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Welcome to the October DaniWeb Digest

If you haven't visited DaniWeb for a week or two, you will be in for something of a big surprise. Dani has made the biggest set of changes to the user interface for many years, and the result is both easier on the eye and the brain. We slowly came to the conclusion at DaniWeb HQ, after much discussion with moderators and taking on board the thoughts of other members over the months, that the existing forum structure was broken. Why's that? Well, think about it; a forum for every individual programming language (as an example) just wouldn't work. Languages fall in and out of fashion, new ones arrive but that doesn't make them more important than old ones. Experience has long since taught us that 'build it and they will come' does not apply to a developer community like DaniWeb, which is why we have not added new forums for every new language on demand. Instead, the decision was taken to remove the forum structure and replace it with a tag-based system. This move from a multiple forum category structure, with hundreds of pre-defined forums and sub-forums, to a cleaner system where there are now around 20 categories housing an infinite number of tags about an infinite number of topics, has naturally been something of culture shock to many members. Rest assured though, this is not change for the sake of change; this is change driven by a desire to meet the needs of the community as we move forwards, to make DaniWeb even more functional and even easier to use. Once you get used to the new system, and it really doesn't take long as it's very intuitive, we hope that you will agree that fewer pre-defined categories equals more possibilities...

So, the big question is, with the tag-based system, how do I find stuff? Bearing in mind that tags have existed as part of the DaniWeb navigation system for many years already, and as a result there are tens of thousands of active tags in the system, it's actually really easy to find stuff. What's more, it will only get easier as more and more people start tagging their posts (you need to add at least one tag to any new post you create). Here are our five favorite ways of navigating the new DaniWeb:

  1. Type what you are looking for, the tag in other words, into the top line search box. This will return a list of all articles that have been posted with that tag attached. The search dropdown also offers an autocomplete feature: when you are in a category thread, it presents a list of the most popular related tags but when you're on the homepage or elsewhere, it presents a list of the most popular tags across the site as a whole. As you type, the list filters itself but always stays aware of what section you're in. So, for example, typing the letter 'c' while in the software development section will present you with C++ and C#, but typing the letter 'c' while in the web development section will present you with CSS.

  2. Use the URL from a tag search as the basis of a browser bookmark to speed up the process of getting back to your favorite subject matter. So, for example, posts with the PHP tag can be found at https://www.daniweb.com/tags/php

  3. If you are reading an article, the tags associated with that thread can be found listed underneath the original post. Click on any that interest you to discover more posts on that subject. This can actually help broaden your coding horizons, and we are finding that tagging is 'erasing the borders' between coding countries as it were, with previously C++ only aficionados now also answering questions about C# for example.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of any DaniWeb page and you will find a dynamic 'tag cloud' of the most popular subject tags. Clicking on these is a great way to explore what DaniWeb has to offer.

  5. You can also browse DaniWeb without using tags by clicking on the 'blue burger' icon at the top right of the screen. This opens up a dropdown containing all the top-level categories on offer. Just select the most relevant category from the dropdown. You will notice that with the UI design we have taken the opportunity to streamline the categories and sub-categories to bring them bang up to date. So, for example, click on 'Information Security' and this is where you will find all the discussions related to malware, spyware, security, ethical hacking, and more; click on 'Mobile and Wearables' for discussions related to various gadgets and gizmos that make computing part of your lifestyle; and click on 'Cloud-based Applications' for discussions related to using web-based applications and SaaS products as an end-user, such as Google Docs and Salesforce.

Member of the Decade

You might have noticed a slight change to the normal member of the month section, in that for this issue we are featuring a member who deserves to be honored for everything he did for DaniWeb across ten years of community membership. You might also have noticed the use of a the past tense, and that's because our featured member sadly passed away last year. Melvin Richard Stober, best known to DaniWeb members old and new as Ancient Dragon, absolutely earned his legendary status within our community. A retired Senior Master Sergeant for the United States Air Force, Melvin passed away at the age of 71. His legacy, however, lives on.

Looking at his stats reveals part of the reason for this: he remains the number one ranked member by post count with an incredible 27,904 postings, number one for helping answer 3,101 Q&As as well. Then there's his number two position in the reputation points chart with an amazing 5,243 and the number four ranking based on 129 skill and expertise endorsements. As we say, these are only part of the reason and the remainder is what drove those numbers. Melvin was a giant of a man, intellectually and in terms of character. What he didn't know about C programming in particular really wasn't worth knowing, and the generally humble method of his teaching meant that he shared that knowledge with the widest possible audience. "He had a wealth of knowledge and always a great attitude with everyone" is typical of the comments posted by members after his death, and sums up the man for me. Or how about "My memories of Mel will be for his community spirit. When I think of the number of times that we goaded him into discussion about some contentious issue, it brings a smile to my face. We were rarely on the same side of the argument, but he always conducted himself as a true gent, while people around him were losing their rags and showing their worst sides - myself included."

Do yourself a favor, when you've got a spare moment go and browse through some of the many and varied postings made by Ancient Dragon and either discover, or re-discover, why we here at DaniWeb will never, must never, forget him. Melvin, we salute you!

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