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Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the world!

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Skinstr
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Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the world!

Skinstr » May 17th, 2014, 9:13 pm

Hi folks, I'm posting here to share with you a project I've been working on for quite some time now.

Basics:
Skinstr is a website where creative people showcase their beautiful desktops. Ranging from full Rainmeter skins, to a simple screenshots and wallpapers, we've got it all!
- That would be most accurate quote describing this project.

What is this about:
I wanted to create a place that would gather creative folks who enjoy taking their desktops to the next level. There are similar projects out there that are trying to do this, but they are either dead (customize.org) or not focused (deviantart).

How will this be different:
I built Skinstr from ground up focusing on what the project is about. It will cover less things but those that will be covered by it, will be done so with quality.

Idea:
Skinstr is a sharing platform with some social elements that will enable signed up users to submit their work in several categories, each with separate rules and requirements. Anyone will be able to share their work, as long as they have rights to do so.

Submission:
Submission will me a moderated process. The idea is to have a handful of trusted moderators that will approve work for new users. Once user has a successful item(s) published, his further submissions will be published directly unmodified. Flagged submissions will of course me reviewed and moderated accordingly.

Separation:
Items will be separated by:
Category - rainmeter skins, screenshots, wallpapers etc.
Theme - gaming, fantasy, anime, sport etc.
Tags - a limited number of words that you can tag your item with

Depending on the category, different rules will apply.
For example, a rainmeter category will only be allowed (and required) to upload files in .rmskin format.

Each item will have a limited number of attachments in it, as well as any number of screens depicting the work.

Browsing:
I will give my best to implement a great browsing UI which will enable you to filter (out) any content you (don't) want to see, saving time and helping you find what you are looking for.

Images:
Item uploaded to website will have any number of images attached to it. Images will have a tagging feature, meaning that author will have possibility of tagging any part of the image, giving that tag caption and optional link.

Attachments:
As well as images, author will be able to add a limited number of attachments connected to his submission. I have yet to plan this out, but idea is to provide a quick way for interested visitors to get all they need for recreating the shown desktop.

Community:
Besides comments area on every item, we will have a dedicated forum too where discussion between community members will be possible (and encouraged).
Skinstr will feature user badges and rewards, encouraging users to be more active on the site.

Will it be free:
All parts of Skinstr will be free for anyone. There will be ads on a website (to help cover the server and development cost) but I'll try to keep that to a minimum and out of your way.
There will also be a donor option which will enable you to donate some small $$ to a developer to get rid of ads and a unique shiny donor badge.

Other stuff:
For those who are interested, this project is being built using WordPress as an app framework.
No, I did not modify a Twenty Twelve theme and stick a Gravity Forms on it, everything is done from scratch (I'm a WP contributor so I like to believe I know what I'm doing :D) but WP is used for it's awesome features which speed up development time tremendously.
Also, a regular joe will never notice WordPress is behind the scene as everything (including posting and moderation) will be done on the frontend, no /wp-admin.

I also plan to integrate an API for developers to take advantage of, but that's currently not a priority.

Ok enough talk, when do you start:
Skinstr is still in a development phase, but a lot of the hardest features have already been completed. There is still a lot of work to do prior to public release and it's a one-man team, but I will need some beta testers who will test the system and populate the website with initial content. Those will be recognized accordingly.

If all of this sounds interesting to you, you can show your interest here: http://landing.skinstr.com/

Anyone who signs up their interest before the launch will have early access and possibly other recognitions once the website launches.

So yeah, feel free to sign up, and if you have any comment or critique on what I've covered above, I'd be happy to hear and address it.

Thanks folks
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Active Colors
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

Active Colors » May 20th, 2014, 12:54 am

Good luck in your development. I'm looking forward for this.

Can I have a beta testing access?
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Skinstr
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

Skinstr » May 20th, 2014, 10:27 am

Thank you :)

Of course, one of the reasons I posted here was to gather people who would be interested in helping me test things out before going public.

