Alabama Weather Prediction updates
Alabama Weather Prediction updates
awpwx.org

New Alabama Weather Prediction Website

After months of testing and receiving feedback, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our brand new website, powered by WordPress 6.0, and PHP 8.0.
The website features a new theme - Blocksy, which works side-by-side with WordPress' Gutenberg editor. That's right! Everything on the website is now a block! So while you're browsing around, keep in mind all the blocks!

 

New

  

Brand New Appearance

Say hello to our new theme - Blocksy. Most of the colors are the same as before - except many of the animations and "extras" were taken out. Users should now notice a much more comfortable, simple experience.

 

New

  

Speed and Optimization

These are key when running a website. No one wants a website that takes too long to load. So with that in mind, many, many elements were removed. We've reduced the number of Plugins from 22 to 13. This means fewer queries, less loading - and a better overall user experience.

 

New

  

New Tab System

Across several different Pages on the website, tabs were created via the WP Tabs plugin. It's especially more noticeable on our NOAA Weather Radio Page

 

New

  

New Form System

Provided right by our awesome host WPMUDev - Forminator Pro now powers our forms, which can be seen on our Contact and Application Pages.

 

Fix

  

All the Background Fixed and Optimizations

  • The Twitter feeds now load properly with the new Twitter Gutenberg block.
  • Cookie notice is included with Blocksy can be dismissed.
  • Turned off comments on Pages.
  • Deleted all media from 2020.

Newsletter Improvements, Trello For Tasks, More Website Modifications

 

New

  

Trello For Tasks

Trello is now used for task management instead of ClickUp. This decision was made because moving to Slack has caused much better interaction between our Team, especially during severe weather events. Trello seamlessly integrates with Slack

Users will see Trello embedded on the Development Page now instead of ClickUp.

 

New

  

Newsletter Improvements

Our Newsletter Page has been updated and our e-mail templates have been improved. If you haven't already, subscribe to your favorite Coverage Zone Newsletters so you can receive emails for the counties you wish.

Newsletter Template Changes

  • Now shows accurate Coverage Zones in emails.
  • New header shown in template emails.
  • Added additional helpful links to the bottom of emails.

Newsletter Page:

  • Fixed mouseover colors.
  • Updated Coverage Zones to be accurate with the latest.
  • New icons for Zone headings.
 

Improvement

  

Website Modifications

Footer

The Outlook now appears in the Footer of our website across every Page.

Homepage

  • Removed Outlook from Homepage as it is now displayed in the Footer across all Pages.
  • Hazards Image and Hazard Legend now open in a lightbox once clicked.
  • Icon links are now linked internally, meaning the URLs no longer have to manually be changed. This is a nice change for Webmasters like myself so we don't have to change the URLs each time there is deployment.
  • Added About Us section to make up for Coverage Area and Team being removed.

About Us Page

  • Coverage Area and Team section now shows on About Us Page, also noted onto Homepage Changes task.
  • Colors are now consistent, including hover colors.
  • Adjusted current 3 column space to a 4 column space to fit all the Positions.
  • Fixed a few typos.

Live Page Changes

  • Fixed mouseover colors.
  • Added informational header.
  • Added Team Twitter accounts.
  • Added Open in New Tab button for Echothread link.

Severe Page Changes

  • Fixed mouseover colors
  • Adjusted columns to 3 width and added product iFrame to 3rd column
  • Removed Outlook Page.
  • Added alerts_awpwx Twitter account.

Optimizations/Other Changes

  • All posts from 2021 have been deleted.

White Labeling with Branda

  • Cookie notice is now shown for users that are getting a browser cookie for the first time.
  • Login Page has been modified with a new template.
  • Custom Admin Bar with helpful links.

Hummingbird Pro Caching:

  • Cache is cleared every 30 days.
  • Full cache is cleared when a page/post is updated.
  • Hummingbird inserts a comment into PHP page when caching is enabled.

Hummingbird Pro Tasks:

  • Assets optimized.
  • Database cleanup happens daily at 11:00 PM
  • Performance Test happens every Sunday at 12:00 AM and report is sent to Andrew and Ben.

