Downloads

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by team a, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. team a

    team a New Member

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    Is there any chance the downloads section could get some organization? I know it's a long shot and DE is probably drunk right now anyway (regardless of what time in the day it is in Scandinavia) but it is getting a little overgrown. I would offer my help but I don't have any experience in this area.

    I would suggest splitting it up into a few pages, with maybe some left-hand navigation. Or, just put it in the same format as most of the pages in the Arcanum section of t-a's main page, with the parchment background and the top navigation under "factory." The sections are there already, and they take you to the right part of the downloads section, but it's still just a very long list.

    If most of the pages on the main t-a arcanum page work, like the spellbank, locationbank and walkthroughs, which are a lot more complicated than the downloads section, it couldn't be too hard to just use the same format. The navigation is there already anyway.

    I don't know if I'm remembering correctly, but I thought the current downloads section was supposed to be temporary. I might be remembering back to the time where it was white with no formatting, though, and the current page is certainly a huge improvement. I have no complaints besides the fact that it just has a lot of entries, like the old Dimensions of Arcanum downloads list.
     
  2. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    The current download section has some great advantages:
    [1] it's simple, so adding stuff means adding stuff, reather then modifying code or filling complicated add download forms.
    [2] it's simple, so it takes you straight to what you need, you don't have to look through a category tree to find whatever.
    [3] it's direct-download simple, so as long as the files are there and the server is up, it works.

    That being said, as the volume of stuff being put up started to increase, it might indeed be a good idea to cook up something a bit more organized. Some ideas, form least to most complicated (ie. likely to mysteriously fail for no apparent reason and refuse to fix itself over time):

    [1] use proper html structure, with div tags around sections, each section having h1 for title and h2 for description, downloads being lists reather then p tags. This would simply make it look better, and more organized.

    [2] in additon, split this into multiple files, so you don't have to look through all of it at once when adding/looking for stuff. Simply take the h1 of each section and make a download index.

    [3] Use php to include requested download sections, so we don't end up with 20 or so files having the navigation and other page elements just to display a list of 3 files. This would probably be the best simplicity/functionality tradeoff.

    [4] Write a simple php script to generate the list, based on simple arrays or objects for complication's sake. This would make possible some more or less cool things, as listing a bunch of downloads from each section in the index, make adding stuff easier (or not) and above all, complicate things beyond the point most sane (lazy) people are willing to go to.

    I'm willing to help with this, provided it's not option 2 of what I've thought up - too much work. Also, I'd prefer to stay with the current simple (maybe a bit polished) styleshet - it's readable, based on the forum look and works quite well. Of course that's not an issue, I can rip off the main page's look just as well, I think...
     
  3. team a

    team a New Member

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    If it's under the main page, then you really only have to load all the content once. Also, there's the triangle buttons that could be used to show and hide sections, and since they're used on the other pages, all you'd have to do is copy and paste to figure out how to use them, but I bet DE/mathboy already do.

    As good as the style is now, everyone here sees the same colors in the forums (unless they're tools and don't go for the black/red). I always liked the art from the t-a site, especially the logo.
     
  4. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    Just went ahead and sneaked a peek at the main site code associated with the triangle buttons - got a bit scared.

    But yeah, other then actually looking at how DU did it, I think the triangle buttons are a good idea for the download section - provided we can hope for new one anytime soon.

    My ideas were on the minimalist side, not to complicate things where they can be kept simple - the main arcanum page would add quite a bit of overhead to the download list. OTOH, it has ads, so the download section would also be making TA money, which means more drinking money for DE... A good reason to get it done soon.
     
  5. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I've been thinking about organizing the download section. The ever-increasing content pretty much dictates it. Any help you could give me would be welcome though, since basically don't know shit about HTML. I really just look at how it's been done before and copy it, :D

    Unfortunately, I don't get any money at all for doing this... it's purely a work of love.
     
  6. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    It used to be all fancy and organised and then it imploded.
     
  7. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok, I've had quite a bit of fun with regular expressions and converted the download section to a bit more up-to-date markup. However that was too easy, so I went ahead and did a little overhaul of the page - not too fancy, but again an improvement over the current one. I've put it up here: http://tentaclemonster.freehostia.com/downloads.html

    As for what was done and how it works, it looks perfect (as in how I intended it to look) in firefox 3.1, looks kinda ugly but generally close to that in IE 7 and has some issues under opera 9.27 . I've savagely ripped the main HOL banner from one of th pages and beat it with style tags until it behaved in the browsers I used.

    A better way of doing this would involve rebuilding the banner, but since it's not yet decided should the downloads be under HOL or the main site, it wasn't worth the effort. Besides, it kinda works.

    The double names in the category headers are actually supposed to be a place for some descriptions of individual sections - if appropriate. Getting rid of them is as easy as removing the h2 tag, but then the windows look kinda bare.

