Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

For the discussion of infrastructure improvements and changes.

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Forboding Angel
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Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 27 Dec 2012, 23:14

http://www.labnol.org/internet/responsi ... faq/21361/

I can haz RWD?

Spring site is dated, and needs to be redone. This time I suggest we do it right.

Putting a site into a mess of Tables is not "doing it right". So toss out any silly photoshopped designs that you want to hack into pieces to make a new site design and lets get real development going on.

Imo, what we should do is start doing some MS Paint mockups, from which we can choose what sort of elements we want on the pages, etc etc.

At that point, the forums and the wiki are an afterthought. They can be made to fit any new design without that much effort.

After we have a mockup of boxes lines on a piece of paper, we can then decide what we want it to actually look like, at which point graphic designers and developers unite.

Latest coding standards only, of course. We want something that is scale-able, and lends itself to ease of future redesigns with a minimum of effort, and above all, good, well written code.

Initially, toss all IE support, and then once we have it all set and decided we can go back and do IE specific style sheets. This means that anything that can be drawn with css should be (regardless of the fact that IE 9 and below will refuse to render it... apparently IE 10 will render most CSS properly though).

We can also add the 1 liner that enables Google Chrome Frame support for IE users who wish to install GCF or already have it installed, so that the site can be viewed in it's full glory, even if they are stuck using IE.

Anyway, more stuff, blah blah. What say you?
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knorke
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by knorke » 27 Dec 2012, 23:21

Initially, toss all IE support
but i like to browse from libary or pc room with the funny IE that is installed there :/
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 27 Dec 2012, 23:28

Forboding Angel wrote: Initially, toss all IE support, and then once we have it all set and decided we can go back and do IE specific style sheets. This means that anything that can be drawn with css should be (regardless of the fact that IE 9 and below will refuse to render it... apparently IE 10 will render most CSS properly though).
In your head, does this happen over a period of years or something? Because adding in IE specific sheets in a 2 minute deal, the reason you wait to do IE specific sheets till the last is because in IE specific sheets you are using static images, instead of dynamic css drawing. Therefore, before you go to the trouble of adding IE specifics, you want to make sure that you have it the way you want it first.

Then it's just a matter of adding a bunch of 1 liners, 5 minutes in photoshop and 3 minutes of rolling your eyes at M$.

All this would be happening before a new design went live anyway, so I don't really see how your post contains any concerns that are valid, unless I'm misunderstanding you or something.
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AF
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by AF » 28 Dec 2012, 00:41

There's no reason to abandon IE7/8, and no reason not to degrade gracefully under IE6 to something that doesn't follow the design but is still readable.

Things that cannot be dealt with:
  • PHPBB isn't going to go away
  • Mediawiki isn't going away
  • Not everyone who visits is on the super duper latest browsers
So I propose the following:
  • A core WordPress install to manage the frontpage, download page, screenshots/media and the news. No integration between WordPress and PHPBB/MediaWiki, integration would require maintenance, and tbh I wouldnt want the hassle of making PHPBB stable ( ancient codebase, terrible architecture, tonnes of legacy cruft, no real internal API for extension )
  • A secondary auxillary design. Not all software is going to lend itself to the main design, so lets not force it. A design which makes minimal demands, and can act as a frame so we can put it up fast, and use it as the frame for the forums and things like buildbot etc, that's easy to apply
  • Stuff like springinfo should be a part of the main site, and news should be done properly. The main news should be WordPress posts that link to the forums for comments.
I'm happy to continue with my last design that had units configurable in the backend that could then be placed into arbitrary scenes on the frontpage with backdrops, and flesh it out some more, but only if the action is blessed by those with the banhammers. I'm not going to build a theme and setup things on a whim with a "we may or may not" attitude from the status quo. I'd rather it be requested, and then applied once it's deemed sufficient.

A community fanfare and a backstab change behind the scenes by someone with write access is not something I can work with, nor is "make a git branch and we'll look at it someday", it takes long enough to suggest minor edits, nevermind redesigns.

I'd want a process.

If those in charge can agree upon one and commission work to begin then I'm happy to go ahead, but I'm not going to faff around with a popularity contest that ignores the practical and technical challenges. Roflcopters front page mockup wasn't a design, it had no forum design, no wiki design, no media or download pages, it lacked a proper footer, fixed none of the problems we had, all it did was prettify one page. It's implementation was a disaster and arguably worse than the previous from a technical standpoint. A repeat would be unnacceptable

edit: to clarify, those in charge would be those in the engine dev meeting, anyone with direct commit access to the github projects, those with root access on the server, and those in charge of forum moderations. People with real power and administration priviledges on the software that powers this site and its supporting server infrastructure. Rather than opinionated people, players, and content developers. If you have a valid point you should be making it to those people, not myself.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 00:51

AF, I agree, but wtf is wrong with your and knorke's reading comprehension?
AF wrote:There's no reason to abandon IE7/8, and no reason not to degrade gracefully under IE6 to something that doesn't follow the design but is still readable.
Let me try again with larger text...
Forboding Angel wrote: Initially, toss all IE support, and then once we have it all set and decided we can go back and do IE specific style sheets. This means that anything that can be drawn with css should be (regardless of the fact that IE 9 and below will refuse to render it... apparently IE 10 will render most CSS properly though).
Forboding Angel wrote:
In your head, does this happen over a period of years or something? Because adding in IE specific sheets in a 2 minute deal, the reason you wait to do IE specific sheets till the last is because in IE specific sheets you are using static images, instead of dynamic css drawing. Therefore, before you go to the trouble of adding IE specifics, you want to make sure that you have it the way you want it first.


