happy birthday nannasprite

(Publicado el 13/4/2023.)

Hey again, and happy 4/13! We've got a marginally smaller update with several new albums and a bunch of commentary, data fixes aplenty and lots of internal changes in-progress behind the scenes! Visit past the split for all the details~ 🏘️

Ten releases join the lineup! We've got just-today released albums Vinculum Vitae, Don't Read A Webcomic Called Homestuck, and Land of Hue and Duels (Trollside), and singles Toxic Love and Another Flare (413 Aradia Goose mix). Some earlier releases, as well: Act 8 Volume 1, from the excellent (and titular) "what's next?"-type fanventure Act 8; both albums part of another after-the-epilogue fanventure Act Omega, Early Access and ᴀsᴘᴇᴄᴛ/ᴄʟᴏᴄᴋ; and two more releases from CaNMT, Cool and New Homestuck and solo album Cyclica by ostrichlittledungeon!

We've also collected commentary by Andrew Hussie on many albums on the official discography, plus composer comments across much of Michael Guy Bowman's early official tracks. There's tons of early history and trivia on the Homestuck music scene about such albums as Homestuck Vol. 1, Homestuck Vol. 5, many individual tracks from Bowman, and, yes, Squiddles! too. If this fine meteor-free Thursday has you in the mood to look down memory lane, there's much to browse here!

And we have a number of fixes and minor additions across the site, as usual; many were compiled in an earlier release at the end of March. Full details, as ever, are in the changelog! Highlights include Scheele's own sheet music for Underfoot (thanks to Warrigal for sharing!) and an original, circa-1911 folio for I'm a Member of the Midnight Crew (thanks to Celeste!); missed bonus tracks and details on DELTARUNE Chapter 2 OST, ✌︎❒︎♏︎ ⍓︎□︎◆︎ ●︎□︎⬧︎⧫︎✍︎ and more; and a bunch of crediting, listen link, and miscellaneous data fixes all around!

There were a bunch of musical pieces released for 4/13, and since the wiki only covers album releases for now, we weren't able to include them all! Here are some individual releases you might still like to check out, in no particular order:

As it happens, we've been releasing on a roughly monthly cadence for the last couple updates. That's a pretty comfortable schedule to track album additions on! This year, we've also separated cut the tie between content-addition albums from, so in-between releases like Track Doctor2 and Feferi's Theme are commonplace and typically cover data errors and other minor tweaks we didn't catch before release. We obviously want to keep a consistently high quality across all wiki data, all the time, and smaller releases have helped fixes come out sooner!

That all said, we're a (very, lol) small team working on the wiki with our own time. So, unlike the wiki experience in 2021 — strictly monthly releases, generally fitting a lot of new content and features each twelfth of the month — we've also definitely changed our work habits to avoid crunch and eventual burnout. Hence a lower volume update this time around, without any new site functionality! The horror!? Oh my!

So we aren't sticking to a specific routine, just releasing updates approximately as they're complete — with polish and fixes coming out sooner, album additions bunched together every so-often, and new site functionality when it's good and ready. That's been a monthly-ish cadence so far, but don't worry when we eventually go some span longer; we're not abandoning the wiki but rather fitting in a personal ethic for our own work and availability!

Skip this section if you absolutely despise programming~

On my front (Nebula here! I code this thing! 🦜), I've been working on making the site software a whole bunch more accessible for local development and wiki-building. I've basically been ropecasting live reload functionality for a month straight — that goes for both data changes and frontend changes, both of which currently require rebooting the whole wiki server and reprocessing loads of data for every set of changes you want to preview. It's a major pain point for people learning to work with wiki data, who need to process all the data before getting any error feedback, as well as for anyone doing development on the website (OK, just me for now...), because testing every little tweak takes just as long, and then some!

Progress is coming along pretty excellently on that front; I've got basically all the essentials pat for live-reloading software changes (optimizations for the full site build to come later), and all the work there is foundational to refreshing data changes without reloading the whole wiki. A huge part of the process is reworking just about every component on the website to live in its own code file and have a specific and explicit "scope", e.g. "I'm a component which shows the visitor this and if these values in wiki data change, I need a refresh," and "here are the other components I need access to, and the data they will obtain from me." Those explicit scopes - which I'm doing my best to make intuitive both to read and to write! - tie very neatly into live reloading, which is a must both for local development and for later extending the wiki frontend to work with other mystery data sources. 👻

Defining and delineating components this way also makes it way, way easier to write automated unit and snapshot tests, which basically just throw a whole bunch of conditions at a given part of the website (or set of parts together) and ensure the code is generating the output that we expect. That's great for ensuring stability as we develop new features, but it also comes in super handy for explaining to folk browsing the code exactly what each part of the code is responsible for. And, it takes a lot of weight off outsiders bringing in their own code (and maintainers like me reviewing pull requests LOL): you don't have to worry about changing functionality that was deliberately written and depended on, since that behavior is observed and verified by tests, nor about accidentally breaking how some other component is working off the component you're editing, because those relationships are both explicitly and clearly codified... and are tested and kept track of via snapshot tests! Yay!

In case you can't tell the principle all this is branching from, I'm generally looking to make the wiki a lot more self-stable and workable for future developers and contributors. Apart from burnout, a major reason I had to pause development in 2021 and throughout a good chunk of 2022 was just not having enough free time to put useful work into the wiki! I'm currently away from IRL work, focusing on myself, my family, and my work here, but I won't have as much time or energy to give forever. So I'm looking to make it easier both for outside developers to contribute to wiki code and software features, if they're so interested, and for anyone to share their own additions to the data we present here! Since I'm mostly a JavaScript and user experience nerd, the spot where I feel most useful is software design, architecture, and overall usability... and there's a lot of room to improve there, so that's why I've been focusing on it lately!

(Also, I've still only been doing really serious coding for maybe eight years at most, and all the stuff I'm coding right now is a learning experience for me — which is really important for projects I put a lot of time into to feel meaningful to me.)

All above in mind, while the wiki's not quite where I want to bring its development and contribution experience yet, we're definitely on the way there... and we always welcome feedback and suggestions! If you haven't stopped by, the community Discord server is a fun and very chill place to connect with other visitors and contributors around the wiki. (I keep the very spooky code quarantine channel updated with the latest tabs on the ongoing code restructure.) And, of course, our alternative avenues (OK it's just email lmao) are always open as well!

As ever, thanks to everyone for the support and feedback! We hope you had a stellar 4/13 and have a lovely time ahead! 🦑

~ Quasar Nebula

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