Welcome to Hell For Leather 3

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HFL2welcome3

A new look, better functionality, photo galleries that work, easier navigation and improved surfacing of our best content. You’re looking at the latest, greatest version of Hell For Leather. Here’s a breakdown of the changes and what they mean for you, our readers.

Navigation: This remains close to what you’re used to; articles appear in reverse chronological order on the front page. But now, there’s separate tabs up top for different categories of stories: our Daily news stories, our large Frontlines features and our more easily digestible Positions pieces are up there, but so’s a link to our original films (more to come) and all our photo galleries. You’ll also find visual links to our best content throughout the site: up top in our featured boxes and highlighted in the boxes to the right of this article. Want to do a search? The search bar is on the top right and there’s tags over to your left, stories are organized around them.

Photo Galleries: Hopefully this is intuitive, click the photo gallery film strip in any story and the gallery will open, you can then cycle through the images by clicking on the thumbnails or the arrow buttons next to the images. Click the images themselves for larger versions you can save to your computer. This means we’ll be bringing you more shots and it’ll be easier for you to view them. Ready to go back to the article? Click the button below the gallery.

Comments: Three big changes: commenter registration, an RSS feed for comments and threading. Both have been chosen to make participating in our discussions better for you. Registration is quick and easy, but hopefully it’ll encourage people that have something valuable to add to do so while weeding out spam that doesn’t. We’ll be publishing a guide to good commenting soon, but in the meantime make them relevant, interesting and intelligent. With the RSS feed, it’ll be easier for you to track those replies to your witty zinger. Responses will also be made easier to follow as they’re indented to the right below the comments they’re responding too.

The Future: There’s more changes coming, stay tuned.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    I hope this layout works out. I remember issues refreshing the page every time I wanted to see a different photo in the gallery.

    By the way, what is that icon in the ‘O’ above? I’ve always wondered what that was…

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The logo is a sheep skull, just turn it sideways and you’ll see it.

      • http://www.susokary.com/ Jérôme Pierre

        No more mistery!
        Thanks for this precious answer!
        =]

  • http://www.susokary.com/ Jérôme Pierre

    Idem, never known what it was…
    :[

    By the way, congratulations guys for this new and cool version of your blog !
    ;]

    Greetings from France.

  • Domenick

    Ah, that is better. Cheers, eh!

    (I still had to squint for a few seconds to figure out it was a sheep’s head. I had quit trying to figure it out long ago.)

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Fancy, much more intuitive layout. Makes the site seem more like a web magazine, less like “just another blog”. That’s a good thing.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    RSS feed for comments! Boo yah! My prayers have been answered… almost. It appears to be an all-or-nothing proposition — either you get all the comments on every article, or none. Is that right? Oh, and yeah, the new look is great. The functionality is much improved, as well. Kudos.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, It’s an all comments feed. Hopefully that won’t be a huge problem as most activity takes place on newer articles anyways.

      • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

        It’s not a “huge” problem. A “huge” problem is the Gulf oil spill or Katrina. I’m just thankful that you finally pulled the trigger on it. And the threaded comments are awesome.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          Good news. HFL’s CMS actually produces these feeds for specific posts automatically. All you have to do is tack “/feed/” onto the regular URL. So for this post, it’d be: hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/08/welcome-to-hell-for-leather-3/feed/

          • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

            Hallelujah! I saw this morning that google reader had 51 comments on HFL and I grumbled to myself about how I probably was only interested in about 10 of them. Thanks, Grant.

          • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

            Hate to be a grump, but I just tried this and it didn’t work. I copied and pasted the url you had into my google reader “add a feed” box, and it showed me all the comments on all the posts. Any other ideas?

            • Admin

              Sorry about that. A plugin was doing a little more than it was strictly asked to. Try it again now.

  • maigj

    I liked it!

    Keep it up!

  • gregorbean

    looking good boys, looking good

  • Moustachio

    Love the new setup. I think the biggest problem before were the pictures and how they were handled — it’s a marked improvement now, way better then before…

    However, I still don’t understand why the pictures link can’t open a popup window the same size as the image, and have a mouse-over forward/backward button…. why do I have to goto an entirely different page with no information on it for some pictures? Is this some web-development-page-hits thing I don’t understand since all I want is an easy to navigate website? I’ve seen it on hundreds of sites before, so it’s not a “can’t be done” issue.

    Otherwise, love the whole setup now!

  • HammSammich

    The new set up looks great and works fantastically guys. The improvements to the comment system are definitely going to help your commenting community.

  • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

    Thank you thank you thank you for finally creating a new photo gallery. The new site is a definite improvement. Some small suggestions:

    * All pages seem to take several (often more than 5) seconds to load. If this is just WP having trouble with the load, a cheap reverse proxy should fix it.

    * The monospaced font for text and comments is less readable than a proportional font.

    * The red/blue shadow in the GALLERIES text makes it look like I should be wearing 70s-era 3D glasses, and kinda hurts to look at without them.

    Thanks.

    • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

      Agree on the monospaced font. It looks good, but readability suffers a bit.

  • http://bigassmessage.com/39b51 vic

    very supervertian i like it

  • Core

    Finally, a gallery that functions well. You guys always had these great high quality images, I Just hated browsing through them since it was such a huge pain. Of course I was told the reason behind this so its understandable.

    Anyways, its a great change to see this new gallery.

    *Jumps for joy*

  • http://bikepics.com/members/smurfvega/ Smurfvega

    Layout of the new site is Great! Been reading this for the past few months and the articles are entertaining, photography is great and the new layout is a hell of a lot better. Photos much easier to enjoy now (from home that is as i’m ownedbaiwebsense at work)

  • dirtridingBil

    Excuse my english. Been reading HFL for almost 3 years and this is my 1st post! I like the overall new look and maybe its just me but somehow the new font is a little hard to read.
    The font + bright white background = Sore eyes after 1st paragraph.
    Thank you.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Hooray for commenting!

      Have you noticed the rotating background colors? That’s meant to compensate for the wide range of hardware and software people use to read us with. One of the challenges of web design is accounting for the wide range of equipment people use; someone using a 486, Windows 3.11 and IE2 to read HFL is obviously going to have a vastly different experience than someone reading on the latest Mac using an up-to-date version of Safari. We can’t compensate for everyone, so we err towards making the site rich for the latest standards.

      If you’re having trouble with contrast or font size, there is something you can do. Zoom in by hitting ctrl and + on your keyboard (apple + if you’re on a Mac) or adjust your contrast in your computer’s settings.

      • johnny

        love the new site guys, and the gallery is just great, exactly what I’d hoped you’d do. But I agree with other comments about the font- Typewriter is a chore to read- zooming in makes it read better, but then you’ve got to zoom out for the next site, which is a hassle.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Well it’s becoming a standard web font and we’ve been using it for years now, so it’s just going to have to be a case of getting used to it I’m afraid. Honestly, I don’t see the problem.

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    Out of curiosity, will the “anti-spam” captcha be active for every comment from now on?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      What is this anti-spam captcha that you speak of?

      • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

        I noticed it only the first time that I signed up as a commenter.

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        So far, every comment I’ve made has sent me to a page where I have to type in a captcha. You know, letters and numbers in a box all jumbled around so that a spam-bot couldn’t just guess what to enter. Maybe it’s because I access from different computers and don’t stay signed in.

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    Well, it didn’t do it that time. Maybe the 6th comment is the charm?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      I think the internets are playing tricks on you.

    • Admin

      [Sorry about the length, but spam questions are never quite simple.]
      The CAPTCHA code is part of the spam filtering system that’s in place. It tries to add the extra bit of security the codes provide without unnecessarily imposing them on everyone.

      The process basically works like this:
      1. You enter and submit your comment as usual.
      2. If everything’s fine, the comment’s published with no interference.
      3. If the system thinks the comment or submitter is questionable, you’ll be presented with the CAPTCHA, in order to hopefully prove you’re human and not get moderated.
      4. If you pass, the comment goes right through. If not, it goes into moderation for approval.

      So first off: You’re not just being given the CAPTCHA right up front, correct? That would be wrong, and would need looking into.

      Beyond that, these services are secretive about exactly what they check and how, for good reason. But guesses can be made.
      Assuming that there isn’t anything overtly spam-ish about your other comments(I haven’t had a chance to look), I would guess that if you’re switching computers—and possibly IP addresses because of it—in a relatively short timeframe, that might look a little suspicious. Do you happen to remember if that last comment when you weren’t challenged was from the same system as the one before?

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        I’ve commented from two different systems today, though they’re both from the same IP address that I’ve used since the upgrade. That said, I haven’t received any more captcha prompts, so maybe I’ll be okay as long as I stop trying to peddle my breast augmentation wares.

        SERIOUSLY SUPER HUGE CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        Oh, and I did not receive the captcha up front – it was after attempting one of my comments. Perhaps my manliness is too great. I have many theories about the discrimination.