At long last, we have a new Create Digital Music. Australian gurus James Loveday (site functionality) and Nathanael Jeanneret (graphic design) have worked with me over the past few months on a grueling design and migration process, and I couldn’t be more excited about the results. Obviously, everything looks completely different, and whereas the previous site broke in major browsers like MSIE for Windows, we’re now completely committed to cross-browser compatibility. It’s more than aesthetics, however: we want to improve the way you use and read CDM.

    Easier-to-find stories: Marking stories carefully with tags (otherwise known as keywords to the non-Web world) is going to make it a lot easier to locate articles. In addition to obvious uses, like finding all the stories on free and open source software or Intel Macs, or everything written about Ableton Live, we’ve discovered some unusual CDM leitmotifs, like musical puppetry. (Really.) I care enough about this that I recataloged nearly 1200 previous stories on CDM. And yes, search and full archives (both of which we’ll continue to tweak) are part of that, too.
    More from you: Thanks to dumping our old content management system, it’s easier now to manage your contents, your contributions, stories from writers other than just me, and, of course, the new forum. And yes, I’ve learned on a whole number of issues readers here know vastly more than me; that’s part of the beauty of the Web.We’re really just getting started here, as we have other ideas to expand on this. However — and this is important — I believe that for a lot of us, the primary goal is still making music, not necessarily hanging around online 24/7. So as these features grow, we’re going to work hard to keep them manageable.
    Featured content: I believe as many of you do that blogs don’t have to be limited to endless short blurbs, that we can do some richer feature content, how-tos, reviews, and stories you can dig your teeth into, but that are still tailored to an online medium. We finally have a platform on which this is more practical. If you have suggestions for stories, please tell us over on the feedback board.
    A firmer back end: And really, who doesn’t want that? Seriously, 90% of the problems CDM has had, from browser incompatibility to inflexible and hard-to-navigate content to display problems to editing problems to the inability to implement features . . . all of these are things that unfortunately came out of using the wrong content management system for what we needed. That would be Mambo, aka Joomla, aka some other words I won’t repeat. It simply wasn’t the right tool for CDM. We’ve switched to WordPress, we’re already overjoyed about it, and we’re not looking back.
    No, we’re not done; yes, some things are probably broken: Launching a site is terrifying, because there are various things you can’t fully test until you go live, and you always wind up with to-do items that had to be temporarily shelved in order to launch. So here we are. I’m sure there are things that aren’t working at all, or that aren’t working the way you’d like. If you notice anything amiss or you’d like to comment on the way the site looks now, please tell us by visiting our new feedback and suggestions forum. I expect we’ll be making plenty of minor improvements and fixes over the coming weeks to make the site better.

Thanks to James and Nat for a truly heroic effort on this site. And thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the old site, who suggested better content management systems (particularly those of you who lobbied hard for WordPress), to Steve for giving us guidance on the migration process, and to Michael Hampton of Homeland Stupidity who wrote our Mambo export script for us. You’ll be seeing still more from us soon. First, for anyone else trying to migrate from Mambo, we’ll have some resources for you. And second, we’ll soon have a second little surprise for you, a little something called Create Digital Motion. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new site.