Scout.com, Illini Inquirer to Transition to New Site Platform Next Month

Scout.com will be moving its content and community to a new user interface and platform in July

Four months ago, CBS acquired Scout, Illini Inquirer's network partner. Since then, the CBS team completed a thorough review of Scout's platform and technology and has been working feverishly to prepare the site for a comprehensive overhaul.

The preparations are nearing completion and the overhaul will be implemented next month. To get a better understanding of what's involved, and to be an active participant in developing the end products, Illini Inquirer made a return trip to Nashville this week to meet with CBS engineers.

What does this overhaul entail? By the end of July, Scout, and therefore Illini Inquirer, will be moving to a new platform for all aspects of the site. That includes the forums, front page, articles, database, and video. User accounts, articles, media, and forums posts will be migrated to the new site.

Why do an overhaul? The biggest reason is stability. This new site is being built off the existing CBS platform, whereas the Scout infrastructure is unstable and a major burden to maintain. The CBS platform offers much greater stability immediately, and also scaleability, which creates some exciting potential for adding site features and improving coverage. It's important to highlight that while this is a new platform to us, it's not new to CBS, as they've been using it for years now, so this is existing, functional technology that has been tested in a live setting.

Why now? Changes of this magnitude cannot be implemented in-season. Not only is our staff preoccupied with coverage responsibilities, but readers don't want to be distracted with a brand new interface and any potential accompanying bugs during that time. And the prospect of staying on an unstable platform until next April is a risk not worth taking.

What to expect? A faster and more stable site. Specifically with regards to the forums, there will be some features and characteristics that our users have been requesting for years. For example, you will be able to jump to new posts within a thread, you'll be able to upload images directly to your posts, and there will be an unlimited posting archive moving forward. There will, however, be some temporary feature voids as they are re-developed, such as the Scout iOS app, Quick Reply, and effective search tools.

This is going to be the same Illini Inquirer - same staff, same content, same community. It's just going to be on a new platform. We understand change is inconvenient, but we've made efforts to make the new look as familiar as possible and are confident this is both a necessary and beneficial move for the present and future of Illini Inquirer.

The product that debuts next month should be viewed as a starting point. As we've done in the past, we'll request and compile reader feedback and develop a priority list based off this feedback to submit changes, bug fixes and feature requests, which CBS says it will prioritize in the coming months.

- The Illini Inquirer staff


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