What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Tell us about the best posts you see on BIABrewer.info, suggest changes to the site and report any technical errors here.
User avatar

Topic author
Sarah
Administration
Administration
Australia
Posts: 101
Joined: 1 year ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Fresh Wort Kit (FWK)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

Why 2017 (and not before?) - In Brief 
Our goal, for quite some time, has been to create a new and improved site - good-looking, fast, easy-to-use, fun and informative.
To do this required the right information, technology and structure, plus the time to put it all together. Developing the right information  (and tools) has taken years of work with many members pitching in over this time. Technology is now at a level where you don't have to be a coder to get some great things happening - or so we thought (more info below :roll: ) The structure of the new site has been solved, so, how about 'time'?
"The Long Version", below, gives more detail on 'time' - suffice to say that Patch and I started work fulltime on the new site in May 2016, thinking it would only take three months... It's now been nine months but, the good news is:
We've solved all the critical 'grey areas' - ie the hardest work has been done now, so I think we can safely say that the new site is not merely a possibility, but should be with us very soon. 
[attachment=0]Relics.jpg[/attachment]
The Long Version
Before I came along, thousands of hours had already been contributed by some members, developing what will be the content of the new site. This included questioning some existing information or tools, lots of detailed experimentation, as well as answering the same questions over and over, until they found the perfect analogy or tool to make it all easier. Identifying the gaps in existing information, and filling them, has been a very long process - for instance, the problem of 5 types of IBU systems! Multiply that problem by a thousand and you can imagine the work done before I even arrived.
BIABrewer.info ran for many years on a forum software, "phpBB 3.0". Even making a simple change required a proficiency at coding. Patch started to write the new site in that version of the software about 18 months ago, however, it was cumbersome and still not user-friendly. No other alternative technology could be found at that time that would not require a professional coder.
When I came along in May, we had a look around and saw some software that we thought would solve our IT problems - "Great!" we thought, "That takes care of that," so we spent the next several weeks writing articles, taking photos of processes etc. This gave us a better idea of how we needed to structure the site, so we delved into that.
We then encountered a massive setback. We realised that our chosen software, after a solid month of study, just wouldn't work. Any "add-on" caused problems or would simply not work at all - "bridging" an article side with a forum side was going to require a reincarnation of Steve Jobs!
As well as trying to solve these new problems, we also worked on the structure of the site with the aim that the right info would be fast to find, for any brewer, of any method & experience level. This was a mind-boggling process. Patch's living room was transformed into a flurry of whiteboards and butchers paper. We'd make a plan, test it from all angles, and ultimately find a major flaw in our thinking. I found this process frustrating - however, Patch is quite happy spending time simplifying information, and remained confident we would find the solution. We worked from top-side down, bottom-up and inside out and, at last, it finally came together!!!
By this stage, phpBB had come up with version 3.1 which didn't require a coder to operate. And, it seemed one could create html pages as well (such as the BIPs page). Yay! However, it hasn't been easy. Once again, many add-ons would not work at all (we tested over 125) and many needed specialised modifications to get them to work. And the html side was not simple at all. In fact, it was only 3 weeks ago that we were able to find a "Bootstrap Editor" that could help us fix this...
Patch knew that getting the new site up and running would take two to three months of full-time work from both of us; it isn't something one could do in spits and spurts. And, in May 2016, we were full of hope and high expectations. We would often tell each other that the site would be up in another three weeks!
Even this long version of the story does not do justice to the experience of the last nine months. We started with some Dutch Courage, combined with a hefty dosage of blood, sweat and tears; added a dollop of spontaneous hilarity; sprinkled with sage and wisdom; topped with a layer of innovation; half-baked then garnished with a sprinkling of ingenuity, and served it all alongside a million-or-so ice cold IPAs. I hope that the work I've done here will be of great service to those most admirable members who have spent so much time and effort before my time!
Anyway - the only problems left to solve are not critical, they can wait - phew! All that is left to do is compile the content which is simply a juggle of time and money now. The end is in sight.
Cheers,
Sarah
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by Sarah on 26 Jan 2017, 09:30, edited 11 times in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!

User avatar

BIABrewer
B.i
B.i
Australia
Posts: 585
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Undecided
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by BIABrewer » 9 months ago

Noticed a few days ago that Sarah's post above was not appearing as the last post in this topic, possibly as it was drafted in a test forum and then moved here. Hopefully, this post will trigger it back to normal.

I also promised a few days ago that I'd put Gold Members onto the new Gold Theme however, I had a sudden bit of paid work pop up so jumped into that. Today is raining so will spend the day on the site. A few new style and extension updates have just come in also, so there might be a few odd things happen today as I go through them and make sure they are working.

