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Welcome to the DaniWeb Digest, May 2012 edition

Apologies to everyone who has been wondering what happened to the DaniWeb Digest these last couple of months. Truth be told, the introduction of a totally new and custom-coded system powering the DaniWeb community has been so time consuming that the newsletter simply had to be put on the back-burner for a while. But now it's back, and it's bigger and better than ever. That said, if you have any suggestions as to how we could improve the DaniWeb Digest by way of new features that you would like to see us include, then join in the conversation by letting us know in the Community Feedback forum.

Introducing DaniWeb 3.0

DaniWeb has come a long way since founder and Queen of DaniWeb, Dani Horowitz, started the community in February 2002 as a hobby project during her Sophomore year of college. The first big step was when DaniWeb LLC became a fulltime business in December 2005 when Dani graduated. The second big step was in January 2009 when the running of what has become one of the most authoritative IT communities online moved into RXR Plaza; an office complex on Long Island located about a half hour outside Manhattan. Fast forward to 2012 and we are pleased to announce the third big step in our evolution: DaniWeb 3.0

DaniWeb is now ten years old, is fast approaching 1 million registered members and is host to well over a million forum posts. It has also outgrown the, admittedly heavily customized, vBulletin based forum software upon which it has run all that time. In order for us to be more responsive to the needs of our members, to implement those new features and apply the upgraded functionality that you request (and we do listen to your needs here at DaniWeb), it was time for DaniWeb to introduce a totally new engine to drive the community forward. With the help of our new Community Developer James Daughtry, also known as deceptikon, Dani was able to bring DaniWeb 3.0 from the drawing board to launch in just four months. That's quite an achievement when you consider it has been coded from the ground up to be tailor-made for the needs of the DaniWeb community.

At first glance you might not notice any great difference as we have strived to maintain the same basic 'look and feel' of the site that our members know and love, but as soon as you start participating the many changes under the hood become apparent. The only way to fully appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the site redesign, and to understand how user friendliness and productivity have been moved center stage, is to experience it yourself by taking part and joining the DaniWeb conversation. Indeed, we would encourage you to do just that whether you are an old-timer who hasn't visited the community for awhile or a newcomer wondering if they should ask that question that has been bugging them. DaniWeb 3.0 has been designed from the ground up with you in mind, and as far as we are aware it's the only forum system which is geared specifically towards a developer-centric audience. Through a combination of sheer simplicity and unified design, a change to the Markdown syntax instead of the more commonly-used BBCODE, increased security measures to keep the spammers away and a streamlined database schema to make your experience with us a more efficient one, DaniWeb is the only place to find a one-stop solution for developers, tech enthusiasts, corporate professionals and novices on virtually every IT topic imaginable.

So what's new?

The simple answer is pretty much everything, and you really do have to try it to see what we mean. However, for those of you who want specifics here are a just a couple of selected DaniWeb 3.0 highlights which we hope might you tempt you in for closer look:

If you are unsure which forum your article is best placed in, you can now simply post it to the relevant top-level category and use the tagging system to mark it with all the technologies which the question, news story, tutorial or code snippet revolves around. So, for example, although the Database forum is limited to MS SQL, MySQL and Oracle when it comes to sub-forums, if you have a problem with PostgreSQL, MongoDB or any of the other NoSQL databases out there you can just post it to the Database category and tag it accordingly. Similarly, posting a question in the PHP forum about not being able to connect to MySQL, and using a MySQL tag, will ensure it also gets exposure in the MySQL forum when anyone does a tag search on that keyword.

Logged in members can now get instant access to a click trail of where they have been on the site, just by using the Recently Viewed Articles button from the bottom toolbar. Functionality that members have requested, and we are happy to provide. If you were reading an interesting article earlier in the day and got sidetracked and wanted to find it again, you can now do so really easily. Members also asked for an easy way to change their username, without having to go through the process of requesting one of the admins to do it for them. Again, DaniWeb has listened and now every member has the opportunity to change their own username from within their profile. This is a once in an account lifetime option though, so choose wisely if you do use the ability to change your name!

Markdown replaces BBCODE syntax

One of the biggest changes within DaniWeb 3.0 is the move away from the use of BBCODE syntax for styling posts, indicating quoted text and code snippets. We have opted to support a DaniWeb-flavored Markdown syntax instead. The Markdown markup language provides a very lightweight syntax, meaning that it appears meaningful in plaintext and doesn't look like it's been marked up. Many other sites use the Markdown language, and there are a plethora of tutorials around the web. Additionally, downloadable standalone WYSIWYG Markdown editors are available. While, for the most part, we keep in line with standard Markdown, there are a couple of important points which are unique to us:

A paragraph is one or more consecutive lines of text, separated by one or more blank lines. According to the rules of standard Markdown, a hard line break is not formatted as a new line. Instead, the end of a line must be followed by two spaces in order to generate a line break in the formatted output. This is not the case with DaniWeb which differs from standard Markdown in that a hard line break is treated as a <br />. It should be noted that a single line break is still considered part of the same paragraph, while a double line break (which results in a blank line) indicates a new paragraph.

DaniWeb-flavored Markdown only allows emphasis over entire words.
Surrounding a word or phrase with either one asterisk (preferred) or one underscore will give it emphasis (aka italicize it). Surrounding a word or phrase with either two asterisks or two underscores will give it strong emphasis (aka embolden it).

