It may have seemed a bit quiet in Archive terms for a while, but that is because our designers, coders and testers have been beavering away behind the scenes on some big projects. We're happy to report that the HUGE amount of new code produced over the past few months has now been deployed to the Archive - we're very excited about the new features being introduced, and we think that you will be too!
There are lots and lots of new things in this deploy: check out the Release Notes for release 0.7.3 to see a full list. Here are a few highlights:
New front end
One reason we have not deployed new code for a while is that we've been undergoing a site-wide review of our front end code. Our fantastic front-end coder lim has reviewed everything for validity and accessibility, while the lovely Ira remodelled our 'post new' form. You'll notice lots of small changes everywhere, highlights include:
- The 'works blurb' (the description you see when you browse a list of works) - we've streamlined it and removed the labels so it's easier to see lots of information at once. We'd love feedback on the new design!
- The 'post new' form: We've made it possible to select more than one category, changed the way you select warnings, and generally made things simpler.
We welcome your feedback on the new design, but we ask that for the first week, you focus on telling us if you have found any bugs! This will make it easier for our wonderful Support team to work through your feedback and pass it to coders. We'll collate more general feedback separately and use it to tweak the design (remember that we are also planning skins to customise the look of the Archive, so there will be more options in the future).
For those of you who have been frustrated that our tag interface didn't give quite the control you might like over RPF fandoms and fandoms with a shared universe / in different media, etc, we have good news! A massive amount of work on the part of our AMAZING coder Elz has gone into changing the way tags work behind the scenes to include metatags, which will help us deal with these problems. For more information, check out Metatags: a user perspective. The changes in tags won't be immediate - our wranglers will need time to finish overhauling their policies and make the changes - but our mighty team regularly moves mountains, so you should see improvements pretty quickly.
Collection and challenges - gift exchanges!
This release sees the next set of code for challenges. It's now possible to have people sign up for your gift exchange challenge and give their prompts on the Archive itself. More amazing feats of coding from Naomi, who has been working with the mods of the multifandom challenge Remix Redux to develop the new functionality, and there are even more features still to come.
Please note: We have not yet written the code which will match up challenge participants and send out their assignments, so if you want to run a challenge on the new code, bear in mind you will have to wait a few weeks for us to roll out the other half of the functionality!
- For help signing up for a gift exchange, see: Tutorial: signing up for a gift exchange.
- For help on posting to a challenge, see: Tutorial: posting to a challenge.
After many, many support requests forlornly informing us of usernames that wound up being not quite as you wanted them, we have implemented a rename option. Please note that changing your username will break links which included your old username! For more information check out our tutorial on editing your username.
User icons (
eventually right now!)
User icons YAY! Another treat from the lovely Elz. Check out our tutorial on user icons for all the details on how to upload! We're especially excited about this because icons are our first chance to see how hosting fanart might work on the Archive (watch this space for more on this very soon).
Major performance upgrade
This one hopefully should be invisible, but awesome new coder Ronan has completely rewritten our back-end HTML formatter so that it is about twice as fast! If you notice stories not displaying as they used to, please let us know.
This is just a small selection of all the amazing work that appears in this deploy - don't forget to check out the Release Notes for release 0.7.3 for the full list.
Yeay team \0/
Thirteen different coders contributed to this code, including new members amc, Ronan and Ira. \0/ It also represents the hard work of many, many other people: our support team passed on your feedback to our designers, our designers worked hard to improve things based on your feedback, our coders implemented the design, and our testers moved mountains in order to get everything checked out so that we could be sure that everything was in working order. Now the new code is in place, the whole process starts again, with our tag wranglers and support team handling things on the front line and everyone else working to build the next release. We're incredibly grateful for and proud of the energy and dedication that goes into this project.
If you'd like to be part of all this activity, there are lots of ways you can be involved!
- New initiative! We would love your help in verifying that all the new code on the Archive really is doing its job – if you'd like to browse the Archive for fun and (karmic) profit please check out our post on verifying Archive code.
- Give us your feedback via the Archive support and feedback form. If you spot a bug, let us know! If you have a request for a new feature or an enhancement, we also want to hear from you! We also enjoy and appreciate praise *g*. The fabulous Archive Support team answer all feedback, but bear in mind that new code and the the arrival of two more big challenges may mean they are slower than usual at getting back to you.
- If you'd like to be even more directly involved, then volunteer. We always need more coders, testers, tag wranglers, designers, and support team members (especially support!). We aim to be a warm, welcoming and diverse community.
- On the heels of our recent membership drive, we'd also like to remind you that we appreciate your financial support! In order for us to keep growing and provide a long-term, stable home for fandom, we need money to pay for our servers! If you can, please do donate to the OTW - now with even more shiny thank-you gifts! Every little bit helps.
Remember, if you like something, hate something, or love what we have but want even more shiny things, we want to know! The Archive of Our Own is for all fans and we want to cater for fandom in all its delicious diversity.