Will let you know back here, when the Gold Skin is ready for Gold Members.

Cheers,
Pat

 

User avatar

Topic author
Sarah
Administration
Administration
Australia
Posts: 101
Joined: 1 year ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Fresh Wort Kit (FWK)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 9 months ago

Hi guys,

Patch has just changed Gold Members over to viewing the Gold Skin (about 15 minutes ago.) There are a few important things to note:

1. The Gold Skin shows the same content as the temporary skin, so don't expect any new content.
2. Please report any bugs in the Gold Skin Bugs thread.
3. If you like the look of the new skin, let us know here! 

Thanks for waiting  :champ:
Sarah
Last edited by Pat on 07 Feb 2017, 18:44, edited 17 times in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!

User avatar

blu_afro
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 41
Joined: 3 years ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Bunbury

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by blu_afro » 9 months ago

Hi Sarah/Pistol, it's been a long long time ... first impression - great work on the new site :thumbs:  Have been a bit distracted over the last few months so not doing a lot of brews, hope to change that in the very near future.
Cheers
blu


goulaigan
Gold
Gold
Canada
Posts: 579
Joined: 3 years ago
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Goulais River

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by goulaigan » 9 months ago

Gold skin looks good. Caught me off guard a bit but I am getting used to it pretty quickly here. No issues to report. Keep up the good work!

User avatar

thughes
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 1206
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Western NY
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Rochester

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by thughes » 9 months ago

:thumbs: 2 thumbs up!

---Todd
WWBBD?


Pat
Administration
Administration
Posts: 1461
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Pat » 9 months ago

Oops! Accidentally Cut Access to the Board Off
During the process of creating the Gold Skin Bugs thread, a new extension caused all members and guests, except for Gold, to lose all reading access to the forum. Access is now back again for everyone however it might take a while to work out how to get the Gold Skin Bugs thread running the way we'd like it too.
Thank you ShorePoints for finding the problem  :thumbs: :salute: :champ:
Are you a "Goodwill Brewer?" Pay forward and Buy Some BIPs ;)

User avatar

Lumpy5oh
Gold
Gold
Canada
Posts: 423
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: ON
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Woodstock

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Lumpy5oh » 9 months ago

Looks good so far. I haven't had any problems yet. I do like having the menu at the top at all times. Beautiful stuff team Australia!
Some people are like slinkies. Not good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

Weehoosebrewing.ga


jrstephens65
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 27
Joined: 1 year ago
Location: New Mexico, USA
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Albuquerque

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by jrstephens65 » 9 months ago

:thumbs:

Looks Great!!  Had to look twice to make sure I was in the right place.  No problems so far.


Brew4me
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 161
Joined: 2 years ago
Location: Upstate New York
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Brew4me » 9 months ago

Early look -  :thumbs: - looking nice and professional.  Will spend some time poking around.
Pete

User avatar

Topic author
Sarah
Administration
Administration
Australia
Posts: 101
Joined: 1 year ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Fresh Wort Kit (FWK)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 9 months ago

Thanks you guys!
It's a massive help to us having you on board  :peace:
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!

User avatar

Yeasty
Gold
Gold
Great Britain
Posts: 1363
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Bolton Lancs UK
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Yeasty » 9 months ago

Wow !! :thumbs: :thumbs:  Looks great guys.Well done :champ:
Why is everyone talking about "Cheese"


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5287
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by PistolPatch » 9 months ago

Good to hear from you Yeasty  ;)

I did post a belated happy birthday to you in the birthday thread but, in your honour probably, one of the powers that be must have pressed a wrong button because the site self-closed for 7 hours after that.

:smoke:   :lol:

I think MS posted somewhere as well that the "birthday" thing wasn't showing on skins. Pretty sure it would have been your birthday that got him looking.

:peace:
PP
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!

User avatar

shetc
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 185
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: Florida
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Pembroke Pines

Re: Notes/Bugs on Temporary Skin

Post by shetc » 9 months ago

New skin looks awesome, Sarah!

User avatar

Yeasty
Gold
Gold
Great Britain
Posts: 1363
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Bolton Lancs UK
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Yeasty » 9 months ago

PistolPatch wrote:Good to hear from you Yeasty  ;)

I did post a belated happy birthday to you in the birthday thread but, in your honour probably, one of the powers that be must have pressed a wrong button because the site self-closed for 7 hours after that.

:smoke:   :lol:

I think MS posted somewhere as well that the "birthday" thing wasn't showing on skins. Pretty sure it would have been your birthday that got him looking.

