Improved Image Performance

Have you ever noticed how slow the images can be to load on The Battle Directory? If so, you won’t notice no more!

In the past images were generated as they were needed. If you were the unlucky person to visit a report for the first time then you would have to of waited for all the images to be generated and resized based on the author’s original images. This is a pain. Its made worse when new view modes come along, such as the Comic Book style, because these use new image filters and sizes and so images need to be generated again!

From now on each image will be resized into all sizes automatically after its uploaded. This will happen in the background so that the battle report writing experience isn’t slowed at all. The process is off loaded and you’re free to continue updating the report. Meanwhile the server is busy generate 20 versions of each image for you!

Now when your report is published and the various view modes are used by viewers the first timers will not get a slow experience as the images are generated. They will already have been generated and ready to go.

I have also back dated this process, so that all old images are also generated too, ready for the new view modes. Enjoy!

Slightly New Layout And Army Listing

Quick update; we have a new layout for the home page and all game system home pages. The changes are slight and just reorganise existing elements on the site to try and tidy things up and remove the “About” style text away from the game system pages and onto the About page.

The new Army Lists let you easily find all Battle Reports for a specific army via one link without needing to use the search feature.

Code & Infrastructure

Server Shizzle
Server Shizzle

I have in the past been asked what The Battle Directory is built using. Its built using PHP, specifically the Symfony2 Framework. It runs on a VPS in Dublin and seems to be doing OK so far on that server.

I have plans to more all assets into Amazon Cloudfront to ensure resources such as image, Javascript and CSS are loaded much faster. Although this is not a pressing matter at the moment. Features and reliability are currently top of my to-do list.

If you want to know more, ask away!

A Quick Update to Battle Reports

40K Home screen - The Battle Directory
40K Home screen – The Battle Directory

Its been a while since I have managed to code any new updates since the name change. But now we have some changes in bound today.

  • Full mode view – you can view published reports in the full text mode! This mode displays everything and also has a ‘focus’ mode.
  • Previews – you can preview your own reports from the My Battle Reports page in Full mode.
  • Plain text army lists – if you write your own lists as .txt files then these are now supported along with Army Builder and Battle Scribe HTML formats.
  • Avatar image – these will act as your profile image.
  • Set preferred game system –  set your favourite game system in your profile and you will see tailored content for that game system.
  • Cover image – not used yet but will be used as a Facebook style large image on your profile.
  • Deployment image – deployment can now contain an image show casing the set up of the battle field.
  • Moved Man of the Match  and BFU editing buttons – these were always on the right side, these have now moved next to the MotM and BFU sections to they’re clearer and easier to access.
  • Renamed turns – For the Per Team, Per Turn layout the turns are now labelled based on the armies for each team. This is clearer who has the top of turn 6 for example later on in the report.
  • About page – some stuff about The Battle Directory.
  • Contact page – a new method of getting in touch, the feedback tab in the bottom left is also still present when logged in from any page.

I am missing the army lists still from the Full view mode still. Enjoy!

New Name

It’s been a while since my last post and a while since I have managed to do any development. But I’m starting to get back into it now and the first order of service is a new name.

We’ve moved away from the Latin name and into something less poetic but more fitting; The Battle Directory which uses a new domain name of .directory along with a whole host of sub domains.

The main site for registering, editing reports, editing your profile, etc will sit on the.battle.directory, this is essentially the report and account management side of the site. The actual domain of this site doesn’t matter, it just needs to be in one place.

Each game system now sits within its own sub domain, for example all Warhammer 40K games will be on 40k.battle.directory. This leaves you with no illusion as to where you in the site and what you’re looking at. If you’re into Warmachine only then you’ll stick to the Warmachine domain and never be bothered by 30K or X-Wing. Switching between game systems is easy and is done via a set of links at the top of the site. All game system reports will be edited from the main the.battle.directory domain so no need to start messing about with links to edit reports from different game systems.

I really like this approach and owe Jeff from Twitter a massive thank you for devising this new approach. You know who you are!

I really need to buckle down to knock out some final bugs and start on the very important view modes.