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Welcome to Good-Tutorials

Posted almost 13 years ago

Welcome to the new version of Good-Tutorials. The transfer took a lot longer than expected, which was an unsettling development. Things were just running relatively great, and then all of the sudden we hit a major snag. Hopefully everything's running fine and dandy now, though- please comment if you notice anything amiss.

So... hooray! What's new, you say?

New Layout

Brand new layout. I love it and think it's a huge improvement over all my old designs, although I know there will always be that vocal minority who just think it's the worst design ever to grace anything. I'm not going to pay much attention to rants, but if you have any constructive criticism or comments, please let me know- I'll do what I can to improve things. I fixed a lot of IE6 bugs last night, but let me know if there are any other layout bugs that I should know about and I'll work on them- just post your browser+OS.

New Database

Okay, this isn't as nifty, but it's by far the largest change. The database powering the site is completely redone. That's part of the reason why the changeover took so long, but it'll hopefully be for the best. It should be pretty quick right now, but over the next few days and weeks I'll be optimizing the database further, so the site should overall be much faster than ever before.

New Tutorials

Well, the tutorials are still the same, but there are plenty of new aspects for the tutorials. The system is now moderated by a number of moderators instead of just one guy- this means there'll probably be more tutorials added that will appeal to you (and if you're a tutorial author this also means that your tutorials will be reviewed in 24 hours flat now). This is a really new way of handling tutorials, so forgive us if there's some growing pains in the first week or so- I'll be tweaking a few different parameters the first few days to try to find a happy medium to get the best tutorials on the front page. Along those lines- eventually there will be new tutorials added every half hour or hour, but for now it's going to be irregular while we catch up on the backlog of pending submissions from the old version. Also new to tutorials are ratings and comments, which are linked to your user account.

New Features for Authors

If you write tutorials, you're in for a treat. Just log in to your account and head to your user account dashboard for a slew of things you can do- including manage your tutorials, see your newly submitted tutorials, feature tutorials (a completely revamped process), and so on. There will be a few new aspects for tutorial authors added to the site in the next few weeks, so trust me, this is just the start.

New Topics

I've been asked in the past "alright, Good-Tutorials rocks, but why not add tutorials for xxxxxxx?" My answer has always been that I wanted to get the base process with one topic (Photoshop) streamlined until I expanded. Well, I think I've made good headway on that. With the new version there'll be new topics added, most likely on a weekly basis (more on this later). Right now you'll see there's only Photoshop listed, but after the first day or so without any major glitches, I'll be adding the first new topic or two. (If you really want to see something new, go ahead and comment on this blog post with your nomination for new topics- I have a good idea, but if there's a bunch of votes for a particular aspect, I'd love to hear it).

Reclaim Your Tutorials

Okay, so this isn't exactly the new hotness, but it should be done. If you've submitted tutorials before, you'll probably want those tutorials associated with your user account. For the most part it should be an automated process- just head to your old author page:


and there will be a link at the bottom to "reclaim tutorials". More information is on that page.

New Newness

Part of the cool thing about the new site is that it's so much more maintainable than before. This is something I've been wanted to do for awhile: regular updates. So with the new version of the site, there will be weekly updates with fun new stuff added to the site. You'll find them announced right here, on the new blog. I haven't decided when the best time for me will be to add new features, but eventually there will be a set day where you can come back each week to see something new- stay tuned. (Naturally, however, there will be a few fixes, tweaks, etc that will be made this first week as we adjust to growing pains with the new release, so th new week here will be busy for me).

Other Notes

There's a lot of other, more minor cool things added to the site that don't warrant a whole blog post. I probably didn't explain all the new stuff too well on this one, actually- I'm on the tail end of a 12-hour work session trying to get everything ready for the new version, so I'm pretty fried. So let me know if there's anything you're unclear about or have questions about.

