No doubt you're familiar with Where's Waldo? a series of books in which the objective is always the same: in a succession of double-page illustrations, your job is to find Waldo, a character instantly recognizable by his red-and-white shirt, knit hat, and glasses. The books have been incredibly popular, selling millions of copies, and inspiring a TV show, a comic strip, and a series of video games.
Although it never got made into a TV show (at least not as far as we know), the old Janrain documentation site had a similar feature: Where's Customer Insights? Customer Insights is one of our newer, and cooler, applications, and we actually have quite a bit of documentation on it. But good luck finding that documentation anywhere on the old docs site. (We understand that there are still prospectors combing through the Internet's Wayback Machine, hoping to claim spot Customer Insights. However, other than a few hazy and out-of-focus pictures, no one has come up with anything yet.)
In other words, navigating through the old web site – for reasons that don't really matter – was never easy. Have things improved with the new Education Center? We hope so. Take Customer Insights, for example. In the old docs site, Customer Insights, one of our showcase applications was simply one more item in the Platform menu, alongside such thing as Product Name Changes and Legacy Product Docs. The graphic below shows you exactly what we’re talking about:
In the Education Center, however, Customer Insights is treated with a little more respect: like all other Janrain products, Customer Insights is given its own section within the Technical Library. And what does that section look like? Well, for a sneak peek, go back to the graphic above, click the little yellow handle, and drag the handle to the right. Where you once saw Customer Insights before the Education Center opened, now you'll see Customer Insights after the Education Center opened. Before. After. Before. After. Feel free to slide the little handle back-and-forth as much as you want. (But if you break it, you pay for it.)
Oh, by the way: we can now do cool things like add a Before and After slider to the Education Center? We probably should point that out.
A Comprehensive Navigation Menu
One limitation of the old docs site was the navigation menu, a menu limited in both size and scope. As a result, you had menu items similar to this:
We suppose that's better than nothing, but "better than nothing" isn't really something you want to put on your resume.
In the Education Center, by contrast, everything is listed on the navigation menu. For example, suppose you're working on an API-based implementation of Janrain registration, and you've run into a snag when it comes to account merge. Do we have anything on API-based implementation and account merge? Well, let's see:
Yep, looks like we do. That was something you simply couldn’t do in the old site.
You can think of a landing page as being sort of a mini-home page within a site. And what does that mean? Well, in the old docs site we didn't do a particularly good job of introducing a concept (like, say, REST APIs). Instead, we just plunged you headlong into an individual topic. For example, here's our "introduction" to platform integrations:
If that seems more like the start of a specific article than it does an introduction to platform integrations, well, there's a good reason for that: that's what it is.
Landing pages, by comparison, give you a chance to catch your breath and survey the scene before moving on to an individual topic. Before, there was no way to gain an overview of our REST API topics; instead, you just started reading about the Configuration APIs. In the Education Center, you can still go straight to the Configuration APIs if you want to. Alternatively, however, you can hit the REST API landing page instead:
From there, you can get an overall perspective on all our REST API and REST API resources. And we'll even give you a sneak preview of what you can expect to find if you click any of the landing page links:
Is this the most important innovation in the history of the world? No. But it's probably in the top 10.
Landing pages are nice, and so is full-text search, but if there's a drawback to either of those things it's this: they largely assume that you know what you're looking for. And that isn't always the case: we don't always know exactly what we're looking for. (Or, perhaps more-commonly, we don't know how to phrase what we're looking for. Do they call this the Registration UI or the Engage Dashboard or the widget or ….)
Of course, even if we don't always know what we're looking for, we do know it when we see it. Because of that, we've added index pages to the main sections of the Education Center. You say you have an interest in registration, but you aren't exactly sure what it is you're looking for? That's fine; the Registration Index page shows you everything we have when it comes to registration:
See? You can browse to your heart's content. Or, you can search through (well, technically, you can filter through) all those articles. For example, here's a very small excerpt from the registration index:
Notice the field labeled Filter the Registration resources? Type token into that field, and watch what happens.
That's what we said, too: cool.
Shorter, Better-Targeted Pages
The Janrain docs site was well-known for its long (very long) web pages. How long is long? Well, if you copied our "page" on identity providers (IDPs) and pasted it into Microsoft Word, you'd end up with a 286-page Word document.
Or at least we did. But hey, we had to try it, right?
Note. However, we should note that there is no truth to the rumor than two Estonian adventurers died while trying to scroll from the top of that 286-page web page all the way to the bottom. Well, OK, not a lotof truth to that rumor ….
At any rate, huge web pages that cover multiple topics (among other things, the aforementioned 286-page monster included complete configuration guides for 35 different IDPs) make it all-but impossible to find what you're looking for. Fortunately, however, those kind of pages should now a thing of the past. In the Education Center, pages are shorter (much shorter) and better-targeted. Want to use Console to delete a user profile? No problem: we have a page (one page) that tells you how to do that. And that's all you'll find on that page. Creating user profiles, modifying use profiles, exporting user profiles, searching for user profiles – those tasks all have their own pages.
It just seemed to make more sense that way.
But even though we aimed for shorter pages, we also added a few things to our pages, including the clickable "breadcrumbs" found at the top of each page:
Need to know where you are, or need a quick backtrack through the site? Well, now you have one: this page is found in the Customizing Registration section, which is found in the Registration category, which is found in the Technical Library (and which lives in the house that Jack Built). With any luck, we now have more and better options for finding – and keeping – your bearings, even though we also have way, way more pages than we used to..