blog... we have to record both the old and the new blog titles - uggh.

John

@mumbly
Shirley Hooper @mumbly ·

Massive Job for you, John. As per usual, greatly appreciated. Many thanks. I just love it. Now I must learn how to use it, but so far am managing not too badly!!

Kind regards... ... mumbly

@blessings2you
Kirk M @blessings2you ·

Any clue as to when the Featured Blogs might be fixed? Of course you know I would be missing them greatly.
B2Y

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello Everybody,

I find myself having to apologize again for the lack of progress...

One of the many things I face with CB is the long-term outlook of things... and this is typically what drives my progress.

I was just about set and ready to go to make the next big advancement in getting this finished, when I realized that now would probably be the better time to update the [blog=christianblog/blog-entries-the-return-of-access-permissions/]Blog Access Permissions[/blog] than at some unknown point down the road.

Every single page of the website that interfaces blogs has to have the access permissions included within it so it will not just be a matter of getting it added back to the blog creation/edit forms but every single page that interfaces the blogging system.

I am about 60% of the way done mapping out the new system on a logistical level, after which I will have to blueprint it on paper, than develop code for it, than implement it in a test environment, than completely test it, than migrate it over to the CB blogging system.

Once all of that is done, than I will be able to get back to finishing things up.

Which, includes dealing with the blog tags, free/premier/gold features, featured blogs, site-wide bbcode button interface, and whatever else pop's up along the way.

Thank you,
John B. Abela
Founder/Owner, ChristianBlog.Com

@kraftykatz
Marsha Tyler Ronquist @kraftykatz ·

John,
Thanks for keeping us updated. I was wondering about the featured blogs and am glad they will be returning.
I do have one question. When older blogs are read the original comments do not appear. Is that going to change or are they lost?
I do not remember reading anything about the old comments.
KraftyKatz
:coffee:

@pmcjohn316
Patrick Clark @pmcjohn316 ·

Hello, I am new to Christian blog. I feel like Christians need to here what is being said aroung the world. This is a good way.

@pmcjohn316
Patrick Clark @pmcjohn316 ·

May Christ be praised above all others and may Christ bless you all.

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hey All,

I now have the "Blog Privacy" setup on the Blog Creation page. (add process only, right now... edit blog process will be finished later)

Also note that for right now it only effects the blog page itself. I do not yet have it plugged into the home page, recent page, profile page, archive page and personal rss feeds.

I will update as I work out the logic and code for those pages (they all use the same).

Oh, also note that if you select "friends only" neither your personal tweet (if activated) nor the main @[url=http://twitter.com/christianblog]christianblog[/url] twitter account will tweet your new blog - as should be obvious when one considers things.

John

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

The ability to edit a blog is now working from within the "My Blogs" page of your account.

You can now edit the Blog Message, Blog Category, Blog License, and Blog Privacy.

Only thing not yet available to edit is the Blog Title and Blog Tags.

I am still working on the logic of how to accomplish both of them in the best manner. I could very easily get both of them working in a matter of minutes, but it would not do any long-term justice. I need to seriously think long-term methodology with those two items before I release the ability to edit them.

Up next is Blog Privacy on the home pages, recent page, profile page, archive page and personal rss feeds.

I will report back once I have them figured out and finished.

Once they are done, I will move onto getting Featured Blogs working. After that I will move onto getting more of the website switched over to using our new template. While I am doing that I will be working on (in the back of my mind) the methodology of the blog title and blog tags.

Blessings,
John

@bethy
Joyce Bethy Ferguson @bethy ·

john, give me to the end of the month when my pay gets in.. then you can add another one to your number...

@ladyvogue
Eileen Algaze @ladyvogue ·

Hey John, I was wondering... I was trying to read a couple of blogs but it wont let me, it says that they are 40 years old. is this something that is suppose to happen due to the maintenece? Just an FYI :heart: Eileen

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello All,

As you may have noticed from the (logged in) home page... Featured Blogs is working.

Well... ok... so, maybe that is not a complete truth...

The featured blog SEEMS to be working, but I am not 100% finished with it yet.

Yes, it is displaying blogs (Weee!!!)

No, you cannot access it yet (booohhhh!!!!)

Yes, you will be able to sometime today (Weeeehoooooo!!!)

Ok, that's a "maybe" if I am to be honest (D'Oh!!!)

So, here is the deal for all of you Featured Blog lovers...

Per popular request (err: demand) we are going to back only letting [link=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Premier Members[/link] have one Featured Blog.

