Welcome to the New Secrets Website

Well, if you have been a Secrets reader for awhile, you are now looking at the largest change we have ever made in our 14 year history. Whereas Secrets has been based on HTML documents up until now (except for the DVD Benchmark Reviews and the Forum), today we are launching the entire website in database format.

It has been a grueling year for us, converting the website, having gone through several companies and individuals who told us we were asking for too much complexity, and that they could simply not deliver what we wanted.

Then we found a company in Southern California that specializes in website development for online magazines. MDigitalDesign took on our project several months ago, and, spending many hours talking to our staff, turned it into a work of art.

It is a very complicated design, with many database modules from numerous sources. We wanted to go live before Christmas, but there were just too many little things to do, and even now, there are plenty of things that need attention. Most of them we know about, but I would like all of you to please send us an e-mail (staff at hometheaterhifi dot com) as to mistakes you have discovered, such as broken links, but also to let us know of improvements or clarifications that you would like.

Note that you can make comments on reviews and blogs by filling out the form at the bottom of the various pages. You will also be able to add comments on the definitions in our Encyclopedia (formerly the Primer), and even add your own new words with definitions. This is one of the advantages of a database design, along with the ability to search the website much more efficiently and to have more sophisticated graphics.

Tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours have been spent developing this project. It is an asset not only to us, but certainly to you, the readership. So, help us make it the best it can be. Go through the entire website, as there are lots of new things for you to see.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
Editor-in-Chief

9 Responses to “Welcome to the New Secrets Website”

  1. Josuah Says:

    I like it a lot. It’s a lot easier to find things, a lot cleaner, and easier to read. (Need some padding on the forum and fixes for some forum images though.)

    Only thing I’m not as clear about is where the newest things are. I think under the three columns of the HOME page, although the area below (which is below the fold) is larger and those articles are emphasized, even if they are older. How do they get picked?

  2. John Johnson Says:

    It is somewhat confusing to navigate, but this is just the first day of publication. We will try to make it clear what each section of article titles represents by adding a sub-heading. Someone else said the red titles on white background are not easy to read. I agree, and want the titles black, but configuring a database is not as easy as with HTML. With some things, there are no choices and special code has to be written.

  3. Josuah Says:

    I just tried clicking on the HOME link at the top of this specific page, and it sends me to http://hometheaterhifi.com/ which doesn’t work.

    BTW – A lot of the appearance seems to be CSS driven. I’m able to make things like the titles black myself using an personal override file. Do you really need to be making database changes for making the titles black?

  4. Jed Says:

    Very nice. What CMS did you use?

  5. John Johnson Says:

    The entire website is now database driven. We have made the column headings black and the article titles a deeper red. How does that look to you now? Need even deeper red? I am not color blind so it looks OK to me.

  6. Josuah Says:

    It looks good to me.

  7. Brad Says:

    The new site looks nice. However, I’m not sure how to jump directly to the DVD Benchmark, which is a big reason to come to the Secrets site. When I click the links on the home page, all I get are the articles, but not the actual Benchmark results.

  8. John Johnson Says:

    We will add another banner on the home page that goes direct to the Benchmark player review archives, but in the meantime, to get there, go to the home page and click on the banner in the right hand column down at the bottom of the page, the one that says The DVD Player Benchmark, which takes you to the DVD Benchmark technical articles. Then click on the article entitled Introduction to the Benchmark Tests, then click on the word “HERE” that’s in the second paragraph. You can also go direct to http://69.64.68.156/cgi-bin/shootout.cgi .

  9. Anne Says:

    Nice Site! Thanks!

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