Can you please pm me your email address and I'll make sure to let you know when the website is ready for testing.
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exper1mental
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

exper1mental » May 27th, 2014, 6:42 pm

Looks cool, would love to also get in on the beta testing! (I also subscribed to get notifications from the website)
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Skinstr
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

Skinstr » May 27th, 2014, 8:34 pm

exper1mental wrote:Looks cool, would love to also get in on the beta testing! (I also subscribed to get notifications from the website)
Thank you, I'll make sure to contact you!
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Skinstr
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

Skinstr » May 28th, 2014, 12:05 pm

I have a question for you guys, what should be the biggest attachment size allowed for uploading?

Is 5mb enough for most Rainmeter skins (that would in my opinion be the biggest attachments).

I am currently working in that area and I imagined it like this:

Attachments are optional
- some categories don't need attachments, like a wallpaper category (wallpaper download button will be provided instead).

In certain categories, attachments are required
- rainmeter skins for example, will require at least one attachment

Forced attachment type
- in certain categories (rainmeter for example) a certain attachment type is forced to appear at least once, but other attachment types are not limited to that type
- what that means is that main attachment in rmskins category will be of a .rmskin, but other attachments can also be provided (including .zip)
- the reason for this is that often, together with the rmskin, other stuff might need to be provided, like an iconset, wallpaper used etc


Let me know what you think about this guys, I would appreciate your opinions.
FlyingHyrax
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

FlyingHyrax » May 28th, 2014, 10:01 pm

Skinstr wrote:I have a question for you guys, what should be the biggest attachment size allowed for uploading?

Is 5mb enough for most Rainmeter skins (that would in my opinion be the biggest attachments).
5 MB covers a lot, but would not be enough for many skins; the size is often much larger for skins/suites that include many images. A few examples:
http://rainmeter.deviantart.com/art/ABP-1-2-173567354
http://interacteight.deviantart.com/art/FLaTTs-FINAL-402803355
http://vinod221091.deviantart.com/art/Google-now-410080356
...and of course, there's Omnimo, though they have their own file hosting anyway.

(I would guess that many icon sets would be > 5MB as well.)

So I'm not saying you need to allow 30 MB attachments or anything, just that 5 might be a bit low.
Flying Hyrax on DeviantArt
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Skinstr
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

Skinstr » May 29th, 2014, 9:47 am

Thank you for the feedback, I understand, I'll set the limit higher then.
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exper1mental
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

exper1mental » May 31st, 2014, 3:28 pm

Perhaps set the limit to 5-20 MBs and allow people to contact submission moderators for an exception for special works that exceed the limit? (In my case that several of my works are slightly larger than 5 MBs, so if the limit was 5 MBs I'd have to get exceptions for them)

Other than that it sounds fine to me.
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jsmorley
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Re: Skinstr - Share your creations with the rest of the worl

jsmorley » May 31st, 2014, 3:40 pm

Just my opinion, but I am entirely opposed to allowing any upload other than a single .rmskin to any "Rainmeter" category submission. Any additional files, be they wallpapers, readme files, images, whatever, can be included with the .rmskin in the @Resources folder and a note made in the description that those files can be found there.

If you start allowing .zip files in skin submissions, then we run the risk of being back to the bad-ol-days on deviantART, when they allowed .zip files in Rainmeter. Guys will just post a .zip, and say "unzip this and run InstallMySkin.exe to install the skin.". When a new Rainmeter user who doesn't know any better does so, their computer starts sending Viagra advertisements to everyone in their email contact list. It then becomes a constant battle with the bad guys that I would not be interested participating in, and a reflection on Rainmeter itself. If a "skin" was to give a user a virus, who would they blame? The site they got it from? No...

This is the one of the reasons for .rmskin. It isn't just a convenience. It is also for the protection of our highly valued community of users. The Skin Installer with Rainmeter that installs the .rmskins can tell if a .rmskin has been modified in any way, and will refuse to install it.

When I say "bad-ol-days", I really mean it. It was just a nightmare of bitcoin-mining malware and system hijacking virus' for over a year until we were finally able to browbeat deviantART into only allowing .rmskin submissions.

Personally, I would just steer folks away from any site that hosted skins and allowed uploads of .zip or .exe or any other extension but .rmskin.