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The Columbia Missourian is updating its interactive Web site

Thursday, July 17, 2008 | 6:21 p.m. CDT; updated 4:50 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The new home page at ColumbiaMissourian.com, coming to a computer near you later next week.

Dear Reader,

If all goes well, you should see some significant changes to ColumbiaMissourian.com by midweek. But most of the work over the past nine months involves stuff you won’t see.

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Ever dumped thousands into replacing a roof? It’s not nearly as much fun as redesigning the kitchen, but way more important.

The main benefits to the massive code rewrite should be stability, speed and scalability, according to some very smart Missourian programmers. In plain English: You should have quicker access to information with fewer problems when lots of people are looking at the same time.

All that rewriting allows for some pretty cool design features:

  • A gallery bar of pictures will run across the top of the front page. Hover over one and you can get a bit of info about the story or special package that’s linked to it. These will usually be for topics that go beyond news of the day.
  • Multimedia is better-organized and easier to use.
  • The newspaper blogs — which, by the way, carry a bunch of news — are more apparent in a tabbed content area that includes the community calendar.
  • You’ll see more headlines on the front page, including national and international news. Your comments on stories will be displayed on the front as well.
  • Section pages such as sports or local news are cleaner and better organized. There’s still more work to do on them later.
  • The pictures with stories are no longer postage stamp size. You can actually see them.

There are tweaks. “Databank” isn’t the most descriptive term for the place where obituaries, births, crime blotter and more reside. The new name is “Keeping Tabs.” (Better?) And there are big-deal changes: Classified advertising will be readily accessible. (Look in the upper right tabs on the front page.)

All that internal code work by Noah Medling, TJ Royall and Mike Pearson should make it easier to make faster improvements in the future.

Let us know what you think by posting a comment below, or e-mail me at warhovert@missouri.edu and I'll share your thoughts in a future column.

Tom


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