This update was initially focused solely on the theme editor, aimed at improving and simplifying the experience of designing your site. But as we worked features spilled out to other areas and the scope of the update quickly became large. Really large. Like able to do battle with a Jaeger large! It was no longer a simple update to the theme editor, and now that its nearly ready we decided to name it Shivtr 2.0 -- so what's new?
Streamlined Theme Editor
Likely the most exciting highlight for this update is our new theme editor. We've streamlined the process of tweaking a theme to be easier, faster, and more fun. To facilitate this we've changed how theming works on Shivtr.
Each theme now belongs to a wireframe. The wireframe sets which elements are available to the theme and its layout. Wireframes allow us to offer vastly different themes, for example some may have menubars, or side panels, or avatar frames, or even a headline block as a banner. This allows us to break the mold and offer a much wider variety of themes going forward.
Each theme now has color schemes. Whereas before there were multiple themes such as Crey Blue, Crey Purple and Crey Dark; in the new setup there is just one Crey theme, and it has the color schemes blue, purple and grey (the new Crey actually has 6 color schemes now). These color schemes style the base elements for you, such as the boxes, buttons and forms, and can be switched through instantly while designing your theme. They also work with any changes you make, so you can select a banner or wallpaper image and switch through each color scheme to find the one that matches best.
The banner and wallpaper elements, which are the two most customized elements in our existing editor, are now front and center in the new UI. While you can still upload your own banner and wallpaper, we now offer a selection of premade images for each of these. Combining color schemes and preset images makes it super easy to create an awesome looking game-specific theme for your community.
And finally we'd like to quickly discuss the new editor's UI. Rather than having a popup topbar as you click on each element, the UI is now simplified into a sidebar. The design elements available are clear and easy to understand, and every action you perform on a theme is done with ajax, which means no page refreshes (even when adding css), making for a very fast and fluid design experience.
A quick faq for existing themes:
- Site themes will remain exactly as they are. Your sites appearance will not change unless you choose to apply a new theme.
- User themes, such as your private saved themes, will not be copied over automatically to the new setup; however, during the first two weeks this update is live you can email us requesting we restore any of your old user themes and we will do so. The reason these are not copied over automatically is there are hundreds of thousands of them; the vast majority of which are not needed, and they have poor compatibility with the new theming system.
Freshly Redesigned Shivtr.com
Along with the new theme editor, the entire shivtr.com site has been redesigned. New branding, a modern look and responsive views everywhere, the new shivtr.com better represents our product now, and where we'll be taking it in the future!
Our official blog is receiving a lot of polish with this redesign. Blog posts are now organized into categories and have like, subscribe and share features, and comments now support nesting, likes, user avatars, and badges for Shivtr employees, so you can easily find official responses.
AJAX-Powered Site Admin
The Site Admin has also been improved and is now powered entirely by ajax, so it is fast. Really fast. The menu has been reorganized for clarity, and several new features have been added as well; including one of the more requested featured, you can now Transfer Site ownership from within the Site Admin.
Improved Games Database
Our Games DB now supports heroes for LoL, DOTA2 and HON; when your game is set to one of these, the heroes are available on your site and members can display who they play. Server Status is now shown for supported games as well, so you can see which servers we have status info for, and whether they are online or offline; this same info can be shown on your site with the Server Status block.
New Help Center
We are also releasing a brand new section to the shivtr.com site, our own help center. This new help center uses your Shivtr account, so you'll no longer need an account with an external service such as getsatisfaction. It also sports many new features including being able to vote up ideas and problems, see what we have under development, the new enhanced comments from our blog, syntax highlighting for CSS and Json examples and lots more.
In addition to the changes to our theme editor and shivtr.com site, we have also packed in many enhancements to your community sites as well.
Many of the side blocks have been tweaked and improved, here's a few examples. The Site Stats block now shows graphs of your past traffic, visitors or both. The Recruitment block now allows recruiting by Class or Subclass. The Polls block now works like Progressions, allowing you to have multiple side polls if you want.
As a result of the many improvements to the theming features, the guild sites have received many visual updates. Pollbars and buttons now look more stylish, forms are cleaned up, and many new elements such as avatar frames and menubars are now available.
One of the more requested features we have had lately, BBcode spoiler tags, are also included in this update, which can be great for discussing tournament results and similar topics.
New Json API
For our more advanced users, Shivtr's API will be Json only and the XML API will be phased out. The new Json API is easier to work with, better documented, and has more information available. One example is the new game object showing your games info, faction, races, classes and subclasses. There are also new objects for server status, heroes, the logged in user and much more!
That's all for this preview! We hope this has been a nice sneak peak into some of the many changes we've been working on for the past few months, and as always we love to hear your feedback =)