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XIVDB Developer BlogDevblog #1: A Complete Search OverhaulFebruary 10, 2016

What took so long!?

Note: Map tiles are being uploaded, so they won't work right now. With nearly a million tiles, it takes a long time ...

Any site errors I will fix ASAP as I get emailed when there is a major error.

It's been about 6 weeks since I posted an update on the site (just before Christmas). I didn't work a lot over Christmas/New Years, I was very busy with real life things! I plan to do “devblog” posts about updates to the site, as well as what i am planning to do. I will do one every weekend regardless of if an update is coming out or not.

The dev blog will consist of a TL;DR and then a detail topic! This topic is about the first Site update of 2016!


TL;DR

  • Search filters have been completely redone, much more logical!
  • Search Layout has been cleaned
  • Mobile styles have been improved
  • New homepage with more stuff and nicer layout
  • Forgot password has been implemented
  • History feature has been implemented
  • Logging in will put you back where you were
  • Tooltips have been rewritten to handle requests/integration better.
  • Bunch of bug fixes and tweaks :)


Search Overhaul

The feature I wanted to focus on for this release was the Search API. Searching is at the core of the site as it’s how you find stuff! The filters I made when I moved to v2 were very “global”, this was very apparent when you selected specific filters that caused everything to appear. This meant that no matter what filter you entered, once you set “or” option it became pretty useless under set filters, for example:

  • Level 50-60
  • Attribute: Control > 50
  • AND option

Setting “AND” would give you anything above level and below level 60 and has more than 50 control. Makes sense, but add more…

  • Level 50-60
  • Attribute: Control > 50
  • Attribute: Craftsmanship > 50
  • OR option

So in this set of filters, we’ve decided to use “or” because we want items that have 50 or more Control OR 50 or more Craftsmanship. Two different filters. But… We also have items that are above level 50 OR below level 60. What is above level 50 or below 60? everything. All items are either above 50 or below 60... So you get everything.

This doesn’t make any sense! And you’d never want this. Certain filters should always be pre-set, level should always be “and”. So to do this meant rewriting a good chunk of the code and refactor a lot of useless stuff I did when I was rushing v2 out.

Filters now work significantly better, attributes and class jobs have individual “and/or” settings and all others use what logically makes sense. There are change log for Search below.


Whats next?

Quality of life features are going to be rolling in for each update, these just make the site so much more nicer to use. I am going to be sticking to a schedule of what I want to get out otherwise I will end up with many features mid-development!

On the right hand side you can see a list of features I am working on in the order of priority. The next big feature you will see is the merge of XIVPads, this is pushed to top priority mostly due to financial reasons. This will bring all the XIVPads character tracking and profiles, private messages, support, achievement ranking and statistics. In addition I hope to get characters integrated into the Search, woo :D This will probably take about 4-5 weeks, big project. But I will be releasing smaller update in between.

In addition to that, I want to get a lot of translations in. A few community members are ready to get the site translated, so I need to get them all plugged in! I hope to also get the site running on SSL next week. The entire site will be under SSL.

I will post an update next weekend with how things are going with that!


Changelog

Numbers in brackets relate to the feedback post.


General

  • The global font has been changed from Roboto to Open Sans, this should be more readable as a I had complaints of Roboto not loading correctly or being hard to read.
  • The entire site has a specific text-shadow over it, rather than elements being managed independently which caused some to be heavier than others and adding lag to rendering.
  • The site background has been darkened to the same color as XIVDB v1 (big demand), I will be adding an option to upload custom background images soon.
  • The grain effect has been removed, on low refresh monitors this caused issues.
  • (Design) A lot of shadows and lines have been sharpened or removed, for example the “Database” dropdown nearly all drop shadows have been removed.
  • The sites footer has been simplified a lot (This is network managed, I don’t have a lot of control over what goes here, hence smaller).
  • Footer ad has been removed from the homepage
  • Code has been implemented to try prevent malicious ad popups (please report all ads on a page if you see any kind of popup from this site, hit “report all” on everything and then the green “Feedback/bugs” asap, a screenshot of the popup will help greatly as it means ZAM can blacklist the supplier immediately!)
  • Email layout has been greatly simplified so they load better on mobile.
  • The page “v2 Launch” has been deleted, no point now!
  • The page “Donate” has been removed
  • The page “Development” has been merged into “Dev Blog”
  • You will not go back to the previous page you were on when you login, eg if you are viewing an item and click “login”, after you’ve been logged in you will be taken back to the item you were previously viewing.
  • The color of links has been slightly lightened
  • The style of the language selection has changed (better support mobile and more languages in the future)
  • The footer ad will now only display on content page.
  • The syntax of various buttons have been fixed.
  • A lot of missing icons will no longer show a broken image icon.
  • The tooltips code has been revamped and should be ton faster
  • The “Patches” background has been updated ready for 3.2, (Thank you to: @IrealiTY)
  • The “History” feature has been re-added, instead of icons down the left side of content page, there is now a history dropdown menu in the user bar, this is so it is accessible at all times and includes content names, it stores up to 15 history items.

