NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional 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 We’ve built it to completely replace the current incarnation of the Portal, which is outdated and falling apart.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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