To produce a code block, indent every line by at least 4 spaces, or one tab stop. The Markdown editor used on DaniWeb allows for you to effectively use the Tab key without the editor losing focus. You can also use Shift+Tab to go back a tab stop. Code blocks must begin and end with a blank line. When copying and pasting code from an IDE into the DaniWeb editor, it will not automatically be formatted as code. To format it correctly, after pasting it, select all the code and hit the Tab key on your keyboard to indent everything selected.

To create a link, wrap a URL in parentheses, and put a pair of square brackets immediately before it indicating the anchor text for the link. You can also optionally specify the link's title attribute in quotes, within the parentheses, which will appear as a tooltip when the link is hovered over. Standard Markdown requires encasing a naked URL in < and > to force it to be a hyperlink. Instead, DaniWeb-flavored Markdown automatically linkifies all naked URLs.

Markdown uses email-style > characters to indicate blockquotes. You can prefix each individual line of a quote with a >, or you can be lazy and only place it once at the start of each paragraph. However, because of this, blockquotes must be followed up with a blank line in order to indicate the end of the paragraph (aka quote), before you can place normal text. Otherwise, it will all appear as part of the quote. To quote a post on DaniWeb, click and drag your mouse to select the text you want to quote. Then, click in the editor where you want the quote to be inserted.

Standard Markdown supports a limited subset of HTML tags which can be mixed with Markdown syntax. As a development-oriented community, we wanted the freedom to allow what is typed to always be rendered exactly as-is without the concern that markup typed outside of a code block will be parsed. Therefore, DaniWeb-flavored Markdown currently does not allow any HTML. Both HTML tags and entities will not be parsed.

Just ask Dani

If you have any problems with using the new system, just let us know by posting your question in the Community Centre and Dani or another member of the community will be able to help you out in no time.

Member of the Month

The latest member of the DaniWeb community to join our virtual hall of fame is David Kroukamp, also known as cOrRuPtG3n3tx who has been a member for just five short months but in that time has notched up some 700 posts and earned a DaniWeb reputation rank of 137 (out of more 953,000 members) and is an astonishing 99 by way of the number of solved threads he has participated in.

If you want to get a taste of what cOrRuPtG3n3tx has to offer the DaniWeb community then head over to the Java forum where you will find him helping out much of the time. For now though, let's find out what makes this impressively helpful member of the DaniWeb community tick...

Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?

My long life story eh? Well I'm originally from South Africa... And I've been around many places in South Africa like Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Freestate and many more but right now I stay in the City of Johannesburg.

How old are you?

Is this question allowed? :) I'm actually 19 turning 20 real soon now!

What is your current occupation, and have you ever done anything unusual in the past?

My current occupation is answering peoples questions on DaniWeb of course :P, but besides that I am still a student going on my 2nd year of software development and hoping that this year will be harder then the last?! Have I ever done anything unusual in the past? well I used to write and analyse malware (for educational purposes of course) but now days I'm more interested in working with the system then against it.

What is your favorite OS?

My favorite OS of all time is... Yes, you got it, Windows :). And the reason is simply because I have become so used to it, you know what they say: "The devil you know is better then the devil you don't know!", I mean I've been using it since Windows 95 and I have tried various versions of Ubuntu and Linux, Its great but not yet anything close to Windows! Urgh and please, I think I'd rather have Windows 2000(no updates) installed on a 3GHz Pentium Celeron then a Mac-You actually have to pay for a new OS that's just a service pack update!! ;) Right now I use a laptop, but my preference is a Desktop, but having both that's pure bliss, portability and pure brute strength!

What first brought you to DaniWeb?

Well being a student and of course having lecturers giving you almost seemingly impossible projects(in comparison with the information they have given you) I needed help, And every Google search would turn up a result from DaniWeb, and each result would solve my problem, from that day on I knew I had to be part of DaniWeb and its great minds.

What makes you stay here?

Well I do like every coder I meet on these forums, each and everyone has some sort of information to offer you. When I joined, having passed my first year with distinctions I thought no way anyone here knows more then me... A few posts in and I felt like a nOOb. So its has to be both the awesome coders and of course those that ask intriguing questions, that just when you think you know it all they stump you. and of course the brainerise it gives me. (brainerise = brain+exercise)

What is your favorite forum and why?

Anyone who knows me is most likely already skipping this question... Java! The first reason of course is because it's the language I understand the best. Also Java is really easy to understand for those beginning coding and also once you have learnt Java c# is like second nature, so Java opens many doors, and I love helping others to open the doors of Java themselves. But C# forum, just wait until my 2nd year is done I'll be invading that too more often :P

What are your interests outside of IT and outside of DaniWeb?

Hmm now that's hard... Well for a start I love history. I love learning anything to do with past wars; history, religion and so much more. Music and eating is another great vice of mine, I love cooking but only when I'm the one eating it though. And of course the occasional party and always hanging out with friends

Name the best thing about DaniWeb, and one thing you would change if it were in your power? Best thing about DaniWeb?

Its got the smartest programmers I 'know' - and I've used quotation marks because I don't really know them as such. And they are all friendly and willing to help and of course they have morals, they will not give out assignment answers if the other person has put in little or no effort which I think is great, they are helping to make others learn and become their own great coder and not just a leech. And if it were in my power, The only thing I'd change is... Whoah I have been thinking what to type now for 10 minutes... So I guess that means nothing!

Any fascinating facts about yourself that you would like to share with the DaniWeb community?

I like to be challenged, I hate code that does not use the proper naming conventions and I cannot program in anything but a fully fledged IDE with syntax highlighting its so much easier and looks so much nicer and neater. And I'm not much of an avid PC gamer?!? And I believe batch is a programming language-even if very very very far down on the list. PS. I had a great time answering these questions, but guess its now time to go answer some threads...

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