Site Rewrite: Feedback and Testing Wanted

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Post subject: Site Rewrite: Feedback and Testing Wanted
adelikat
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We have been working on rewriting the site from the ground up and are now proud to make it public. It is not yet finished, and likely will not go live for quite a while, but we wanted to go public with it in order to gather feedback for continued development. This rewrite was needed for a variety of reasons. The current site is closed source, with dated technology/practices and extremely difficult to develop for as it hasn't undergone any significant development since it was founded. The new site should be far easier to develop for as it uses a modern tech stack, with modern best practices. The goal is to be in a position to develop the site as the needs of the community change. The current site has a lot of long unaddressed security concerns, such as not using https, that the new site addresses. Additionally the new site features responsive design, properly supporting mobile and tablet screen sizes. There’s too many other advantages of the new site to list them all here. A live demo of the site can be found here: https://demo.tasvideos.org/ The demo site regularly imports data from the live site. Anything that changes on the demo site (forum posts, submissions, page updates) between imports is lost when the imports happen. It can be tested thoroughly without any damage/effect to the current live site. Note, there are currently issues with this test site going down every so often and not coming back up. We look to resolve this in the near future. (This is not a symptom of the code itself, but with a “demo” quality server setup, that we put in for now) This website is open source and the git repository can be found here: https://github.com/adelikat/tasvideos The technical details of the site: Backend: .net 5 Frontend: Vanilla JS Database: Postgres OS: Ubuntu Please file an issue report on github if you find a relevant bug. Otherwise leave feedback below. EDIT: Important information that was left out but relevant: Once the new site is ready and all data is properly migrated, it will become TASVideos.org. The old site will be archived. EDIT2: Issues that must be addressed prior to going live can be found under the 2.1 Release Milestone. EDIT3: There is now a new url for the demo site: https://demo.tasvideos.org/
It's hard to look this good. My TAS projects
Memory
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TASVideos staff is extremely excited to finally show this off. I'd like to say up front: Thank you to adelikat and the rest of the developers that made this possible. With your hard work, TASVideos no doubt has a future.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
GoddessMaria, Samsara, and fsvgm777 are my sisters <3
Noxxa
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I don't think I can overstate how much this is actually needed for the longevity of the site. From personal experience (and that of various others over the years), the old site is prohibitively difficult to develop for, and it's stood in the way of many, many quality of life changes and other important feature updates that we have been wanting to do. The new site codebase still has some ways to go, but it is way easier to work with (also from personal experience, and of others), and it is definitely the way forward.
http://www.youtube.com/Noxxa (formerly known as Mothrayas) <dwangoAC> This is a TAS (...). Not suitable for all audiences. May cause undesirable side-effects. May contain emulator abuse. Emulator may be abusive. This product contains glitches known to the state of California to cause egg defects. <Masterjun> I'm just a guy arranging bits in a sequence which could potentially amuse other people looking at these bits <adelikat> In Oregon Trail, I sacrificed my own family to save time. In Star trek, I killed helpless comrades in escape pods to save time. Here, I kill my allies to save time. I think I need help.
DrD2k9
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I briefly skimmed through various pages on the demo site. I was impressed by the overall speed improvement. Pages loaded dramatically faster than they do from the current site. I like that access to one's forum profile stuff and private message inbox are directly available from the menu atop the main page. I like that within a profile, the submission stats now show: Published, Cancelled, and Rejected instead of Accepted, Waiting, and Gruefood. I expect there will be other features that I will find I like as well, but don't have time to continue looking around now.
Synahel
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First of all, congratulations that's an amazing update! The site reacts amazingly quickly and is much more readable this way Only thing i could see added would be a button which always appear even if you scroll, to get back to the top really quickly when listing stuff like movies (yes, i know the Home key works for that, but some people would love having a button just for that intent i guess)
adelikat
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Synahel wrote:
Only thing i could see added would be a button which always appear even if you scroll, to get back to the top really quickly when listing stuff like movies (yes, i know the Home key works for that, but some people would love having a button just for that intent i guess)
I feel like I've seen something like that before. But do you have a site as an example of this functionality, that I can pillage can be inspired by?