Gold Members are also going to be limited to one Featured Blog. (What!!!??!!!!???) Yeah, for now folks. Give me time. Just like the first time around, we need to make sure that things are going to work. I think we can all agree that things did not work perfectly like time around. (we all remember the utter failure on my part to get blogs less than 1 week from being removed - right?) So, pretty much, I do not like it when things do not work 100% perfectly. So, for now, as much as I know some of you will loath me for this... I'm going to limit Gold Members to a single Featured Blog too. But, rest assured, once I know things are stable... you great givers to ChristianBlog.Com will be rewarded!!

I expect to have general access to set Featured Blogs sometime later today. I have already put in about 6 hours of work to get things setup and initially working. I need a break and want to watch the latest episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter. After lunch and tv, I will work on getting the rest of the stuff working so all Premier/Gold members can start setting their own Featured Blogs!

Blessings,
John B. Abela
Founder/Owner, ChristianBlog.Com

@harkrider
·

I remember when I learned to make my Tandy machine say "Hello World" on my TV set.
Then I tore apart and put back together the mighty 286.
(Green letters on a black screen)
My brain hurts thinking of your coding behind this.
Thank you Sir.

@blessings2you
Kirk M @blessings2you ·

Dog the Bounty Hunter???????????????????????????????

Thanks for all your efforts and I will be "officially" making my pledge this week. I wanted you to know I had not forgotten about you or CB.

Looking forward to the new and improved Featured Blogs!!

B2Y

@2gvhmpraz
Anita Sorensen @2gvhmpraz ·

Hey John! You have an amazing world wide ministry here! Thanks for answering the call :) And thank God there's some people that like putting this kind of tedious work together while the rest of us get to just enjoy it !! Yeehaw!

I found the information explaining the difference between Premier and Gold Members. (I'll blame this on the old gray mare syndrome) - then I discovered that a Pledge Partner doesn't necessarily make you a Premier Member. Does another pledge need to be made as a Premier Member to quality for the perks? Or is there any difference?

OK! Bones and CSI great shows back when I watched tv...but I'm with B2Y - Dog the Bounty Hunter???????? :) I would make the smilie rubbing his chin if I knew how...but I'm still learning! Who says they can't teach old dog new tricks?!!!
Appreciate your response (not to the old dog or gray mare part!), 2G

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hey All,

Ok, I got some much needed sleep the last few hours. I will be back to work here in a few minutes.

Regarding Dog... In their Christmas episode here a few weeks back, one of their boys, Garry, was totally convinced that Santa was not real, and was ruining it for the other kids in the family. So the entire show became devoted to the kids in the Dog family hunting for Santa. Dog and family took the kids on this wild chase around Colorado "hunting down santa". It was very fun, a little sad, a little funny, and all that might come with what a real hunt for Santa might be like as a child. Towards the very end of the show, Garry gets a real-life encounter with Santa and is told to keep it secrete until the next day (Christmas). After Dog and Garry get back to their house, Garry goes off to bed and the final clip in the show is Dog standing outside... and he ends the show with this: "[b]The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Today I got a chance to show Garry what faith is.[/b]"

You see, in the hunt for whether or not Santa was real or not, Dog got the chance to impart a truly awesome faith-lesson to his son Garry. As I said in my blog [blog=what-is-faith-i-doubt-most-understand-it-correctly/]What is faith? I doubt most understand it correctly[/blog] (not inspired by the tv show) and the point I try to make is: That faith is more, yet less, than what we often try to conceive it to be. On this Christmas, one young boy got to learn that while santa may or may not be real, there are things in life which are unseen, things that are hoped for, things that we have to take "simply on faith"... and it is those things that define life itself. This, is faith.

So, sit here and question me watching the Dog all you want... question him all you want... but I am a firm believer that God is a God of second chances... and third chances, and forth chances... and seventy seven chances... I believe that God is a God who can use a man, women, child, or even the hope of a Santa, to be able to reveal to us (often times) stupid self-centered unwilling to look outside our own personal petty dogmatic humans... and teach us and others the truth of who He really is.

I would encourage those of you who have iTunes... spend $1.99 and [url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?i=348385427&id=340510623&s=143441]get the show on iTunes[/url] and see for yourself DOg teaching his young son a lesson of both Christmas and of faith. Because those of us who have not lost their Christmas Cheer (as Little Cindy-Lou Who would say) know, Christmas and faith are both, 3 sizes bigger than what we think.

John

@2gvhmpraz
Anita Sorensen @2gvhmpraz ·

the contact page says a free member can have 1000 friends??? Yet Premium is 100 and Gold is 200. Maybe too many zero's?

@2gvhmpraz
Anita Sorensen @2gvhmpraz ·

Thank you ladies :coffee: and :princess:

Your efforts are very much appreciated...now I can just 'friend' away :)

2G

Do not include honorifics.
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