For much of the past week, I have been updating the site, fixing little things and adding features that I’ve been meaning to get around to for some time. I’m now finished with everything on my to-do list and ready to get back to other things (such as writing some actual D&D-related posts).
So what exactly have I done around here? Much of it is behind the scenes, the sort of stuff no one will notice. For instance, I’ve upgraded the code to html5 and added some limited support for portable devices. I’ve cleaned up some code to speed up certain processes. Also, I’ve slightly reorganized the layout.
I’ve had links at the bottom of each post (including each post’s excerpt on the home page) for some time. On the individual posts, I removed email, diggit, and delicious (as they appear to never get used), upgraded the facebook icon with a like button that displays the number of “like’s”, and added similar buttons for google+ and twitter. I removed all social buttons from the home page excerpts. If someone is going to use them, they are far more likely to use the buttons at the bottom of each full post. I did, however, add a tweet button to the sidebar that defaults to a message linking the site opposed to any particular post.
I added some code that searches twitter for tweets about any posts on this site and adds those tweets to the appropriate comment thread. You may have noticed during the past few days that my tweets announcing posts were in the comment threads for those posts. They are removed now (it looked odd to have the author of a post comment about a tweet that announces the post). Now that I’ve figured out how to exclude my own tweets from being added, they shouldn’t appear anymore.
As I said in my last post, there was a problem with the contact page. It worked just fine but it sent me two emails each time and displayed the confirmation message and continue button twice (the duplicates were in the upper left of the screen, breaking the page format and looking odd. As I said, it worked fine but looked odd. After a great deal of work, I tracked down a very obscure bug in Word Press and resolved the problem.
Better Looking Forms
Since I was working on the contact form anyway, I spent some time making it look a bit more professional. The comment form and search box also received a face lift. I think they all look much better now.
At the bottom of each post, I’ve added a more distinctive bar that better displays the social networking links. In addition, I’ve added a link to allow people to make a contribution. Hopefully, it’s subtle enough to not be annoying. It offers a link to paypal where people can enter the amount they wish to donate and do so through paypal’s secure server. Those without a paypal account may use it as well.
CSS Image Replacement
In many places, I have replaced images with CSS. This reduces http requests and bandwidth, which slightly speeds up page loading. It also keeps the other css-monkeys from laughing at my old fashioned coding.
There is a new entry in the navigation bar for tutorials. All the tutorials I have written so far are listed as well as links to tutorials by other authors. I expect to add new tutorials regularly.
I already mentioned the Tweet button added to the sidebar. There are also a couple of other additions. The collapsible archive list seems to be working nicely. It took a while to get a look I was happy with but I think it looks pretty good now. The Popular Post section looks to me like it will be a useful addition as well. I may have to remove static pages from the list though (downloads page, contact page, etc) as they look like they are beginning to dominate the list.
Websites are never “done”. People like me always find things they want to change, add, or move around. I think I am done with actual updates to the site for a while but while making this last batch of changes I noticed that my code has become quite a mess. I’ll be in fiddling with it on and off over the next couple of months I’m sure. If something looks odd, it’s probably me messing with the code. Give it a couple of minutes and any oddities should be back to normal.
It’s nice to have all this taken care of. Now I can spend my time focusing on the game and on mapping.