Happy 10th Birthday, Flashii!
And so we enter the 10th year. A lot has happened in that time, both positive and negative, but all in all it makes me happy that this site continues to serve as a meeting place! I'm very grateful to everyone who has stuck around for all this time, but also to those who have joined recently. In this post I'll be reflecting a bit on the past year, as well as talk about my plans for the site this year. But first, the usual: Thank you for your continued use of Flashii!
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the things I outlined in last year's post, and I apologise for that. I know that no one is holding me at gunpoint or expecting me to do things, as this site is still a hobby project, but I still feel bad for overpromising. Most of these were focused on the forum, which still needs a lot of prep work before any of that is viable, so I'm not going to set new estimates for those points. Having previously gone to college for IT soured the feelings I got from programming, which made it difficult to want to do it in the first place. Mix that with things very much not going to way you want them to and you've got a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, with my new major finally starting to work out for me, I seem to somewhat recovered a bit from that.
Pretty much at the turn of the new year, I suddenly got the desire to work on things again. Maybe my mind saw it as a new start? I'm not sure what really caused it. What I do know is that it has already paid off somewhat.
That said, it's not as if I haven't done anything for the site in the last year. I put more work into the Index library. Index solves a problem I often ran into when making new subsites for Flashii, namely having to copy a lot of code between them. By having all these features in a reusable package, I no longer have to copy or maintain outdated clones which saves a lot of headache when moving between working on different projects. I also rewrote most of Uiharu, the URL metadata lookup service, to make it easier to add support for new services. It technically doesn't fit within the scope of this news post, but Nico Nico Douga support was added this month, and it barely took any effort because of those reworks. Mami, the "modern" chat client, got Fancy Server Messages™ (the tiny join and leave notices) as well as finally getting a colour picker for the colour bbcode. The sound backend has also gotten a massive rewrite which improved the performance and data usage of sound playback a lot. Ami, the "legacy support" chat client, has been almost completely rewritten, which made it possible to restore AJAX Chat's status indicator for that Real Authentic Experience™, as well as adding the new colour picker. Although it is still mostly backend and maintenance work, it is pretty important for the implementation of new features.
With all that in mind, I've been thinking about how to make more realistic estimates. Again, since Flashii is a hobby project, I work on it pretty much whenever I feel like it. I'm trying very hard not to sound like a "Professional Development" class (if you know, you know), but I'd still like to get people excited about the site.
One option I've been considering is to start writing quarterly news posts, in which I talk about what I've done in the past quarter and what I'd like to get done in the coming quarter, this would also serve to revive the desolate news section of the site. While there's a changelog that tracks almost every project related to the site, it's full of jargon and often lacks context. A proper post outlining entire features would be of more value to the average non-developer person and would probably get more people interested. I also think it would be easier to determine what could realistically be done in a quarter rather than a whole year, that way there'd be less disappointment at the end of it... If you have any ideas for what to do about this or have any other feedback, please share them in the comments below or create a topic in the Community Relevant section.
However, there are still things I absolutely want to have done this year, so cue the list:
- Private Messaging: Starting off with a holdover from last year. Carrying forward the description; An e-mail-like, passive alternative to directly messaging someone in chat that lives on the website. It would be a pretty massive thing to implement, given what I want to get out of it. If I end up doing the quarterly estimates thing, it would probably either land in either Q3 or Q4.
- Centralised Authentication: A central service that handles user auth. Funnily enough, the desire to do something like this is what set the current iteration of Flashii into motion back in 2013 (the database, not the table, for the site in 2013 to 2015 was just called 'accounts'). The goal is to have a formal system for authorisation and authentication, rather than hacking in the cookie-based authentication into everything. This would make the authentication step much nicer for third party software things like bots, giving you access to token renewal and not having to fish a session cookie out of your browser.
- Redesigned Home Page: Another carry-over from last year; I already gave the landing page (home page while logged out) a redesign in the last year, I would like to also give the logged in home page a big make over in the style of an activity feed. There's not much else to add to that description.
As I said, I want to keep the list of things I'd like to get done this year short in order to not overpromise. The homepage redesign still depends on the forum overhauls, so that one also remains iffy. There are also a lot of smaller things that I'd like to get done obviously, but I don't think those are really worth mentioning here. If you have any feature requests, let me know, and if there's already a topic for the feature you want, voice support in it!
I think that's all I wanted to share for now. These posts get longer every year...
Thank you again for your continued use of Flashii!
here's to another 10 years!
2013-2023 very powerful sounding