ChangeWindows 5.0

Almost 2 years ago we launched ChangeWindows 4. We’ve never before tagged along on a major version for that long, but CW4 was a major step for us in the right direction and all the way to version 4.13, we’ve made quite a bit of progress that I can only be proud off. We’ve been talking about it since June 2017, even did one failed attempt, but today the day has come.

Welcome to ChangeWindows 5.

New look

The point of CW5 was never to redesign ChangeWindows. Hence, you’ll find that while things look different, everything still has remained pretty much the same… It’s just all much more polished.

One of the most notable changes to our design may be our new logo. We’re leaving the old logo behind, including its typography and colors and are moving to a more hot pink-ish color with bold text and a logo with shadow and depth.

Our updated design for the logo is also reflected in the design of the website itself. This means that you’ll see more transparency, more blur, more shadow, more rounded corners, more glowing elements, and other Fluent Design aspects. As per usual, as we progress through version 5.x, you can expect us to change and improve the design further. Most importantly, for the iconography:

The platform iconography is one of the last design elements that got their redesign and while I’m happy with the direction, I’m not yet happy with how they have turned out. This is an area where you’ll see us make some changes in the coming weeks.

A revamped backend

ChangeWindows so far has always been written without an underlying framework. This might have worked fine for version 2 and 3, but with 4 I was really pushing the limits and extending ChangeWindows was annoying at best. And thus as of version 5, we’ve decided to go with Laravel. This will make future development a lot easier for us and makes ChangeWindows much more secure. You as a user won’t notice much of this change, but for ChangeWindows, it’s a big one.

Timeline

One of the most important limitations in CW4 was that our timeline, when viewing everything, just stopped after 100 flights. That still is the case, but now we will also show you pagination and thus you can go back and forth in time as much as you want.

You’ll also notice that right now, we have a set of highlights at the top of our main page. If you feel like these are a waste of space, don’t worry, they won’t stay there forever. Highlights are just things we believe worth pointing out.

Milestones

The milestones page has not received any major changes, but once you dive into a milestone, you’ll see a refreshed overview.

We now show you a list of the 5 last flights for each individual platform, instead of just the last flight for the stable and preview of either platforms. We hope that this makes this page much more useful.

If you go to a specific platform within a milestone, you’ll find that these pages have been revamped too. Gone are the confusingly large colored blocks. Instead you’ll see a list of each build and when they were flighted in which rings. You’ll also notice that the milestone navigation now continues to be visible on platform pages.

About, Patrons, Changelog, Terms and Privacy

Our “About” page has also been revamped. You’ll find now that we’re highlighting our Patrons much more visibly on this page. You will also find 3 other tabs in this section: Changelog, Terms and Privacy. While Terms and Privacy are just some fancy texts, Changelog is where you’ll find what we changed to ChangeWindows. Always nice to keep an eye on.

BuildFeed Data

Earlier this year BuildFeed.net went down. To keep this data accessible for everyone, we’ve decided to host an archive of it on ChangeWindows. Note that it is an *archive*, we’re not expanding on it.

ChangeWindows App

We’re also giving our apps another update. This is of course to introduce our new logo, but you’ll also see that they are no longer called ChangeWindows and ChangeWindows Preview, but instead Viv and Viv Preview. “Viv” was the name we used during the development of CW5, and we’re now adopting it as the name for our apps.

So today we’re also releasing an update to our Viv app. This update will bump its version from 0.4.4 to 0.8.1 (due to Viv Preview, we are skipping a few versions here). The app will now require at least Windows 10 version 1709 (up from 1511). As a result it comes with fluent scroll bars, which disappear when you’re not close to them. Which is nice.

You’ll also notice that the Viv app, even when still using version 0.4.4 is yet again capable of coloring the title bar the same way our site is colored. This is something we removed with ChangeWindows 4.11, now its back.

Open source

During ChangeWindows 2, 3 and 4 you could find the changelogs published on ChangeWindows on GitHub. Our source code… not. But starting with ChangeWindows 5, we’re opening up. You can find our source code in the ChangeWindows/Viv repository. Mind our AGPL license, some already failed to do so.

As a side note: we will no longer maintain the ChangeWindows/Content-repository.

And much more

There are also a lot of goodies for me, with a bunch of fancy new management tools, which is honestly where my focus was. There is no point in having a lot of user options if the content isn’t properly manageable. Again, not something you’d notice, but I’m quite excited about it. This is just the start, and we’ve got plans for the future.

Now what

With that out of the way, ChangeWindows 5.1 is going to be a small maintenance update, some management tool changes, some changes to our permissions system, etc. Don’t expect to much from it.

What you can expect however is that we’re going to spend some serious attention on our non-PC content. Changelog for Xbox, Server and other platforms, as well as regular updates has been lacking for a long time. We recently started publishing Xbox changelogs consistently again, and now we’re going to fill in the gaps. This will start with Xbox, then Server, Holographic, Team and IoT will follow.

Future vision

That’s the “this is gonna happen soon-future”, but what about our vision beyond that? Where do we want to take ChangeWindows next? Well: the goal is eventually for ChangeWindows to not just be a website where you can find the latest information about any build of Windows, but for it to become a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about the Windows & Xbox Insider Program. This includes guides, information, commenting on changelogs, discussions and much, much more. You’ll see us build this in the coming year. Exciting times are ahead of us!