Obsidian Portal - site update (Jan 2016)

andreww38
andreww38
edited January 2016 in General Archive
Hi all,

If you missed my earlier intro post, you can check it out "here":http://forums.obsidianportal.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=4019&page=1

I will be stepping back in for a period of time to more actively manage the technical development team and ensure that we catch-up on support issues. I’ll be actively participating in the forums and managing the "customer support site":http//help.obsidianportal.com

Here are some updates:

*OP server maintenance / site outage (VERY IMPORTANT):*
In preparation for a series of bug fixes and feature upgrades, the technical team will be taking OP offline on Monday, Jan 11, from 2am PST to 4am PST (that is 2 hours after midnight on Sunday PST). This is typically the period of lowest use of OP and we’re trying to be as non-disruptive as possible.

While we known that some GMs might be updating campaigns during this window, it also appears to be the period with the fewest GMs and players accessing the site during the week.

The site may be down for up to 3 hours, however, we are aiming for a 30 minute down-time.

For updates, check for updates on the OP "Facebook page":https://www.facebook.com/obsidianportal and "Twitter account":https://twitter.com/obsidianportal.
In a best case scenario, the site might be up within 30 minutes. If so, we’ll post an update on the Facebook page or on Twitter.
-

-----
*General Tech development update:*
We are in the process of increasing our technical development team three-fold in the coming weeks. We’re committed to getting real, visible, traction on the issues that have been outstanding for some time.

We’ve focused on diagnosing the source of 500,502 errors and have applied fixes to address 2 sources of these errors (Error 404 and null point exception). We are working on the source of the final error “undefined method” and expect to roll it out once it’s ready.
You can track the ticket status on these errors at: http//help.obsidianportal.com/discussions/problems/17190-keep-getting-500-502-or-504-errors

On the tech fix front, we’re working through the list of OP issues listed at Belrathius’ "OP Issues Tracking list":http://forums.obsidianportal.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=4036&page=1#Item_0
as well as tickets filed at the customer support site.

Some of the issues are quick fixes, like the navigation block that appears at the bottom of each page (gold text on beige background). We don’t like “invisible ink” being used in site navigation either, so you can expect this to be improved in the coming days.

Some of the fixes and feature upgrades are far more complex and will require significantly more effort on the part of the team.

Our priority is to resolve “community wide” issues first, with a focus on those which affect our Ascendant Members, and then some of the more unique, esoteric, and transient issues as we progress.


-----
*Community participation*
We value the feedback that many of you have shared in the past few weeks and are working that into the bug fixes and features we are rolling out.

Some of you have indicated that you prefer some of the features in the pre-Reforged OP. While it’s not possible to rollback the server code due to technical issues, we can rebuild pre-forge features, especially if they enhance the gaming experience.

We’re in the process of getting feedback on which features should be (re)developed in conjunction with the Inner Council.

In due course, we’ll be soliciting your input and feedback as we rework OP’s user interface and key features. We’ll be launching new threads in the forums to solicit and collect your feedback. So we do appreciate the time you’ve spent building campaigns here, talking to fellow GMs and gamers in the forums and we are working towards making it a better experience.

-----
*Questions?*
Feel free to reach out to me by responding to this post, or private message or email at: [email protected]


Valar morghulis

Andrew Wee
Operations Manager
Obsidian Portal

ps: textile noob, so no hyperlinking in this post.
«1345

Comments

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599 edited January 2016
    Thanks for the update, Andrew

    I appreciate the new engagement, candour and rigour that seems to be being demonstrated of late.
    I am WITH YOU and I encourage my fellow OP veterans to join in this hope.
    Assuredly, not ALL previous features will be reinstated, but I am happy that my own site is working and look forward to some improvements on this fantastic RPG platform.

    Following from your suggestion, I reiterate my hope that the SEARCH function enabling better communication between our members is reinstated. (There is a ticket for this - in fact, I think I may have started it, but I have withdrawn from that ticket due to constant "NOTHINGHAPPENING". However, I still support it in my heart.)

    I thank you for giving your direct email address. Personally, I am happy to keep looking in on the forums and am encouraged by recent threads submitted by members (many of them, new members) opening up discussions that we can all be involved with as a community.

    I look forward to 2016 being the most improved year of Obsidian Portal - that should be an easily attainable goal.

    I love you all!

    twiggyleaf
    CURRENT CAMPAIGN: "Mysteria":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/mysteria - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Previous CotM Aug 2012: "Shimring":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shimring
    Post edited by twiggyleaf on

    "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

  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    I'm excited about this step forward, and am excited about the idea of things actually being done to fix these issues and make this site better. (and hopefully bring back some old users that have drifted away) I too look forward to 2016 on Obsidian Portal! (This is the part if I was on a phone I would post a bunch of the hallelujah hand emojis.)
  • elorebaen
    elorebaen
    Posts: 7
    Thank you for the update!
  • Maesenko
    Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    I remain hopeful, and I look forward to seeing patch notes / developments posted after this Monday.