:peace:
PP
Cheers for the BD wishs Pat, I'm surprised that you've had time with all the new stuff going on. I wish I had more time to keep up to date never mind get a brew on ! I even scored a hand pump last week when refitting a bar just gotta sort out some Ale :scratch:  Hopefully I'll blow the cobwebs off the brew kit in the spring and shake out the old brew bag :shock: . Probably take till then to catch up on the forum.
:salute:  Yeasty
Why is everyone talking about "Cheese"


jhough
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 372
Joined: 5 years ago
Location: Clearwater, Fl USA
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: clearwater, fl

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by jhough » 9 months ago

Hey Guys ! The Gold is quite nice   :clap: :clap: Playing around with it abit today. Had to go university to fix the daughters car over the weekend. Got a chance on Saturday night and was impressed.
  J


Pat
Administration
Administration
Posts: 1461
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Pat » 9 months ago

UPDATE
Please excuse the lack of updates and 'official' posts here. We've had a few massive IT problems which are explained below.
The Gold Skin Bugs thread is now working. (Gold Members should also now see a Gold Members Only forum at the bottom of the main index page,
If you use Google Chrome and notice a bug, please see if the same bug appears in another browser.
Chrome Time Bomb :)
All of the IT work we've done for the new site has been done using Google Chrome as the main browser. We have used phpBB forum software, added over thirty 'extensions' (many which don't work out of the box), and had to dramatically re-code a premium style. We've also had to learn a lot of code and additional software.
Add to this different types of user levels, types etc, and the new forum structure (not visible to anyone as yet), you can imagine it has been quite a job. It has also often taken many hours to find a fix for a problem that, in hindsight, might be obvious. These fixes certainly are not documented anywhere.
One worrying thing has been that many fixes, that logically should work, just didn't seem to. We'd leave such a problem and move on to something else and then, a few hours later, the problem had gone away. Did the fix for the latter problem also fix the first problem? Who would know?
Our IT guy now works full-time so he can only do occasional days here now and yesterday was one of them. It's not an easy job as you need to be a like a General Practitioner of IT - know a fair bit about everything. Yesterday we just couldn't seem to solve this one problem. Towards the latter part of the day, I installed a whole new test site but still no luck. Last night I even installed a virgin site on a different server and no luck. Today I corresponded with our premium style author and one change he made worked but only in some browsers.
For several weeks now, I've not been able to work full-time on the site (buy some BIPs now :) ) however, yesterday and today may have been a big breakthrough. Apparently, if you dig and search deep enough, there is quite a big problem with Chrome's caching and Chrome gone mad. I hate to think of how many thousands of dollars that Chrome glitch has cost but here's hoping that knowing of it will be a major breakthrough.
I better get testing and Googling to see if that is the major problem we've had and try and find a fix!
:smoke:
Pat
Last edited by Pat on 07 Feb 2017, 20:07, edited 1 time in total.
Are you a "Goodwill Brewer?" Pay forward and Buy Some BIPs ;)


Pat
Administration
Administration
Posts: 1461
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Pat » 9 months ago

As you will have seen here we've narrowed down the bug problem but still need to find a fix. While that is happening, we'll just have to put up with the editor problems. While we are waiting for that, we'll get this thread back on track with a few more "official" posts on what's happening in 2017 - well, hopefully  :lol:

I wrote a long post on BIPs but have not had a chance to re-read it to see if it is clear. Please don't hesitate to let me know there of any questions or ideas.

Many thanks,
Pat
Are you a "Goodwill Brewer?" Pay forward and Buy Some BIPs ;)

User avatar

Topic author
Sarah
Administration
Administration
Australia
Posts: 101
Joined: 1 year ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Fresh Wort Kit (FWK)
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 9 months ago

This is probably the most appropriate "official" post to do next...

BIABrewer.info Community Achievements
Before touching on the new site, it's important to look at how far BIABrewer.info has come. These impressive achievements have had, and will continue to have, far-reaching consequences; not just to BIAB brewers, but the whole home craft brewing community.
Below is a small selection of highlights I've noticed - I may have overlooked some points, so please let me know if I have.

Values & Attitudes
The BIABrewer online culture is welcoming, helpful, innovative and constructive.These are hard qualities to find individually in online communities let alone the combination. I think any brewer would feel comfortable here from day one, even beginners and females (like me!).

Identifying Pre-existing Issues
I'm well aware of all the research and experimentation that has been done before my time, and I marvel at the results. Pat has told me that one of the hardest things over the years has been recognising common problems. Take, for instance, the discrepancies between IBU calculations - being five different ways of measuring it, and in the case of those that are calculated, the formulaic inconsistencies. That was enough to blow my mind!

