Today, we’re proud to announce the new Stack Exchange blog, all shiny and new! It’s been six to eight weeks in the making and we’re really happy our community can finally see it. Here’s an overview of the major changes that we’ve made to the site:
The biggest change we’ve made is the introduction of channels on the blog. In the previous blog, we pretty much put everything in one column, organized by tags. We still have all the posts in chronological order on the homepage of the new blog, but we realized there are two big buckets of content that we want to post here: company news and engineering posts. We want to recast our blog not just as a place to post updates as they come, but to become an amazing source of news, technical knowledge, and insight into the communities we’ve built.
If you’ve been visiting our blog regularly, this channel houses the kind of content you should already be very familiar with. This includes all of the podcasts, announcements about the company, and updates about the Stack Exchange community. In effect, this is exactly what the old blog was and will continue to be – with some added features. We’ve also decided to include more posts in this channel that we want to highlight: happenings in the office with explanations of our internal culture, and all the amazing diversity efforts we’ve been pursuing. This is the place to learn everything about Stack Exchange the community and the company.
The newest addition to the blog is the engineering channel. One of my favorite things about working at Stack Exchange is the amazing engineering culture we’ve built and our place in the developer community at large, especially with Stack Overflow. This channel gives you an inside look into that culture: how we build things, why we build them, and what we think about approaching technical problems. This includes technical walkthroughs of new features we’ve built, announcements of open source projects we’re working on, and the public outreach efforts we’re working on for the developer community. This blog even includes reposts of some of engineers’ most popular posts on their personal blogs, as well as opinion pieces on technical practices. There’s even a walkthough of how we built the new blog on the channel you can read now!
There’s a subsection for each major part of our engineering team: developers, SREs, designers, and anyone else that touches our product creation process. As we grow, you can expect to see more content fill up here, and possibly bring in outside contributors as well.
An all new design
The most notable thing that we changed is the overall design. We wanted to make something that people enjoy reading, exploring, and learning from. Most of all the things from the previous blog still exist: previous posts with archived comments, tagged posts sortable by category, and so on. We’ve also added some additional functionality here: new navigation that emphasizes our new channels and content, posts sortable by author, and better feeds with individual post pages for readability. Take a look around, there’s a lot of changes we’ve made here.
A new navigation that emphasizes the new channels and subsections we want to emphasize
Better overview look that’s more photo heavy, provides an excerpt, and the ability to look through posts sortable by authors
A revamped individual post view with bigger text, more spacing, and more photo heavy
The last thing I want to mention is that we’ve made the code for our blog open source. One of the things we love doing as an engineering team is to work in the open when we can. We love involving the communities we build in almost everything we do as a rule, especially our technical community, and the blog is no exception to that rule. We’ve migrated our previous blog from a WordPress site and rebuilt our new blog powered by Jekyll, which is also open source.
If you have suggestions for how to make the new blog better, create an issue and one of our developers will take a look at it (probably me). If you’re a developer, we encourage you to take a look at the source code and make pull requests for changes as well. If you want a walkthrough of how we built the blog, take a look at the engineering channel for an inside look.
More to come
There’s so much more we want to do with this blog in the future. It’s one of the few places we have as a company to talk directly to the community we’ve helped build and love so much. As always, sound off in the comments about what you think of the changes, ideas you have about how to make it better, or take an extra step and become a contributor writing code. Until next time!
Jon is a developer and heads up evangelism efforts at Stack Exchange. You can follow him on Twitter.