posted on May 10, 2018 17:24
It may be more like lipstick on a pig, but I've finally started launching the updated HRL website. I don't even remember what version we're on anymore. So let's go with v15, for Season Fifteen!
BTW I mention 'started launching' because as you probably noticed if you looked around, this is an ongoing endeavor. There's a lot to do and what seems like a theme refresh is only Step One.
Here's a quick list that I'll try to keep updated as the weeks pass by, with major changes or additions. So check back often. But starting today, Opening Day 2018, here's what's new:
- It was inspired by the old Wiffleball box with the orange and black/white colors. I actually came up with this iDEEa back in early 2014, including the use of wood boards on the sides/background. Just never got something ready enough to release it.
- It's new and more mobile-friendly althought it's not quite there yet. There are a lot of legacy pages in the system written 12 years ago which just don't work right yet. Content will sometimes go off the side of the page, etc.
- A new upper nav bar that has links to Login and Search. (I don't necessarily like the DEEsign of that up there yet, as the bars blend together and it's a bit larger than I wanted, but was good enough until I can figure out how to fix those things.)
- Some pages will look really bare and weird. Grids or tables may not line up well. That's because I really focused on the homepage and overall site layout first and then will circle back to refine the other pages to look and feel better.
- Some pages 'disappeared', mainly from the navbar. They still exist. See the LINKS section where I've added some temporary links for now. Those 'hidden' pages or their information will eventually be moved/integrated into the pages you see above.
- All pages are now served over SSL. The browsers are starting to require this and makes sense to keep your logins and other data secure when working here.
- If you log into the site we now have Private Messaging. Don't put anything confidential in there; these aren't secure and I could personally access them at any time. Though I don't plan to do that.
- The beginnings of an HRL API. What the hell is that? Think of it as a bunch of URLs where anyone can query for HRL data. Rather than having to go to a page here and browse a grid, you could download HRL data into a spreadsheet. They are meant to be lightweight.
- But also our website can use these API to load pages. The Homepage is now the first page to use a different approach to loading. Basically it will load a shell of the page and widgets in your browser and then each widget loads its data. As opposed to the other pages that have to wait for everyhing on a page before sending to your browser. A faster, more fluid experience, that's what I'm working towards.
- I know one of the thorny issues over the years has been the need for two logins: one for the website and one for the MB. That hasn't changed yet, but I'm hopeful by next season to come up with a solution where you only have to Login above to access it all.
- No major changes to Stats Entry. It's on my radar but in the list of things to-do, it works well enough. So not yet.
- On the software side, I just couldn't totally ditch our current platform. I know it's somewhat old and slow at times. I hope by making some of the changes above I can improve on that, as we really have a lot of features built on this platform. Recreating those from scratch was something I tried a couple times but never saw the end of. For example the Messaging above seems simple, but to recreate that. Or the News Articles commenting feature. I'm very hopeful I can make it work well here. Or move away later on.
I've actually got a lot of code already written on what was going to be a new platform. Part of the DEElay this year was trying to figure out how to reuse those somehow as I did a lot of work adding new data calls, etc. Here's a short list of things I'm thinking of in the very near future:
- Stats homepage and associated widgets. A newer version of the LeaderBoard is coming.
- Stats pages (batting/pitching/fielding)
- More homepage widgets
- Ongoing: performance improvements
But, dude, what took so long?
I'll come back to this after I have time to put together an answer. And I know this 'update' isn't complete either. Like I said, this is just Step One.