  • Maps now have 8 zoom levels and will zoom more incrementally (rather than x2 each time). In addition, map tiles are now 128px instead of 256px and have been compressed to 70% quality. This is to significantly reduce load, especially on mobile/tablets.
  • Clicking a screenshot from the home page will now switch to the Screenshots tab and open the selected screenshot in a lightbox preview the full size of the screen. You can then close that, or open the image in a new tab. The escape button will also close the lightbox.
  • A simple lightbox modal has been implemented for screenshots to make viewing flow a bit better.

Account

  • Small style tweaks
  • Your current active character will list under “Add Characters”
  • An issue with adding certain characters should now be fixed (1369, 1350, 1028, 784, 642)

Mobile

Mobile is heavily in development, it is not yet finished.

  • The layout has been revamped to fit mobile, the basics should be functional such as searching and viewing content. I haven't implemented the menu yet as it would be massively cumbersome so mobile will get it’s own, more, interactive menu that will work a lot better and involve less icons (bandwidth!). Some of the “tabs” on content pages will not work, will fix them as I progress more on mobile.
  • The search will not “auto search” on mobile, tapping letters is slower so it would fire more often and all the icons returned in results per auto search would cause a lot of bandwidth/performance drain. Not needed
  • Tooltips will not load on mobile.
  • Horizontal Ads will no longer show on mobile.

Login/Logout/Forgot Password

  • The style of each of these pages has been tweaked to be more fancy :D
  • The site search functionality is hidden on these pages (as they will be including other logins in future such as Twitter, Facebook and even ZAM/Wowhead etc)
  • Forgot Password has been implemented (finally…), go request a password! (1528, 1092)

Homepage

  • The design has been tweaked a lot to be much nicer to use:
  • The carousel news will rotate faster (Every 5 seconds vs 10 seconds).
  • The carousel includes a count as well as previous/next buttons.
  • Screenshots are spread across the top, slightly larger (newest to left)
  • Screenshot tooltip now uses dynamic alignment tooltip (no edge overlap, faster)
  • The right hand side will be dedicated to: Announcements/notices.
  • Game maintenance/notices/status increased from 3 to 5 of the latest.
  • Added a link to the Dev Blog
  • Left side now includes: Dev Posts, Comments, Lodestone (activity) and Events
  • Dev posts now include the entire post and not just the brief snippet, this includes any quoted comments. (This can get long but is nicer)
  • Dev posts include the total likes, posts and views.
  • Dev posts include the title of the Rep.
  • Comments are no longer limited and format better.
  • Lodestone shows the most recent activity on lodestone.
  • New: Events, this is an updated display of the Events and Party recruitment tool found on the Lodestone. If you have an event on lodestone, it will appear here, this is intended for increased exposure to events!
  • The tabs will save, when you come back, the previously left tab will reopen.

Search

  • Cached searches should now be a lot faster!
  • Search now has proper paging, including next/previous, first and last.

