Developer Update May 2020

May developer update

Every one to three months I give an update on what changes have been made on and what changes to expect in the coming months so I can be fully transparent with our community here. This post includes major changes since our last Developer update in March.

A LOT has been going on so let's just get into it...

Legal updates

We have a new end user license agreement. By using this website you agree to comply with it. This new language was added to protect the intellectual property of PaperDemon.

πŸ‡ Scaling and Optimizations

If you're on the mailing list, you know we are expecting a flood of new members within the next month or so in part due to the permanent roll out of Eclipse on DeviantArt. Many members are upset that DeviantArt's parent company Wix, is taking the site more toward a professional portfolio experience, a direction that isn't desirable for artists and writers who are there for the community, leaving them looking for a new home.

(If you're a recent member of the DeviantArt exodus, welcome btw! πŸ‘‹)

In order to help us better handle the increase in traffic, I've made several optimizations to the site including:

  • moving artwork images to Google Cloud storage so that our hard drive doesn't get full

  • caching some of the json api responses. Main homepage and art homepage are cached for 3 minutes.

  • consolidating the two node apps ( and ) into one under

  • running the node app in πŸ₯œ cluster mode so they can be served across multiple CPUs

  • database index and selection optimizations

I've also added a feature that allows me to disable new account sign ups later if needed. If by chance, the site gets crazy popular all of a sudden, disabling new accounts might be a necessary thing to do temporarily. But people who want to join can always join our mailing list and get notified when sign ups reopen.

I also highly recommend everyone join our discord server because if the site goes down for whatever reason, that's the best place to get updates on outages and status of the site.

πŸ› Bug fixes

There's a lot of them that have been fixed over the last few weeks.

πŸ› fix (app) navigation in safari

πŸ› fix (news) blank articles in safari

πŸ› fix (subscriptions) initialize follow component with correct user id

πŸ› fix (writing) newest writing missing homepage

πŸ› fix (user) can't save handles

πŸ› fix (art) submit slashes in description

πŸ™ Thank you everyone who took the time to report these bugs! Because we're expecting a lot of new people soon, I've created a new Public Bug Tracker so you all can see what bugs have been reported and what are currently being worked on. If something doesn't look right with the site, please report it in the bug tracker.

⭐ Profile updates

A few weeks ago I released brand new profile pages. This is part of an ongoing effort to move away from a PHP front end and instead to an Angular node app. Piece by piece, I've been rewriting this code to make it easier for me to maintain long term and provide a much more interactive user experience.

These new profile pages load quicker, show your socials more prominently, look more consistent with your art gallery pages, and are easier to navigate.

A couple of features were removed from profile pages. It always sucks to remove things but removing things frees me up to focus on adding other cool stuff (like art RPG features).

Profile skins removed

This feature was only available to premium members. The profile skins were poorly maintained, buggy, some were broken, and were completely unusable on mobile. Rewriting these to work well on mobile would have taken a lot of effort which would take away from other planned features we have coming (such as the Art RPG features). And very few people currently pay for a premium membership anyway. I'm open to feedback on paid features. But we're most likely going to focus on paid items for our ARPG, rather than create paid features like this one.

Chatbox removed

This was a little chat widget that appeared on profiles for premium members only. It was rarely used by members who had them and didn't provide users with notifications. I've gone ahead and removed it, rather than spend the effort to rewrite it for the new backend and front end.

⭐ Blog updates

Your personal blogs have been migrated to our new front end and now have a more updated look.

Blog comments have disabled temporarily while we do some upgrades to the comments system. Existing blog comments are likely not going to be migrated over.

Some blog features (such as archive links) have been removed and the UI has been simplified. You'll no longer be able to post a description of your blog. This was removed because it's rather redundant with what you have on your β€œabout me” section of your profile. Often times, many users got confused and thought this was used for the body of the post (but it was just the description of your blog instead).

The extra blogs feature (premium only feature) was removed because it wasn't used. It's removal also allows me to simplify the codebase.

Other updates

Some improvements were made to our moderation tools to allow us to better run Art RPGs.

There were also quite a few other usability, UI tweaks, and backend code refactorings to the site which aren't really worth mentioning here. But needless to say, I've been a very busy code monkey. πŸ™ˆ

What's coming

I'll be doing more migrations of images to Cloud storage (including comic images).

As you may have noticed, the comics and writing sections are looking dated compared to the rest of the site and are lacking full support for experience points, tags, and mobile friendliness.

I'll be merging the code base that powers blogs, comics, artwork, and writing to allow us to deliver more features to you down the road. This includes a new front end for comics and writing. This is what most of my energy will be spent on in the coming months.

Related to that, the codebase for comments across art, writing, blog, and comics are similar but not the same, making the code unweildly. I'll be merging the comments systems for all of these together so I'll be in a better place to start adding some nifty Art RPG features.

And with a new comments system is likely to come an updated notifications system to move it to our new front end.

Holy cow. You made it all the way to the end. You deserve a cookie πŸͺ

Thanks for your support! As always, reply if you have questions.