Forum & main site unified account feature is live!

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April

29

2016

I finally have the JSF forums and the main site properly bridged. As a result, there are quite a few cool new features that will make life easier for everyone. This morning I’d like to quickly go over everything. Don’t worry, none of this stuff is complicated. Getting the bridge properly working, however, was. But that’s my problem. 🙂

The first thing you need to know is all your account information is now contained in the forums database. Until now, members had separate accounts on the main site and on the forums. That was not ideal for a number of reasons. For example, if you changed your password on the forums, it would not be changed on the main site. This, understandably, created some confusion.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I think a few screenshots will help to illustrate how things work now. For this overview I’ve created a test account, which I’ve creatively named “newtest”. He’ll be our guide this morning.

You can click any of the images to enlarge.

Here’s how the main site looks for a user who is not logged in:

Not logged in.

Not logged in.

Note the user menu bar at the very top of the screen. As you can see, at top left there’s a link to the forums. At top right, you’ll find links to Log in or Register. Clicking the Log in or Register links will take you to the appropriate place on the forums. If you simply hover your cursor over the Log in link, a login form will appear. You can use this form to login without leaving the main site.

Let’s assume that Mr. Newtest doesn’t log in using any of the links at the top, and just starts reading the blog and the comments. He’s enjoying the comments, and decides that he’d like to take part in the conversation. Since he’s not logged in, he’ll see the usual Log in to Reply or Rate links under each comment, as well as the “You must be logged in to post a comment. Not yet a member? Registration is fast and free!” blurb at the end of the comments section:

Guest user browsing the comments.

Guest user browsing the comments.

As one might expect, clicking any of those links will take Mr. Newtest over to the forums where he can log in:

Forum login screen. You can also create a new account here, and reset your password if you've lost it.

Forum login screen. You can also create a new account here, and reset your password if you’ve lost it.

Mr. Newtest has successfully logged in. Odd, he looks remarkably like me:

Mr. Newtest viewing his account flyout on the forums.

Mr. Newtest viewing his account flyout on the forums.

Speaking of avatars, now your forum avatar will automatically be used when you comment on the main site! You can upload your own picture, of course, and you can use a Gravatar if you like:

Update your avatar on the forums. It will automatically be used on the main site, too!

Update your avatar on the forums. It will automatically be used on the main site, too!

Ok, so now that Mr. Newtest is logged in, he can head back over to the main site (remember: you don’t have to come to the forums to log in–you can log in on the main site by hovering your cursor over the login link in the top bar).

Here’s how things look on the main site now that Mr. Newtest is logged in:

The main site while logged in.

The main site while logged in.

Notice the top user menu bar now? On the right-hand side you can easily see that you’re logged in (“Howdy, newtest”, along with his current avatar). In addition, you will now see any new forum conversations and alerts while you’re on the main site! These are updated in realtime using AJAX (you don’t have to refresh the page). In other words, if you’re on the main site and someone sends you a private message or there is a reply to a thread you’re following, you’ll now see those alerts on the main site! Clicking either of those links will take you directly to the appropriate area of the forums.

If you hover your cursor over “Howdy, [your name]” in the user bar, from there you can log out, or edit your profile. If you log out from either the forums or the main site, you will be logged out everywhere. Similarly, if you log in on either site, you will be logged in on the other site. Pretty cool, huh?

Mr. Newtest, now logged in, has elevated the conversation with his insightful new comment:

New comment from. As you can see, the forum avatar is used.

New comment from. As you can see, the forum avatar is used.

I know this something many of you have asked for, and I hope you enjoy the new features. I’ll be extending this functionality with some really neat new tricks very soon.

If you have any questions at all, just leave me a comment.

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