Then it's just a matter of adding a bunch of 1 liners, 5 minutes in photoshop and 3 minutes of rolling your eyes at M$.

All this would be happening before a new design went live anyway, so I don't really see how your post contains any concerns that are valid, unless I'm misunderstanding you or something.
And no, we should not use your original design. We need to start from the ground up, and design a layout that we all like, and designate what happens when that layout comes up vs various browser window sizes (responsive design).

We can use a modified form of fitvids.js (modified so that it obeys original max-width params - (I have already done this)) to make iframes and embeds gracefully resize as well.
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smoth
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by smoth » 28 Dec 2012, 01:21

ew, no mobile design please. I like the site just like it is on my phone.
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FLOZi
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by FLOZi » 28 Dec 2012, 01:50

We need to start from the ground up, and design a layout that we all like
</thread>
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Jazcash
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Jazcash » 28 Dec 2012, 01:53

Personally I have no idea why this thread exists. I love the site and everything about it.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:03

Responsive design isn't a separate mobile design smoth. What it does is the page readjusts itself to fit smaller screens and it is entirely dependent upon the size of the browser window.

These are things you set in css. The days of separate mobile designs is long gone, thankfully (as that was never a good idea).

For example, something like this:
@media screen and (max-width:320px)

Basically that means that if the browser is less than 320 pixels wide, the rules defined within, overrule the normal settings.

So basically, you can re-arrange your site according to the size of the browser, but it is all the same site and all the same elements.

For example, if you go to the evo site in your browser and then play around with re-sizing your browser, you can see how the site reacts to it.

Honestly, I think we may need some moderator interaction to cull posts which are made in error and lack of understanding regarding web design, because otherwise we will be mired in a pit of BS in no time.

The forum and the wiki ideally probably wouldn't really change. I would be happy if the forum would expand to a flat 1000px and stay put, as phpbb was never designed to be squished into this 760px width. but more than 1000 px would be a detriment imo.

But lets not bother with the forum and the wiki for now. We all know that they are rigid and dealing with them will be a bit of a pain, but we can deal with that later.

The wiki won't be that big of a deal, as it will probably be pretty graceful (to a point), assuming that no one has dicked up the css.

The forum will not be responsive, ever, and with tapatalk support that's kinda moot anyway, as tapatalk is a lot more convenient on mobile than the site anyway.

Mainly because it is a tabled layout. Imo that isn't a significant issue, and is easy to workaround (I.E. Forum Page doesn't need to be responsive anyway).
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knorke
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by knorke » 28 Dec 2012, 02:04

In your head, does this happen over a period of years or something?
yes, something like that.
PHPBB isn't going to go away
Mediawiki isn't going away
yes.
Also atm basically this whole site is made from wiki, even pages like "about", "downloads".
I think that must stay, can not imagine that half-wiki half-wordpress is going to work. Where content is there that can not be presented at the moment?
Stuff like springinfo should be a part of the main site, and news should be done properly.
Engine news seems to work good as it is, with the forum.
The "community news" could be an extra button in the top bar.
It could be chronological* list of stuff similiar to http://www.springinfo.info/type/post-format-video/
Though for that, the site should look a bit nicer, for example on above link the text is huge like xbox and the things imported from other sites is always ugly defaced.

*chronological instead of sorted by projects because otherwise you will get dead, inactive sections.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:09

FLOZi wrote:
We need to start from the ground up, and design a layout that we all like
</thread>
You're saying it can't be done? There are several here who do web development as a daily grind, so starting from the ground up isn't particularly difficult.

I myself coded an entire responsive and full css drawing + transitions theme from scratch in under 8 hours. It's not particularly difficult.

Re: Knorke / AF on community news, I think a mix of the two ideas would work nicely, but i more lean towards AF in the fact that we can simple have community news and engine news in separate categories and the situation solves itself knorke.

and re: knorke/IE/ ahh ok, I understand now. Well no, basically this is something that you just do last because it makes the most sense, but it doesn't take a lot of time, just annoying, so you only want to have to do it once :-)
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FLOZi
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by FLOZi » 28 Dec 2012, 02:11

Designing a site isn't the hard part, the last 4 words are.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:13

Nah, it's easy. That's why you use ms paint, because you can draw mockups in less than 2 minutes.
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knorke
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by knorke » 28 Dec 2012, 02:24

well make a ms paint painting then. ;)

To be honest I am not sure what excactly is to be changed.
Seems agreement is that forum & wiki stay like now.
The 4 or 5 five subpages will also stay with wiki.