It's hard to look this good. My TAS projects
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Wow, looking good! I personally like the colors as they are right now, being colorblind i see often sites and programs not caring at all about it, if some changes will be made towards saturation and contrast, please take this into account, as i feel the purple/blue combination for menu navigation is already too close, but still possible to read clearly. Other than that i dont mind at all the new ui so far! Thanks for this rewrite project!
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The new site looks fine to me, other than the contrast, it needs way more of that. Navigating through very similar looking shades of grey and white is not easy on the eyes. I also find the text harder to read.
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KennyMan666
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Design looks clean, and it loads fast. Finally HTTPS! A couple of things that came to mind for me while looking around... Width of content area. I'm just never a huge fan of sites where the content is in a single fixed width column in the middle with a bunch of wasted blank space on the sides, which is extra jarring when the top bar with the menu does cover the entire width. I tested changing the width of the main container element to 90%, on 1920x1080 resolution, and at least in my personal opinion, it was an improvement (some elements needed additional fixing but I'm not gonna fiddle with that while it's not officially launched yet). Perhaps an option for fixed/fluid site width in the user settings? Lack of dark mode. In my opinion (and this is my opinion on every website) the design should have been dark by default, but there should absolutely be at the very least a toggle for a native dark mode. Movie list tidbits. Just a couple of small things I thought of while scrolling down the NES movie list. The gray background of the site and the gray background of the movie title bars blend together a bit and might do with some more contrast, I'd suggest giving the title bars some actual colour. I also thought that the movie titles that don't have a moon or a star just look a little... bland and that they could maybe do with having just a generic game icon in front of them, but that mostly stopped being an issue when I tried giving the movie title bars a different background colour. Making the actual titles bold would probably also help to make them stand out more. Also, when there's more than one Watch link and they go to different video sites, the Watch buttons are identical, so those could maybe also do with an icon indicating the site. Not gonna lie, I do kinda like the more colourful and compartmentalized current movie list better, but I don't hate the new one. And the current one definitely has some issues of its own.
Det man inte har i begåvning får man ta ut i energi. "I think I need to get to Snoop Dogg's level of high to be able to research this post." -Samsara Read my fanfic, One Piece: Pure Corruption
ingx24
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I do mostly like the new site, it's nice to have things be faster and more organized. I'm sure being able to actually work on it comfortably will be a big improvement for the admins as well. I do have a couple of visual gripes - there were some aspects of the old site that I think I definitely preferred. First of all, the movie "boxes" look a lot more... bland? barren? than they did before. This is especially obvious on the main page. For comparison (old one is first, new one is second): http://puu.sh/I89q3/a1ff98b180.png https://puu.sh/I89pP/dd66f03522.png I feel like if the new one had more blue and less white, it would be more visually appealing. The other thing is that I notice the "tabs" at the top are gone, replaced with more generic looking labels. Again, for comparison (old one is first, new one is second): https://puu.sh/I8a0A/a2decc69a5.jpg https://puu.sh/I89Vs/154ac89341.jpg I'm not as certain about this, but I *think* I prefer the old design (tabs) here. In general, I just feel like the new site design is a lot more bland, white, uses more plain text in place of images, and just seems less polished. The big exception is the "newest publications" etc section on the main site, which looks very noticeably more polished, with tables instead of the bland-looking lists from the old site. Comparison (old one is first, new one is second): https://puu.sh/I8a40/6a391bc93d.png https://puu.sh/I8a4w/5cc2fdb1b7.png The new one absolutely looks better here, and is easier to read on top of that. I know this is a work in progress, so I imagine lots of stuff isn't finished yet, and that may be why it looks the way it does. It's not *bad* by any means, but it just seems less "colorful" than the old site in many places. If more of the "color" from the old site were returned, or even replaced with totally new "color", that would be a huge improvement for me. Overall though, I appreciate the work that was put into this, and the whole reason I made an account and posted all this is because I believe in this project and want it to be as good as it can be.
