MichD

 

TheAudioPortal

TheAudioPortal was a website and forum to share and review the members' music and improve as musicians.

Created in response to some longstanding issues on the Newgrounds Audio Portal, the site was largely modeled after Newgrounds' layout and structure. It had some new, perhaps naive ideas about how the scoring system would work. The scoring system would be the main driver for discoverability as it was on NG, hence the aim was to improve upon that.

Developed over the course of about 2 years, it never saw much adoption beyond perhaps a hundred or so active users. It did provide me a platform to learn a lot about web development, however.

My friend Derek and a few others spent a lot of time brainstorming the details of how this site should work, testing new features, and so forth. It never would’ve materialised at all without Derek’s help.

Features

The site featured the following:

  • Frontpage showcasing staff-picked music, latest forum topics, latest music uploads, and latest news post
  • A “portal” where you could browse all the user uploads in various orderings, or via a search function
  • Listen pages with:
    • Audio player
    • Author comments
    • Technical info about the production of the track
    • Separated reviews and comments sections
    • Various other data and statistics about the track and its author(s),
    • download, favorite, share buttons
    • licensing terms
  • A forum with several subforums, and appropriate moderation tools
  • User profile pages including a feed of user activity such as posting new music, commenting on / reviewing music, posting on the forums
  • An IRC chatroom

First time uploads were vetted by a few moderators, after which users could freely upload. The moderation section featured an audit log as well, to help keep track of the goings-on. Forum moderators had the option to lock and delete forum topics, as well as temporarily or permanently ban users from posting.

Audio moderators could vet new users' uploads and delete audio uploads whenever, as well as ban users from uploading further audio.

Screenshots

Unfortunately I haven’t retained any good screenshots, but I was able to take some from the Internet archive’s wayback machine. There are some images that have gone missing, and the header misses the logo next to the site name, hence the weird offset.

The portal:

A listen page:

The forum overview, missing some icons on the left:

Technology

I built this site as I was very much still learning the ropes about web tech.

The site was written in PHP 5.x, without the use of any web framework. That is, the url structure used was reflected in folders containing index.php files and the like. The forum system was written from scratch despite several well-established systems existing. The site was served through Apache. Getting the URL structure tidy involved a whole bunch of rewrite rules. The development cycle was mostly “develop in production” by FTPing over files named index2.php and such; well before I knew about version control. It makes me shiver a bit as I write this.


This project is of course very old, but it felt worth listing considering how much time I invested into it.

The domain was “theaudioportal.com” which has long since expired, but you can still find it on the wayback machine and browse around a bit: TheAudioPortal.com on the Wayback machine.