The new website is coming along well. I had a minor snag this weekend, when I discovered that the database library I had chosen did not operate over SSL in a production environment. I spent a good chunk of time resolving that one, but now I’m back on track and ready to finish out the remaining features.
There are a handful of outstanding pieces to build. I have yet to move the majority of my blog posts to the new environment, as I’m saving that for last, and the landing pages for my books are also absent. Besides that, most everything else has been reproduced on the new site and looks much the same as before. As I mentioned in my last post, though, the big problem I hope to solve that of increasing my own productivity.
The new site has a password protected administration section, where I’ll move the majority of my work, and that work should be much reduced. Above is a database-driven list of all my publications, including all novels, collections, novellas, and short stories. This data drives the site’s home page, navigation bar, bibliography, cover images page, and will also drive the book landing pages. So, no more manual updates to those on the day of release.
This should remove nearly all work for me on the day of release, too. By setting a release date for the future, I can add publications (or new editions of publications) whenever I want and the site will update itself on the day the new book goes live.
One new public-facing feature on book pages will be a list of all contained stories for collections, and a list of “container” titles for stories like Our Algorithm Who Art Perfection, which exists as both stand-alones and parts of collections.
Another source of mild annoyance for me is all the time lost to the manual, repetitive tasks of putting up new blog posts. All of my grievances with the process are paper cuts, but they are numerous.
The interface I’ve built above isn’t one most people would probably enjoy, but it’s perfect for me. The text field has code running against it that will convert straight quotes to curly quotes (crucial for me). I also have a way to easily add bold and italics, but, crucially, I want to see the actual HTML tags inline with the text. Manually moving or removing them doesn’t vex me. I’m less interested in seeing the text in italics or bold than I am in being certain that code to make it work on the website is there and not being scrubbed out by some intermediate process. Perhaps I’ll change my mind after working this way for some time, but at least for now, this aligns with how I will want to work.
Like all good online text editors, the code running the page attempts to save my work to the database every time I stop typing for more than two seconds. If there’s a problem saving, the green “up-to-date” button will turning into a red error icon.
As for converting my blog posts, that will require some more custom code to take the current Markdown format everything is stored in and convert that into HTML-based database entries.
The goal of bringing the new site online is still a ways off, but it is in sight.