    As Always,
    _~Mae_

    ~Mae

    CotM Selection Committee

  • Kallak
    Kallak
    Posts: 850
    "Deflector shields to maximum, all hands brace for impact!"

    ---

    In all seriousness, I'm glad to see something coming down the pipe after all this time.

    All the best,
    - Kallak

    Inner Council Member
    CotM Selection Committee
    Writer/Editor - Words In The Dark
    Obsidian Portal Community and Content Manager
    GameMaster - Crucible of the Blacksoul (CotM for Jan. 2013)

  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 807
    Encouraging...thank you.
  • Keryth987
    Keryth987
    Posts: 785
    I am truly encouraged by what we are hearing of late and see the site maintenance as an encouraging step towards a better OP in the future
    As for what I'd like to see brought back, the ability to comment on other campaigns and read them is one I sorely miss


    Keelah Se'lai,
    Keryth
    "Shadows Over New York":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shadows-over-new-york
    "2013 Campaign of The Year":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/2013-coty-shadows-over-new-york/
    "Campaign of the Month July 2013":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/shadows-over-new-york-julys-campaign-of-the-month/
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    Ditto Keryth9871

    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

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Hi all,
    some quick updates.

    OP will be undergoing server maintenance in about 2.5 hours from now (2am PST, 5am EST). In the best case scenario, the site will be up within 30mins.

    If we encounter severe issues, we'll do a rollback to the most stable version (this one) and re-schedule the update.

    -
    To summarize some of the stuff that happened last week:
    -
    1) We prepped the server for the upgrade, this means fixes, patches, new features will be stable when we install them here.
    2) 2 of the 3 errors causing the Error 500/502 have been fixed. The last source of the 500 errors is related to special characters appearing in URLs, for example game_of_thrones.obsidianportal.com will cause an error 400/500 cause underscore is not a character supported by internet browsers. it's the same case with spaces. We plan to put the fix in soon, so this will take care of most of the 500/502 errors.

    -
    This week we're working on:
    1) timezone synch issues: particularly non-US users seeing an event time on their calendar one or two hours too early or later. This may be related to daylight savings time offsets not being applied correctly, The techs are still digging into the guts of OP code to diagnose and fix.

    2) File Disk Quota storage used, storage remaining. We plan to have a display of space used/remaining in the "Settings", "Basic Settings" tab. As soon as the server is stabilzed, we'll put it in in the next couple of days (before the end of the week for sure...)

    3) Improvements to the user interface, navigation elements. We'll launch these based on the feedback we've received and we may make final adjustments depending on more feedback.

    4) Site slowness: I've noticed some lag (no error message appeared) while using the site at about Saturday, midnight EST. The tech are looking at the logs to see if it's a code-related or server-related issue. Will post more once I have an update.

    -
    Else, I'll see you after the server update/upgrade.
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    The server upgrade/maintenance went smoothly.

    Now in:
    1) Fix to malformed URLs causing 404/500 errors.
    2) Display for File Storage Locker's storage used, storage remaining.

    For details, go "here":http://forums.obsidianportal.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=4131&page=1#Comment_35040

    -
    We'll announce more upgrades, fixes this week as soon as we've tested them and pushed them to the server.
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    not seeing any 500 errors since the update... still have the issue in the wiki of the edit window not fully opening / sidebar menu which appears not functioning (e.g. "character link", "wiki link", "media embed", "image embed")...

    fellow forum posters have given me a workaround for the small edit window (pulling on the bottom right to widen the window), but it still is a problem with the user interface, I just don't know how common it is or if it's part of your current work plan?
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 807
    Tau, its very common and been that way since the reforge.

    However, for me resizing an editing window is not an issue, so I've never commented on it.
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239 edited January 2016
    [FEATURE ADDED]

    FYI, we have "Quick Links" in the top nav bar (white text on black background).

    It is a drop-down menu with links to the forums, help desk, blog and knowledgebase.

    If you click on the link, it opens in the same window (may overwrite your unsaved wiki).

    If you hold the "control" (ie CTRL) key down, while clicking on the link, it opens it in a new tab.

    If you right click and choose "Open in a new tab", it, er, opens the link in a new tab.


    Comments? Feedback? Like it? Hate it?
    Post edited by andreww38 on
  • ketherian
    ketherian
    Posts: 203
    Love.
    I didn't notice this at all.
    Now that I know about it I will use it all the time.

    -
    Ketherian
    "Signs & Portends":swtwc.obsidianportal.com
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589
    Very good, much better than having to start back at your profile/landing page to navigate about the site.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    Very nice feature. It was all a bit clumsy and clunky before.

