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State of the Site - December 2023


  • State of the Site - December 2023

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500131.png Views:	0 Size:	168.0 KB ID:	2292021 Where has the time gone? We're just a week out from Christmas, and a fortnight from the New Year...

    The month started out with some bad news regarding one of our early members and long-time moderator on the site... Our friend Dave Edwards passed away on December 7th. He'd been battling health issues for the last few years, and while things were looking better over the past couple months, he took a sudden turn for the worse. There's a thread in the "We Remember" forum for those looking for more details or who might want to share a memory or two.

    Dave and I traded a few emails over the prior month, and he'd been slowly getting his computer set up to start running trains again....One of the last things he mentioned was how much he liked the way the site was heading. Since Dave wasn't an easy one to please, I'll take that as inspiration to move on and share a few more of the things we've been working on recently.


    ​Earlier in the year, I mentioned that I'd been looking at a way to simplify how folks newer to the hobby can find items for a given route, activity, or piece of rolling stock, which I referred to as Bundles. Those are now starting to appear within the library.

    As an example of a bundle, take a look at the "Richard Luger Campaign Train" activity recently uploaded.

    When you click on "Get Bundled Dependencies" (or the image to the right), you'll get a list of items that the upload requires. In this example, there are 18 files which are needed for the activity to run correctly. From that list, you can choose to download those items you don't already have.

    One of the next steps up will be a "Download All" option which will create a single Zip download for all of the items in the bundle. I'm hoping to have that out and available next month. If you're a content creator or simply want to help create a few bundles, send me a PM.

    Selective Quoting

    capture_500077(00001).png One of the biggest frustrations I've had with the quoting functions in the forums has been the "all or nothing" approach it's used. Those days are now over.

    Now, if you just want to respond to a specific part of someone else's post, you can highlight the text you want to quote, and you'll get a "Quote" button next to your selection. Click on that, and only that part will be added to the Reply box at the bottom of the page.

    You can repeat that as many times as you want -- just select additional text, and that will be added including the attribution for who you're quoting.

    I can't take the credit for this -- this functionality was developed by another vBulletin development guru that's provided a few add-ons used here on the site.

    Tips and Tricks: Select as Answer

    This isn't really a new feature, but it has been around since we upgraded the forum software last July.

    Many of the posts here are people trying to solve a problem, and one of the benefits this forum provides is the ability for others who are having the same issue be able to find a quick solution.

    If you're the original poster, you'll see a button on each response which says "Select as Answer" that can be clicked, and that will flag it accordingly for those who might be looking for the same solution.

    Those who've used sites like Stack Overflow and other help related sites will probably recognize this feature, and I'm glad to see it available to us here, but it will only be useful if people do go back and acknowledge who helped them out.

    Tips and Tricks: Advanced Editing Toolbar

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500094.png Views:	0 Size:	60.0 KB ID:	2292023 You might not know it, but there's an Advanced Toolbar that can be used for writing and editing your posts as well as composing private messages.

    Just click on the blue "A" and the expanded toolbar items will appear. Some of these are recognizable from the tools we've used at work & school, such as font, bold, bullets, and numbering. A few of these shown on the last toolbar are less common.

    The red YouTube button will allow YouTube videos to be embedded in posts. That's a function which existed for many years but was deprecated when Shockwave support ended a few years back. It's now back.

    One of the limits in the old file library were the ability to "save a search result" for others to be able to find a specific file. Now, if you know the file ID, you can embed a file reference...

    Just click on the "File ID #" button (yes, it's that simple), and a couple of brackets will be added to your response that will build a link to the library based on the numeric file ID.

    Next time you're helping someone find a file, feel free to give it a try.

    If you've got suggestions for formatting shortcuts, drop me a note and I'll see if it's something that can be added.

    Plans for 2024

    Arguably, the big rocks have all been put in the jar over the last ten months, and I'd expect the pace of changes heading into 2024 to be a lot slower as far as the site is concerned.

    That's hopefully going to give me more time to return back to my real enjoyment in this hobby -- route building. I've posted some progress reports lately on the UP Gila Subdivision (the Arizona portion of the Sunset Route), and it's a nice distraction from work and holiday prep. When I started this up again, my end of year target was to be at the 50% mark for track rebuilding (i.e. 125 out of 250 miles), and tonight I hit the west side of Gila Bend, which is pretty much the halfway point between Yuma and Tucson.

    There are two other initiatives going on that will also probably take some time...

    Some of you have participated in conversation here and elsewhere over how people can load items from our library into OpenRails.

    The more I look at where Bundles are heading, I'm seeing a very clear dotted line between a way to access our library and the "one-click" type installation that newer users of ORTS are saying they'd like to see. Ideally, someone should be able to pull a file from here, and be able to download all of the assets and items needed to install and run a route. If we can develop a hook and a data structure that works, it's "only" a matter of pulling the right collection of data and packaging it in a way that OpenRails can read and execute.

    Another project that I have been looking at... Trying to convert TSRE into a form that anyone who is versed in C# and Visual Studio could help maintain it going forward. TSRE has been a great tool and revitalized route building for many of us, but my fear is that it's going to remain frozen in time, and the creator of the tool has opted to go do other things. Efforts to find someone within the community with skillset needed to maintain it in its present form haven't been successful, and the development environment (an older version of Qt Widgets and C++) has proven to be an insurmountable challenge for the few of us who've attempted to try and get a new build to compile.

    To that end... I've put out an RFP to find for a freelance developer to take the code written with QT widgets and convert it into something that can be opened and updated using Visual Studio/C#. And yes, before anyone asks, I extended that offer to Goku, and he said he wasn't interested in programming anymore. There's no guarantee it will work, but I feel it's at least worth a try. I'm willing to put some seed money into the pot for this, and hopefully there are others also willing to help and sweeten that pot.

    With that.... the state of the site remains good, and I'm hopeful we'll be in the same position a year from now.

    Thanks to all who participate in the conversations here, those who contribute to the file library, and those who help via their First Class and FastPass subscriptions. Without all of you, we'd have no reason to come here on a daily basis.

    Best wishes in this Christmas Season and a very Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • alsnwy22
      alsnwy22 commented
      Editing a comment
      يتسبب خلل الكربيتر في استمرار المحرك بالعمل بعد إطفاء مفتاح التشغيل

    • DimPoint
      DimPoint commented
      Editing a comment
      Did you ask Goku when you last spoke with him, on how he got TSRE to run on Android?

    • johnilhan
      johnilhan commented
      Editing a comment
      Greetings! I'm <strong>John Ilhan</strong>, an eLearning Specialist in Human Resources at <strong>Brilliant Teams</strong>, based in <strong>Australia</strong>. Our Company <a href=""> <strong>eLearning Training and Development</strong></a> excels in providing a variety of services, with a particular focus on Developing <a href=""> <strong>Custom eLearning Solutions</strong></a>. Leveraging my expertise in both HR and eLearning, my responsibility involves seamlessly integrating these domains to deliver effective eLearning Solutions that specifically cater to the unique needs of our esteemed clients.
    Posting comments is disabled.



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