[Announcement] Technical Updates Discussion

Unknown
edited August 2015 in General Archive
This is an open discussion for the community in regards to the ongoing situation with the technical issues. We have some official announcements associated to this that we will also track in the post for you. The newest posts will be at the top of the list for ease of access:

"October 27 - Delayed Status Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/delayed-status-update/
"October 11 - Weekly Status Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/weekly-status-update-october-11/
"October 2 - Email Fix Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/email-notification-fix-update-oct-2/
"October 1 - Status and Tech Updates":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/status-and-tech-updates-oct-1/
"September 18 Status Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/status-update-sept-18/
"September 17 - Message from CEO":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/message-from-the-ceo/
"September 11 Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/weekly-status-update-sept-11/
"September 4 Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/contest-and-tech-updates/
"August 31 Tech Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/tech-update-august-31/
"August 28 Tech Update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/op-tech-status-aug-28/

--Alex
«134

Comments

  • Belrathius
    Belrathius
    Posts: 206 edited August 2015
    Hi Alex,

    As a strong proponent of updates being voiced in the forums and not just on the blog (or Twitter, or Facebook, etc...), I just wanted to say that I feel posting the updates on the blog and then specifically posting a notice *and link to the blog* is a reasonable compromise. It keeps the forum community in the loop and makes it easy for them to get to the info - without requiring a social media account or mixing non-gaming with gaming stuff, or requiring that they consistently check the blog for updates. This approach seems simple enough and still addresses the needs of the forum community (in my opinion) to be kept informed.

    I have had a thought about the support site. In my opinion, dev should not invest any effort in fixing the issues with this. My reasoning is that I feel it would be best to replace it completely. There are many ways in which it is simply inadequate. There is no way to determine who a bug is assigned to (and thereby hold someone accountable, be it dev or the original poster being asked to submit more info), there is no way to filter on criteria such as current status or general category, and so on.

    My recommendation does not mean that OP needs to spend a great deal of money, either. A quick search for "bug tracker" on SourceForge provides a list of open source options that OP could leverage.
    "http://sourceforge.net/directory/os:windows/freshness:recently-updated/?q=bug%20tracker":http://sourceforge.net/directory/os:windows/freshness:recently-updated/?q=bug%20tracker
    Because OP operates on a _freemium_ business model, where the standard service is free while premium services are subscription based, it is also possible that licensing will not be an issue. Given the technical knowledge pool that OP also has access to in their community, such a tool that allows tiers of access and control could also support the proposed community council to handle a great number of the bugs reported, while escalating true dev issues to the appropriate level. This bug triage (as we called it back when I was a software tester by occupation) also allows for determination of priority and severity, which helps dev focus on the most important needs first. The "discussion" model that has been implemented since the early days may have been best when it was just a couple of guys doing everything themselves on off hours, with little to no real user base, but OP has grown beyond that. The demands of the complexity of the system, the volume of users, and the layers of back-end personnel more than ever indicate a need for a more robust issue tracking solution. Just my two cents.
    Post edited by Belrathius on
  • Saabi
    Saabi
    Posts: 20
    Belrathius. He speaks sense. At least to me a relative layman.
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,733
    Belrathius, again, I say, you are awesome....
    My problem with this thread is that it is yet another sticky... at this point almost the entire front page is stickied... can we remove some from the sticky list please?
    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":https://a-god-rebuilt.obsidianportal.com
    "OP's COTM April 2012":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/a-god-rebuilt-aprils-cotm/
    Over 350 Fans, and Looking for More!

    Just trying to help out.

  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,733
    Not that I want to add to your workload, @alex redeye, but I had a thought- on June 16th Travis randomly closed most open tickets at that time. You may want to look into all of those to see if they were resolved. I re-opened all I was involved in, but many still just got closed.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Belrathius
    Belrathius
    Posts: 206
    If OP does move to a different issue tracking tool, that would be a great thing to delegate to the council being formed - dividing up the workload of verifying every bug opened in 2015, regardless of status, and migrating the unresolved issues to the new tool.

