Changes to UKMIX

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Postby Wayne » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:58 pm

On 25th January 2019, UKMIX will celebrate its 20th anniversary - happy birthday UKMIX! I've been resident at UKMIX now for nearly 13 of those years, and it continues to mean a great deal to me - as it does for many other posters.

As the 20 year milestone approaches, I wanted to take the opportunity to make some announcements, as there will be some significant changes coming up.

Chief among those changes is that current site owner Lars will be moving on. After 20 years at the helm, Lars isn't able to devote the time needed to maintain UKMIX and to drive the site forward. And UKMIX isn't able to move forward in the way it needs to if we continue as we are. The contributions that Lars has made to UKMIX over the years (particularly early on) cannot be overstated and though it doesn't always appear to be the case (with the "7 new messages" issue many of us have, and the "Maximum Login Attempts" error we are all experiencing :lol: ), UKMIX remains online and functional because of Lars and the work he has put into UKMIX. And we continue to enjoy it because of him. But the site is gradually breaking, bit by bit. And to move things forward, and to get UKMIX moving in the right direction again, we need some change.

With that in mind, I have agreed with Lars that I will shortly be taking responsibility and ownership of UKMIX - I won't be making any changes to how UKMIX is run (Matthew and Shane will continue to support in their roles as administrators and the moderation team will continue as they are) but I do plan on implementing some changes in forum functionality. So it'll be goodbye to the outdated Twitter feed and homepage, and we will be bidding a goodbye to our fabled reviews section (which JSparksFan has kindly devoted time to looking after over the last couple of years, in an effort to keep our homepage somewhat fresh).

A change in functionality you say...

Yes! We currently operate on an old version of phpBB - I want us to move over to a new forums software called vBulletin. In terms of functionality, that will present an unlimited amount of opportunity, with lots of additional features coming as standard (with even more being possible as part of modifications). But initially, we'll carry the same design over and we'll settle into our new home, and we'll get used to our new software. Some of the exciting new features that come as standard include the use of a user profile that will operate like a mini social media profile (with the ability to upload a profile picture, post on each other's walls etc), the ability to create your own social groups (for e.g. the three Dua Lipa fans might wish to create a Dua Lipa fans group), a new user reputation system, the option to use a new blog and calendar facility, a significant increase in new smileys, the ability to include tables in your posts and so much more.

Over the last 5 months, I've been working with a tech guy to write the coding that will enable us to transfer the forum database over to the new software and create a password hashing system that will enable everyone's passwords to transfer over encoded and confidentially - there's also been around 50 posters that have been testing the functionality of our new software on our test site and they've provided feedback to help me with ironing out any issues (which I've been working through, and will continue to work through over the coming weeks).

In addition to the software changes, I will be introducing a paid Premium User functionality to help fund the running costs of the site, as I'm keen to avoid using Google's advertising system which is very restrictive in terms of the content it allows - I'm currently finalising the details on this but it'll likely cost in the region of just $12 per year, per user and will allow for an enhanced user experience (with those who opt support the site in this way having access to a huge amount of additional features - those that don't want to become premium members will still be able post with the same options they have at the current UKMIX). It would be awesome for those that can afford the $12 per year cost to seriously consider contributing to the site in this way, as it will help cover the running costs which I will otherwise be covering (and the additional features will be pretty cool).

Once we're live, I also commit to reviewing the outputs of the last Feedback Survey we did in 2016 and ensuring that where possible, the actions agreed upon are implemented. And once we're settled, we'll do another feedback survey to understand what exactly the community wants and to take on board any ideas to help us grow.

There's far too much to cover with one post but in terms of timescales, I will be working with Lars to complete the transfer over the coming weeks (with everything hopefully sorted by February) - at the point we do the transfer for real, the site will be offline for a couple of days but I'll communicate firm dates soon.

