o you've been wondering, "What is going on with The Atari Times? Why haven't there been any updates for months?" Well, a couple of reasons...
Firstly, I'm in the process of starting a new business, and that was eating at my time. So, naturally, TAT took a backseat until the uproar settled down.
Secondly, I'm a pretty lazy guy. I like it when the computer does the work for me. (Isn't that why they were invented?) Yet, here I was manually adding articles to the site a couple of times a week. This meant updating the main page, the news page, the section page, the reviews page, and a few other pages that shall remain nameless. All those updates just for one article. So, I needed a little break. But during that time, I formulated a plan to make everyone's life (especially mine) easier... And that was to put my new PHP and MySQL skills to use for TAT.
So here we are... The new era in TAT! (or era #3 as I like to call it.) The website is now database driven and coded by me, your humble editor. Here are some cool new features...
- TAT has it's own forum now. No more relying on that old Proboards Forum!
- Visitors can easily add comments for any article! So if you want to add to the article discussion, you can do that with ease.
- Visitors can easily add scores for all games in our database. To make it easy, a "Score It!" form is included on every game review page. Or a visitor can go to the "Add Scores!" page and add scores for any game they like.
- The new "Reviews" page shows the last 20 reviews posted. Visitors can also select the last 20 games posted by system.
- The "Game Rankings" page is now calculated on the fly. So if you add a score, it will immediately be figured into the average score and the game will be ranked accordingly! Also, the Top 5 games for each system appear at the top of the page with a screenshot. (So stop asking me what the Top 5 games are!)
- The "Article Archive" page now displays all articles posted for each year, starting with 1996! So it's easier to find what was posted in what year. (And it all looks consistent for once!)
- There are more cheats than ever before! New cheats can be added (by the editor) in a few seconds rather than several minutes!
- All articles have DATES on them now, so you know when it was posted! (Sounds like a small thing, but I hadn't been keeping track.)
- The System section pages (Jaguar, Lynx, 2600) etc. automatically update themselves.
- A brand new search box that doesn't rely on a third party site. Instantly updated, so I don't have to have the site re-crawled on the rare occasion that I remember to do it! It's not the most sophisticated search, but I'll keep tweaking it and it'll get better. :-)
- Unfortunately, any links to the old .html files won't work anymore. But the 404 error goes straight to our new search page!
- Lots of other little changes that I can't remember!
There are also some significant changes to help writers (and readers)!
- The "Submit Article" form sends the article straight into our database. Which can then be viewed and edited by the editor or the original author!
- Writers can now look at all the articles they've written in an easy to view page. (Which is also dynamically updated!)
- Interested writers can also request a username/password so that they can make changes to upcoming or posted articles.
And from a webmaster stand point, I can update articles, post a new articles, view/delete comments, add/edit new game information (like scores or cheats), and a few other things I'll keep under my hat. But what's great about it... I don't have to be home to do it! And it only takes a few seconds to post a new article. Which is, of course, good for YOU because you'll be seeing more articles posted more frequently!
So check out the new TAT! It (intentionally) looks the same but there's a lot of new code running the show now. Add some scores or comments. Submit an article. Become a writer! Do your part to support the Atari community!