Smush Pro

  • Optimized all images
  • Enabled lazy loading
  • Images will be served from SMUSH CDN on the next deployment.

SmartCrawl Pro

  • Enabled OpenGraph for all Pages. Popular sites like Facebook use this.
  • Enabled Twitter Card for new posts and Pages. Results will look much better on Twitter.

Website Updates 2/20/22

 

New

  

Hazards Image

Benjamin and I have put in so much work in getting out Hazards Map to work again. While we were certain it was something on the website-end, it turns out it was a browser caching issue, more specifically - Edge.

Bottom line, the Hazards Image is back up and running on our Homepage and our Severe Page, and there is a notice that users may need to clear their cache by using CTRL+F5 (or Shift+F5) to see the most up-to-date image.

 

New

  

AWP Outlook

Our Team is happy to announce that we will maintain an Outlook specifically for our Coverage Area. This Outlook is made in conjunction with SPC and NWS Outlooks - but narrows it down specifically to our Coverage Zones.

Our Outlook is visible on our Homepage and Severe Page

 

New

  

New Liveblog Service

As previously announced, we have decided to move away from arena.im for live-blogging in favor of doing more work right from within Slack, which is proving very successful. Our live-blogging service is now provided by Echothread, a Slack extension that turns a Slack channel into a public channel. Basically, we can do a lot more right from within Slack, without having to navigate away. Our Team can discuss and push updates right to a public channel. This channel has been embedded on our Homepage and Live Page.

 

Improvement

  

Website Changes

Global Changes - Seen On Every Page

  • Added Footer that displays the current server time, our live updates across every page, a link for the latest updates (to this page), and an additional navigation menu.
  • Replaced login/register widget underneath header to one that works properly.
  • Server time was removed from header.
  • Removed logout from navigation bar.
  • Removed search from navigation bar as it was causing too many problems. Homepage
  • Furthermore condensed the elements of the homepage so there is less whitespace. - Re-arranged elements so they are grouped together better.
  • New open in new tab button for Echothread.

Specific Page Changes

  • Live Page: shrunk the QR code to thumbnail size and updated page with Echothread code.
  • NWR Radio: Updated colors to be easier to read and be consistent with the rest of the website. Additionally, there is no longer an extra plugin for loading the tables for NWR transmitters. Continue to the OPTIMIZATION section below for details.
    SPC Dashboard
  • iFrame added for SPC Watches page
  • iFrame added for SPC Mesoscale Discussion Page
  • Mousing over the cards to reveal the specific day outlook does a "zoom" effect instead of a "flip".
  • Clicking on an image now opens the image correctly.

WPC Dashboard

Much more content has been added to the WPC Dashboard, including a Day 1-3 for Overview, Excessive Rainfall Outlooks, and QPF. All tabbed up nice and neat. Additionally, the colors now match the rest of the website.


 

Improvement

  

Optimizations

  • Removed Insert Header Footer that was loading Headway, replaced it as a link in the Footer.
  • TablePress is no longer used. Previously, it was used to show SAME/FIPS codes for specific NWR Transmitters, but the code is inserted internally right on the Page instead.
  • Removed Templately.
  • Fixed Jetpack social sharing.
  • Cleaned up an add-on manager called Essential Addons to only enable add-ons that were relevant to our website.
  • Cleaned up a crap ton of tables from the DB

Updates To Our Live Blogging Service

To make things easier on the Team after our move to Slack, we are making a chance to our liveblogging service effective immediately.

We are now using a Slack application called Echothread, which publishes messages from a specific channel to a URL. This allows us to discuss amongst ourselves and pass along any updates we receive in one convenient place.

Nothing is required on the users end, as the liveblogging service has been deployed on our Homepage and our Live Page already.

Website Updates 1/25/21

Core

  • WordPress has been tested on our Staging website and is now at the latest version: WordPress 5.9.

Global Changes

  • Overall layout is boxed once again.
  • Added login bar underneath header.
  • Modified a few of the navigation icons.
  • Added server time to the header
  • Shrunk the header and adjusted it to box width.

