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Offline Mikey  
#1 Posted : Friday, July 9, 2021 8:29:35 AM(UTC)
Mikey

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How do you do, fellow demons?

This post is about exploring the possibility of us giving TAG an assist in a way which TAG has NOT given a green light on.

TAG is busy busy busy. The Astlan website is a pretty simple one, and hasn't really seen much new content for a while, but it's apparently given TAG a bit of grief, platform- and technology-wise, and been entirely unavailable for a chunk of time.

If I understand correctly, the platform the site runs on, or used to run on, is connected to TAG's day job, which brings its own complications to the picture.

What I have been contemplating, regarding this site, has been whether it would be possible to use community power to make the technical realization of the site so simple, that it cannot create further complications which would slow down creative work.

In practise, this would mean converting the main astlan.world web site into a static one, from its current dynamic, database-driven .Net DNN CMS incarnation.

This new implementation would store the site data in static, textual Markdown files, the HTML user interface elements in static HTML and CSS files, and use what's called a static site generator to turn the combination of static content and templating, into what you see in front of you, the astlan.world website, sans its forums and login functionality.

When TAG would want to modify the site content, he would change the relevant content text file in an editor, push the changes to GitHub, and from there on, the GitHub Actions continuous integration service would run the static site generator to create the site artefacts, and push the site into GitHub Pages, from whence it would be served.

I have explored such a conversion initially, and from my count, the site has about 78 individual content pages.

Most of the site's content pages are simple two-column content pages, where the site menu occupies the left column, and a simple text document with its heading occupies the main column.

There are a handful or two of special pages, which have three columns with content, or multiple content documents, or complicated tables with important layout rules, or many documents with a mixture of map images.

The HTML produced by the DNN CMS is pretty messy, but it looks like parsing that HTML might be the best shot at getting the site content out of its current system.

Such an effort would basically move on three tracks. First we'd need to create a proof of concept. Then we'd need to get TAG's approval in principle for the effort. After that, we can begin with the two main tracks, where we'd create the visual templates using Bootstrap 5, and get approval for those, and turn the HTML content into a Markdown + HTML content tree, perhaps with converting the tabular data into CSV files which are laid out dynamically by a table component.

I fleshed out this plan in order to make the concept easy to undestand in full, but obviously everything is subject to revision.

Yes? No? Maybe? Bullshit?
Offline Mikey  
#2 Posted : Friday, July 9, 2021 8:36:59 AM(UTC)
Mikey

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The technical tools I've used in this exploration have been wget for recursive content fetching, Python and the `BeatifulSoup` module for HTML parsing, `pandoc` for automatic HTML to Markdown conversion, and the Hugo site generator.
Offline Tisslils  
#3 Posted : Saturday, July 10, 2021 3:13:43 PM(UTC)
Tisslils

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Wish I could help.

Alas, the extent of my web-developing skills is limited to a 2nd grade class back in the 90s.
Offline Dungeon Roomba  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:20:25 AM(UTC)
Dungeon Roomba

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I think it's a good idea, and I'm up for helping any way I can. But I haven't done any web development in 20+ years. You know, geocities stuff. But maybe I can help with testing or data conversion or something.

Perhaps we can have a patreon or venmo or something to help with services or equipment?
Gelatinous Cube
(aka Dungeon Roomba)

"Because there's always a 10x10-foot room for Jell-O"
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