Masterjun
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Very nice. Here some feedback about the graphical design I want to share after browsing the new site. - Main link color is "already clicked"-color. The purple link color is basically internet standard for already clicked, main theme color should definitely be a different one. - Recover lost contrast between boxes and background. The old site had a lot of outline boxes to make areas more visible. - The Featured Movie on the front page should be above the News block when the site width is small. It's not a news site, it's a movie content site. - Buttons (=clickable) should be visibly different from the title bars (=unclickable) or things like the Featured area on the front page. They currently look the same. - Some buttons bring you to a different page, and some buttons don't. If they don't provide the browser link hint, they should be visibly different (examples on the Submissions page, and the Submit Movie page). - Missing "last post" area next to the subforums on the main forum page. - Where are the icons in the forum? New post icons, locked threads, forum logo? - "Watch this topic" should not be a magnifying glass icon, which is the icon for zooming in. - Change to relative post times (4 hours ago), not absolute ones (2021-09-01 14:42:16) in the post preview boxes, and use both when seeing the post. - Recover page selection when inside a subforum. This is not only more convenient but also shows visually how active the forum is -> makes it much easier to find threads among other ones. - Show page number selection closer to the page controls, instead of on opposite sides. - Separate signatures more visibly from the post and glue them to the bottom, otherwise it looks like they're part of a post.. - Include the post time more visibly to the post. Currently you can't tell if it belongs to the top or bottom post. Same with the PM and Quote buttons. - Center profile pictures if the username is centered - It really isn't necessary to show the number of posts in a thread "Showing 101 - 125 of 270". It just distracts from seeing what page you're on. - The biggest thing (biggest font, center presence) on a submission page is its status and then the staff member nickname with a noticable color. It should be the author and game name. - In the Submissions list, having to click on the game name to get to a submission is weird. It feels like it should send you to the game page. - Don't show hours in the time display for movies under an hour.
Warning: Might glitch to credits I will finish this ACE soon as possible (or will I?)
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I like it! To be clear, I'm not a regular TASVideos user, but the new site is certainly responsive and easy to navigate and works great on mobile!
Memory
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I had an important question asked to me on twitter and felt it was relevant to share here: "So the old domain is gonna be deleted/archived?" The answer is as follows: Once the new site is ready and all data is properly migrated, it will become TASVideos.org. The old site will be archived. This will not happen for a while but I felt it was an important piece of information never the less.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
GoddessMaria, Samsara, and fsvgm777 are my sisters <3
P.JBoy
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I made some comparison screenshots for context https://puu.sh/I8aov/99cd0f46ee.jpg In general I don't like the whole max-width centre-aligned look of all the new pages; in combination with the additional padding and whitespace on some pages like the submissions page and the front page, it feels super cramped and noisy to me. I do like the new colours, they're pretty sexy, although questionable choice for colour blind safety. I like the new movies and articles pages, they're presented a bit cleaner in spite of being similar and using more whitespace. I like the new game resources page a lot, it's probably the page with the greatest improvement, bravo there. I think the submissions page is a big downgrade, you get many fewer results visible on screen, the max width is causing unnecessary line wrapping, the date is using weird-endian instead of the ISO standard big endian format (front page too), and I found the filter more confusing to use than the old one. I like the new news page, I think the separated rectangle containers work better than the horizontal line dividers, and I like how the post dates are in a faded out colour. The movie page is considerably worse, the list of well named downloads was much better than the sprinkles of links with weird names, and the presentation of keeping those links and categories separated from the prose was much cleaner, and used the horizontal space better. There's no more "similar movies" anymore? Also it looks a bit weird giving the title of the movie twice like that. The new forums look like what happens when a CSS file didn't load, they're fine, but man what a downgrade, no images, no dates of last posts or any indication that there are no posts anywhere, super cramped, no access to primate messages or a search function. The loading times are fantastic, pretty damn happy about those, I do miss the cute little animations in the top banner, but I can live without them no problem. One last thing I noticed, the featured movie on the front page has a scroll bar; I think it's an improvement over the ellipses of the old site, but the one I happened to get a screenshot of looks very unfortunate, I dunno if there's anything that can be done about that though. Also there are no stars in the new front page, I like stars :( Good work all ground, I like both the old and new sites, and so I have mixed feelings about the redesign, wouldn't say it's any better or worse than before. EDIT: About HTTPS, doesn't using it prevent caching? Like if the site goes down, I can't even use my browser's last observation of the page. If so, then using it for anything other than the login page seems like an anti-feature to me...
