[Answered] What's inside this sausage?

Discussion in 'Talk To Me' started by PhlyingRPh, Feb 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. PhlyingRPh
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    PhlyingRPh Silver Member

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    Hello Randy Petersen,

    Like everyone else here, I am quite impressed by the technical features of your latest creation, Milepoint. Since the experience and form factor is indeed unique, I was wondering if you might take some time to talk about the type of technology that is running behind the scenes. I don't mean to ask you to divulge any sensitive information, but perhaps to speak to the types of technology utilized behind the scenes and the "engines" that make the social networking element of the site work.

    Thank you.

    The PhlyingRPh
     
  2. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    no problem at all.
    actually i am constantly looking at technology and might surprise many that i first started to publish info about frequent flyer programs online in 1987—CompuServe and newsnet. So the search for technology resources and outlets has long been a habit of mine. This particular software is a new startup called XenForo (as opposed to vBulletin as used on FlyerTalk). It's not even a Gold release yet, being so new but i've been so impressed with it that I decided to launch ahead. In fact its Release Candidate on the software is only January 20, 2011. The lead developer of the software is brilliant in my mind and interestingly enough, he was the lead developer at vBulletin when Internet Brands bought that company. It is truly the latest and i certainly think greatest of any platform of forum hosted software. Last fall i was looking for something new in software for BoardingArea as a forum where the bloggers there could exchange tips and information on how better to extend their own blogging growth. As well I was looking for something that could also host images since we have thousands of images we have purchased over the years and wanted to make them easily available for the bloggers. I bought the latest upgrade to vB for that purpose and had installed it on BoardingArea but wasn't really happy with it. Having watched and researched the growth of Facebook and other changes in the online habits of people, it seemed we were stuck in the stone age and there had been technology problems at FlyerTalk for a few years. So i started looking around at other solutions and audited the current group of forum software such as IBP, etc. and even looked at solutions such as Drupal. Anyway, i saw mention of XenForo and looked in on it. It seemed interesting but wasn't in any sort of actual release so simply kept looking. Anyway, I got busy with my changeover at FlyerTalk and didn't put anything in play at BoardingArea and as well creditcardanswers.com, another website i was looking for forum software for but not for anything like FlyerTalk, more of something to build a great Q/A platform for around what is the best credit card. Right after the first of the year when some fellow frequent flyers asked me to get involved in this sort of thing before, I quickly cycled my knowledge of software solutions and while not that happy with vBulletin, it was at least familiar. Anyway, i remembered XenForo from looking around there and having tested their fledging Beta. I went back and they still weren't out of beta so I audited their Bug Report (its a great way to get an idea of what works and what doesn't) and was impressed with the pretty innocent collection of bugs in the software at that time so, put where it was (it wasn't a release product at the time) against the other solutions and my instinct was that this little unknown piece of software was speaking to me. i loved what i saw and with my experience could see where it was going.

    It's still not Gold and there will be many that would question my wisdom for betting the future of MilePoint on something untested and not certified but it's been pounded pretty hard during the 5 weeks we have been in Beta and i think has performed extremely well. I tend to separate the technology engine if you will, from the feature set. granted, it does not have everything that i would like to see and as well our members, but the foundation for those is clearly a positive. Using this technology set reminds me of using technology by Apple, it is well designed and intuitive. Our three members of the tech team all now easily swear by this new technology especially when using the backend. I think I have seen enough already from the comments of our members to know that the move and decision has been the right one for MilePoint. Already we are the largest user of this technology from a scratch built start and we're just getting started. As well, we are the first in any travel space to adopt to newer technologies. I think the decision to launch with unproven software would scare away almost all from it. but I don't mind taking risks and so far so good. I really look forward to what this platform will look like in a years time and know that those members who grow along with us will be rewarded by a unique user experience found no where else in the business traveler/frequent flyer space.

    What is pretty cool in some regards, and i did hear from someone who just could not believe that we built-out MilePoint in the three weeks oo so from the idea to start a new website like this. If you look over at xenforo.com, you'll see the developer and you'll see that while we have changed some things just for our purpose, the unique look and feel and function of the website actually is because of xenforo. All i did was really spend the hours of audit and research time to find the best solution for our members. While I have some ideas, I really have to credit the software platform for our success so far in regards to technology. And I do believe even the best is yet to come. Once the developer gets his Gold Release out the door for stability, then we'll see the mobile component come online and so much more.

    Thanks for asking, i love the topic of technology and spend about 2-3 hours a week devoted simply to research of newer technologies, applications of new uses of interfaces, etc. This is a great time and I think we clearly are the leader and will remain so. Our goal is also to be the leader in great quality content by our members, organized well and all in a friendly environment. I better get back to that!
     
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  3. PhlyingRPh
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    PhlyingRPh Silver Member

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    Very interesting. Thank you.
     
  4. Tiki
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    Tiki Silver Member

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    Aha, I was wondering what the software was, it didn't feel like VB 4.0. I love technology too, I own a small parrot/eco-tourism forum which has largely migrated to the Facebook group last year and is just being used as Google-searchable database right now. I couldn't afford to upgrade to VB 4.0 but I know 3.8 very well and have loads of hacks installed.
     
  5. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    Never ask "what's inside the sausage". Actually it is a lot better to not even think about what's inside the sausage.
     
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  6. Jim
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    Jim Silver Member

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    when we know, we no longer eat it.
     
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  7. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Exactly! I used to love famous German Bratwursts (type of sausage for un-initiated) and other specialities until I saw documentary (on German TV and in German) about how they are being made and what goes in.
     

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