Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Installation Process

An interesting issue that has occurred to me. The framework requires a somewhat lengthy installation, with in depth access to the machine you want it to run on. For my set up, Slicehost, is trivial since I have unrestricted root access to the server. I suspect that if this starts to gain traction that people will want to have a somewhat simpler installation process.

I'll have to see what I can do, I don't want to lose all the coding I have done so far so I may need to work on a more friendly installation process. Perhaps build a custom installer, that will make the changes to the appropriate files without major issues. I suppose I could look around for an open source forum engine then rebuild the character manager component to work within the forum, but I have a lot of concerns about the security in the popular forum engines.  I suppose Simple Machines would be secure enough for me to augment with custom code, but then I'm much more restricted than if the forum was built completely from the ground up.

Hopefully I can simplify the installation process, or maybe I can make some money by providing the installation/support for those who don't want to deal with the technical nuances.

Thoughts? Comments? I'm all ears.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Databases, SVN, and Help!

Setting up the code repository has been arduous at best. I'm thinking I need to try working on a smaller scale first where I can easily work out the kinks before going for gold.  So I'm working on getting my own coding environment set up at home, so I don't have to work directly on a server.

This is helpful for two reasons: first it helps keep the server environment stable, second it let's me code more aggressively since a stable copy of the whole environment isn't getting put through the ringer.

Also, finally got MySQL (my database of choice) installed on my desktop at home. That took more effort than I first anticipated, mostly because of some conflicts on my box that I hadn't thought about earlier. Regardless, it's installed now and ready to go. My next goal is to get the code I have up and running on that machine and once it's all set up I'll do something similar on my linux machine which will act as a staging (testing) environment.

For those who aren't used to the terminology basically there will be three environments. Development, which is on my local machine (or anyone else's that works on this project!). Staging, which is going to be my Linux Laptop. Stable builds and milestones will get loaded on here where they can be tested in a shadow of a 'live' environment. Then Production which is essentially the 'live' environment that people will either use or install for their own purposes.

My goal is to have this project be as modular as possible, but avoid making redundant functionality and data in that pursuit. This presents a major design challenge since you have to account for each module handling cases where the component is or isn't there. Need to do some more research on this framework before I get a solid plan for standing that up.

Again, if anyone reading this is interested please let me know if you would like to participate! Really I'm looking for every skillset associated with website design. HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, Python, Django-specific stuff, and anything else you can think of. This is very much intended to be a 'for gamers, by gamers' kind of project so additional participation would be great!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Subversioning and Licensing!

Okay so my first endeavor is to set up a good method of source control. So I'm mucking through subversion's documentation. Once I've got this sorted, myself and anyone who is interested will be able to download a copy of the source code and other files and make changes and check them in.

I'll also be looking into putting a page to track changes and issues that come up. To this end I'd love feedback from anyone about what they like, don't like, or want ever so badly.

I'm thinking of releasing this whole thing under creative commons, since it's the simplest open license I know of. I suspect that I'd run into White Wolf legal entanglements if I actually even tried to make money off of this project in any official sense.

Again, anyone who is familiar with HTML, Javascript, and/or CSS would be definitely welcome in this endeavor!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A New Project!

Back in 2010, I developed a custom web application for a New World of Darkness larp I was running with several friends of mine. This app allowed players to at any point in time view their current character sheet. While the game was sadly forced to close its doors in the following year, I have held on to this application figuring that when the next game started in our social circle, I would dust it off and offer it up for their uses.

Today, after feeling energized by watching a video by Extra Credits about developers, I decided to Google 'Django Forums' and see what came up. In a split second I found an article that would help me build a rudimentary forum using the same Django Framework. This being the very same framework I built the character manager in, my head began to swim. In it's first implementation, I used the Simple Machines Forum, and leveraged a module that let me use the username/passwords from the SMF forum for people to log in and see their character sheets. If I were to build the forum itself from the ground up, I could give the ability for a much more tightly integrated experience. Also, it would give myself, and any other prospective forum owner total control on how the forum functions.

I need to sit down and start outlining everything I would want this to do, and I am looking for any and all input towards this effort. If anyone wants to be involved in the process (I could especially use visual web designers!) That would be awesome!

I'll be posting more of this as my plans solidify, and probably open a project on github or some other code hosting site.