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RogerEbert.com relaunched (rogerebert.com)
117 points by danso on Apr 10, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

Very nice that they did 301 redirects for all the thousands of URLs out there on their old CMS.

Example: curl -I http://www.rogerebert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/2010031...

  HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
  Cache-Control: no-cache
  Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
  Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 03:54:00 GMT
  Location: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-big-lebowski-1998
  Server: nginx/1.2.7
Much nicer URLs, now.

I had just posted his list of the 364 “Great Movies” on my site a few days ago: http://sivers.org/ebert2

Nice to know it looks like his great essays will stick around forever.

A beautiful effort. This is my new go-to when showing clients what responsive means. Love that it's optimized up to 1400px.

It's particularly heartbreaking to see that this site was clearly designed to have Roger's ongoing influence... and it hurt to have his farewell post pop up in my RSS reader again. Glad to see him have a home on the web befitting his influence.

Came here to say this. They did a knockout job with this. Some pieces that just aren't easy to make responsive are done really, really well. For an example, check the filtering mechanism here: http://www.rogerebert.com/great-movies.

Also- the infinite scrolling is lightning fast. They're getting JSON and throwing it into a template(?) while loading images from Cloudfront. This is the way it should be done.

Big ups to the devs behind this. A migration is never easy and it looks like they handled it expertly.

Can't agree more. All the breakpoints are placed so thoughtfully without sacrificing content for flair, certainly one of the most well-executed responsive sites I've come across. I'll most likely be poring through the reviews for hours to come.

Wow, this is very pretty. Members-only section feels hokey, I don't like it. Otherwise great.

I feel stupid saying this because it seems unreasonable of me to believe. But I feel that I won't enjoy movies as much as I used to, when I knew Roger Ebert was going to write about them.

I'm glad you like the site. It's been quite the undertaking...

And I agree, our Members-only section is definitely hokey right now! But give us a few months to get it fully up and running, and I hope it will become a useful resource for the intense cinephile and/or Ebert fan, something like ESPN Insider for a fantasy sports aficionado.

Any chance that you'd package the site up and submit it to the Internet Archive once its been polished?

When it's not 'too soon', give our most loved movie reviewers in Australia a go: http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/

Can't remember meeting anyone who didn't like or at least appreciate their reviews.

Most reviews are for before you see the movie, but some reviews are great for afterwards. I go to Rotten Tomatoes to help me decide what to see. If Pauline Kael has an essay/review for an old movie, I'll read it after I've seen it, or before I see it a second time.

For me Ebert's reviews filled both roles.

I really dislike the new design. The old site was brown and mellow; like you were sitting in the dim theater with Ebert after the movie, discussing it deeply over a cigarette or the remains of your popcorn. New site is bright, whitewashed, and ephemeral; like the convos in the lobby afterward where you're trying to say the movie sucked without offending anyone else's opinion, and after 2 minutes you give up to go back to your car. Old one was unique and wonderful; new one looks like every other stupid blog. Any Ebert fans agree?

They nuked the entire "Ask the Movie Answer Man" section, which was one of my favorite things on the site. Even the old archives are gone. A search turns up links, but they are all broken. :-(

UPDATE: I found it!


But I don't see any easy way to search for really old Answer Man stuff in the archives.

I've got some UX nitpicks with the search results...

Stuff like: http://www.rogerebert.com/great-movies

doesn't actually present basic information to the user, like movie release date, director, cast, or studio (instead presenting the month/day/year the review was written). Additionally, date filtering sorts the list by the date each review was written, which isn't particularly useful.

Search results expand to a multi-column layout when browser width increases, which makes them hard to scan (imagine if Google did this).

Because results aren't paginated or loaded all at once, there's no way to tell how many results you have in a search. How many "Great Movies" reviews are there? How many have I been presented with so far? There's no way to tell unless you scroll through all of them as they load in.

Otherwise the presentation seems very clean, and in general snappier than the suntimes.com behemoth.

Great responsive design. Anyone know which (if any) of the responsive frameworks/libraries were used to make this?

Thanks philfreo. To answer your question, we didn't use any frameworks for the responsive layouts. We just let the content guide us to the natural breakpoints and worked with it from there.

I always wondered why rogerebert.com redirected to rogerebert.suntimes.com...I could see the Sun Times wanting him to be inextricably associated with the newspaper. And I don't think Ebert would've necessarily objected. I remember reading a column by him a long time ago about the legendary Mike Royko and how it was a shame he left the Sun-Times to go over to the more prestigious, but stuffier Chicago Tribune. I think even in this age of journalists making their own brand, Ebert was intensely loyal to his newspaper.

I think it's because the Sun Times paid the costs of running the site, but I'm not 100% sure.

That's correct, according to Jim Emerson (http://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/remembering-the-roger-i-k...)

"At first our site also had the support of the Sun-Times, including Catherine Lanucha, John Cary, Jack Barry and the company's webstaff, but budget cuts and layoffs at the paper eventually left us with no day-to-day resources but ourselves: the only two employees of RogerEbert.com, as we liked to joke."

His very last review - To the Wonder.

Feels like he wrote that knowing it was his last one. Amazing resolution to that review.

Looks great mobile. I like this.

Very fitting tribute.


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