There's still work to be done. Please take note of that. I mentioned in the old blog that I wanted to launch with a little bit fewer features in order to launch the site much sooner, since I think I hit most of the really important stuff. Features like additional XML feeds, some user account data, a few pages that used to be in the old menu, advanced search, etc., will be added first- probably in the first week or two after release, so don't fret if you don't see something here yet. I should have most of the major aspects, though.

My apologies in advance if you're still unclear on something or if you're angry that something's broken- as I've said, this isn't the final version, there will be plenty of work done over the next few days in particular and over the next week in general. In the meantime, I really hope you enjoy this new version- I've spent the last three months working on it, the last 12 hours straight transferring and setting it up, and the new few days fixing it, so have fun with it while I try to relax for a few days. :o) And please, comment away on this post- I would absolutely love to hear what you think about it.

Have a good one!

avatartopgun87 almost 13 years ago

The site is running slow compared to the old version. The advertising bar on the left side doesn't show. Says " 404 file not found. " Other then that, the site looks cool.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

The site's actually working fine from the looks of it- the problem is that a new ad network I'm working with apparently has some busted-slow servers. I'll make a fix for that later today so it loads properly. (Right now when it sort of hangs with the header partially rendered, if you right click -> view source you can see that the entire HTML page should be there- it's just waiting on those ad servers, unfortunately).

avatarPepper (moderator)almost 13 years ago

looks good, hopefully everything works out

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Okay, the major issue with ads should be fixed up- the slowness of ad servers shouldn't impact page load as much anymore. There might be some times where the ads themselves don't show up- that's still something that has a couple things left yet, though. The rest of the internet hasn't yet propagated to the new server yet, so if the site ends up being a little sluggish when everyone's here, I'll definitely start working more on optimizations to get things even faster. For the most part, though, things are looking pretty speedy to me right now.

avatarNoSignal almost 13 years ago

There's a wrong link in your footer, Zach. 'crafted by Zach Holman.' is linking to a htp protocol, not at a http. Anyway, nice work with the layout! Yet simple, but very professional.

Much love, NoSignal

P.S. There's a 'Photoshop' section in the left-side menu, but it contains nothing.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Thanks for the comment, NoSignal. I admit the menu looks barren right now- just click on Photoshop and you get the list of categories. It's really designed for use with other topics other than Photoshop, so that'll make more sense soon enough.

avatarLuke almost 13 years ago

The link in the footer to your personal site is wrong. Nice update, I found the menu slightly confussing but thats just me getting round this newness.

avatarPepper (moderator)almost 13 years ago

maybe instead of having the Photoshop so big, if your adding other categories, where it says "Photoshop" maybe put "Categories" instead, and then under it have Photoshop in the same size as you have the "advertise" link under "Good-Tutorials". Just a though. Hope that makes sense

avatarnicks (moderator)almost 13 years ago

Look great. Not strikingly different, but definitely better.

Think I've found a bug. I've reclaimed my tutorials, but if I try to click on page "2", "3" etc, it comes up with "Sorry, but there isn't anyone with that username." Clicking on "next" works fine though.

Anyway, good-job! :D

avatarDylan almost 13 years ago

Wow, looks great man. I have to agree with Peppers post on the Photoshop being kind of big if your having other categories though. other than that from what I've seen so far it's wonderful. Only thing I'm not crazy about is the background for the find tutorials. Those scanlines are like super oldschool.

avatarFilm11 almost 13 years ago

The site looks nice and modern. However, the text is a bit small which I find unsettling, probably me just used to the old version though so I'm sure I'll settle with it eventually.

Congrats on getting the new site up relatively hitch free! ;)

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

I'll definitely get the footer link fixed up when I make a new update later tonight- thanks for picking that out somehow (it's sure nice to have detail-oriented people for new releases!)

As for the barren sidebar... I'm just setting up the first additional topic right now, so for those of you who have Flash tutorials laying around, submit away! (I'll collect a few submits first before adding the link in the menu.)

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

Great looking design Z, just 1 question the tutorials that I submitted before the update, are they still pending, or where they deleted, and need to be submitted again?