Some of the Problems Identified and Solved
Besides the culture:
  • Terminology - Apparently, developing Clear Brewing Terminology took several years. To someone like me, it seemed obvious - until I read quite a few behind-the-scenes posts, and saw just how major the problem was - and how elegant the solution is.
  • Software - There are literally thousands of versions of what started as 'The Calculator', and then became The BIABacus. I know because I've seen them on Pat's computer. I was actually given a quick tour of all the major versions and saw the many failures / successes. Once again, I'm lucky as I had no previous knowledge of any other brewing software, so the dynamic nature of The BIABacus makes perfect sense (whereas other software, for example, that assumes your efficiencies will be the same on every brew, makes no sense to me!).
  • Analogies - Original and seasoned members here will know what I'm talking about, and I'm pleased that this is one area where I can be on par in some way. I know from old posts and podcasts how the analogies have developed and matured - try doing a search for 'coffee', 'tea', 'towels', 'sponges', 'buckets' or even 'cars', and you'll find some amazing history!
I am by no means an expert on any of this history, and have only been able to cite my experiences. I feel as though I can't do justice to what you have all achieved, as I know and have seen that it is so much more than the above.

Thanks for being such a great little community!

Cheers,
Sarah
Last edited by BIABrewer on 12 Feb 2017, 23:01, edited 3 times in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!

User avatar

shetc
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 185
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: Florida
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Pembroke Pines

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by shetc » 8 months ago

Why does the New Posts search only return 7 results?

User avatar

shetc
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 185
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: Florida
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Pembroke Pines

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by shetc » 8 months ago

One more question -- What plans might there be to catalog/collect all the BIABacus attachments into 1 searchable area?


Pat
Administration
Administration
Posts: 1461
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Pat » 8 months ago

NOTE: IF YOU USE GMAIL, PLEASE ADD OUR WEBMASTER EMAIL TO YOUR LIST OF SAFE SENDERS
Hi there shetc and thanks for your questions.

In the temporary skin (the one with green header) active topics can be changed at the bottom. In the Gold skin, this option is accessed by clicking the filter button arrowed in the pic below BUT that button is failing (see Update below).

In the new site structure, recipes will be much easier to find but I like your idea of being able to search for posts with specific attachments. It would be easy to add the option to search for posts with attachments and we'll look into that first. Being able to search for specific attachments such as .xls files would be far more difficult as phpBB converts all attachments into a "gibberish" filename. For example, the pic here called Filter.jpg, might get stored in the posting table as something like 10247_00gb14744b780d7561c388cd4a51f284  :). You can find the original name in the database but this would require some harder coding to do. Please bring this up later though if it gets lost.
MINI-UPDATE
Some good news and bad news...
The bad news is that we've made very little progress the last six weeks for two reasons. Cash has dried up so we've had to get back to work to keep the wolf from the door. The other issue has been a technical problem which, in hindsight, has been plaguing us for probably about five months. It's been extremely difficult to find - a bit like finding an infection in a brewery with too many parts. The problem was very erratic and we assumed it was things we were doing wrong so we initially altered code to fix the various problems. It has taken many installs, hundreds of screenshots and hundreds of hours to correctly identify the problems as some problem would vanish after a day or two, others would only occur on one type of installation and others only in one type of browser.
Thanks to some recent help from some members, the problems actually only affected a tiny amount of people, however, on our test sites, we assumed they would be happening to everyone. A few days ago, I completely removed a password manager (Dashlane) and, later removed and then re-installed Google Chrome. This morning I also re-installed Dashlane and things seem to be fine now. Hopefully this is a permanent fix to this incredibly costly and mysterious problem.
The Good News
Now that we've hopefully eliminated the tech problem described above, we can do a fresh test site. On that we'll use phpBB 3.2 as that will become the new standard so we might as well adopt it now. Most "extensions" we need that I've tried on phpBB3.2 seem to be working okay so hopefully not too many will need re-writing. Also, things like the "filter" button, paragraph spacing etc, work fine in 3.2.
So, a lot of coffee over the next week or so and then, finally, we can get writing. Really looking forward to that and showing some new really simple stuff we've come up with :party:
We'll also now be able to get this thread back on track with more "Official Posts" on what's happening.
Thought this would be like a 400 metre/yard sprint not a bloody full marathon!!!
:lol: 
Pat  
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Are you a "Goodwill Brewer?" Pay forward and Buy Some BIPs ;)

Post Reply

Return to “Your Feedback”

Brewers Online

Brewers browsing this forum: No members and 4 guests