For the past months, we’ve been working with our friends at Vanilla Forums to redesign our Imagination Insider developer forums for our PowerVR and Meta technologies. We’re all incredibly excited to pull the cover off the latest look of Imagination’s brand new micro-site dedicated to supporting an ecosystem currently counting over 35,000 members. Our amazing Developer Technology and Web Services teams have been working hard, re-thinking how the site has been and should be used to create something that’s flexible and intuitive to use as well as faster and more advanced on the inside. We also wanted to come up with something that looks as good on your smartphone and tablet as it does on your desktop or laptop computer and includes social media and our blogs into the mix.
We therefore invite you to a quick tour of what’s changed with a few tips on how to use the new Imagination developer forum.
A unified layout: Out with the old, in with the new
For those of you who were familiar with the old look of the PowerVR Insider forum, you might be wondering why we’ve moved away from the traditional layout to the new questions and answers-based system.
Simply put, we’ve made a Q&A style community because that was what people were doing, asking questions and getting answers. We wanted to let people do that more easily and reward them for it. By adopting this format, users should get more answers, faster, and find the content they were interested in without having to search through an irrelevant backlog of data. We’ve also moved to a unified design; instead of artificially spreading discussions over many pre-defined categories, splitting conversations and our community, we believe this is the best way to keep the conversation going.
The move to tags and categories over individual forums was done to avoid subdividing the forum. Tags are easy to search, and if you’re interested in a certain tag you can click on it to see the posts that are relevant. Also, our support engineers will be notified if a post is made in a tag they are involved in. So for example, the PVRTrace team will be notified when someone posts something tagged with “pvrtrace”.
User can bookmark posts they are interested in and they will appear under the bookmarks menu under their username. They can see what they are involved in, as well as all the unanswered posts in the forum if they’re interested. The ‘Best of’ is another useful feature to display the best posts from the forum as voted on by the community.
Improved performance and reliability
The PowerVR Insider forum launched a few years ago. At the time, it was one of the best tools to interact with everyone from large games companies to indie developers but it’s become unsustainable moving forward. It targeted strictly PowerVR developers and was not designed to hold interactions with thousands of people, with more and more joining every month and accessing it on their mobile devices and cellular connections than ever before. We wanted a forum just as fast, simple and reliable as Imagination’s hardware IP that’s inside your smartphone or tablet; and Vanilla provided that.
Vanilla has also implemented several spam management features that deserve your attention. These include spam prevention plugins that automatically detect unwanted content and a spam reaction feature that allows community-driven SPAM detection. As a deterrent, nofollows are also placed on URLs so that search engine crawlers don’t index content linked from the forum.
Imagination Insider Programme forum: reactions
Meta Insider – meet the new member of the Insider family
The Meta Insider programme is a new and fresh take on the CPU ecosystem, targeting developers who have a passion for mobile and embedded processing. The Meta Insider developer forum aims to speed up application bring-up time on Meta and MetaFlow development systems.
The Meta Insider Developer Programme today consists of a low cost, high performance Meta-based hardware platform (known as the Minimorph) and a MetaFlow SDK for embedded Linux applications and Flow-based applications executing on the Minimorph. All MetaFlow SDK users can access the FlowWorld portal, which provides the gateway to a rapidly growing portfolio of services.
The SDK consists of a complete software toolchain, a Codescape debugger and other development tools.
Our MetaFlow SDK is optimized for flexibility and fully-featured support. You can register on the dedicated website (it’s simple and free!) and download all the relevant documentation to get you up and running. If you need technical support or want to benefit from working with us to showcase your products, don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or ask a question on the new forum. We’ll be happy to discuss how we can best help you.
Social Media and the Imagination Insider Community
Users are no longer rewarded based on the number of posts, instead we’re rewarding people based on their “reputation”. It can be gained by posting insightful, useful comments. More reputation points are gained by successfully answering a question. We also reward people with badges when they reach certain milestones (connecting Facebook, connecting Twitter, uploading an avatar, answering their first question, getting their comment shared and liked etc.). This will encourage established members of the Imagination community to promote their activity and also will act as a guide to new members and to those looking for support.
Imagination Insider Programme forum: badges
Each person’s profile also includes a timeline which they can post on, as does the overall site in the form of the “activity” panel. Users will also be given certain ranks or “levels” based on their reputation. These levels (there are nine currently) grant just an honorific title, but we’re looking towards using these levels in the future to grant extra powers on the forum, extra features, and possibly exclusive access to beta programs and the like.
We understand that registration can be a pain so we want to make it as easy as possible. Currently OpenID and Google Sign-on are supported, with Twitter and Facebook coming soon. In addition, we’re moving towards a wider single sign-on feature, which means when you sign up for the forum, your account will be replicated across all of Imagination’s logins, meaning it’ll create an Insider account too, even if you use Facebook or Twitter to sign in. Also, at some point, our blog will be integrated as well, making sure our users are up-to-date on the latest and greatest articles from Imagination.
We hope you’ll enjoy the updated website and look forward to your feedback. To help you get started, Joe Davis from the PowerVR DevTech team has put together a PowerVR FAQ list with a list of the answers to the most commonly asked questions.