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After several long nights, I have finally gotten the new skin into a presentable form. I've tried hard to preserve some of the sensibilities of Monaco (the old skin) while keeping with the modern look of the new skin (called Wikia, but to avoid confusion, we'll use its original codename: Oasis). Because of our various shades of orange and yellow, I had lots of tweaks to make that couldn't be done simply by using the Theme Designer provided by Wikia. Hopefully you like what I've come up with, even if you're not used to the skin just yet.
Now that the basics of the skin are done, we can turn our attention to other changes we'll need to make to accommodate Oasis. The menus system is completely different from Monaco. The new drop-down menus only allow us four categories with seven items each and don't allow any further sub-menus. Therefore, we'll have to change a lot of the way we navigate. We are considering several options:
- Main page links would put many of our old sidebar menu links on the main page. They would most likely be displayed in a few boxes and sorted by category. It would require significant changes to the main page, but we're already considering a refresh on that anyway (more in a minute).
- Portal pages similar to the merchandise portal would let us separate the categories out and allow them to be shown graphically, but would require more clicks. For example, to get to Ferb, you'd have to hover over the drop-down menu and click Kids & wait for the portal to load, then click on Ferb in the portal box.
- Portal boxes on Category pages could be used rather than separate portal pages. The menus currently link to the category pages and adding the mini-portals to the top with the most popular links is one of the easier solutions.
- Featuring popular content on the menus is what Wikia had in mind when they developed this system. There is some code to allow us to auto-magically fill the menus with the most popular items from a particular category. The Songs menu is currently doing this. Combining this with main page links and mini-portals on categories would be a very comprehensive solution.
We are also looking at some changes to the main page even if we don't add a whole bunch of links there. Most of the changes we have in mind are things that would modernize and streamline our main page. We currently have one of the longest main pages in Wikia. There are a some great new features that Wikia introduced since our main page was redone the last time that would help us do just that:
- Wiki Slider is a new feature that would allow us to streamline the way we do our Episode Progression boxes. You can see it in action at the Twilight Wiki. It is the large automatic moving slideshow. If we can customize it a bit (make it smaller), we can use it to feature the previous and upcoming episodes.
- RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a technology that allows us to scour the web and find news articles relating to Phineas and Ferb and link to them. Wikia has introduced a feature that would let us put an RSS feed on our wiki.
- Featured Picture can be redone as a slideshow, allowing us to showcase previous images as well as the current image. Since we have the largest collection of Phineas and Ferb screencaps on the web, we shouldn't be afraid to show them off.
- Why can't I see the new skin? - There was an error on RRabbit42's blog. Until October 20th, only users with logged-in accounts will be able to see Oasis in action unless you visit a Lifestyle hub wiki or one of the beta test wikis. If you have an account, you can visit the Skin tab on your Preferences. Select New Wikia Look and click Save. You should now see all Wikia wikis with the new skin. You can change back and forth until November 3rd.
- Will I still be able to use Monaco? - Unfortunately, no. Many of the changes that the wiki will have to make for Oasis won't be compatible with Monaco. For instance, the Real World & Featured Article icons are no longer appearing in Monaco to allow them to be shown correctly in Oasis. Infobox widths may need to be adjusted to be more pleasing to the eye with Oasis. You get the idea.
- I've heard another wiki is moving, is Phineas and Ferb Wiki? - The admin team is standing behind our work here at Wikia. Changing hosts is a much larger undertaking than you might think. We can't just delete what we've done here and leave a note where we're moving to. There would essentially become two Phineas and Ferb Wikis. One here and one where we would move to. And this would very likely be listed on Google first. This isn't a good solution in our minds.
- What happened to my favorite feature? - Many of the features that used to be accessible by the side menu are no longer readily available. However, you can add many of them back to your My Tools menu located in the orange bar at the bottom of the screen. In the popup window, start typing the name of the page you want, and it will appear. Most users will want to add Upload Photo and Recent Changes back into their My Tools menu. Don't forget to click Save when you're done.