Happy New Year, everyone! What better time to roll out something new than the start of a new decade?
Pedants be advised: I don't want to hear it. We're zero-indexing this one.
If you’ve been following our modest little blog, you know that we’ve been preparing to transfer the GATK website and forum to a new home. Well, moving day has finally arrived! If you're reading this, the new site is now public at https://gatk.broadinstitute.org. Yes, this is different from what we originally announced (keeping the same URL); turns out it was a technical necessity to change it, and frankly, we like the shorter URL more. What do you think?
We hope you'll welcome the streamlined, consolidated platform, and forgive the occasional bump in the road as we get everything settled. We'll do our best to make the transition as smooth as possible and we appreciate your patience.
Read on for a rundown of the most important changes, and troubleshooting tips and tricks.
Launch day only (we hope)
Depending on when you read this, the old site… may still be on its way out. We have been working hard to map the old content to its new location(s), in order to provide automatic redirects for as much of the content as possible. However, this is a huge move for us, so we're being cautious and rolling out the redirects in batches, mainly so that we can test that everything works before cutting off your access to the old pages. Because of that, there may be a span of several hours where some links take you to old pages and others take you to the new digs. Please bear with us as we work through this transition period.
Action item: register for a new forum account
You’ll need a new account on the new platform if you want to ask any questions; unfortunately we couldn't migrate existing accounts from the old forum. On the bright side, your new account will extend to all the software we support, including Terra and Cromwell/WDL. Speaking of which, if you already have a Terra support account already, you’re all set.
The new platform supports single sign-on with a Twitter, Facebook. Google, or Microsoft account, or you can create an account on the new platform. Once you are registered, you will have immediate access.
About those redirects
No one likes a broken link, so as I mentioned above, we put a lot of effort into mapping content and putting in automatic redirects so that old links will magically take you to the right places. Links to the top level sections (like User Guide, Blog etc) will definitely be redirected automatically. Similarly, all the articles from the GATK4 docs section should redirect just fine to the correct article on the new site.
For GATK3 docs it's a bit different; we created a new repository in Github to serve as documentation archive rather than put them in the new site. As we announced in December, we could no longer bear the burden of maintaining those older docs, and we wanted to make a very clear distinction between current docs and the older ones that are deprecated. However, we did include them in the redirection, so your old links should still take you to the right content. Links to pictures may break, however.
We gave the blog the same treatment; all articles published before the migration were banished to Github as well, but the links will be redirected appropriately.
Finally, there is a fairly small number of pages or documentation articles that don't have an equivalent in the new world order and/or that we might have missed in our inventory. Those should all get redirected by default to the new website, where you might then need to do some digging to find what you were looking for. The good news is that the search functionality on the new platform is better, so try searching for the subject or the title if you get a broken link. If searching doesn’t help, send us the old link or a description of the article (via a forum post), and we’ll find you the right link or explain why that article was not transferred. If we missed anything that affects a lot of people, we'll do our best to remediate the situation.
Old forum discussions remain accessible… for now
This is where things get a bit hairy. The 17,000 discussion threads in the “Ask a question” section of the forum will eventually be taken offline. It’s just not practical to migrate all of the discussions, and much of the information is out of date. However, we do understand that many of you find value in useful nuggets of information that are not represented in the documentation, so we're not going to turn off the forum right away. There will be a transition phase of a few months during which the content from the old forum will be available in read-only format. That will give us a chance to comb through the threads, pick out the good stuff, and transfer it to actual documentation articles.
If there are old threads you find useful in your work, we’re open to requests for what to convert to documentation. Contact us in the new forum, where we will be generating and tracking tickets. We also recommend that you save any threads that are important to you personally as a PDF or HTML page on your computer just in case. As I've said before, if all else fails, the Internet Archive's "Way Back Machine" does preserve snapshots of the forum, so it's very likely that those old forum discussions will actually outlive us all.
Tell us what you need
Our ultimate goal is to help you to use GATK effectively in your work, so don't be shy about telling us what's not working for you, whether it's the new content organization, the redirects, or the transition timescale. We can't change everything -- e.g. in terms of choosing the new platform, that ship has sailed -- but there is a heck of a lot that we can tweak. We just need to know what's bugging you so we can try to make it better.
So, please have a look around and let us know what you think!