Homepage Changes

  • Did some major work on getting rid of whitespace on the Front Page, especially at the "Our Coverage Area and Team" section.
  • Changed animation for icon headings to "pop" instead of "pulse". Can be seen by mousing over the icons. They - well - pop instead of pulse.
  • Made the Coverage icon much smaller so it doesn't take over the screen.
  • Mouse over colors are now consistent across all sections.
  • Whoops! There was a duplicate NWS Dashboard heading, fixed to SPC Dashboard like it was supposed to be.
  • Removed all mentions of Discord and Telegram on the Contact Us sections and replaced the icon with a Slack icon.
  • Coverage Zone Map has been updated and replaced with an embedded Google May (powered by Google My Maps).

Contact Page Changes

  • Page is now tabbed up much better.
  • Removed all mentions of Telegram & Discord.
  • Users can now use a form to request access to our Slack Workspace.
  • Modified the IEMChat section so it shows Pidgin instead of Trillian for a recommended client for connecting (recommended by NWS as well)

New Tab system

This was implemented to fix many issues with iFrames not showing across the Severe & NWS Dashboard Pages. Users will notice a cleaner and more responsive design as a result.

Other changes

  • Application Page: Slack is now the place for new Applicants.
  • Severe Page: Did some work to make the iFrames that show the products in effect more mobile-friendly. This may look better on some non-PC devices.
  • NWS Dashboard Page: New tab system now shows Day 1-3 Outlooks, AFD, and HWO for all offices.
  • Re-enabled Smush Pro for better image optimization, however, there was a conflict with Jetpack and Smush Pro with the "lazy loading" feature, so turned this off for Smush Pro and left it on for Jetpack. Images should now lazily load more effectively.
  • Switched to WP Optimize for website optimization, including caching. Turned off the caching features of Hummingbird Pro.
  • An iFrame plugin that was not working properly was removed.

Database Cleanup

  • Deleted all users that have registered from unknown mail providers. This affected 7 users.
  • Removed 6 useless tables.
  • Converted all table engines to MyISAM.

Removed Services

  • The telegram service has been DISCONTINUED.
  • The Discord service has been DISCONTINUED. (connected users will receive a 1-week notice before the server is deleted).

Website Updates 11/26/21

 

New

  

Appearance Changes

Announcing our new theme - Plox, a theme powered by Elementor, which is our WordPress builder. GeneratePress has been retired.

Global Appearance Changes - Changes seen on each and every section of the website

  • Icons added to tab navigation.
  • Overall width of the website has been set to "box style" so it no longer stretches across the entire screen.
  • Removed footer (for now…)
  • Shrunk the header.
  • All pages now have different headings that are consistent to the Homepage.

Mouseover effect changes
We've taken away the secondary mouseover effect for all items on all pages. It's hard to explain this, try mousing over sections and see how there is a less transitional effect.

Homepage Appearance Changes

  • Added new sections, including a Twitter card layout section for seeing tweets from our official Twitter account.
  • Added a new section showing our Team members.
  • Added blog post section.

Development Page

Live Page

  • Tip for scanning QR code now only now show on a mobile device.
  • Transitioned tabs to a new tab system that now shows icons.

Contact Page

Completely overhauled Contact Page to be tabbed and in sections.

  • Tabs are shown for each service with a description.
  • Easier Get Connected section.
  • Contact form is now more reachable and no longer at bottom of the Page.

NWS Dashboard

  • New CWA image:

image.png

  • Fixed broken iFrames
  • Transitioned to a new tab system that shows icons.

SPC Dashboard

  • Introducing Cards for our SPC Dashboard Page! Mouse over the cards to see the current outlook for that day.
  • Watches/Mesoscale Discussions are now tabbed up together.

Severe

Oh boy, get ready for this. If you made it this far, you really don't want to stop. This is the biggest update we've ever put on our Hazards page.