    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

  • Keryth987
    Keryth987
    Posts: 785
    Well, just for those who don't know it yet. If you go and edit your profile and set your default campaign to blank, you start OP at your profile page every time you log in. Only catch is you need to edit this again each time you start a new campaign because OP sets the new campaign to your default automatically.


    Keelah Se'lai,
    Keryth
    "Shadows Over New York":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shadows-over-new-york
    "2013 Campaign of The Year":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/2013-coty-shadows-over-new-york/
    "Campaign of the Month July 2013":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/shadows-over-new-york-julys-campaign-of-the-month/
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    NEW FEATURES - "Campaigns page":http://obsidianportal.com/campaigns now has the following updates:
    1) campaigns displayed are sorted by popularity (number of fans)
    2) "Filter Campaigns by" has a dropdown box below that lets you sort based on various criteria.

    Try it, break it, report bugs and we'll fix it.

    Post in comments below. thanks.
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    NEW FEATURE:

    BOTTOM-OF-PAGE NAVIGATION BLOCK
    The links in the bottom navigation block (found on most pages) have been changed from gold text on a light background, to black text on the light background.
    This should increase text legibility.

    DYNAMIC STYLESHEET TEMPLATE
    Gold text on white background on "DST page":https://www.obsidianportal.com/dynamic_sheet_templates has been changed to black text on white background

    Like it? Hate it?
    Post in comments below.
  • UselessTriviaMan
    UselessTriviaMan
    Posts: 435
    SonuvaCRAP those are going to be useful. Thank you!

    Ptolus, City by the Spire - 2016 Campaign of the Year

    "Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life."  - - Kevin Smith

  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,734
    Yes!!! Finally the campaign page looks good again!! This is great news!
    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.

  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 807
    Well we will never be on the front page again. Bummer.

    Sort by fans, too few.

    Sorted by update used to show only those over 20 or so, so we used to hang on that for a while.

    Oh well, we are in kind of a middle ground for campaigns after all.

    I do really like seeing all those new campaigns with 1 or 2 fans showing up again though, thats good!

    SkidAce

    "Unconqured Kingdoms":https://unconquered-kingdoms.obsidianportal.com/dashboard
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 807 edited January 2016
    After looking closer, we are on the second page....good times!

    I retract my bummer....

    edit: 1st page of 5e filtered games...sweet!

    #1 rule, never post before coffee and/or investigation....doh...
    Post edited by SkidAce on
  • wolfhound
    wolfhound
    Posts: 354 edited January 2016
    Campaign Search "home brew" refinement
    If you want to refine your search by campaign type, and it's not "sticking" when you select a game system - here's a workaround until there's time to revisit this feature,

    Sort by the game system you're looking for and pull off the "game_system_id=" value from the address line.

    Then, copy it. So if you're looking for Pathfinder RPG you want "game_system_id=84"

    Now do the sort you want, for example "New Campaigns"

    Then add a & symbol and then your game system id.

    So to sort all new campaigns for pathfinder, the URL would look like this:

    "https://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns?sort_by=created_at&game_system_id=84":https://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns?sort_by=created_at&game_system_id=84

    By adding a game_system_id I think you'll find the tool even more powerful than it is now, which is awesome since we've been wanting/needing this feature back for a while. Thanks Andrew for gettin' 'er done!!!
    Post edited by wolfhound on
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    This is awesome! I'm so excited to see this update! I'm on the second page of 5e but my goal is to get on the first page with you Skidace!
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    Finally! Well done, OP!

    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

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239 edited January 2016
    @wolfhound - welcome.

    I am a little concerned about having to do workarounds with a fix in place though.

    Would it help to use the following process:
    1) choose your sort criteria
    2) choose the game system
    3) click "Search" button to start the search process?

    -
    at the moment, selecting sort criteria from the dropdown initiates the search, so it bypasses the game system.

    I'll re-spec the task according to what you guys want.
    Post edited by andreww38 on
  • Keryth987
    Keryth987
    Posts: 785
    Damn, I need to get more fans for Shadows :)

    New page looks good though



    Keelah Se'lai,
    Keryth
    "Shadows Over New York":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shadows-over-new-york
    "2013 Campaign of The Year":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/2013-coty-shadows-over-new-york/
    "Campaign of the Month July 2013":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/shadows-over-new-york-julys-campaign-of-the-month/
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,599
    I have requested that TICKET NUMBER EIGHT - "SEARCH FOR CAMPAIGNS functionality POST REFORGE" be closed. I started this ticket two years ago, and with the recent Drop Down SEARCH TOOL instituted, it is time to put the ol' critter to sleep.

    Thanks OP and Andrew Wee!

    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

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    NEW FEATURE:
    This was also done, though I'm not advanced enough to test it.

    ---
    Change use of "description" in classes to "desc" so that it can be styled by custom CSS - "description" contains the word "script" which is blocked in the CSS to prevent Javascript use

    ----
    Can someone check, hack, try to break it and let me know if it works or we should work on it more?
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