    Maintainence-wise, it looks like this now:

    adding a section means adding
    Code:
    <div class='dsect'>
      <h1>section name</h1>
      <h2>section description</h2>
      <ul>
        <li> <a href='http://file/address'>file name</a> file info </li>
        <li> <a href='http://file/address'>file name</a> file info </li>
      </ul>
    </div>
    
    A bit more work, but I think it's worth it.
     
  8. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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  9. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    Touch it and die.
     
  10. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    I've said I'm too lazy, I just did the equivalent of beating on it with a wrench until it stopped falling apart.

    Save it on your computer, add some descriptions to each section (so you get some credit) in h2 tags and put it up. It's a self-contained html file. Good ideas for descriptions include links t oreadme files and stuff.

    Another thing you might want to do is doing a search-and-replace for
    Code:
    http://terra-arcanum.com
    and remove it from the image links, so they will be cached properly. The proper paths should look like
    Code:
    /phpBB/templates/terraarc/images/hol_header_middle_left.jpg
    or
    Code:
    templates/terraarc/images/tacellpic3.jpg
    if the file is un the phpBB directory (as it appears to be now)

    there are about 12 places where this should (but doesn't have to) be changed. If in doubt, leave it as it is.

    edit: one obvious bug here is that since it's just supposed to look like a part of the forum, the login button on the downloads page won't change to logout/priv messages one if you're logged in. Unless all of the site code is as scary as DU, using one of the php files to get the actual menu script (and maybe also some ads) to work on this page shouldn't be a big problem. That, or just remove the login button.
     
  11. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    I've uploaded the new Download section to the server, and it seems to be working smoothly, except for one thing: the banner doesn't work. In any case, it's black on my screen. I'd like to have that fixed before I make the mandatory News post.
     
  12. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    ... and the new version is online! Everything seems to work as coded. Good work, man.
     
  13. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    Once again, the download section takes a step toward rising from the ashes... oh wait, it actually looks ok now. Anyways, I'm happy to have been of help.

    There may be more to come, but for now this will have to do. By more I mean some fancy javascript roll-down action on sections or other bells and whistles that will make the page load slower, work less stable and sometimes refuse to work.

    Also thanks to DE for trusting me enough to put it up so soon, unlike some lazy admins around here who took weeks to convince...

    As for puting this on the main site - after looking over the client-side code once again, I'm not up to it. I'm scared shitless by DU's creation.

    On a more serious note, all I could do there would be making this into a long list of downloads, maybe categorized /w roll down option like some of the other stuff there on the main page - which I belive would be less accessible then it is now and much more difficult to manage. Anything more would require too much work or... umm... superpowers
     
  14. team a

    team a New Member

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    Thanks a lot, The_Bob! That was really quick, and it looks way better now. The file descriptions and section organization might need some changing, but that's probably something that should be agreed upon.

    Also, I applaud your sobriety, DE. Thanks a lot for getting that up!
     
  15. rroyo

    rroyo Active Member

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    I'll second team a's comment!

    And nice work Bob!
     
  16. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    After looking at this with the perspective of a few more beers, I realized it needed some tweaking - so I rearranged the section a bit and introduced the h3 tag for in-section descriptions.

    The resulting version is here for approval, and open to suggestions. The grapics are missing because I'm too damn lazy to put them back in, but rest assured they are the same as before and will work when the page is put on the T-A site.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I suppose official patches should be on top, then unofficial patches should go right after them. These are the most important downloads.

    Also, it's "Bedokaan" (Be-Do-Ka-An), not "Beddokan" or "Bedokkan".
     
  18. wobbler

    wobbler Well-Known Member

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    I believe that you can move up the left section, so you don't get that big space.
     
  19. rroyo

    rroyo Active Member

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    Also - The A:WIP listings should definately be below the Troika Modules, the Fan-Made Modules, the French Modules, and the Dusty Dunes patch.

    Thanks for giving my hack a separate listing, just the same.

    And, like Drog said, "I suppose official patches should be on top, then unofficial patches should go right after them."
    I agree completely.
     
  20. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok, I've rearranged the page a bit. I've also run it through HTMLtidy, and it got broken. So I fixed what got broken and now it's pretty... well, kinda. Anyways, it needed that. Also the top banner should now look ok in Opera as well as the other major browsers - but the download list boxes are now messed up in IE. Oh well, I don't like IE.

    This is the rearranged version and this is the rearranged and tidied version.

    notes:
    [1] Let me know where does the layout look messed up in your browser
    [2] rroyo, you're too humble about your mod - it deserves to be higher on the list.
    [3] I didn't really know where to put it, so the Drog's Bedokaan art got moved to the bottom of the modding resources section.
    [4] Actually, please take a careful look at where I've put things and let me know what got misplaced or deserves its own section.
    [5] Section description ideas are wellcome, preferably in html format.
     
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