Update #4 – New Features and Upcoming Beta Test

It’s been a while since my last blog post. A lot of things have changed since then. If you haven’t read the previous post, the entire system revamp was completed and that allowed me to completely focus on adding new features as well as polishing current areas of the website. I aim to create FitMonstr a very user friendly and seamless experience for its users because that is my main goal and that is what sets it aside from other websites such as bodybuilding.com.

FitMonstr now supports US and UK regions. There really isn’t that much difference between the two sites other than the supplement price comparison section which grabs data from different locations. For example, the US site grabs data from amazon.com where as the UK site grabs data from amazon.co.uk. Besides that, the other differences are minimal. The UK site can be accessed by either adding a UK prefix on the website URL (such as http://uk.fitmonstr.com) or by changing the region on the top menu.

Another great feature now is that the approval system is in complete working order. Users can now submit edit requests on exercises, and supplements if they feel the information is incorrect. The data then get submitted to an administrator who then reviews the request and either approves or denies it. This allows the content to be regulated to prevent incorrect information and/or spam.

All of the images are now hosted on FitMonstr. I have worked hard on the system so that the images can be uploaded safely and securely to the server without anything malicious passing through its safety checks. This is a great stride forward towards a more user friendly experience because previously, images could only be hot linked on image hosting sites such as imgur.com.

Users can now admire each other. I want FitMonstr to have a friendly community within the fitness industry and to help with that, I want to create as much user interactivity as possible. Initially I planned to create a friend system but I thought that was too generic so I decided to give a “fitness twist” to it. Basically, if you feel like you enjoy a specific users content or just simply see them as a friend, you can “admire” them and you will be added on their admiration list. You can admire other users without them admiring you back which tackles the need of having a mutual agreement.  I understand that may cause some problems with some users who feel that they want to remain private and keep their account hidden and away from any user interactivity and because of this, in the near future, privacy settings will be implemented so that the user can adjust their privacy to their needs. (for example, they could disable people admiring them).

One pretty cool feature I have implemented is a notification list. If you have any interactions with any other user, you will receive a notification to alert you of it. The notification is non obtrusive and can only be accessed by the navigation bar along the top. This is great if you want to find out if anyone has replied to your forum topics or if anybody has admired you.

Here is a little sneak peak –




FitMonstr is hopefully starting a closed BETA test within the next coming weeks and we are hoping we can gather a few people who are interested in participating. By participating in the BETA test, if you make any feedback on the website, we will add your name to the credits page we plan to make on FitMonstr. You can chose to opt out of being credited if you do not want your name to be listed. The credits page will be available to access on the websites footer and will be view-able by all. If you make an account on the system, your account will also be granted “Pioneer” status and that will be shown on your profile account page for everyone to see.

If you are interested in participating in the BETA, please don’t hesitate to contact us via twitter over at @TheFitMonstr and send us a mention or a DM. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading and remember to #BeABeast

Recap of first revamp

So the revamp of FitMonstr had started a couple days ago and some solid progress has been made. If you haven’t read the previous post, basically what is happening is that we are going through the entire system and updating it with new programming concepts and techniques. The reason that we are doing this is because, ultimately, this leads to not only a more dynamic and secure system, but it also makes the back end code much more readable. This, in turn, allows us to make changes to the system more efficiently and without the risk of breaking anything.

So first off, we had to change the very foundations of the system. FitMonstr used to use MySQL_Connect to connect to the database, but if you know anything about PHP, you will also know that MYSQL_Connect is deprecated. This means it is no longer supported as there are new, more secure and efficient methods to connect to the database such as PDO (PHP Data Objects) and MySQLi. PDO is what we are going to be replacing everything with. Not only does PDO implement the use of objects to connect to the database, it also allows for the use of prepared statements which helps against SQL Injection attacks. Pretty much every single query that is used on the system will have to be replaced with its PDO counterpart.

Once we had changed the foundations, we had to revamp the user system. This includes the login and register. The user system  used to work by creating users in a procedural method. This means that the system went down the code and just completed everything in turn. Now we have implemented a user class into the mix so now users can be created as objects on the fly without having to do much at all. This is especially useful but we can also use this object on other areas of the website if need be (e.g creating a user via the admin area). This also allows us to change the users settings without needing to change it’s associated pages.

For the first stage of the revamp, we have made some pretty good progress transitioning the system to more efficient and stable methods but we still have a long way to go.