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#1 2010-01-10 02:27:24

xot
Administrator
Registered: 2007-08-18
Posts: 1,201

GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

GMLscripts.com 3.0 (ALPHA)

GMLscripts.com will reach it's third year shortly. Three years doesn't seem like much, but it's still hard to believe it's been that long.

This time last year I had no idea I was 30 days from disaster. When my longtime web host pulled the plug without warning it was a mad scramble to get this site back online, especially restoring the forums. Something about that event set the tone for the entire year for me, and it was the grimmest year I've ever experienced. That's reflected in how poorly tended GMLscripts.com has become. That's not an excuse, it's just the way it is.

I'm determined this year to set things right. That's going to mean some significant changes in the way the site works, or rather doesn't work.

What doesn't work is the script submission and approval process, the very heart of this site. The problem is I've made it too labor and time intensive to maintain, and I've taken on too much responsibility myself. I'm going to need to draft some good script editors. Over 95% of scripts submitted are altered before being posted. They need to thoroughly tested and debugged and formatted to site standards. It can be interesting work, but it's also very time consuming. There are some ways to reduce that labor which brings me to the next problem.

GMLscripts.com is not database driven. It is driven by mark-up code and a custom parser. It's very primitive and inflexible but the mark-up is easy to maintain with ftp and a basic text editor. Everything you see on a script page is retrieved from a file full of mark-up indicating script name, definition, the script itself, commentary, inset remarks, sample code, images, LaTeX, internal links, related scripts, contributors, version history, etc. I did it this way out of curiosity. It was an experiment to build a dynamic website that didn't rely on any form of structured database, not even a flat file. Unfortunately, lack of a database makes it much more labor intensive when you are trying to keep things organized. Using weird mark-up to indicate and categorize content or data makes it difficult to interpret, manipulate, or analyze, things that are almost trivial with a relational database.

Working this way soon made it apparent that I wouldn't be able to add some of the features I imagined. Using a file crawler and a parser to rebuild static indices, script archives, and RSS feeds every time a script is added or modified is entering silly territory. Doing anything more advanced becomes a challenge. Doing it all manually is an error prone nightmare. So that's why the features of the site haven't really improved since day one. I've built many database driven websites and this site couldn't be a better candidate for that kind of refit. A database would allow all kinds of queries. Popular scripts, recent changes, top contributors, and top referrers are the sorts of the things I'd like highlight. I'd be interested to hear any ideas for features a database might allow or ways a database can improve script management.


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#2 2010-01-13 13:47:12

paul23
Member
Registered: 2007-10-17
Posts: 110

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

Sounds good smile, and nice to see you're still interested in making the site better.

But wait, if I read correctly: you used deliberately a more difficult method which also has less features and allows not for easy extensions, AND you have experience with the other method? o.O

I myself have little to no experience with databases. (Well I use them, and I did follow a course about sql - 7 years ago -)
I don't hope you're going to change the way the site-submission works do you? (I mean: don't change it to an "open" submission system without script approval and such by a few "experts"). Since this is what made the site better than others (along with a very good/simple layout).

All in all, more scripts being added would indeed improve the quality of the site, as long as this v3 doesn't take the same time as 64digits' v3.

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#3 2010-01-13 15:52:29

xot
Administrator
Registered: 2007-08-18
Posts: 1,201

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

But wait, if I read correctly: you used deliberately a more difficult method which also has less features and allows not for easy extensions, AND you have experience with the other method? o.O

As I said, an experiment, and a valuable one. I will be certain to never make that mistake again. The only really advantage was portability, which was never a requirement. Since it relies on PHP anyway it's lack of DB requirement is not all that useful. If I had a system that could generate a completely static version of the site so that it could be hosted on the simplest of web servers, that might make more sense. Since almost every host offers PHP/MySQL these days, so what's the point?

Script review will certainly remain a central pillar of this site. I just plan on opening up the review process more to others, if I can find some qualified volunteers. The script submission forum was intended to be a way to handle that but the vast majority of submitters seem to prefer the private submission method. I had once intended to phase out private submission but I'm going to keep it since it remains so popular.


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#4 2010-06-06 03:33:56

Marchal_Mig12
Member
Registered: 2009-05-21
Posts: 72

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

Do you expect to make this community grow or do you want to keep it kind of secret with fewer but more experienced users?

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#5 2010-06-06 15:55:53

xot
Administrator
Registered: 2007-08-18
Posts: 1,201

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

I would definitely like to make the community grow but there is always the fear of GMC-level idiocy seeping in.

On that point, something I've been struggling with is deciding whether or not I want to add a commenting system with the scripts, like they have at PHP.net. I think that could be really valuable for improving the scripts, suggesting ways to use the scripts, and building the size of the community, but I'm so afraid of it getting stuffed with moronic comments and it's not something I particularly wish to moderate. I guess I should try it.


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#6 2010-06-06 17:00:46

Marchal_Mig12
Member
Registered: 2009-05-21
Posts: 72

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

xot wrote:

I would definitely like to make the community grow but there is always the fear of GMC-level idiocy seeping in.

On that point, something I've been struggling with is deciding whether or not I want to add a commenting system with the scripts, like they have at PHP.net. I think that could be really valuable for improving the scripts, suggesting ways to use the scripts, and building the size of the community, but I'm so afraid of it getting stuffed with moronic comments and it's not something I particularly wish to moderate. I guess I should try it.

You could definitely use help from a few fellow members already registered on GML scripts as moderators. Since I am not particularly good in English (my first language is French) and stuff like that, I am not the perfect moderator but note that if you ever need my help as a moderator (or even build your new site in PHP), I believe I can help.

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#7 2010-06-08 11:54:19

xot
Administrator
Registered: 2007-08-18
Posts: 1,201

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

I went ahead and added the Disqus commenting system to the script pages. I went with Disqus because it allows several different ways to log in including a Guest option and it has some social networking features. We'll see how it goes.

I'll probably add the system to the Script News entries in the future, but right now those are tied to the forum making it difficult to integrate with Disqus.


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#8 2010-08-24 17:30:00

paul23
Member
Registered: 2007-10-17
Posts: 110

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

did the big list of updated scripts come into the script-pages actually?

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#9 2010-08-25 22:28:08

xot
Administrator
Registered: 2007-08-18
Posts: 1,201

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

Not yet, Paul. I haven't forgotten about them, and 3.0 is certainly on my mind. I've been learning a new framework I think I'm going to use to build the new site. Hopefully the ball will get rolling soon. My personal life is upside down right now and GMC is also sucking a lot of time, especially with KC LC retiring. sad


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#10 2010-08-26 08:48:06

paul23
Member
Registered: 2007-10-17
Posts: 110

Re: GMLscripts.com 3.0 - Coming Soon?

Hey you shouldn't overwork yourself (though you should reconsider setting too many goals at start of the year wink).. I just would hate it to see the work gone into oblivion if you would ever put 3.0 into place and forgot it tongue..

That said there are a few *small* updates I know are possible for the scripts. - However I'm a bit reluctant to spend too much time searching which scripts it affects..

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