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Thanks, SasaVtec. The tutorials submitted before the update are still there. What you'll want to do is to go through and reclaim your old tutorials using the process I described in the above blog post. Just go to your author name and click "reclaim". Let me know if you have any issues with this.

Just pushed out a few fixes: the footer link, the weird pagination issue nicks had, and a couple backend issues. Keep them coming if you spot them and I'll get right on it... the sooner I get these bug fixes done the sooner I'll be able to get cracking on coding new features. :)

avatarskreid almost 13 years ago

I'm kind of disappointed with the load time - it has increased considerably, at least for me. Hopefully it will pass :D

Otherwise, everything is looking good :)

Suggestion: I think this site needs a forum

avatarDylan almost 13 years ago

Problem I'm having is in the que section when I rate a tutorial the rating I just gave doesn't show. Hope it gets fixed.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Dylan- when you rate a tutorial in the Queue, it'll disappear on page refresh, sort of as a way so you don't have to remember which tutorials you've rated and which you haven't. It should have saved the rating- it just might not show up again in the listing.

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

I must say that it does load a bit slower for me, even on a T1 connection, but keep up the great work Zach.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

I have to say, that's really strange... is there anyone else that it just feels sluggish for? I've been on it all day and I can wholeheartedly say that it seems to be a dramatic improvement in speed, particularly in rendering time. If someone else can verify either way (faster, slower, or you simply can't tell), feel free to chime in.

avatarpxlgfx almost 13 years ago

Hmm.. something very strange just happened here. I created a new account under the name of PxlGfx (my site is pxlgfx.com). I have another site called cornoncob.com and I wanted to claim the tutorials I submitted under cornoncob for pxlgfx. When I went to do this, something went wrong and for some reason, all the tutorials that were under the username cornoncob were moved over to the user, Ikzy: http://www.good-tutorials.com/user/Ikzy/submitted

I hope I didn't do anything bad.... -Dan

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

That is pretty strange... definitely shouldn't have happened. I'll look into it and get things transferred back over for you.

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

The old version in FF with Fasterfox, t1 connection used to load in 1.171 seconds, this one loads in 3.672 seconds, may not seem a lot to some but on a t1, really bad.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Thanks for letting me know, that does help. I know that the standard deviation of that number would be a lot greater on the old version, since I know under times of heavier load I'd sometimes sit through load times of 5-10 seconds. At least this time around things will be more consistent. BTW- as I'm not familiar with Fasterfox- does that judge total page load? ie, does it wait for the ads to display, or is it just the duration to download the HTML file?

Either way, as I mentioned, there's a number of things I can do to help speed things up even more, so over the next week or so we'll hopefully see that number drop even further.

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

I think it might be analytics slowing it down a bit, because I don't see anything else in your source.

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

Fastfox I think judges the page load, by images, ads, and the overall content on page, basically till everything loads and you can browse, and timer stops more info :) http://fasterfox.mozdev.org/

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

That could possibly be it... it might just be me, but the new ad server I'm using just seems really slow. The actual pages themselves seem to load much quicker than the ads- for example, I'll load a page and then have to wait a second or two while the ads load. But again, I'll be analyzing all of this junk much more in-depth in the coming days and weeks.

In the meantime... how's everyone enjoying the new site? Gotten through a little more than half a day so far without the server exploding yet, so I'm counting it a success. :)

avatarEli almost 13 years ago

This will take me some getting used to. But I'm sure it will grow on me like the last version did after a while.

Just going to take a look at the new features.

One thing I want to suggest is that you be able to change your username password.. I just went to change my password and I couldn't find where to do it.

avatarEli almost 13 years ago

Sorry for double post here, but Zach, would you please email me your MSN address? I need to talk to you about the new version of GT...

avatarcleartutsdave almost 13 years ago

Well I'm loving the new version! It's especially awesome that my tutorials get accepted so much quicker. And I guess I'll start workin' on some flash tutorials!

avatarGesiwuj almost 13 years ago

DUDE THIS IS COMPLETELY AWESOME! Remember when v4 was a bit of a disappointment but you promised v5 would be awesome - well you were right! Pure awesome!!!!