  • Search now shows the number of pages and the number of results per tab.
  • Search results now show in the title bar, including any type’d queries.
  • “Clear” filters has been moved inside the filter panel
  • “Clear” filters will reset filters even if none set (incase it bugs for you)
  • “Clear” filters will also reset typed queries
  • I’ve removed the circle animation, was fun but too laggy on mobile and in general, and looked a bit silly really.. Gone with a basic approach that is lighter and simplier.
  • Search Filters have been massively redesigned. The overall look and feel of the results has been tweaked and squeezed, I’ve done this to reduce wasted space.
  • Checkboxes are much more easier and obvious to use in the new filter menu.
  • Filters are now split into tabs, eg: “General”, “Class Jobs” to reduce the amount of vertical space used.
  • Some filters are now in groups, eg “Equip Level” are joined and filter as expected, eg items above and below a level (never OR, as it is logically useless).
  • Filter groups will highlight when active, if you type in a minimum level for “Equip Level”, the title will go yellow to illustrate it is active.
  • Class Jobs conditional AND/OR can now be customized, you can decide if you want items for “Gladiator” OR“Rogue”, as well as “Gladiator” AND“rogue” independent of any other filters set.
  • Attribute conditional AND/OR can now be customized the same way as class jobs, you can decide if you want items with: “Control > 10” OR“Craftmanship > 20” as well as “Control > 10” AND “Craftmanship > 20”, independant of any other filters set.

  • Rarity is now a dropdown, as no item can be 2 colors at once...
  • In the Search menu, Database > Actions > Jobs will now include their base jobs, eg: Selecting “Paladin” actions will also include “Gladiator” actions.
  • You can now filter by patch for any content type.
  • Search results return 30 by default, this is usually enough and makes it.faster/lighter in general, with the new paging I think this is OK. I may add an option to increase it.
  • The “List” view has been aligned slightly better.
  • All search results have the same consistent layout and colors, regardless of type.
  • Switching between tabs should not lag the browser anymore.
  • All search results should use the same width and not be misaligned.
  • A lot of shadowing has been removed to reduce lagginess.
  • “Can HQ” filter has been removed from item search, because you can do it in Recipes where it is more appropriate…
  • Materia slots dropdown now has a visual guide.
  • Attributes “equal to” and “not equal to” options have been removed, as they were never useless actively and did not make much sense. (Removed as in; I didn’t write them into the new Search code)
  • Shops have been removed from the search filters, see below for more.
  • The duplicate “category” on Quest filters has been removed.
  • New: Quest filter “Zones”: filter quests by zone
  • New: Quest filter “Home Required”, Quests that require a home.
  • New: Quest filter “Items”, Quests that reward items.
  • New: Quest filter “Tokens”, Quests that reward tokens.
  • New: Quest filter “Emotes”, Quests that reward emotes.


Known Issues

These are issues I am aware about and will be sorting out as soon as I can, I just could not get to them in time for this release. I will be fixing most of these in the next couple days, they’re just not bug-critical or prevent the system from being usable.


  • It is not possible to filter “PVP” gear, you can however type the set names.
  • Grand Company armor is missing from the search menu “database”
  • Achievement filters missing “Has Quest” filter, I will re-add these asap.
  • There are a lot of “minimums” filters missing in Recipes, I will re-add these asap.
  • Filters for gathering is missing a lot, I will re-add them asap!!
  • Shops have been removed from search filters, shops are very messy and nearly all shops have an NPC you can search for (so you can find the data through the NPC which is more natral). SE use shops for nearly everything that provides you items, and a lot of Dev stuff.. which makes it a lot more difficult to manage. I think since legitmate shops are tied to NPC’s and you can search those, that this is OK for now.
  • History button does not appear on mobile, I need to implement the look-and-feel for this as mobile does not have “hover”, so I need to plan how to design it.

“Removed” stuff

Some of the change list things as being “Removed”, please know that this does not mean I went out of my way to actively “delete the code” for this. If something has been removed it either has good reason to go (eg: tons of shadows around the site causing lag) or it is related to a feature which has been completed re-hauled and I have not yet re-added it, (eg: Removed search filters).

For functionality/features that have been removed due to an overhaul. I will be adding them back in over time, some I do not feel are worthwhile, eg filters for the minimum amount of tanks in a dungeon, and the reason is due to how the game works, for example when would you need to filter something like that? nearly everyone knows the most active dungeons and what classes can be used, most of the time it is 2/2/4 setup. And there are so little for that specific content type. However, other stuff such as “Minimum Craftsmanship” filters missing of recipes will definitely be added back in as it is listed in the Known Issues section.

If you feel something has gone recently that you would like back, hit that green “Feedback/Bugs” button on the search and shout at me, so long as you’re not rude, I will go out of my way to implement anything that I can.

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