Firstly, my apologies for being so silent over the past month. With Christmas, New Year’s and a family summer vacation, getting any extended time on the web has been a challenge. However, work has still been progressing with the V2 upgrade and is now nearing completion.
So, what has been completed and what is nearing completion? Here is the update;
In order to make Blotanical faster, lightweight and more intuitive we’ve had to go back to basics and remodel the entire site. While members will appreciate the ease with which Blotanical moves most won’t understand the amount of work that needed to happen in order to achieve this. It’s much like setting up a new garden: the foundational work takes the most amount of effort and huge swathes of time that is rarely appreciated because it is unseen. But without this base the garden could never flaunt its brilliance.
I’m stating this because once Blotanical hits beta version towards the end of this month it will look quite a bit leaner than it has in the past. However, the features that Blotanical has been known for will be radically improved and we will continue to roll out features as time passes.
Plots, the personal space of each Blotanical member, have been condensed considerably. However, it is still a place where you can share your gardening journey and a little of who you are to other Blotanists. Many of the upcoming features will be added to this area to enlarge what you can share and how you interact with other Blotanists.
One of the great improvements of Plots will be the ease in which is to interact with Help & Support. The past feature offered in the current version has been completely cumbersome and hard to manage. With V2, you will be able to see which Help queries you have made and where they are in the process of being answered.
As previously shown, Picks (the area where current posts from other Blotanists are shown) has also taken a radical transformation. Bookmarking, tagging and filtering posts upon your own preferences will be the order of the day with less focus on what is trending and gaining points (still under review).
Picks will offer a much better user experience that hasn’t been determined by us but will be mostly controlled by you, the members.
*There is still some testing of this new feature that needs to happen to ensure it works from day one of the beta version.
Modulization (aka. new features) has been completed so that adding further options to Blotanical won’t become the rabbit-warren and piece-meal site that it is at the moment. This is one of those foundational items that you won’t get to see but you will appreciate the benefits of it as the site grows and blooms.
It also means that new features can be integrated quite quickly and easily.
4. Logins & Membership
This is another foundational piece that allows Blotanical to readily accept and integrate new members. It then allows better site functionality when members move around the site allowing them to access areas based on their attained level etc.
The final piece of the puzzle for us to start rolling out V2 is the ability for members to add their blogs. In the past blogs have only ever been attributed to one member. In the case of multi-authored blogs (ie GardenRant.com) this has been unhelpful as it hasn’t allowed the other authors to share their contributions. This will be a major change in V2.
Still To Come
This will look a lot different in V2 when this feature finally arrives. Members will no longer be limited to how many faves they can have (either blogs or members). However, Faves will limit who you can visit and who you can’t and may look quite similar to Facebook’s “Friends” or Google’s “Circles”.
2. Hush-Hush Stuff
I can’t share too much more at the moment as many of the ideas need to be kept hush-hush until we’re ready to reveal them. I’m very excited about where V2 could take Blotanical and look forward to serving your online social needs and interaction with other gardeners. Blotanical will be well positioned to grow with the expectations of our members for many years and hopefully will be the front-runner of catering to gardeners throughout the world.
I am very grateful for the wonderful well wishes from members who are keen to be involved and see this site continue to grow. To those who have donated, whether small or large, your contributions have been much appreciated and will continue to help this site grow.
We are still looking for those who can actively help with design, coding and other practical issues. If you can help, or know of someone who can, then please comment below this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.