Monday, May 16, 2011

Tinkering Under the Hood

I've been real productive today. There are some changes to site, but most are invisible, so to speak. Well, a visible one is the swapping of the overly-large header image for the A25U logo. I haven't changed that header since the site first went up. I should probably make a new one. But for now, the logo itself will do. Let's call it a minimalist design, yes?

More important change has been the effects of clicking on things, as vague as that sounds. Previously, when you clicked on the title of a post containing a comic (the text in bold that says COMIC - File #blahblablah: "Non-Witty Title"), you would be linked to the page of the image hosting gallery where the comic's .jpg was hosted, instead of the post itself. And clicking on the image of the comic in the post would just show the image itself in its full size. Neither of those were very practical. Sorry, guys... I know, I know, I didn't think it through.

Well here's how it is now. When you click on the title of a comic, you will be brought to the page containing that comic's post, where you can read the comic, leave a comment if you want, use the previous/next comic buttons, and once this feature has been added for every strip, you will be able to jump to that comic's Archive entry, where you will find additional information on each strip (cast of characters, explanation of references, story arc information, other crap you might not have known). This feature already works for the first 49 comics.

Another feature that I AM working on (seriously, trust me on this one) is the new and improved Archive, the comic browser. You longtime readers will remember it as a page where you could, well, browse through every issue of the comic. Each strip had its own entry, with information on it, what story arc(s) it belonged to, the cast of characters, explanations of references, links, a preview image, a short blurb, etc. It was intended for you to be able to find comics easily. Let's face it, navigating through the back issues is NOT easy, even for me. And I make these. That's saying something.

I'd update the Archive every week so it was always up to date. But one week, when I updated it, it didn't update. The page was blank. When I checked the code, there was nothing there. The whole page was lost, and my last backup only had about 50% of the content. Since then, it comic has grown by another 50%. Trying to catch up and fix it has been a hell of a task, and I'm not done yet.

But it will be worth it. Why? Because I'm not just remaking it, I'm improving it. Story arcs will be listed at the top for easy access to every issue of a story. Each comic will have a link to its own Archive entry for quick reference. I know it must seem like I've abandoned the Archive, but I haven't. It is the most important page of the entire A25U blog, and I am determined to get it back up and running this summer. And better than before, too. With blackjack. And hookers.

Thanks for not losing hope. Hell, if Duke Nukem Forever is coming out this summer, then you know that the Archive can be ready, too. There are other things I want to fix, too, such as improving the layout, shrinking those nav buttons on the left-hand sidebar, adding a page for the Arbco Islands metagame, etc. The first order of business is the Archive. Well, and this week's comic. So keep voting for who you want to boot off, and please don't be alarmed if you see any noticeable changes on the A25U blog. Let's do this!

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