NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Pacific NW Portal 5.0 (Newport) to launch in December after years of development

I have some excit­ing news to share this morn­ing: In a cou­ple of months, NPI’s Pacif­ic NW Por­tal is final­ly going to be get­ting a much-need­ed over­haul with the launch of Ver­sion 5.0, code­named New­port.

We’ve been work­ing on this new ver­sion for a very long time, and I’m pleased to say we’re close to being done with it.

I want to stress that New­port is much more than an update or an upgrade… it tru­ly is an unprece­dent­ed revamp. We’ve built it to com­plete­ly replace the cur­rent incar­na­tion of the Por­tal, which is out­dat­ed and falling apart.

Obvi­ous­ly, we haven’t com­plete­ly neglect­ed the Por­tal over the last few years — we’ve pushed out many minor updates to the site since we took Ver­sion 4.0 (Sea­side) live in May of 2006. But Sea­side is def­i­nite­ly show­ing its age.

I think long­time read­ers who remem­ber the Por­tal’s ear­li­er days will agree with us that it’s time for Sea­side to go into retire­ment. It had a long run, but its days of ser­vice are appro­pri­ate­ly com­ing to an end.

Every major ver­sion of Pacif­ic NW Por­tal we’ve released since Ver­sion 3.0 has had a theme. Seaside’s theme was com­pat­i­bil­i­ty. Marine Green’s theme was cov­er­age. And True Blue’s theme was stability.

New­port’s theme will be speed. This ver­sion has been engi­neered from the ground up for faster load­ing and quick­er updat­ing. We’ve been test­ing it on smart­phones and tablets in addi­tion to good old desk­tops and lap­tops, and it’s been per­form­ing well. In addi­tion, we have test­ed all sorts of com­bi­na­tions of desk­top oper­at­ing sys­tems and browsers to ensure the new Por­tal is ren­der­ing properly.

Since many browsers share what’s known as a ren­der­ing engine, or lay­out engine, we have been pri­mar­i­ly test­ing New­port with dif­fer­ent lay­out engines. The four major ones are Tri­dent (used by Inter­net Explor­er and deriv­a­tives), Gecko (used by Fire­fox, Camino, and Sea­Mon­key), WebKit (used by Chromi­um, Safari, and the Black­Ber­ry brows­er) and Presto (used by Opera).

We’re pret­ty con­fi­dent that no mat­ter which brows­er and oper­at­ing sys­tem you use, if it’s rel­a­tive­ly mod­ern, Pacif­ic NW Por­tal 5.0 should ren­der smooth­ly for you. (If you’re still liv­ing in the 1990s and using a hor­ri­bly out­dat­ed brows­er, we can’t guar­an­tee the Por­tal will look good. It’ll still load, but it’ll be ugly.

We haven’t final­ized a launch date for New­port yet, but mid to late Decem­ber is like­ly — after the elec­tion is over, but before Christmas.

We’ll keep you post­ed on our progress as we get clos­er. We think you’ll find the new Pacif­ic NW Por­tal much more intu­itive and pow­er­ful than the cur­rent ver­sion. We look for­ward to bring­ing it to you very soon!

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