Projektnews Einstein@Home: Upcoming website relaunch

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After a long time of development and testing we're ready to relaunch our website!

The new site will feature a new design that's much improved over the current more than 10-year-old set of pages. The current Einstein@Home website is neither visually appealing by today's standards, nor is it particularly accessible because of the current structuring of information. First time visitors and potential new volunteers can be confused and we want to avoid that of course. We want to release a fully revamped website with an entirely new modern design as well as a complete overhaul of how we present information - all with an improved user-experience in mind.

Secondly, the current Einstein@Home website maintenance has always been cumbersome. Many content changes require a change of code! That's not the best way to get scientists to add or update content, like blogging about their current work or providing additional scientific content. We needed a way to facilitate that to expand the range of information we provide to our volunteer community, increasing their insight into what's going on behind the scenes. We chose to use Drupal, a true content management system, that allows us to do just that. But there's more: it's possible to extend Drupal's functionality in a way that it can fully include the functionality of BOINC's stock webpages. Other projects separated their content/science pages from their project management/community website, effectively providing two websites for a single BOINC project. That's something we wanted to avoid. We want a fully integrated, coherent solution and Drupal allows us to do that. However, the downside of this is a relatively complex implementation which is why it took us some time to develop it with our limited resources. Now we think it's time to release it.

We know that major changes like these will never please everyone, whether it's the visual design or the modernized site structure. We tried to minimize such negative effects by running a public test phase over at albertathome.org. That test phase started two years ago where we first invited our top 100 community power-users and our moderators. After that we fully migrated our test project and invited the whole community to give it a spin. We gathered your feedback and incorporated it into the now to be released version. Please note though that the new site still isn't 100% complete. It's going to be just the beginning - we upgrade its foundation to be able to build new offerings on top of it over the next months and years.

Long story short, here's the current release plan:

  • July 20th: first public announcement
  • July 25th: release plan update / heads-up
  • July 29th: final heads-up August 1st-5th: website downtime / data migration / relaunch


Please note that during the first week of August the project's website will be down as we need to migrate all the existing community content in a coherent way. We try to keep the project itself running such that workunit distribution shouldn't be affected.

The Einstein@Home Team

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