    KillerVP's issue with the stickies really isn't a problem if you use the Categories tab, but then again I don't know of anyone who does (although surely some do). For those of us who monitor the entire forum for activity, even if only to monitor and not comment, the full screen of stickies does make our efforts far more work than it should be. As such, I agree with Killervp that something should be done. In my opinion, before unstickying things (de-stickying? shrug), I would get a firm commitment on replacing the forums, with a timeline. Note that I mean fully replacing the forums, not simply starting on the project. Many of the stickies can be merged for content, but would be best done when forums are migrated (assuming that they would require a new database back-end too). If that is going to happen within a month or less, then I would say wait. If it is not going to happen or take more than a month, then I feel the issue should be addressed fairly quickly since it does impact ongoing communication of the community.
  • Unknown
    I will be killvervp, on both your points. I need to look over the Sticky posts and see what is still relevant so we can drop some of the less useful stuff. Sticky should be reserved for current and relevant items only. On the tickets, my plan is to actually look at everything in there, and that includes the resolved things. I know stuff was falling through the cracks and I intend to scoop it all up in time.

    I'll do you one better even, I'll start in on the Sticky posts now to clear it up some for folks.

    Belrathius, this is actually something I am considering already and I appreciate that you actually peeked into this some already. I need to touch base with Tech on this as well, because I want to make sure that whatever we put in place can have a proper way of pushing things over to Tech still when needed. I'll take a look at those sourceforge options and see what is available.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    A lot of the "sticky" stuff is really useful, even if you don't want to see it every time you open up. So, I would suggest that if things are "unsticked" they could be put into a separate "category" that we will know to go an look at if we want/need to.

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Unknown
    I have something in mind for that twigs - there is a lot of handy stuff that is buried already as well that needs to come back to light. Plans upon plans, but nothing ready to directly announce just yet on that.
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    just chiming in to say I agree too many stickies for my tastes, and I think the word we should use for removing stickiness is.... wait for it.... Loosen

    but there are "other options":http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unstuck

    disenthrall is probably my fave :)
  • Unknown
    I have cleaned up a couple of the very outdated items that were Sticky, but yea we still have a number of items sitting up there. A few of these I would like to leave up until such time as I have things in place to start consolidating some of this information into a more manageable system.
  • Unknown
    As this is a continued conversation, here is the "latest update":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/tech-update-august-31/ on things. I expect we will have some questions from a few folks, and I will here to address those. This is now also being linked in the opening post.
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,733
    So, to sum up, they are communicating with you more than anyone in the past, and you, Alex, are doing a great job in communicating as well.
    However, no actual fixes.
    Oh, and a quick perusal of the help tickets are that there are around 100 tickets, at least, that were just randomly closed on June 15th, with no verification on whether or not they were fixed.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Unknown
    edited September 2015
    @killervp, I will be investigating closed tickets in the system as well as I know there were a couple spats in the past of tickets being closed out with no indications. As a result, I plan to test closed items to ensure they are actually resolved. I actually planned that after seeing how many tickets you had to reopen after one of those stints happened.

    @SkidAce, I'll be jumping into the testing environment today to get an idea of how progress is coming with the build environment errors. Our techs have been working on flushing out a long series of items (as mentioned on my last check, they had managed to find a series of issues in the login/logout/registration facets of things). To be honest, I really wish I had a grasp of the language this site is built on so I could provide more help on the tech side of things than just testing.

    So, I am home sick today folks, hoping to be able to get some things done around here as a result.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,733
    Get well. None of this is on you-you have done a great job communicating.

    Just trying to help out.

  • WoozleWozzle
    WoozleWozzle
    Posts: 9
    Hi,

    I noticed the default tags for YouTube videos changed, and neither the old nor new tags are working for me.

    Are others having this problem? Is it on the list?
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 807
    You're doing good things Alex, I personally appreciate what you do.
  • Unknown
    edited September 2015
    @WoozleWozzle - are you referring to embedding YouTube videos on pages? If so, this is a known issue and on the list.

    @killervp & SkidAce - Thanks guys!
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Maesenko
    Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    Y'know Alex, I don't think that it's just Ruby on Rails that is the issue here, as there are certainly other sites and programs that run on it. The issue at hand is that OP was built from the ground up by Micah, and customised further with Ruby. As such, there is likely a lot of stuff which was thrown together in a non-standard fashion which is now being reorganized into those standards. I'm fairly confident that when all of that gets smoothed over, the rest of the work will be comparatively simple.

    Get well, and thanks for keeping regular comms going.

