Easily find F5 DevCentral technical articles and downloadsBelieve it or not, DevCentral is 11 years old, and it’s been a fantastic ride.  We want to say thank you for making this a truly fantastic community and we’re even more excited to share what’s coming up next.  To keep moving forward, we're taking our member’s feedback and sneaking in our own wish list; the next major iteration of DevCentral will start taking shape over the upcoming months and we want to give you a heads up.  We like surprises about as much as a Rhino, arbitrarily changing things on people with no warning isn’t the nicest thing to do.  Keeping that in mind, let’s break down how we plan to deliver content, connect members, and get everyone the answers they need.

 

The 3 C’s: Clean, Consolidated, and Classy

We’ve added features and functionality to DevCentral over the last few years, but we’ve really done nothing drastic to improve the interface for readability and organization, and that’s silly.  A primary long term goal for DevCentral is to allow easier subject navigation, and deliver personalized content.  To accommodate these needs, we’re re-architecting a lot of look and feel to the default landing pageBrowse exciting news on F5 DevCentral blog; click on the right image and get an idea of what we have in mind.  Note the following functionality improvements: 

  • Quick Topic/Technology navigation via left-aligned page margin
  • Easy navigation of new variable content down the center
  • Quick browsing of recent or popular questions on the right
  • DC’s own John Wagnon demonstrating his Latin skills through a dynamic content slider, useful for times when we have urgent or exciting news to deliver (think Heartbleed, Shellshock or my birthday).

 

Simplifying Your Search: Taxing the Taxonomy

Hopefully while you attended one of F5’s 9 global Agility conferences, the various break-out and discussions illustrate F5’s focus on current and emerging industry solutions (think Core/Hybrid/Cloud, Security, Service Provider..).  We like the solutions presented closely mirror our popular discussions, and think they’re a good starting point of data categorization; but with our community’s interest in mind, we’ll stick to what our members are looking for.  Making search and filtering content easier, we’re reducing the amount of tagging required to submit questions, articles, and code, instead focusing your contributions into two primary content pivots, solutions and technologies.  Per the previous classy home page example above, contributors will be able to choose within the topic/technology pivots, and allow two additional user-defined tags.  This accomplishes a few things that bug a lot of us:

  • Limits the tag-a-thon some posts seem to have (previous record held at 23 tags… that’s overkill)
  • Content will be easier to search and filter, allowing everyone’s contributions more time in the limelight
  • Gives us a better metrics on what content people need and what we should be focusing our time on

We ran this by a crowd at F5 Agility D.C. and the response was a collective sigh of relief and words of encouragement.  I think we’re on the right track.

 

Filters, Stars, and Netflix

On the same lines as the improved topic navigation shown in the previous example, once you’re spelunking the depths of DevCentral, it should be quick and easy to filter from the updated taxonomy and customize your results further as you need.  Articles, Check out the F5 DevCentral Blog for more newsAnswers (Q&A), and Codeshare will all share the logic of allowing quick filtering of topics and technologies, then further refining your results with type-ahead custom tag filters.  Check out the screen to your right and get an idea of what were talking about.

And Stars… we here at DevCentral are Netflix junkies and to us, all our life decisions are made by what Netflix thinks we want to watch (regardless of my frustration with them not keeping Stargate SG1 licensing). Netflix and others have a popular and widely understood rating system and we think it’s a perfect fit for most of our content.  Articles, Codeshare, and Downloads will all use this easy ranking system which should allow popular content to surface easier instead of figuring out the voting mechanism currently in use.  Questions and Answers will retain the voting feature, it makes more sense when multiple people contribute to a single thread.  If you have ideas on Q&A, let us know! 

 

The Future is NOW

There are plenty of other changes and improvements in the works, and the above illustrated will help lay a framework for future enhancements.  For those that have a wealth of information to give back, we’re going to make it easier for you and we’ll recognize your efforts accordingly.  We'll also make sure you know who you're talking to, if it's an F5 subject matter expert,  MVP, or elite community member.  There’s a lot of fun and helpful changes coming soon and we’ll want your feedback.  If you have a suggestion, question, or just want to compliment DevCentral team member John Wagnon on his profile picture, contact us here.  It's going to be a busy year!

Cheers,

The DevCentral Team