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

cleartutsdave- Your tutorials will eventually get reviewed in 24 hours. Right now we have a big of a backlog, so it's going to be a week or so until we finally get all caught up. But yes, it should be quite an improvement over the old system.

Thanks for the comments, Gesiwuj! I'm glad the awesomeness quotient of this version is much higher. Maybe it's fitting since I'm wearing my sublimi'mawesomeinal threadless tee today:


avatarTanz almost 13 years ago

Ok well it's the first time I've really had a play around since I saw the new version this morning. Got to love lessons at school on computers, especially since I got to see what it looks like from a Mac point of view.

Just a few things I've noticed so far then.

When in your "account" area, firstly, the menu at the top used for selecting different pages disapears when you go to "public profile" page, which to be honest I can see why it happens, but I don't like how it disapears when you go to "submit tutorial" page.

When I go to the manage tutorials page, I get 0% comming up, as I don't submit - although have thought about it, except for "nan% of submitted tutorials make the front page" which I guess you will understand more, because it's using stats that are new.

Another thing I noticed is when I click on a tutorial, either on the front page or in the Q section, it opens the tutorial in the same window, or tab as I'm using Firefox, which is different to the last version. Just wondering if this is deliberate or if it's accidental, either way I would still prefer the old menthod of it opening in a new window. Who knows, it could become an option?

Ok, another little thing I found was when you look at the information about a tutorial, like how much it has been clicked. The total clicks is right, but apparently, it has had no clicks this month or even today. Funny that, it says it was added to the front page today lol.

Also, in that section, it says that the tutorial has had X number of saves. But unlike the previous version, I can't see who has saved it. Also, when I look at my list of saved tutorials, is it now in the order that I saved them, not most popular as before?

On the front page, where has the "yesterdays tutorials" link gone, even though it would probably be more suited to something like, "previous 15 tutorials" or something.

Under that, I know it's a new blog system, but I would like the previous comments box back, along with previ

avatarKull almost 13 years ago

Awesome indeed, this new version is so so good.

I'd love to see a flash topic btw.

avatarTanz almost 13 years ago

Ahh it cut my comment off...

avatarMentalTrans almost 13 years ago

Love the new G-T!

avatarChris almost 13 years ago

Looks good so far. Going to reserve judgment to everything been fixed up though first.

avatarChris almost 13 years ago

Zach, can you please add the sub-categories to appear without clicking them. Wouldn't mind but it would make the menu look better and quicker to navigate. It just adds one extra page refresh.

avatarMartynJ almost 13 years ago

I'm lovin the new version :) And flash tutorials :o will we be seeing more categories being added?

Good work!

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Okay, just pushed out a slew of small fixes. Amongst the bunch, for those that are interested- -fixed the front page title to something more human-readable -upped comment lengths to help out poor souls like Tanz, who can just vamp on comments like none other :o) -fixed a bug with displaying stats and comments for tutorials with slashes ('/') in their title -added a default rating display ("Rating: -") for those tutorials not yet rated so they don't look like horribly-rated tutorials

These are just small bug fixes, as will be the case for the next few days, then we'll get progressively bigger and bigger. In response to some of your responses:

@Tanz: good points (hope they didn't get very cut off). Tutorial link in same window is by design, as it's the more accessible way of doing things. More of an experiment for now. The difference of tabs between your public profile and your account data is deliberate, too, although admittedly can be a little confusing. The public profile tabs are what everyone sees, but your account tabs (manage tutorials, featured tutorials, etc) are what only you see. More of a public/private thing. Click totals for day and month aren't actually set up yet, but they're at the top of my todo list. The other aspects you touched on are more of the 'planned to do but not there yet' that I've talked about earlier- I wanted to get this out quicker and skip minor aspects, but I'll certainly get to those soon enough.

@Kull- Flash is now up.

