Coming Soon: FSElite Version 4

We’ve listened to your feedback and a new build of FSElite will soon be here. Find out about new features and more.

Coming Soon: FSElite Version 4

Yes, you’ve read that right, a brand new version of FSElite is coming soon. Why so soon? Let me briefly explain.

When we released this version (version 3) of the website, we found a fair number of issues with some of the tools we used. This caused errors, bugs and slow down which meant it was a frustrating experience for people to use. A few months later, we created pretty much a new build of it with some changes to help improve the situation. This new version (version 3.1) did help, but after a few weeks, cracks appeared again with the site crashing time and time again. We had to remove some features (dark mode is the latest to get kicked) in order to make things stable.

Simply, this wasn’t going to work for us anymore. So, armed with that, back to the drawing board we went back in November 2022. A few weeks of research and some experimenting took place and as the New Year came into place, a whole new build of FSElite was underway. This new build uses all-new tools, servers, and capabilities, and considers all the lessons learned in order to build something that solves the issues we’ve had.

Version 4’s Goals

The new site had to achieve a number of goals.

  • Load speedily for logged-in and logged-out users
  • An improved and more consistent user-experience
  • Ensure that our team can grow the site in meaningful ways in a timely fashion
  • Ensure that features don’t get removed
  • …not have to be rebuilt in a few weeks’ time

I’m excited to say that the new site achieves all of that. In fact, the new tools were so easy to use, that feature-creep happened with many cool new features and functions being implemented easily.

Introducing Version 4 of FSElite

Improved Layout and Navigation

We’re keen to make sure that the site is as user-friendly as possible. We are also aware we have a lot of different types of content and finding it can be a little confusing. Both of these elements were keen to ensure that the new version is clean and easy to navigate. We have expanded the navigation bar, added a new permanent search bar, and added in clearer labelling so you can easily find the type of content you’re looking for.

The colours, fonts, and positioning of everything have also been improved.

One thing we are also keen to try and improve is the visibility of some of our more original content or the bigger stories in the community. This is why the home page will now feature a ‘Top Stories’ section at the top of the page, highlighting the content that is popular in the community at that time. Yes, it means a little more scrolling to get to the ‘latest’ news, but we hope you can see more of our original content that we really enjoy creating.

Filtering Content

We celebrate all flight simulators, but also appreciate it isn’t always relatable to you specifically. You may enjoy one sim over another more, or may be more interested in aircraft products over scenery products. This is why we have now new ‘groups’ that better reflect the types of products we’re talking about. Furthermore, in each of our ‘archive’ pages, you can now use a range of sort/filter tools to find what you like.

The filter system is fast and also adds a string to your URL bar so you can bookmark it and come back any time with the same filter in place. Want to find airports specific to MSFS for Xbox by a certain developer only? Now you can.

Introducing Streams

Streams are made up of individual jetstreams that create a unique feed of information all related to flight sim. We know that things happen in the community that just wouldn’t fit in with our usual cycle of news. As such, we will be using Streams in order to bring you content that doesn’t quite fit on the home page, but is still cool to know. We’ll have a focus on community content, brief developer updates, minor product updates and other cool things happening.

You can interact with these posts just like anything else, along with searching, filtering and ordering them into your own preference.

Robust and Fast Search

We’re using a whole new search engine to power how you find content on FSElite version 4. It’s hyper-aware of the latest news published and is typo-tolerant. The search bar will always be in the main navigation bar and will display relevant searches within seconds. If you need something a bit more specific, hitting ‘enter’ will take you to the main search page where you can look for anything and filter it right to your specific needs.

Dark Mode and Other Bits

Dark Mode is back and looking great (in my opinion).

In addition to the filtering stuff mentioned above, the issues of posts vanishing or not being able to navigate beyond page 2 is also gone. In fact, we have imported all past content, meaning there are over 9,250 posts in the database. Some of the older posts look funky and images may be missing, but the information is there.

You can look up our list of developers (this page will take time as we add their details) and filter them too. Ad placements have been improved and more clearly defined (without impairing your experience), 2FA is easier to activate and our video pages have had a nice refresh. Mobile and tablet pages have also been improved considerably.

Coming Soon: FSElite Version 4

Finally, one thing many of you have been wanting to see the return of is FSElite on Apple News. Once the new site is live, you will find all the flight sim content you love on Apple News. This is in addition to our Desktop App and also our use of AI to read out articles to you (which are also available on Spotify).

Coming Soon: FSElite Version 4

And Performance?

Here’s the latest report:

Coming Soon: FSElite Version 4

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

For those of you with a myFSElite account, we have some important information.

When we move to the new version of the site, you will need to re-register your account. Whilst this is frustrating, it’s something we can not sadly avoid. Due to using all new tools, we cannot transfer your data across.

Making an account will be just as easy. You can register an account with basic login details or you can use a Social account (Facebook, Discord, Twitter or Google). You will need to re-verify your email, but once done, you will have a new myFSElite account.

This also means all comments will be removed.

When Will the New Site Launch?

We’re running a closed private test of the new site now and gathering feedback. Once we have that, we’ll share a public link to you via the site in order for us to test it under a bit of load. During this phase, accounts will not be able to be made. We anticipate this only taking a few days before we then put this site on a maintenance mode and move everything across.

Once we do move it to the new server, we expect a few hours of downtime and some funky-going-ons, but then we will be good to go.

But What About Content?

We are acutely aware that there have been occasions lately where we have let you down with a lack of news posts, original content or reviews. Truth is, a lot of our focus has been on building a better platform to host it all. Once this is out the door and stable, our attention will be back to providing the content you want. What is better is our new tools allow us to react quicker and ensure our content remains relevant and fresh.

We thank you for sticking by us as we make this transition and look forward to serving you with all the flight simulation content you have been craving.

Your Feedback

Your feedback helps us grow and helps us stay committed and focused on the future. Last time we surprised you with a launch, but this time, we wanted to show you a peak behind the curtain so it’s not jarring. Hopefully this gives you a glimpse of what to expect so when we do move across, it’s not so shocking and you can get stuck into the new features.

The Future

We have plenty of cool ideas planned for the site in the future. This includes event pages (VATSIM/IVAO), improved user-generated content tools, and more. We hope you look forward to them in the future.

Rundown of Improvements and Features

  • NEW – Whole new layout with refreshed palette colours and fonts
  • NEW – ‘Top Stories’ section on the home page that will allow big stories and original content to thrive
  • NEW – Search experience is meaningful and typo-tolerant.
  • NEW Filter systems on all archive pages (filter and sort by date, sim, group, developer, etc)
  • NEW Jetstream page to allow FSElite to post smaller stories without clogging up the home page
  • NEW – Persistent login – will stay logged in for 365 after each login (can also see login locations and log out of individual devices)
  • NEW – All posts from all site iterations are available (although formatting is questionable on older articles)
  • NEW – Apple News integration
  • Improved navigation
  • Improved categories for a more consistent experience
  • Improved user register/login experience with more privacy options
  • Improved dark mode
  • Improved commenting system
  • Improved ad-placements (still non-intrusive)
  • Improved video pages
  • Improved 2FA
  • Improved cookie consent
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Calum Martin
Calum has been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of FS2000 and has developed his love for aviation ever since.
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