Over the next week, I will also confirm the details of the premium user facility and once finalised, will confirm how you can purchase the premium membership feature. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please post them in this topic.
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Postby MusicRecords » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:01 pm

Yasss wayne, make that $$$ 8-)
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Postby Erotica » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the work you put in this. :)

I don't want many changes though. :oops:
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Postby Goldmoney » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:11 pm

Y’all allow gifs and iPhone emojis, y’all get my coins
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Postby Colbie » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:16 pm

Thanks for all the hard work, and congrats on the promotion! Lars, thank you for running the site till now!
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Postby matthew_dixon » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:20 pm

Hi all,

I feel it's only right that I contribute early on to this topic. It's amazing to think that UKMIX is 20 years old. 20 years ago this coming November, I joined the site myself. I've seen this site grow into the site it is now, and we have to owe an immense amount of gratitude to Lars and Amir for setting up the site in the first place, and to Lars for 20 years of hard work dealing with the tech side of things. The amount of times over the years, I've had to text him and say "Help - the site's gone down!"

For the past few years, we've been discussing how we manage a handover, because it will be clear to everyone that Lars's contributions to the site aside from in his role as site owner have been minimal for years. However, we had the issue of needing someone who had the time available, the dedication to UKMIX and also the technical abilities to take things forward. However, in the past couple of years, it's been very clear to me that Wayne is the guy with all those criteria.

Of course myself and Shane will still be active as administrators on the forum (though I admit that my own activities outside of Survivors, Retro Charts and the odd Countdown are pretty negligible (due to having a small child, and having lost interest in current popular music about 10 years ago). However, I really want to say that Wayne has my full support in his new role on here. We've been discussing things over the recent months, and will continue to do so in the months and years to come.

Here's to 20 years of UKMIX, and all the exciting things that are to come.
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Postby ludichris » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:27 pm

Will these changes affect the loading speed of the site? I browse and post via mobile 99% of the time and this site loads a lot faster than it's peers. That's why I like it so much. It also has class and grace that you can't find at other places.
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Postby thankfulforkelly » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:50 pm

This is so exciting, ukmix is in need of a spruce up. Thanks for all the hard work you guys put in to keep the sight going!
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Postby Top10 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:52 pm

If you let me express a different point of view about the software - phpBB is better than the kinda 'heavy' vBulletin in functional aspect. The first one is faster while the components are loading and has got simple, user-friendly design. However, it usually causes problems if it has to be modified somehow. I hope the new system will solve some issues with longer posts including embedded videos because some browsers block for about 10-15 seconds or just crash.
Good luck with these changes!
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Postby Thriller » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:04 pm

Exciting times ahead! Really looking forward to the new features.
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Postby BehindBreakaway » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:15 pm

Thriller wrote:Exciting times ahead! Really looking forward to the new features.
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Postby Ewokguy15 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:19 pm

As someone who joined when Gareth Gates was #1 and has watched this site go from what it was at the start to what it is now I can say Lars, Matthew and Wayne have done a fantastic job and thank you guys for everything. A lot of people have come and gone from this forum but the few administrators who keep it going do a great job. I look forward to seeing what updates/changes are implemented in 2019.
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Postby Guru » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:31 am

Long live UKMix!!!
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Postby bluecherry » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:25 am

This is exciting!
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Postby Hugo » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:57 am

Omg I could buy a Céline album right now :cry:
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Postby NoAngels » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:21 pm

I'm glad that you made it to the 20th year guys, I am also glad that I've been here for over 10 years now in a place that it didn't only gather the "UK" people, but it also gathered so many people from all over the world. Forum days are long gone, a lot of them struggled and closed down, props to everyone of you guys for keeping it alive and going and I can't wait for the new changes and upgrades.
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Postby KokoCollino » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:16 pm

A big thank you!
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Postby SummerPeur » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:51 am

Will be happy to support paying the premium associated.
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Postby DOSSOME » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:49 pm

I'm already so excited about this
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Postby JSparksFan » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:55 pm

BehindBreakaway wrote:
Thriller wrote:Exciting times ahead! Really looking forward to the new features.
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Postby Marchum » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:51 pm

MCMIX is coming... 8-)
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Postby himc15 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:52 pm

KokoCollino wrote:A big thank you!
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Postby RayRay » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:52 pm

Will all topics be saved or will we lose our posts?
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Postby taustin13 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:30 pm

Kudos to Wayne and the other administrators.

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Postby heartlocked » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:55 pm

Marchum wrote:MCMIX is coming... 8-)
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