@Chris- I agree, but it's not that simple. Eventually there's going to be more topics, so if I were to keep all of the menu links on each page it's going to add to the overall page download size. Using something like Ajax isn't as accessible nor as search engine friendly, and the menu is something I need to be universal for everyone visiting the site, no matter what. I'll be looking into it, but no promises for the moment.

@MartynJ- Yup. Most likely on a weekly basis- I'd rather slide into everything slowly rather than assaulting things all at once. Plenty's in store. :)

@everyone- tell your friends, blog about it, what have you. The more the merrier; it's really appreciated. :)

avatarSasaVtec almost 13 years ago

I would also change a few more things, first add a feature where tutorial author can view who has saved his/her(s) tutorials. Then for Ratings I would add like 4.5/5 or 12 votes, etc.... just to show how many people voted.

avatarcolblip almost 13 years ago

Is it just me or is RSS broken now. Neither of my feeds from the site can be found and when I tried to rediscover them and reset them the RSS doesn't seem to be here.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

colblip- That's actually the very next thing I was planning to fix; something got buggered up during the migration. Give me less than a day or so and they should be back up and ready to go- sorry for the downtime thus far.

avatarTanz almost 13 years ago

The other points [to my memory] that were on the list were about; organising search results by rating, clicks, date and so on, a comment about the background, personally it's a tad dark for me; and I was going to say about the rating system, once you have rated, you can click on the "rating x.x/5" button again but then doesn't tell you straight away that you have already rated it. Small observation.

Apart from that, you've done a really good job and I like it. Congratulations.

PS - "lovingly crafted" lol

avatarRemitrom almost 13 years ago

You've outdone yourself Zach. It seems a bit more inviting this time around as well as user-friendly. It seems to load quicker for me too. Great job!!!

avatarDylan almost 13 years ago

On the note of the whole speed issue you seem to be dealing with, on my home computer it has faster load times than it did before. On my school computer it's a completely different story,the load time is horrible it takes like 10 seconds to load a page for G-T at school.

avatarDylan almost 13 years ago

Sorry for double post but I just got a downtime error/message. Said server was down for maintenance and something else. Refreshed and it was fine. Just thought I'd let you know.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Apologies for the slowdown this afternoon, all (if you noticed). I think I have a solution up and running, but I'll be closely monitoring everything over the next few days.

avatarGSimpson almost 13 years ago

Hey, Have you thought about using sub domains to save money like zachholman.good-tutorials.com? also can I ask what file format you use, every page seems to be a folder... just curious.

avatarMartynJ almost 13 years ago

Zach, One thing. When reviewing tutorials i'm not sure if it was a submission error or a coding bug but in the url of one or two url's there was the html sign for '&' so it wasn't displaying the web sites properly.

avatarpxlgfx almost 13 years ago

Hey Zach, Thanks for getting my tutorials to my account. Except 3 of the tutorials that are now under my name aren't mine... http://good-tutorials.com/track/16728 http://good-tutorials.com/track/16727 and http://good-tutorials.com/track/16688 aren't mine. Just thought I'd let you know. Btw, I think the site looks great and I'm looking forward to seeing new features.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

GSimpson- I'm not sure what you're referring to by the saving money aspect, but in terms of pages it's all generated by my framework (Rails), so no, I don't have hundreds of thousands of distinct files for this.

Martyn- I think I know what you mean, so I'll go in and fix that in the next bug squashing session.

pxlgfx- Thanks for letting me know. I've removed them from your profile.

avatarrazvans (moderator)almost 13 years ago

Hello. I like the changes very much. adding flash categories will increase the number of visitors

I have found a small bug in my account area.


58 tutorials submitted

57 tutorials on the front page

98% of submitted tutorials make the front page

58 total clicks on your tutorials

Unfortunately i can not help you with programming part, but if you need some photoshop work done please let me know and i will be happy to help you.

