10th December 2018
WoW: Classic Stats Calculator Made a wow classic stats calculator tool using jQuery - you can pick a class then enter base stats like Stamina, Strength, Agility, Intellect and Spirit. As you type the base stats into the tool it displays benefits that you will receive - DPS increase, melee crit, spell crit, hit points, armour, dodge and other useful information.
This will hopefully be useful for people who are comparing gear benefits and racial starting stats, among other things.
Usability and design improvements On mobile design, increased font size significantly across the board
On mobile design, changed height and size of many elements, and the design of major areas such as posts and profiles, to accommodate the new font-sizes and maximise horizontal screen real-estate
On mobile design, list of topics now shows last poster, last post time + link to the post (instead of topic author + topic age which wasn't as useful)
On desktop design, increased all body text, links and input font-sizes to 14px and made minor layout changes to accommodate this. You're welcome Syturio
Class badges and customisation changes You can now choose a class as part of your profile customisation
Your profile background is now visible in each post you make
Your level, faction, class and profile background are now visible when viewing private messages
On mobile, there simply isn't space to print the user's realm so this has been removed from the mobile display style
Soft forum divisions Divided Guides section into Tools, PvP Guides, PvE Guides, Trade Guides and Reputation Guides
You can only see PvP Guides, PvE Guides and Trade Guides currently as no topics exist for the other areas.... yet 😛
Divided Tech section into Art Resources and Code Resources
Divided Info section into Information and Update Logs
Loot secton renamed to 'Tech' to more accurately reflect content
Search Engine Optimisation Updated robots.txt to block Semrush and Ahref spiders which are constantly trying to crawl the site and were eating up bandwidth
Updated robots.txt to disallow crawling of noise pages
Fixed various XML sitemap, robots and other indexing issues that caused rankings to fall steeply for two weeks
Topic icons were annoyingly adding stuff to the actual html title of each topic, so I disabled this and then renamed all icon selections to something more descriptive of the icons themselves rather than general 'meta subjects'
Reduced instances of the phrase 'WoW: Classic' outside of main content areas to lower potential keyword-stuffing algorthimic penalties from google
Changed maximum horizontal resolution before transition from mobile to desktop styling from 620px to 700px to help google capture mobile site
Also worth mentioning that the mobile font-size changes and render-width limit will mean that mobile usability algorithmic penalties will eventually no longer apply (once google has re-crawled whole site and verified 'fixes')
Backend re-coding and performance gains Due to the way phpBB is built natively, and the way extensions are loaded, every time a user visited the site made an http request for over twenty different CSS files on page load. This slows down the 'first-to-paint' time and therefore Google rankings too. What I have done is to combine all of these CSS into one master file and re-minified it
Tried to implement .WEBP with fallback to .PNG, but the quality of the .WEBP I was getting after conversion really sucked, and sometimes the files were even bigger than my compressed originals! So I'm sticking with good old .PNG for now.
Reimplemented versioning - now you (really) should not have to empty your cache to see any changes to any CSS, JS or HTML code. The browser is forced to re-download new versions of files regardless of cache settings.
Recoded htaccess file to force HTTPS connection for all visitors, increased cache lifetime of all assets to 1 year, and localised external scripts so they can be cached server-side too.
In total, the above changes, along with some of the SEO I did on this patch, have reduced the average page load time by 3 seconds. This might not sound like a lot but is actually a very significant improvement - research shows that the longer a page takes to load in seconds, the likelihood of the user 'bouncing' away from the page and never coming back increases exponentially.
Pagespeed insight score has risen from 84 (average) to 95 (fast) for Desktop and from 53 (average) to 86 (3 points away from 'fast') on Mobile. Having 95 and 86 as pagespeed scores makes me so happy omg!
Miscellaneous changes Guest name and avatar now link to the new login page, which also has a splash image encouraging people to register an account
When viewing a private message with one or more responses, the conversation history is now separated below in its own area to avoid confusion
Touched up the profile customisation page a bit and brought 'Appearance' link to the top of the user control panel drop down as it is the most used
Moved jpy's awesome Mage AoE farming guide to into 'Guides' and formatted it in line with other guide styling
New icons made for Rogue twink, Engineering, and Mage AoE guides
Navbar indicator changed to show under username when user is in their control panel, and disappears when in mod control panel or when viewing any profile (before it defaulted to indicate 'Forum', which isn't true)
Cleaned up and sharpened faction badges to match crispness of class icons
Cleaned up and sharpened existing topic icons - a lot looked blurry
Added four new topic icons (dungeon, raid, search, tick)
Added hover over thumb icon when a post is liked that describes purpose
Moved the topic icon dropdown in posting editor above the RECAPTCHA box for guest posts
Modified various descriptions, headers, subheaders etc.