CoolHandMike
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Hmm I actually liked the older site's layout a bit better for the publication pages I think the problem is the lack of clear separation between elements. Also the lack of emphasis on labels ex: on the publication page when you see the mobile view it kind of looks like just a couple paragraphs. Some light thin borders I think would help separation. Also maybe some bolding or increased font weight for the category labels. Some alternating colors for lines could help too. Otherwise this is definitely an improvement so far since the current version does not even have a responsive design. Nice! ex: https://tasvideos.mistflux.net/3395M
discord: CoolHandMike#0352
Post subject: Re: stupid spoiler tags
Memory
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P.JBoy wrote:
Also there are no stars in the new front page, I like stars :(
That's a feature of logging in, same as it is on the current site. If you're logged out it's recommended for newcomers, logged in it's stars.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
GoddessMaria, Samsara, and fsvgm777 are my sisters <3
Post subject: Re: stupid spoiler tags
P.JBoy
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Memory wrote:
P.JBoy wrote:
Also there are no stars in the new front page, I like stars :(
That's a feature of logging in, same as it is on the current site. If you're logged out it's recommended for newcomers, logged in it's stars.
That's not true, I'm not logged into the old site
Post subject: Re: stupid spoiler tags
Memory
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P.JBoy wrote:
Memory wrote:
P.JBoy wrote:
Also there are no stars in the new front page, I like stars :(
That's a feature of logging in, same as it is on the current site. If you're logged out it's recommended for newcomers, logged in it's stars.
That's not true, I'm not logged into the old site
...What? I could have sworn I was told that was how that worked.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
GoddessMaria, Samsara, and fsvgm777 are my sisters <3
P.JBoy
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Well the screenshot proving it is linked above. Regardless, I don't see any reason to hide the stars when not logged in.
Memory
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P.JBoy wrote:
Well the screenshot proving it is linked above. Regardless, I don't see any reason to hide the stars when not logged in.
Oh you mean the star icon and not what goes in the featured movie space.
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
GoddessMaria, Samsara, and fsvgm777 are my sisters <3
P.JBoy
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Ah right, yes indeed. I actually never noticed the featured movie changes before, that's pretty cool.
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Overall it's a clean and friendly design, and looking much more modern than the retro-nineties-aesthetic of the current site. I've got a background in user interface and user experience (although I'm by no means an expert on that), so I'll write my impressions and reactions. My browser is Chrome 92.0.4515.159 for Windows. In the header "We have videos of all the popular franchises: from Super Mario Bros." etc, I'd expect the franchise names and genre names to be clickable and lead me to these movies. At top of the screen, I'm surprised that "TAS videos" stands for (T)ool (A)ssisted (G)ame movies. Wasn't it (S)uperplay? The menu on the top of the page is too dark to easily make out, and I'm confused why the leftmost button (home) is actually a pulldown when the rest aren't. In the box "TASVideos News", if I right-click on an article and select "open in new tab" then that doesn't work. If I click on the bottommost news item, then the news does appear but I have to scroll down to read it; it should scroll down automatically. Seeing the date for a news item is good; seeing the time (5:18 PM?) strikes me as overkill. Latest publications don't show time-of-day either. In the box with the featured run, I'd expect the title ("N64 Super Mario 64 "1 key"") to be clickable and lead me to the run's info page. I'd expect clicking on the screenshot to play the movie. I'm not sure that the blue box "featured" adds anything, it looks a bit off-key. In the box with latest publications, I'd expect the publication title ("Donkey Kong 64") to be clickable and lead me to the run's info page, which does work in the Newest Submissions box. Latest publications is also missing the branch name. Newest Submissions should have the same column order as latest publications, so date/game/time/by instead of title (not "game"?) / branch / time / author (not "by"?) / date. Under "Newest User Files", the "More WIPs" is a purple button, whereas in earlier sections it is simpy a text reading ("more..."). On the front page of the site, the acronym "WIP" should probably be spelled out, as it has numerous meanings. Movies page, Hovering