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Big Site Upgrade
By Dan Vis
December 12, 2018
Comments: 22

Ready to discover all the ins and outs of the new site upgrade? Here's a quick summary of the changes we made to our desktop version. We also freshened up our mobile version as well. Enjoy the quick overview!

When you first logged in today, you may have noticed a few small changes to our site. It may not have seemed big at first, but the reality is we made lots of tweaks all through the site--not to mention massive changes under the hood. Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, we think you are going to love it!

We worked super hard to give you quicker access to everything you use, while streamlining out everything you don't. And all the while, trying to keep things as familiar as possible. At the same time we've added a few nifty new features, and made room for more improvements in the future.

Here's What's New

Here's a quick rundown of new things you should notice.

New Navigation
We updated the main tabs from four to seven. We added a Getting Started tab for new members, added direct links to our classes, memos, and study guides--as these are some of the most important parts of our site. The tools and centers tabs are still there, and we added an all new Lab. More on that below. Basically one click gets you to any section you want.

Dynamic Office
Ok, this was kind of fun. To save screen space and get the side menu for each page up closer to the top (desktop version), we made your office section dynamic. That is, rather than showing all your account links and the toolbox icons on every page, we hid them. Now just waive your mouse over your name, picture, or messages link, and all your account links open up. Nifty, don't you think? I also changed up the links here. Now you have quicker access to your Friends, and a long needed transcript to record future classes. And your toolbox icons go right to your daily resources, rather than the report page--like the mobile version did. One less click!

Simplified Menus
We went through each and every menu on every section of our site to streamline your menu options to the bare minimum necessary. In fact, unless you are a member of the Lab or in a Training Center, every one of our top level tabs (other than the tools) have just one menu item each! Once things started coming together, the simplification process turned out to be rather stunning.

Toolbox Refresh
The toolbox got the biggest refresh. In a goal to make our core tools drop-dead simple, we created a new "More Tools" section for all our standalone tools. And then squished everything out but the absolute essentials from each of the 4 core tools. Eventually we were able to work each of them down to just 3-4 menu options each. Take a look and see what I mean. It's hard to imagine finding a way to get these any simpler! I should also add we reworked the code through the toolbox, and fixed a number of things not quite working right.

Online Bible
I did two cool things to the Online Bible. First, I added a navigation bar to the top of every page. That means, you can go from any page in the site, to any book of the Bible in one click. Two clicks to get to any verse. Second I stumbled on to a clever little way to bring back our translations and connect them to all our tools. We still don't have copyright permission for some of the more popular versions like NIV and NKJV, but if we ever do, it will be a snap to install them. And six versions are still better than one!

The Lab
This section of the site deserves it's own article, and I'll definitely be talking more about it in the coming days--as I really want to see everyone get the experience we have planned for lab members. But this is going to be the training headquarters for anyone at FAST serious about growing spiritually. It's going to be the hub I've been trying to figure out for two years. Take a look to see what it's all about.

What's Not Done

Actually, there's still a fair bit to do in 2019. Most of it involves more code revisions to make things even faster, and simpler to run. I plan to go through every single process in our site with a fine-tooth comb until it's greased-lightning efficient. But on your end, those will all be small, barely noticeable little conveniences I slip in here and there through the year.

There are two BIG things I haven't done yet that are top of my stack to do and I plan on tackling them headfirst as soon as the year ticks over. Basically, we've got two areas that are about to get a lot better:

The Toolbox
While this upgrade created a lot of cosmetic change in the toolbox, I didn't change much of the basic functionality. My plans for the coming months is to start knocking out a long list of new features and capabilities for each of these tools, provide more training in how to use them, and link them more tightly with our FAST classes. I'll be starting with Engine, and among other things, adding the ability to memorize quotes and hymns as well as verses. But that's just the tip of the iceberg--and I have plans for every one of our core tools.

Training Centers
I've also got something big planned for our partner churches. When we initially launched our training centers we created a powerful suite of church admin tools. Tools I used everyday in my own church. But I never had the time to do much with them here at FAST and ended up discontinuing that project temporarily. In 2019, my plan is to bring them back, but simplified, streamlined, and paired up with extensive training. My goal is to make your FAST training center one of the most useful leadership tools your church has--above and beyond all the training resources. I won't spill the beans here, but this is going to be big.

Final thoughts

Before closing, one quick word of caution. While many of the changes above deal primarily with layout and navigation, this release involved a massive rebuild of our entire code base all the way down to the deepest level. Usually upgrades are surface or deep. This one is both! As a result I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few glitches here and there, and it may take a few days to get everything working just right again. Please be patient while we plow through that process.

Anyway, this gives a bit of an update to where we are right now. If you read this week's article on Roadmap 2019, you'll realize this is just the first step in our 2019 plan. The Lab is step 2 and that opens January 1. Then the toolbox and training centers go under the knife.

It's going to be an exciting year, and I look forward to seeing how things progress! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Comments

So what do you think of the new site? Anything you can't find? They say change is never easy, but is it possible this upgrade could be an exception? Share your feedback below. Message me with bugs.

