Tech Update – August 31

Ok everyone, I am back to touch base on some of the technical details going on here at Obsidian Portal.  I spoke with the tech team earlier today to get an update, and discuss some of the specifics about what all is happening.  So, lets get right into it:


So, the first thing we need to talk about that I mentioned in our last tech update is the build environment (this impacts all users on a system-wide level).  As I previously mentioned, this problem has to be addressed in order for us to start rolling out our fixes and updates.  As we previously advised this is in testing, which is where it still remains though progress has been coming along.  I want to touch on this aspect in more detail to help everyone try to better understand what is happening.

Obsidian Portal is a very complex and customized system built on a language known as Ruby on Rails.  Due to this high level of complexity we have found that making modifications to one area can greatly and negatively impact other areas as well.  This requires us to do some rigorous testing in order to ensure that when we roll this major fix out we don’t cause a slew of new problems for folks.  We have cleaned a series of underlying problems here, but there is still more to be worked through before we can confidently roll this out.

There is both good and bad to consider about this.  The bad is fairly obvious, the time that it is taking to roll this out and actually see some improvements and changes happening around here.  The good side is less obvious, but a lot of the assorted issues we are seeing reported by members are likely directly caused by this issue and this one major fix alone should make a noticeable impact on the site for everyone involved.  This ranges from registration issues, login and logout issues, email issues, and more.

In conclusion on this one, it is a little hard to properly express everything as our community ranges greatly in their level of technical knowledge and a lot of the details would just go over the heads of many (in some cases the details tech has go beyond me).  I am more than willing to field any direct questions you may have on this as I know it is a source of frustration for many.  As many will attest I try to be very prompt about responding to anything the community brings forward or am more than willing to try and find out the details if I don’t have them right at that moment.

STATUS: In Testing, presently working on some issues discovered in regards to registration and login and logout routines.



This part is more of a reminder than anything for everyone.  As we announced in the last update, the remaining stretch goals that have not rolled out (Natural Editing and File Storage Locker) are pretty well set.  The Natural Editing is completely done and just waiting for technical resolutions, while the File Storage Locker is mostly completed (we noticed a couple things that were missed on this after some further review and are going to be working those in for a proper release).

Along with this we have some updates to the Character Name Generator feature that was rolled out as well, expanding the options we will have available in there for a quick character naming.  I will be talking to tech very soon about seeing if we can get our Community Council into the testing area to see that the features are where they need to be and to see if they can try and break it before we roll it out.  We will have some more updates on this soon so keep your eyes open.

STATUS: Natural Editing Complete and File Storage Locker in final iteration, awaiting technical resolution and Inner Council testing.



We have officially announced the Inner Council, though we are still in some talks with this as well.

First up on the list we have Belrathius as our new Community Ambassador, he will be working with me directly to improve the issue reporting processes here on OP as well as helping to compile up various issues that may have fallen through the cracks over the years.  Beyond this he has been going above and beyond and conduct testing on some of these outstanding issues to provide additional details to help our tech team find the core of these issues.  He has many great ideas that he has already been tossing my way, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him on things moving forward.

Next up we have ChainsawXIV taking up the title of Keeper of the Sheets.  For anyone who is not aware, the Dynamic Sheet Templates (DSTs) that are featured here at OP have always been historically created and managed by our amazing community.  ChainsawXIV has been handling approvals on the DSTs for some time now, and has been generous enough to agree to keep facilitating the community in this capacity.  This is something that requires a bit of technical knowledge in order to do, and he has shown that he has the skills in spades over the years.  I have some plans in mind here as well that I will be discussing with him as we move forward on how we might be able to enhance this feature of OP.  It will be good to be working with him as well as we move forward to the future of OP.

I am looking to get these folks some access to our testing area here shortly as well, which will allow them to try and break and maim the new features and fixes before they go public so we can have an even smoother integration process moving forward.  This will require us to get a bit further with the core errors that are tying things up, but as soon as we are there I will be making moves on this.  I also have some ideas in mind on how we could potentially expand this council in the future if things work out as expected, as we had a lot of names and skill sets that were suggested by the community when we initially announced the concept.


The voting for the T-Shirt Contest is officially closed.  We will be tallying up the votes for this and announcing a winner in an upcoming update later this week.  Thanks to everyone who voted, submitted extra feedback, and participated!

That is all for now, keep on gaming!

Award Winning!

Gold ENnie for Best Website 09'-11'

Silver ENnie for Best Website, Best Podcast 2012-2013
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