The web site is dead, long live the website

It's been a few years, but our latest, long overdue, web overhaul is finally done. Welcome to our new home on the web. Hope you'll like it.

Why change you may ask. Well the old web site has gotten kind of... old, lately. The last redesign was completed in 2003 and things have changed since then. With additions of more and more products and more and more information, the old website became increasingly cumbersome to navigate and to maintain.

We started planning for the new web site almost two years ago and our goal was to create a site that was easier to navigate and find information on and easier to add new features to. We also wanted it to have a new and updated design to better harmonize with the Propellerhead graphical identity. And a new Forum. As the creator of the last forum, this was a particularly tough pill to swallow.

While we were at it, it was also time to upgrade everything running the show, like servers, database servers and the application framework.

Designing for who?

People using a web site on a daily basis don't care so much about usability and navigation. You find your way around the place just as you find your way around in your own house - you could probably do it blindfolded. When we started to get complaints that it was difficult to find stuff on our web site and even more difficult to understand what the website was about, we realized that it was time for a change.

It's easy to write off feedback like that as just n0Obs complaining out of cluelessness, but everybody is a newbie sometime. Probably the most important visit to a website is indeed the first time, when you need to take in what this is all about. If you feel alienated or confused at first glance, you are probably not going to come back.

On the new web site, the front page is designed to let us speak in bold text about what is going on right now. This will make it easier for casual visitors to take in the web site. For the regulars, this change may not seem to important, but in a way it is. The old web site's front page came in the shape of a long news ticker that was a bit awkward since it tended to push important things off the list because we needed to add news items to the top of it. Now, additions will be easier to spot.

Also, the news ticker function has more and more moved over to our monthly newsletter that keeps growing in popularity.

Where's the song %&!#+*" song archive!?!

Yes, the song archive as we know it is gone. Why? Well, frankly because very few people used it. When ReBirth came out, it was a very cool thing to be able to share a song document only a few kilobytes in size. In 1997 bandwidth was scarce and the compact song format of the ReBirth songs was ideal to share.

We really wanted this to carry on when we released Reason, so we created a Reason song archive too, but it never really caught on like the ReBirth archive did. Maybe because a lot of people usually used more than just Reason to make their music. Or perhaps they wanted to publish their music where more than just Reason users could hear them.

Lately, the song archive has been used by a small group of individuals, and almost entirely like a way to post files that you promote on the music message board, so we thought "why not make a file upload as part of the message board and profile page?". That's why you'll find people's tracks on their profile page instead of through the song archive

The forums

If you are a regular at the Propellerhead forums, you may have noted that among the most popular topics on the board is "This Board SUXX". It's been right up there among "Why no Audio in/VST/MIDI out?" and "Can someone please ban Springs from the board!".

The old forum has a bit of history to it. Propellerhead's first webmaster, Fredrik Hägglund, needed a quick solution to let people talk about the amazing ReBirth software. This was around the time of release for the first ReBirth beta versions. He found a perl-script based message board that seemed to do the trick pretty well. At least until new year's day in the amazing year 2000. The only Y2k bug I ever saw was our own message board that had reverted back to 1900!

When we started using ColdFusion to drive the website's song archive, product registration and more, it was only logical to move the board to use the same system. I simply created a new forum based on the original design, with threaded view and all. I think it was pretty good. Or maybe I was just in love with my fantastic thread sorting algorithm that powered the board.

Back then the whole website ran off a Microsoft Access database. Anyone who have used Access knows that it isn't blindingly fast and we had to regularly flush the board to not exceed 6000 messages in the database. This stopped being a problem after we moved to a proper database. Just before closing the old board we had some 287400 messages in the database. Imagine that. Imagine that - never have so many said so little with so many words! :-)

The new forum is based on a more standardized forum that the one we used to have. Visitors have been demanding something like this

So. I hope you will like the new home of Propellerhead Software. Change is good.

Tage Widsell
Creative Director, Marketing & company historian

Ehm... regulars at this website may ask themselves why our webmaster Ola didn't write this. Well, Ola picked a clever time to take six months off to be home with the latest addition to the Ekstrand clan. Cunning move...

The first website, May 1997 in 1998
In the summer of 2000, Reason being delayed was big news.
Remember this? from 2003 to 2008.