It took us a while but the new version of LearnVisualStudio.NET is live.
We've packed a lot into this redesign and we hope that you enjoy the improvements. I'll start with those items that you might not find all that interesting, but are a HUGE improvement as far as we are concerned:
- The site is 100% built from the ground up in ASP.NET 2.0, C# 2.0 and SQL Server 2005! In fact, I'll be featuring quite a few videos soon on how we designed and developed the site from conception to deployment.
- The site looks beautiful ... because its no longer ME doing the artwork! Also, I think it does a better job conveying what it is we actually are doing here.
- We finally don't require customers to leave our site to purchase a membership! (Although PayPal is still an option...) Additionally, the purchasing process has been streamlined and improved in a hundred small ways.
- We migrated from our custom member's database to a modified ASP.NET 2.0 Authentication and Authorization database schema. When necessary, we made modifications to the schema and created our own role and member provider objects.
- In the past, We had separate management tools for customer service, for creating descriptions of the videos, generating the pages for each of the videos, etc. Additionally, any changes to the site -- even textual changes -- required us to redeploy the entire application. Now its all handled in a centralized location and served up from a database, making management very easy.
The members area has been revamped as well (video tour here
- The video library can be sliced and diced in a number of different ways. When viewing the video list by series you can sort by title, last updated, first created, and number of videos. When viewing the list of individual videos, you can sort by the date the video was added to the site or the title of the video. Additionally, we have tagged each of the videos in a number of different categories ... VB, C#, ADO.NET, 2003, 2005, SQL, and more. If you want to see all the videos that pertain to ADO.NET using the 2003 toolset with examples in C#, you can simply click off those check boxes and the list of videos is filtered to display just those!
- We've included a "Getting Started" section with a suggestion of which videos to watch. We realize there are so many videos that you may need some guidance to know where to start. Hopefully, this is just the first of such efforts to make it more obvious as you begin on our website of our suggestions and advice in that regard.
- We are including a download count on each video page, so you can tell whether or not you've downloaded this particular video before. Obviously, for those long time users of LVS, this might not be so helpful, so in the future we're going to include a "I've already seen this" button so you can easily go through your local collection of videos and use this as a tracking mechanism for your own purposes.
- You can change your email address now! ALSO, your username doesn't have to be your email address ... you can make them independent of each other if you choose. We're using ASP.NET 2.0's controls for login and password reminders, so we KNOW it works this time :)
- One week before your subscription expires, you'll see a large red banner ad that you CAN NOT MISS as a reminder! In the past, people have complained (and rightly so) that they were not aware that their subscription was about to end, so hopefully this will alleviate that problem.
- We've included a series of "Bob's Tips" around the member's area to occasion call to your attention little facets of functionality you might not be aware of. (No, the little "Bob head" was not my idea ... David and Dustin thought it would be funny ... thanks a lot, guys :P )
- We've included two main sections on the user's home page, the first will call your attention to the latest videos we've created, and the second (what you're looking at) is a blog-like posting update thingy. Both of these have RSS feeds you can subscribe to!
- There's probably some other things I'm not thinking of at the moment ...