AppDeploy.com was rebuilt from the ground up and relaunched as ITNinja.com in 2012. AppDeploy was written by Bob Kelly as a learning project (on ASP and MS SQL). As such it was starting to slow down as traffic continued to increase and there were some security holes in the code that were exploited more than once, sometimes taking the site down for days at a time. Following the acquisition of KACE by Dell, Bob secured funding for a dedicated development team to rewrite the site and add some desirable features. Some of the changes included:
- Adding a blog capability – the old site was completely forum based which did not lend itself well to posting articles from community members. The articles that were on the site were all static pages authored by Bob.
- Adding a link capability – designed to help connect existing blogs and external resources
- Moving to a tag based system, a tag was created for each company, software title and version as pulled from the AppDeploy Package and Software databases.
- A gamification system and rewards program was established to compliment the “ninja” theme using karate belts with the ability to unlock badges for performing certain tasks.
- The site home page was dynamically built on recent and popular content based on the logged in user’s activity on the site– especially on the following of tags.
- An automated newsletter which featured content based on the tags you follow was implemented.
The site suffered some signifiant user experience issues upon initial launch, but thanks to an agile process and monthly releases the team added a UX expert and greatly improved it in a matter of months. Drastic changes, a name change and the fact that it could be challenging to find certain content in the early days of its launch saw lots of community regulars leaving and voicing their frustrations. As the site issues were addressed, the site saw a dramatic increase in KACE product related discussions and a proportional decrease in product-agnostic discussions. Eventually leading to a need for such a home, now satisfied the the new AppDetails.com community and its fresh new package knowledge base system.