Keep up the good work. Razvan

avatarbarbarahyman almost 13 years ago

moderators can give priority for their own tutorial sites, how can we trust them ?.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

Moderation is set up like a democracy, so to speak. One person can rate all of their own tutorials highly, but it still has to go through the guantlet of other moderators in order for it to make it to the front page. I'm not saying it's going to be a perfect process right out of the gate, but given time I think it's going to be much more reliable and give better results than before.

avatarcleartutsdave almost 13 years ago
  1. Maybe they don't own tutorial sites.
  2. We'll just have to trust them....simple. Who knows, maybe Zach is an international-terrorist building up his online presence through this site, and then in a few months he plans to send us all a super virus that will turn our computers into nuclear reactors and they'll explode.....we trust him...so we we can trust the moderators.
avatarbarbarahyman almost 13 years ago

if moderator has a tutorial site, he can give low rating another tutorials for making his own tutorials to the frontpage.

But I believe Zach setup system much more reliable.

Good Luck Zach

avatarMentalTrans almost 13 years ago

barbarahyman - I highly disagree that someone would do something like that.I rate a fellow moderators tutorial as I would rate anyone else.

avatarJick almost 13 years ago

Oh, it's finally up! Yay! Just now noticed that it was up. Great work Zach! Speeds seem to be fine for me. It just seems to be the ads slowing it down. If you wanted to do some testing you could some-how disable the ads and then try to load the page. Maybe that would tell you how much time the ads themselves are taking. Just an idea.

Anyway, keep up the great work Zach. It looks awesome! :)

avatarJick almost 13 years ago

Sorry for the double post. I just noticed that when you're in the moderation queue if you click on a tutorial to view it, it opens in the same window. So it takes you away from the moderation queue page and you have to hit back. Maybe you should have it open tutorials in the mod queue in a new window so we don't have to hit back. That's especially annoying when you're viewing a tutorial that's several pages long. Then you have to hit back several times. Just a suggestion.

avatardragoneye1589 almost 13 years ago

First off, absolutely love the new design.
But I'm having trouble logging onto the site now with firefox, I've tried clearing my cache, cookies, etc. but no luck. Works great in Opera and IE7 though.

avatarGPNS almost 13 years ago

What have You done;(? ;(;(;( give back the old version, it was 100x better than this;(((((((;(

avatarGPNS almost 13 years ago

But, aww, the new tools are insane! Respect. Sorry, big mistake. The site is great:D but i can't accustom, it will take a long time... Greetings

avatarKull almost 13 years ago

I also find it annoying that tutorials open in the same window. But it's probably a matter of habit. I think the best solution would be to give the users an option to change this by theirselves, like an "open tutorials in new windows/tabs"-checkbox under "edit profile" or something. Just a suggestion..

avatarnicks (moderator)almost 13 years ago

The user already has this choice. You can right click on any link to open the tutorial up in a new window (& tab with FF).

avatarNelsaidi almost 13 years ago

OMG! Man this looks Awesome! Nice work Zach.

avatarklaker almost 13 years ago

Wheres the "most-popular" clicks. I need it back.

avatarellord almost 13 years ago

Hey Zach,

Small bug that happens in Internet Explorer 7 in Windows XP:


The account/login tabs in the top-right corner don't render correctly, they move up a little in IE7.

Just letting you know :)

avatarcolblip almost 13 years ago

Thanks for getting the RSS working for the latest tutorials. It was also possible to RSS my saved tutorials; will this be fixed later as well?


avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

colblip- there'll be a slew of RSS additions soon, as in the next day or two. Already have a couple of the larger feeds developed and ready to go- I'll be adding RSS support for saved tutorials and a few other smaller areas too, so stay tuned.

avatarmiligraf almost 13 years ago

Just a little thing that i think will help, on the main page when listing the "New Tutorials", have them by category (Photoshop New Tutorials, PHP New Tutorials & Flash New Tutorials).

Just a thought.

avatarholman (administrator and creator)almost 13 years ago

miligraf: it's a good idea, but it's not exactly scalable. The goal is to be adding more categories than just the three listed right now, so if you break down the front page by topic it would get really confusing really quickly. I suppose now that I think about it there could be some interesting things to mess around with on the front page (in terms of grouping tutorials, etc.), but that would have to be something added as a feature in the future.

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