So that leaves the frontpage?
Some navbar at top, some engine news thing, tada.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:25

Ok, so here is a sample mockup (that I'm not at all happy with)

Max site width would peg at either 999px or 1152px (1152 would be my choice, but either is fine) (both sizes are typical and accepted norms for fixed-fluid RWD max widths)

Image

On the footer, you would have 3 info boxes containing whatever we like, maybe some about spring, or hoopla like that.

When in smallest browser size, header image would resize gracefully and dynamically according to max-width.

Menu would accordion up into a singular button (pretty typical really) which then expands on top of the content when clicked etc etc

Video would arrange itself directly below menu button and take up full width

content would be directly below video

footer boxen would line em up in 1 2 3 fashion on top of each other and take up full width.

So essentially the page stacks itself. Pretty typical RWD.

I think that a lot more could be done with the header though, but having a banner and a header image (like we have now) is silly.

Spring engine logo would be overlaid on top of the rotating images by use of div + z-index.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:40

D-d-d-d-d-doublepoast!

The pages that should not be part of the wiki (I mean should be displayed from the site and not the wiki) are:

About
Media (we can do a much better and nicer gallery outside of mediawiki)

So yeah, a lot of the content is taken form the wiki, which is fine, assuming we can style it according to fit the site (shouldn't be hard).

The about page is kind of a tossup. It could stay as part of the wiki if it's that important, but the media page should definitely come out.

Edit: Media isn't part of the wiki anyway, derp. Well that solves that.
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knorke
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by knorke » 28 Dec 2012, 02:44

looks like current except on your scribble the frontpage does not have this
Image
and the video is on the other side?
Why your navbar is under the random pretty image, why not have it on top like everywhere else?

Dont know what you mean with aboutpage, it already is 2nd item in navbar?
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AF
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by AF » 28 Dec 2012, 02:56

It would appear my list of certain definite points is not long enough, let me expand:
  • Responsive web design is not "hey presto here's a mobile site", anybody who thinks RWD is about using media queries to make things look different on a smartphone, clearly doesn't understand responsive web design. What about netbooks vs 1920x1080 monitors? Or tall vs short windows? Its not as simple as screen size.
  • If developed correctly, media queries can be optional. There's no reason smoth can't have his hard fixed width column
  • Media Wiki has hard limits that no amount of hacking or CSS trickery will fix, limits that WordPress does not have.
  • We will never have a site design that everybody likes.
  • There will always be a contingent of people who want to deviate as little as possible from what we have no, resisting any and all change
  • Design by popular consensus is not design.
For example how are we going to have layout in mediawiki that isn't tables mishmashed via a template, hardcoded html, or top to bottom generics? It's inflexible and limited by Media Wiki. If it were possible, and easy enough, it would have been done by now. It hasn't.

Mediawiki has its place, and it works well or some pages. It doesn't for others, and WordPress provides us with the options to have things we don't currently have now, like game subsections with their own menus, unit guides with built in tech trees and taxonomies, etc etc etc, MediaWiki doesn't provide the templating and data structures to do that effectively.

This site is for a game engine. We need to showcase:
  • This is what the engine does.
  • This is what it can do
  • Here're examples of people who did it thatyou can go play
  • Here is where you get started
Shoving a slider at the top and a youtube video will not be effective. There's a reason I proposed a backdrop + sets of unit images:
  • It showcases the games
  • It does it in a consistent method rather than having 15 styles of branding dotted all over the place. This way the expression is through units sky and terrain, just as it would be ingame.
  • It demonstrates visually what we are, rather than a tagline. It says front and centre, we are an RTS engine. This is what an RTS does.
Which pages stay in mediawiki and which go in WordPress are somewhat irrelevant as that's a content decision other people can make, not a technical decision. It just means a media wiki page will be added to the WP Nav menus. The pages that will need to be part of WP will be the media/gallery and the front page.

Regarding forbs design, there's too many call to actions, the rotating banner at the top I'm assuming is what we have right now, a slider would be too much, and we should have only one call to action. Do you want them to read the content, play the video, or download? You rarely have all of them.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 02:59

Actually,
Image

Would be a layered div above (as in - On top of) "pretty rotating headers".

I did state that I wasn't happy with it and I just did a very basic layout. It was more to illustrate what I meant by ms paint mockups. We could do a lot more cool stuff.

Menu below pretty header image is nice because it doesn't obscure the content that is rotating when browsing the menu and it's sublevels. It's not that big of a deal and it doesn't matter that much, just a stylistic choice.

The video on the right serves the purpose of text flowing around it. As you have 999 px of workable space to do whatever you like with, you could have your vid be 400px wide and it would look pretty pimp.

You could even do a lot of really neat stylistic stuff with the menu and typefaces. I'm a big fan of typographic designs (which AF has gotten quite good at actually, even though some of his designs are a little over the top sometimes :-)).

For example, for headers and titles, something like this would look fantastic: https://www.google.com/webfonts/specime ... +Gothic+SC
Last edited by Forboding Angel on 28 Dec 2012, 03:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Time for the annual Spring Site Fight

Post by Forboding Angel » 28 Dec 2012, 03:01

@AF, I don't disagree, I was just trying to get the ball rolling. Could you maybe post a quick mockup of your ideas?
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