  • Only 1 image from NWS shows, the one surrounding BMX.
  • By the power of iFrame, the latest products are now shown right on the Page. No more navigating away!
  • Specific Product Section has been transitioned to a new tab system, and now pulls directly from NWS website using magic (by magic I mean it looks for that specific product but sssssssshhhhhhh magic) so you also don't have to click specific NWS offices.
  • This is a permanent fix for some of the iFrames not loading properly, it looks better, it's easier for users, and did I mention I'm really proud of this?)

Newsletters

Newsletters are still new to us, so it's taking some getting used to. We've made a couple of fixes to improve the layout of the newsletters that are sent to your inbox.

Changes To Live Service

Our live streaming service, called powered by arena.im has received some updates.

 

New

  

Merged into one chat room

There were previously 2 separate chat rooms that were available. They have now been merged into one, and there is a separate channel for Website updates should it be needed.

 

New

  

UI changes

  • Chat now shows up in a sidebar that can be expanded/hidden.

  • Updated the avatar to the most current.

  • Updated the header to the most current.

  • Removed the "title" that was appearing in the widget to condense space.

  • Colors updated on Chat and Widget to match website.

  • Users can now share each new post.

Newsletters Are Back, Registration Now Open, Much More!

 

New

  

Newsletters have returned!

This took an extensive amount of time to set up but had to make sure it was done right. Users can now once again subscribe to their Coverage Zone of interest and receive e-mails when we publish posts for that Zone. Additionally, users can subscribe to the Public group to receive a weekly newsletter each Friday, and when our Team broadcasts Newsletters.
Find out more on our Newsletter Page

 

New

  

Registration is now open

We have opened up registration for all users. Users can log in/register with their WordPress account or create an account right on the website. 2FA is offered and strongly recommended for all users that decide to make an account directly on our website.
Additionally, reCAPTCHA has been added to the login page to help fight any malicious activity, such as spam logins. We have WP Defender Pro that is constantly working behind the scenes to make sure no bad people attempt to access without getting put in the corner.

 

New

  

Custom 404 Page

Users that go to a page that doesn't exist will now be taken to a more informative Page, to try it out, just try to go to a Page that doesn't exist on our website.

 

New

  

Old Posts Deleted

All posts from August 20, 2020, until September 2021 were removed, including archived posts. This is to ensure only the most updated information is available. Plus, a lot of information was missing from these posts.

 

New

  

Custom Missing Image… Image

If an image is attempting to load from the server and it does not exist, it shows this now

image-not-found.png

 

New

  

Introducing 2 new Development Pages

From the power of ClickUp! See exactly what the Team is working on behind the scenes right from the website via our Development - Staging and Development - Production Pages. These can also be accessed by clicking the dropdown on the About navigation bar.

 

New

  

Other Changes

  • Discord widget has been added to the Contact page to see which users are active.
 

Fix

  
  • Fixed appearance issues on Contact Page
  • SSL has been enabled everywhere. I mean everywhere. I made sure of it personally. Lost a few fights that resulted in a K.O.

PHP Critical Errors Resolved

 

Fix

 

 

A PHP Error was occurring sporadically and has now been resolved. PHP was running out of memory caused by one of our plugins. This plugin has been removed.

Additionally, we're resuming Staging production - meaning things are going on behind-the-scenes once again.

Website Fixed: Newsletters No Longer Available, Live On Front Page, More

 

New

 

 

Our Newsletter plugin, known as MailPoet - was not only not being used - but was causing PHP errors throughout our website, causing critical PHP errors and moreso making the website inaccessible. For the time-being, Newsletters are not going to be available. I strongly advise subscribing to web notifications by clicking the bell in the bottom left corner and instead of receiving an e-mail you will see a notification in your browser.

We're looking to find a suitable alternative hopefully soon.

 

New

 

 

The Live chat widget now appears on the Front page so you can see updates right away without further navigation. A button is also there to open in a new tab for desktop and mobile devices.

 

Improvement

 

 

  • PHP has been reverted back to 7.4 as many plugins were not compaitable.
  • Removed Facebook Messenger plugin as it was not being used.
  • Removed Dark Sky Widget from Front page as it was using up too many resources.