over the lightning bolt icon gives me a popup what the icon means, but hovering over the star icon does not. I'd expect clicking on a movie's screenshot to play that movie. There are two buttons "A/V file via bittorrent" and "A/V file via bittorrent compatibility". These are, respectively, an MKV file and an MP4 file; so clearer to label the buttons "MKV movie via bittorrent" and "MP4 movie via bittorrent". Although I understand the term "A/V file", I've not encountered if before. On a page with a list of movies (e.g. https://tasvideos.mistflux.net/Movies-DOS-DOOM-Stars ) clicking on any movie's "publication" button just shows you the same screen with that movie again; this button seems not useful on the list page. The list page is missing the "discuss" button. Welp, I'll shut up for now. HTH :)
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I have only gone through the front page as of now, but I have some things to say about it. I like having the log in and search at the very top, like the current (old) site, but I really like the date format of the new one a lot better. I like having the console at the beginning of the movie names better (this is on the old site.) I think having the branch information there is helpful so I know whether to press Enter or not. I also like having the latest news as heading level 2 (old site) rather than 3, and the news items as 3 rather than 5. I like the format of the latest submissions on the old site better, too. All in all, I like the front page of the old (current) site a bit better.
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Asthetics: Too much bright white! Background of featured TAS section, background of news and almost everything on the subpages are all pure white. White is used sparingly in the current site (just some text on the top bar and some selection fields that are only that way due to browser defaults), but the new site has big fields of pure white. Current grey and blue color scheme is nice (though it could be darker in this era of night mode). Lots of wasted space with center alignment. Functionality: Game resource sub-pages have lost all spacing ("SuperCastlevaniaIV"). Given they're already on their own sub-page, the sub-pages list for a console should be expanded by default. Search requiring a subpage/new page load instead of a bar is a functionality downgrade.
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Like a couple others have mentioned already, I too really dislike (borderline hate) the fixed width of the content container. I can only imagine how much more annoying it is for those on 4K screens. Getting rid of the max-width CSS entirely, makes the site feel so much better to me. (though the publication list would need some additional changes to compensate) On the publication list, the buttons below the preview image don't wrap. So there's a large, mostly-empty space between the right side of the image and the left side of the main publication text. There's no reason the text needs to be so squished. When looking at one particular publication page, the buttons do appear to wrap, but the gap still exists. (seems like the left column's width is much too large for the content it actually contains) There doesn't seem to be a way to go directly from the publication list, to any particular publication's forum thread. Rather, you either have to click to go to the publication page, or the submission page first. Not sure why we don't have the "Discuss" button included on the pub list (as it is on the individual pub pages). The Staff page doesn't include any of the vested editors, nor does it list the number of edits of any user (whether they are staff, editors, or any role). Which imo is a significant statistic to provide; there have been many people who have contributed to tasvideos that haven't made any TAS submissions. There no longer seems to be any way to filter movies on the publication list? This is definitely a major drawback imo. No way to set up custom searches like NES games from a certain year, or search by specific category over certain flags, etc. Absolutely no apparent way to view the obsoleted movies. I'm being a bit nit-picky here, but there seems to be a few margins that seem very unnecessary: - On any given submission page, "<label>" tags have a bottom margin, which cause the table at the top of the page to have unbalanced space along the bottom of each row. - On forum threads, user avatars have margins above and below them, in addition to a "br" tag after the avatar. Which also means that people without an avatar image, have significant empty spaces between their site roles, and join date / post count. --- All that said, the overall feel of the site is generally much more modern looking. The home page in particular looks very clean and well organized. The main menu bar is more functional with the drop down menus. Movie lists load soooo much faster! And HTTPS is great too :)
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