Posted by Dan Vis on 12/25/18
No idea, Robert Baillie. It seems to be working for others. You could try creating a bookmark instead. Not as convenient, but it works. That does sound a little strange...
Posted by Robert Baillie on 12/25/18
The one thing that I have noticed is that when you go to add FAST Missions.com to the desktop as an icon in Safari it won’t let you because the word “ADD” is hosted out and you are unable to choose it?? So you cannot add the icon to desktop anymore??
Do you have any ideas as to why this is occurring?
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/18/18

Great, glad it's all working again Julie. Lot's of little glitches here and there but we're steadily fixing them up. In the long run, I think this upgrade will be a big step forward. :)

Glad you like the changes Noemie! Always glad to get feedback like that! :)

Posted by Julie Carter on 12/18/18
Hi Dan
Everything is there now, including the RO Center activity. Thank you so much for sorting it all out. Hope it didn't take you too long. The changes you have made to the website are going to be so helpful to all. God bless.
Posted by Noemie Ducelien on 12/17/18
I think you have done a powerful job and make things easier for everyone.
Thanks Pastor Dan
Posted by Julie Carter on 12/17/18
Hi Dan, the new website features are great, but it seems that none of my verses are showing either. I haven't been on the engine very recently, so maybe this is why? But I have also noticed nothing is showing up in the 'Activity' area of our Royal Oak Center. Just small glitches I'm sure! Thank you for the Fast Missions website. It is such a blessing.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/16/18
Looks like your file never got uploaded Lisa. That's a bit strange. I did keep backups however, and was able to reload it. And did just double check and confirm it's working for you now. I only uploaded the active verse lists, so if you have not used the engine in a while that may be the explanation. If so, super glad to have you back!
Posted by Lisa West on 12/16/18
Hey Dan!! I still am experiencing the same thing. None of my verses are showing up; not even my future verses.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/15/18
Ok Anita, don't hesitate to let me know if anything else doesn't seem to work right. :)
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/15/18
Dan, It seems to be working perfectly now. Thanks again.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/14/18
Sorry Anita, turns out there were a few more glitches to track down. Give it one more try and let me know if it is not working properly for you.
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/14/18
All my verses are KJV.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/14/18

Sorry everyone for the glitch with the review. Turned out to be a minor problem caused by all the new code that I put in to restore multiple translations. Only affected non-KJV verses. Fortunately no data was lost, just an unfortunate hiccup in your reviews this morning! :( Sincere apologies!

On the plus side, you should notice now your custom versions show up all through the toolbox: verse pack, first letters, flash cards, card generator, etc. At least I tried to make it consistent everywhere. And if we ever get additional translations, they will work everywhere too. We may be able to get ESV at some point.

And coming soon, you'll be able to add versions for FUTURE verses as many have requested. Part of what I was doing was trying to get things ready so upcoming changes will be much easier...

If anyone still has problems with their review let me know! And thanks John for the Help Hotline note. Lisa, I don't think your verses are lost, but I did make backups of everything just in case. Let me know if things still aren't working for you...

Diane, Terri, Lisa, Anita, John, Wayne

Posted by Wayne Senner on 12/14/18

I had the same bug in my review as listed below. But on the plus side the layout on my iPad is better because the logout button is not there on the review page so I don’t accidentally hit it and have to start my review over again, which happened more then once.

Thanks
Wayne

Posted by John Gilmore on 12/14/18
I sent a message via Help Hotline.
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/14/18

OK. I did find a glitch. About 5 verses into my Daily Review, when I hold the mouse over the verse, it doesn't give the first few words. Instead it gives the reference. Then when I click on the arrow, it gives two references like this:
Colossians 4:17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Colossians 4:17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. (KJV)

instead of writing out the verse. Another arrow click and it goes on to the next verse. On the 10th verse, it did it right. The 11th verse didn't show anything with the mouse over and the arrow click showed the two references as shown above. Verses 12-16 are normal. Verse 17, no mouse over words, otherwise normal. Verses 18, 19 are normal. Verse 20, no mouse over words, gives two references and no verse. Verses 21-23 are normal. Verse 24, no mouse over word, gives two refs and no verse. Verse 25 gives mouse over ref and two refs, no verse. Verse 26, no mouse over words, gives two refs. Verses 27-30 are normal. 31, 31 no mouse over words, gives two refs. Verse 33 is normal.

You probably didn't need all that but just for my own curosity I thought I would check all my review verses and see what happened.

Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/14/18
All my Daily Review and Verse Pack verses are still listed.
Posted by Lisa West on 12/14/18
I just double checked because I wanted to be sure...all my saved verses; daily review; all gone. Please help. Thanks!!
Posted by Lisa West on 12/14/18
I couldn’t find my verses on the daily review. When I press review, nothing happens.
Posted by Terri Todd on 12/13/18
Similar to Diane's post, when I tried to do my daily review, instead of seeing the text for each verse, I see just the reference and (other), as my verses are not KJV.
Posted by Diane Burnett on 12/13/18
I didn't see your email notifying of these changes today until AFTER trying to do my daily review. It was different trying to find things, so I will have to work with it a bit. The biggest shock was on the Memory Engine, DAILY REVIEW. The scripture didn't come up after the reference except for a few of my verses. Is this going to be ongoing, or is it a glitch?
All these changes are amazing, though. I'm excited to move through them all!   

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