I am extremely proud to announce that version 3 of Forrst has officially launched today. It is the culmination of more than three months of hard work and almost a year of learnings, not to mention the hundreds (if not thousands) of emails and posts from our community filled with suggestions, praise, bug reports, and critique. I’d like to share some of the highlights of Forrst v3, give a few updates about the team, and briefly talk about what the next year has in store.
Here’s a list of some of the bigger changes in v3:
Perhaps two of the most exciting new features to come to Forrst are Promoted Posts and a new credit system, called Acorns. Promoted Posts allow any Forrst member in good standing get their posts in front of thousands of active Forrst members (great for job posts, requests for urgent feedback, or promoting a new product or service). Acorns are used by Promoted Posts, as well as a few things coming over the next few months, and are available for purchase now at: http://forrst.com/purchases More information about Promoted Posts may be found here: http://forrst.com/faq#s-promoted_posts
There’s a brand new homepage, courtesy of Mr. Keith Holjencin. While we absolutely loved the old homepage (get nostalgic here: http://cl.ly/3o3D1F1n2B0W0t3P1W0e), it just wasn’t doing the community justice; it didn’t really paint a clear picture of what Forrst was about in a way that anyone could quickly consume when coming to the site for the first time. The new homepage gives a peek into some of the great content being shared on the site, highlights members’ own stories about how Forrst has been a great asset in their careers, and also provides answers to commonly asked questions about being invited to join. Head to http://forrst.com/ and log out to see the new homepage in action.
Post pages have also been completely redesigned to be wider and less cluttered; snaps and code finally aren’t limited to a few hundred pixels wide. We have refined and polished dozens of aspects of the UI and user experience, including removing the heavy dependency on images for UI chrome, instead relying on pure CSS wherever possible. Requests now require far fewer images, and we’ve also rewritten our asset packager to serve a single file each for our JS and CSS. There’s a brand new navigation system, which let us eliminate a subnav bar, instead relying on a simpler menu system (which is also pure CSS, we might add). Check out the new UI: http://forrst.com/
The Forrst architecture has been completely rewritten from the ground up so that we’re not only able to offer a faster, more stable experience (each request uses an order of magnitude less memory and some pages are up to 75% faster), but we’re also able to build new features more quickly and with less code. All of this has been accomplished with a new PHP5 framework written in-house, called Magnus. Our goal is to open-source Magnus sometime in 2011.
We’ve rewritten the Markdown-based library that handles formatting posts and comments so that it’s more predictable and less annoying (trust us, we feel your pain about it!) We have also built a slew of moderation tools (Hi, Mike!) that let our community manager and moderators do their job more quickly and in a more automated fashion (don’t worry, you’ll still receive emails from a real human if we’ve got to contact you for any reason).
Every bit of code on Forrst, whether in a post or comment, has a new “Raw” link that provides a way to quickly view and copy that code. We’re also planning on integrating with popular code snippet sharing services, such as JSFiddle, Pastie, and GitHub’s Gist.
Some other highlights: Activity Streams now more correctly remember where you were when you last left off (no more broken Back button), you can like comments right from the stream (no more leaving the page), there’s finally a FAQ! (http://forrst.com/faq), you can now post drafts of posts, there’s a brand new ad system (crafted by Mr. Zack Kitzmiller) that lays the groundwork for a fully self-serve system sometime in the future, and finally, people lists are now displayed in a more clear, “card” style: http://forrst.com/people/list/developers
While this list only touches on some of the more prominent features of the new Forrst, there’s a ton more we haven’t shared here. Head over to Forrst and have a look for yourself. We’re so proud of it, and we hope you love the new stuff: http://forrst.com/
It’s an exciting time for Forrst, LLC, too: I’m pleased to welcome Zack Kitzmiller and Mike Evans to the team. Zack is joining me on the dev side, and Mike is coming on as our full-time Community Manager and Official Podcast Maker Guy (he was previously helping part-time). I’d also like to extend a hearty thanks to Keith Holjencin, who has been pushing pixels for Forrst from time to time and is responsible for the UI realignment in v3. It’s been an honor to work with these folks on Forrst, and I’m looking forward to having them all on board for the long haul.
It’s hard to believe Forrst is almost a year old already. It seems like just yesterday I fired up TextMate and wrote the first lines of what would become Forrst v1. I’m so grateful to our community for being as awesome as they are. Without you guys, Forrst would be nothing. It’s been amazing to see how far things have come. I’m looking forward to the next year; it’s going to be an exciting one! We’ve also got plans to keep building the Forrst community and product (including some neat premium features coming in January), as well as to look at ways we can grow Forrst the brand as well (other verticals, a private product for Teams, and so forth).
That about wraps things up. I urge you to check out the new Forrst for yourself: http://forrst.com/ I’d love to hear any and all feedback you’ve got; there’s a Contact link at the bottom of every page. I’d also like to thank the Forrst community at large, our beta testers who managed to break every last bit of v3, Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk for believing in me and in Forrst early on, as well as the numerous folks (Brooke, Nate, Spencer, Jacob, Brady, Dave, Chrissie, and others) who’ve offered guidance and support while we’ve built something great. Thank you.
— Kyle Bragger, Founder & Lead Developer
(Also, the related HN Discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2024651)