January, 2013, begins with a further refinement of the iSoaker.com website. While the WordPress back-end is still used for many pages on the site, as with all web technology, I decided not to become too dependant on its functioning in order for all parts of site to work. As such, the WordPress functionality remains for various news and article postings, but key sections of iSoaker.com including the landing, product reviews, evolution trees, and history pages remain outside the WordPress framework. I also opted to no longer use the WordPress section as the front page, instead pulling the RSS feed from the WordPress installation onto the custom-coded front page instead. Thus, even in the event that the WordPress installation has problems, other parts of the site will remain accessible.
Beyond this, the header over the past couple of years had gained more and more links. In light of the general refocusing of iSoaker.com on stock water blaster reviews, care, and maintenance, the top navigational menu is now slimmed down so that the key sections most developed are highlighted. No content was lost, merely reclassified under the new menu scheme.
Additionally, though launched at the end of 2012, the iSoaker Rating system underwent an overhaul with most of the ratings no longer adjusted for blaster size. This means that one can now use most ratings to more easily compare between any blaster, even if they are of different sizes. I also added the means to sort the product listing page to be ordered by the iSoaker Overall Rating.
In the end, the changes made for the start of 2013 should help keep things running well throughout the upcoming year. Next thing on the "to-do" list is, of course, learn as much as possible about the upcoming 2013 stock water blasters and push up info, pictures, and reviews as they become available.
Soak on and Leave NO one dry!
January, 2014, arrives with tweaks made to many parts of iSoaker.com, from its WordPress-driven section to its hand-crafted pages. Some tweaks were made to the landing page and overall site header including having a new set of randomized images for the splash page.
One of the more notable changes is the splitting off of the Nerf Super Soaker Brand history away from the History of the Super Soaker page. Based on how distinct the styling and performance of water blasters released under the Nerf Super Soaker brand have been thusfar, it only made sense to consider them separate brands.
Of course, being just at the start of the new year, much remains to be done, let alone discovered about the new, upcoming stock water blaster models. While some information if known about some of the 2014 models, there is undoubtedly more to come. Looking forward to a new and exciting 2014!
Leave NO one dry!
February, 2014, arrives with tweaks made mostly to the main navigational pages of iSoaker.com, namely the landing page and major subsections: The Armoury, Tech/Repairs, Water Warfare, Information, and Gallery. Links on these pages were reorganized, hopefully making it easier to find and reach the desired content pages.
To greet Autumn, 2014, iSoaker.com's next update was launched. The header on all pages was refined, shortened to give more room to content while not reducing the font size of the sub-section labels. The water droplet background image that has sat atop iSoaker.com since 2010 is now gone, replaced by a subtle grid theme. I plan to make additional changes to other graphical elements of the site over the fall and winter months, but opted to push this part of the update up sooner than later.
Leave NO one dry!
The start of 2015 marked the end of the 365 Days of Soaking Project that was conceived at the end of 2013 and formally began with the start of 2014. Towards the end of 2014, a little more time was spent thinking about the future of iSoaker.com and where I foresaw site developments heading. Seeing that the amount of time I am able to dedicate to website development has greatly decreased due to other obligations and responsibilities, I figure I'll stick to continuing to develop iSoaker.com's major strength: the value of its product analyses and reviews. While I'll still work on other parts of the website when time permits, I figure it would be better to focus my limited time on the parts that interest me the most as opposed to attempt to cover more areas, but done more poorly.
For the start of 2015, I plan to spend some time looking at ways to improve iSoaker.com's review pages, updating how information and images are presented for the new reviews, then looking into updating older reviews. This should be a fun, busy year for me; looking forward to sharing the next phase of developments with our visitors.
Leave NO one dry!
In the early part of 2015, I opted to be less active in the existing online water warfare community, partly due to lack of time, and partly wanting to take some time to do a little soul searching. Nearly seventeen (17) years since I first decided to try building a water gun-focused website, iSoaker.com has grown more that I would ever had anticipated. Of course, as time progressed, the time I can spend doing iSoaker website development has significantly reduced. As such, certain sections I once tried to develop more such as Battle Reports, the Rogue Group, and others could not be built as much as I initially had hoped.
As I noted at the start of 2015, I am opting to focus on the subject that inspired me to build this site in the first place: water guns / water blasters. Seeing how some of my experiments at the start of 2015 (e.g. the iSoaker.net WordPress-based forum creation) did not inspire many to post, those forums are being shut down and, instead, I plan to post additional insights on specific water weaponry on those pages instead. I also want to spend a little more time doing some deeper levels of analysis on modern water blasters and sharing these findings on iSoaker.com. Links from some of the water blaster review pages to iSoaker.net forum posts were removed and will eventually be replaced with links to more in-depth water blaster posts on iSoaker.net. To match my refocusing efforts, I am also simplifying other aspects of iSoaker.com including some file organizaqtion as well as its general graphical look. Major icons are having the colour palette reduced to greys and blues. Rounded corner icons are being replaced by squares and rectangles. The top navigational bar is now shorter and simpler. The Gallery section has been removed and its contents pushed to their most related remaining sub-section (e.g. Armoury Pictures now live in The Armoury section. With the bulk of the reshuffling and graphical tweaks now complete, I plan to spend the rest of the year building new content to increase the knowledge value within iSoaker.com. In the end, while UI and file organization are important, content is king. Soak on!