Topic: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Well, there's certainly some to tell. I had hoped to have some prettyful screenshots to wave around, but I don't. I do have words to say though. As with all websites, there's a number of layers to Phoenix 2.0 - however, I've been looking carefully at every one. The pretty screenshots come with the top layer, and I'll get to that in a minute, but first I want to talk about the layer below that.

The crunchy core of Phoenix 2.0 is pretty much done. It's written in Object-Oriented PHP (making it all modern and shiny), and is very trim and lightweight. It should also be easy to understand for anyone who knows code. There's still some tinkering around the edges with it, and I want to test it a bit more thoroughly before putting up a "beta" site, but it's mostly good.

The layer below the core is what's called architecture. That, interestingly, is what 90% of my new job is about, so recently I've been doing a lot of work on it. We're currently hosted as one site on my multi-site Hostgator account, using shared hosting. As solutions go it's not bad, but there are times when the server seems to find itself under a bit of strain. The logical solution to that is called a Virtual Private Server. Whilst they're usually a bit more expensive, you get a lot more computer grunt. Amazon run a service to do something not dissimilar to that, in addition to a whole bunch of other shiny web tech. I'm still testing things out, but it seems quite probable that for much the same amount as I'm currently spending on hosting I could migrate to Amazon Web Services and get a much stronger hosting. Also usefully, it's much better at scaling up if we get bigger, at doing nice regional-based hosting for faster responses, and handling servers tripping over. This is where research is happening.

Moving back up the layers, code-wise I'm working on a layer between the core and the shiny frontend. My intent is that Phoenix 2.0 will have a whole ton of customisability on the front end, and I'm still determining how to get the most flexibility for the least difficulty. The idea is that anyone can put together a layout, using a few special markers for content, using mostly basic HTML/CSS/Javascript, so there's endless room to customise. On top of layouts would be themes, so someone who wants a black and red forum can have it, and someone else who wants silver and blue can have that, with the same layout if they like. To make that easier I'm making the aforementioned layer to give out the actual content in an easy-to-work-with format. This is where work is currently happening.

Once that's all settled together I'll put together a basic layout for starting with, which will likely be similar to this one, and get it up online for people to poke around at. I'll also see about getting us a web address that's not just a subdomain of my own. If someone makes a really cool layout it'd be easy for us to change the default, which is, to my mind, a big plus. It makes the technical aspects much more a case of "done by the members" than they are at present.

So there's the Phoenix 2.0 update. Hopefully soon I'll have something pretty to wave around, rather than lines of code and reference pages smile

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

I understood about half of that! Thanks for the update and explaining things.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Oh! Yeah! A thing I *completely* forgot to mention! One of the core things I've done is had characters be a separate thing to accounts and have forums split into OOC (like Management) and IC (games). So when someone goes to post in an OOC forum they just post as themselves, whereas in an IC one they get a drop down, showing first their characters in that forum, then (if the section isn't an "Other" one) their other characters in that area (to help with crossovers), then their OOC self.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Let me guess, it's using Invision/IP.board?

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

No, I've written it from scratch. Mostly using vim.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Great news, Euan! Can't wait to have a look at the new engine!

I am particularly happy about the subaccounts feature... it was thoroughly discussed in this thread and deemed very interesting to implement.

Question: how will Phoenix 2.0 perform on mobile devices? Is it responsive to them?

"My faith protects me. My Kevlar helps" - (Jim Butcher)

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

And the same question for tablets: how will it perfom on those? Because I know from experience that drop-down menus and touch screens don't always go very well together.

Great update, by the way. Thanks for letting us know!

-Mischa

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a281/hollyzuzu/6bd9dace-1d9f-469e-b069-b872b1d826dd_zpswfifvw2x.jpg

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Regarding mobile devices, the intent with the current work on a layer to simplify layouts is partially to enable people to make any sort of layout they like. Which, naturally, includes mobile. However, when I do the default layout I'm planning to make it responsive.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Thanks for the update; although I am probably not alone in wishing we had these more often.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

You wrote it all in vim? Yikes. No wonder things are taking so long. tongue

http://www.phoenix-rp.com/img/pips/4.png http://oi60.tinypic.com/5otabo.jpg

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Now that we have the shortened and more direct URL, how are other things going, Euan?

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

The shorter URL is the first part of gradually changing backend infrastructure - we're now running our DNS queries through Amazon Web Services. I've gotten a mostly-together server up and running there, though it needs a little more tinkering before it's ready, but once that's good to go we should (in theory) be able to handle things mostly seamlessly even if we get a large influx of people at once. It's the same technology that powers big news sites and enables them to handle huge traffic spikes. I'm also migrating some of our static content (i.e. images) to a dedicated resource for that, and setting it up to be distributed for much quicker response times. People should notice the site as a whole getting gradually faster as I move things over to the Amazon infrastructure.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Can't wait to try the beta server!  tongue

"My faith protects me. My Kevlar helps" - (Jim Butcher)

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Just wanna say wow.

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Anything new, Euan? I have to say I am really excited about this and I am really not trying to be pushy with asking for updates. And if you by chance need testers for it... wink

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

*is excited, and very, very glad we have Euan*

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

*is excited, and very, very glad we have Euan*

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

So excited you posted twice. =-D

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Yes. Lol.

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Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

So now our database is running on Amazon RDS smile

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

And now we've updated all our old MyISAM tables to InnoDB ones.

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

Bit of fiddling around later - Phoenix has a little favicon now (using a buttonised version of the banner)! I've also tweaked things so we get slightly nicer URLs (that include the title of the thread, for example) and made a couple of little backend changes so everything loads directly from the www.phoenix-rp.com domain (rather than some things going to static.phoenix-rp.com). Once I stop it throwing errors, we'll be attached to a CloudFront distribution which should make everything much faster for everyone smile

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

2.0?

And I know this isn't the thread, but did you look into the tagging?

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

All preparatory things to get us onto better infrastructure and able to have a much better P2.0. And not yet, but will hopefully get a chance to next week smile

Re: [Phoenix 2.0] Where are we?

I have no idea what most of that means, but it's sure looking like progress.

Last edited by Ash Leighton Plom (2014-11-23 15:08:45)

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