March 2019 Website Maintence

Hey guys. Michael here. Today, I started doing a massive amount of maintenance to the Bit Phoenix website. I’ve set up a few features you guys might find really cool, and I guess this article is going to test one of them.

So what’s changed?

There are quite a few things that have changed today with the website. Here’s a description of what’s new.

These articles automatically get posted to the forum.

Not only that, but you now have the ability to reply to these articles and have those replies show up both on the main site and the forum.

This should give a lot of cool opportunities for community feedback with these announcements since it is theoretically a lot easier to say what’s on your mind.

Wiki fixes

The wiki has been overhauled too. It still uses the exact same system as before, but the old pages have been purged (a few days ago) and I have my admin access back. All the new pages are categorized, and there is now the ability to embed YouTube videos in articles.

Still no word on the dark theme. If anyone can find me an actually decent dark theme for MediaWiki that affects everything then I’ll gladly install it. But for now, just use Dark Reader.

Blog enhancements

I’ve redone the blog too. You’ll notice it has a new and far better theme. The homepage now promotes The Peacenet front-and-centre, and the user interface is just generally better.

I’ve also made it possible to log in to the blog with a Bit Phoenix Accouont which federates with the rest of the site – so your forum account is your wiki account is your blog account is your Bit Phoenix Account. Awesome!

What are my thoughts?

Well, I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a decent dark theme on the wiki right now but I kind of like the new website. I’ve had a few issues with the older blog and everything which discouraged me using it. Such as:

  1. My admin account wasn’t federated so I had to keep track of multiple logins.
  2. There wasn’t a decent what-you-see-is-what-you-get article editor. It used Markdown, like the forum, but didn’t even have a decent preview, unlike the forum.
  3. The damn thing kept logging me out while I was blogging!
  4. It was very hard to customize.

With the new site, a lot of those issues are fixed. The article editor is block-based and I can see exactly how the article will look on the site as I write it in the admin UI. It posts announcements to the forum which means this’ll show up in #updates on the Discord. I love it.

I don’t have to SSH into my server to install plugins or customize the theme. I don’t need to deal with multiple admin accounts, one for the blog and one for the rest of the site. Everything is just…fluent. Coherent. Usable!

But there’s still one thing missing…

Namely, a coherent UI across the entire site. I really like the way http://monogame.net/ looks, how it has the same general UI across their main site and their forum. You can tell the forum runs Discourse like we do, but there’s also an extremely easy way to get to other areas of the site from the forum. That’s the only thing missing from this site.