I've been working on a refresh for SWAG for a while now. It's nice to finally have it deployed. It's not perfect, but there are a lot of things about it that made it time to make it publicly available. When I do these refreshes, I like to look back at the efforts and kind of give a snapshot of what's happened:
- Drupal Version
The first and most important bit of this effort was upgrading to a new version of Drupal. I've been maintaining this site since before it was even on Drupal, and our first Drupal version was Drupal 5 (which was released in 2007). Since that time, we've upgraded to Drupal 6 and 7, and now we're finally on Drupal 8. I'm kind of irritated that it took me the fully Drupal 8 release cycle to get ready for this release, but that's on me. It feels like time passes by faster the older I get. We're in a really good position to upgrade to Drupal 9. I'm helping some of the modules we depend on get D9 ready. It's a very short list, and shouldn't be a ton of effort.
- A new theme!
I do this with every major revision of effort that I give SWAG. This time was no different. There's a lot of effort left to be done here with regard to mobile friendly, but I've put a lot of the basic building blocks in place. Iterative improvement is the order of the day.
- Infinite Scroll!
I've wanted this for a while, but basically anywhere you find a gallery, you will now also find infinite scroll. Obviously, it's not ACTUALLY infinite, but we do have a lot of content. Infinite scroll makes it easier to traverse more of the content more quickly too. I hope everyone likes this.
- Better Image Pages
I've wanted a better presentation for images for a while. The new image pages are going to scale your images to a much large size, so... feel free to upload images that are a pretty good size. Even a lot of the older images that weren't meant for this size look great. I'm really pleased with how this turned out. Likewise, you're going to have more links to other images the artist has created, links to the artist's page itself, and I tried to make comments not ugly.
- Image Focal Points
You should have the ability to click on an image after you've uploaded it now which will set the point where you want crops to focus. If you find your current image crops are focussed on areas you wish they weren't, you can change it. By default the focal point is going to be the center of your image and that's not always the most flattering area on which to focus.
- Better User Pages
Users have galleries and blogs, and they're a lot nicer and easier to use.
There are a lot of other high level things that have been done during this cycle and we've benefitted from a lot of the improvements in Drupal core. The editing experience is going to be a lot nicer than it's ever been (as just one example). There are, however, a handful of things that did not make the jump:
- Private Messages
The simple fact of the matter is that the community hasn't maintained the code we were using for this on into the Drupal 8 era. I'm looking for replacements but didn't want to hold the release up on finding one.
- Front Page Dashboard
I'm not entirely certain what I want to do about this, but I felt compelled to focus on what SWAG is REALLY all about. We're not about news, or blogs, we're about images. And yes the news is important, and the blogs are SUPER important, but I wanted people to get to the front page and find great images. With that in mind, I decided to "all in" on that approach. I may choose to change eventually, but for the time being, this is how we're going.
- Featured Images
I actually just didn't have the time. Long term, this feature will come back. I've got an archive of the old site, and we hadn't featured so many images that it would be hard to replicate it. At the end, I sacrificed this for the sake of getting the site out. However, there were a handful of other features that were tangential to this (favorites for example) and if I re-release this feature, I'm afraid people might have to re-establish that data for themselves.
I'm sure there are other things I've missed or forgotten, but I hope this new version of SWAG, which I lovingly crafted over these last many many months, brings you joy in this new year and in years to come. I hope all our members are well and that we're surviving the insanities of pandemics, political upheavals and cabin-fever.
First a heartfelt thanks to you for all the awesome work you did keeping and reviving this magnificent beast of a site.
Secondly a soft request somewhere in your laundry list of updates is a small image when you try to search for something. even if its just the 200x200 box on the side like with the other full page artwork would be awesome. Just so when one is searching for something, they have a hint if they have already looked at that image before while searching.
So a couple quick things, I'm trying to move anyone who is obviously a community member into a more trusted role. So you now have the ability to comment w/o waiting for approval. Once I figure out the best spam prevention approach, I hope to open it up to new people, but for the moment I'm just manually escalating privileges for people who are real.
Secondly, 100%. Making search not a wall of dumb text is very high on the list of priorities. I'll be messing with that soon. I have a couple of personal things that are eating up my life right now, but I hope they resolve this week.