    _~Mae_

    ~Mae

    CotM Selection Committee

  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,733
    @Mae- Well said, and that was one of the things I had hoped for with the Reforge -a complete tear down aND rebuild. Obviously that was not the case.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Belrathius
    Belrathius
    Posts: 206
    Agreed, Killervp, however such a huge undertaking is unlikely now, at least not until they get some of the critical issues resolved - like automated emails and embedded media, just to name a couple.

    That said, once there is a reasonable calm, a full rebuild on a more mainstream, current language would be a really smart move, both for future additions of features and general maintenance. But just my opinion.
  • Unknown
    @Mae - you are correct, RoR is not the issue but rather the very customized build that is Obsidian Portal (that is why I addressed that in the blog). RoR is a perfectly acceptable language for the site to be built on, and many pages out there are using it just fine. So, that is a perfect assessment of the situation. The good news is the tech guys are making good progress here and I am now able to start testing some fixes and updates to things. I am arranging with the Inner Council members to get them on board with this to help make the testing phase go a little quicker and get more hands in the pie to try and break things. Obviously we don't want to push updates that just break something new while fixing something, which tends to be the case with a lot of fixes til we hammer it all down.

    @killervp - I can understand that sentiment, and from a development perspective I can see why that was likely not what was done (granted, I didn't get to see anything regarding the old version of OP or how it was built, so it could be the case and I would be unaware). With OP having been a good platform already I can see why there would be apprehension to just drop all of that and start over from scratch as opposed to fixing what was not working. As I mentioned, RoR is a very dynamic language and perfectly reasonable to keep using moving forward, even if a rebuild were considered.

    @Belrathius - Absolutely correct there. Until we get things back on track here at OP I do not foresee the system being stripped and started over. Rather we must reach a point where the current system is stabilized and the expected functions and features are all working as intended. Once we get to that point we could put some real serious consideration into this, and I will at least be bringing it up with the tech team so I can get some of their insight on the process. I do want to mention again, though, that RoR is not some old outdated language. Heck, the language wasn't even debuted until December 13, 2005 (making the very existence of it just a decade in comparison to other frameworks). It also still receives active development and expansion, with the latest version having been released on August 24 (7 days ago). So, with that said, I don't know if abandoning RoR is needed, but the premise of a rebuild could still be considered.
  • Unknown
    Got another update I am working on for this evening. Will post again and add a link to the opening post once it is published.
  • Unknown
    Update posted and linked above, more than just tech updates on this one, but they are included.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    Email notifications, access to the site and passwords seem to have overtaken all other things in importance in my view and are absolutely critical. All other issues should now start playing second fiddle to these, in my opinion. Gosh, I sincerely hope there is a fix soon!

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Unknown
    Those are all essentially the same issue of Email Notifications, which as mentioned is part of what is being tested.
  • berdman
    berdman
    Posts: 46
    Alex thanks for being so forth coming and open on the issues and what is being done for resolution. I am happy to see natural editing is close to being available as that is the one feature from the Kickstarter that I have been waiting for.

    I have a question, during the original reforge process bakers at a certain level got access to the beta environment so they could see the new features, provide feedback and find issues. Has any thought been given to doing something like that for what sounds like a pretty significant update coming soon?

    I have been working in Software for way to long and know the challenges of getting enough QA on something as big and complex as OP especially when doing big changes, so having some beta guinea pigs as another set of eyes after yourself and the inner council have given it your blessing may be helpful in making sure this release is as great as it sounds.

    Again thanks for everything you are doing to provide information and transparency around all of this it has brought me back in to using OP as I start prepping my next campaign.
  • Unknown
    @berdman - You know what, I was actually having a discussion with Andrew about this the other day. You are completely correct that the more fingers you can get into the pot in a controlled manner, the more likely you will be to track down any bugs or errors. People have a wonderful habit of using the same features in different ways, and that can honestly make all the difference in the world when bug hunting. I still have a few more things I need to consider with something like that, but don't be too shocked if I show up with an announcement looking for a couple more folks to jump at the testing.
  • berdman
    berdman
    Posts: 46
    @alex_redeye I would be happy to volunteer some time when you get to that point.
  • bluesguy
    bluesguy
    Posts: 127
    @alex_redeye - Your posts and updates are exactly the kind of communication and transparency I have wanted to see for a long long time.
This discussion has been closed.