Re-added female troll, male troll, and female orc to Characters and Creatures avatar folder (no idea how they got lost lol)
Animated the smiley
Added a subtle blizz logo silhouette to blizz bbcode quotes
Added in the new divider graphic across the board where present
MCP styling finished for move topic options and confirmation dialog
Made the version number in footer link to the most recent update topic
Changed dash in HTML title to a bullet when viewing topics
Slightly changed appearance of 'tech' topics adding new splash/download images
Updated downloadable .zips with a new readme.md file with minor changes
Bugs fixed Fixed cursor: pointer; css missing styling on posting pages
Fixed textbox resizing not working as intended in quick reply and full editor
Fixed mobile topic icon positioning when navbar dropdown active in topics with a topic icon
Fixed mobile view topic titles not overflowing with ellipsis
Fixed issue where user clicking MCP would load the topic list for different forums instead
Fixed email input redundant styling on login and registration page, and fixed styling of forgot pw page. The link was somehow missing so reinstated.
Bug existed for a while where if you sent a PM then deleted it before the other person read the PM, the other person would still receive a notification that could never be deleted except for a hard database clear of it's respecitve row. It came back again and I was despairing until I found some help on the phpBB forums. Fixed
2. The text-change size and focus on mobile styling is again due to Google's new 'mobile first' indexing policy. Basically if you don't have a usable mobile site, where the text is big enough to read, where the elements aren't too close together, and where everything looks and runs smoothly, you get a massive penalty in ranking and reputation. Not to mention that over 50% of our traffic is on mobile devices - and I want their experience to be just as good as desktop.
3. The divisions on the Guides section look a bit weird now but when each sub-section is full of guides it'll look great. This was incredibly difficult to implement from a development standpoint - it looks like a simple thing to code but phpBB's characteristic stubbornness meant that I had to use a workaround using jQuery to pull the extra sections after page load. They will be slow to load first time you visit the page, but after that cacheing will make the loading time imperceptible.
4. The word 'loot' seems to have a negative connotations these days due unpopular development trends like loot boxes, micro-transactions and in-game gambling. 'Tech' more accurately describes this section anyway as it is resources for developers who like techy wow stuff.
Any bugs or feedback please leave a reply here
Patch 1.4.1Fixed BBcode corruption - they should all work now, sorry about that
12th December 2018
Fixed various font-size issues where sizes were all over the place on mobile and I couldn't figure out why. After 2 hours of debugging found my answer - Apple superseding my own code by forcing their own rendering rules in iOS Safari... unbelievable really.
Fixed footer issue where text wasn't wrapping properly in users online area on index page
Fixed 'bugged indicator arrow' in UCP (it was actually intentional but I agree it looked bad so it's gone now)
Fixed broken position for default/no avatar image on mobile profile page
Fixed broken width for class selection on mobile registration and appearance pages
Fixed broken width for avatar gallery selection page on mobile
Fixed broken width for armory link input on mobile appearance page
Fixed padding mismatch on overall wrapper on mobile
Fixed traditional [img] bbcoded images overflowing width on mobile
Fixed broken float heights on new login page
Fixed broken line-height on quotes on mobile
Fixed broken padding above quotes on mobile
Fixed line break after username of mentioner in notifications dropdown/UCP page
Fixed Firefox bug where style select dropdown was breaking out a new line
Fixed Firefox bug where post sorting button was 1px out of position
Fixed Firefox bug where remnants of an old extension hack were still showing
28th December 2018ChangesAdded an avatar section called ‘WoW Classic’ - this is all 2000+ vanilla-only icons from a blizzlike client. Also made a tech page for people so they can download the icon pack in full for development stuff
Resorted some of the avatar folders from the WoW section to the WoW Classic section for organisational purposes
Added 28 new profile background images - one for each class spec (they are the talent tree background art assets)
Made some 21:9 Ultrawide (and normal HD) WoW Classic wallpapers depicting starter zones with superimposed classic logoBugs fixedFixed broken styling on navigation dropdown on mobile (padding of first three links was skewed)
Fixed textbox resizing issue in full editor page (wasn’t resizing)
Fixed styling bug when composing a new PM (unclosed divider was causing this)
Fixed broken download link for original WoW Icon Pack
Fixed missing avatars after gallery reorganisation (sorry if I got it wrong lol)Known issues
So it seems that my actual webhost (Dreamhost) have been experiencing a bug with their server configuration since October - basically Googlebot can only connect to my website about 30%
of the times it attempts to do so! This has taken a while to figure out - after a great deal of troubleshooting and investigation of my own configs I got in touch with them and they confirmed it’s actually on their side. This is having a big impact on my search rankings and reputation with Google.
They are still trying to resolve the issue and have agreed to credit me for the lost performance over the last few months (thinking of asking for a server upgrade or something) - they didn’t even inform me about this and it’s been happening for months. If they can’t sort it out soon though I’m going to have to forget that and consider moving host because this is really quite a big deal.
Enjoy the patch my dudes and a happy new year to you all! 🙂