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6. Blah blah, nerdy programmer stuff




As most should be aware by now, I'm coding an entire software system geared specifically for role-play.

(If you didn't know, I guess you do now.)


I actually had it in my head for a long time. I remember posting on some odd resource site asking what features people wanted in their perfect RP software, to get ideas, but by now, I've long forgotten what was on that list. Frankly, oh well. The software's called Gaia (if you're interested in checking that out, there's a preview installation available for its Alpha 3 build, and screenshots and stuff in the Gaia coterie), and I'm pretty much just making my own perfect software. Most people probably think I prefer SMF over everything else, but honestly, it's just what I know better and can modify easiest. For one reason or another, the other softwares out there never really clicked, and I can't honestly say SMF did, either, it was just a challenge (and I love those). By this point, SMF has a lot of fundamental problems, and I'll be the first one to say it. So the decision to make Gaia was one I came to over time. In the early stages, though, I didn't really have the confidence in my ability to code, to think I could do it.


Funny story, though, I think coding Gaia is actually making me a better coder. There are no crutches with it. I can't fall-back on x's default functionality, because I have to write that default functionality first. There is no structure to follow; I haven't written the structure. And I'm running into a lot of schnags that I'd never run into with SMF because it operates the way it operates, but Gaia only does what I tell it to do. It's kind of like only really eating oranges as pre-peeled and separated mandarins in a cup, and then someone handing you an actual orange. It's like, Whoa, and then you're like, What the fuck do I do with it. If you'd told me two years ago I'd be here, working on making my own web application software, I'd have probably laughed at you. Honestly. Because back then, I didn't think I coded that well. I still don't, but, here I am, and I've got a working software I've coded entirely myself, so I guess I'm pretty good? LOL


Funny story two, I'm Kemetic Pagan (Kemet is the original name of Egypt before the Romans came along and renamed it; it means "black land," so named for the rich soil deposits the Nile flooding left behind). And somehow Gaia became full of Hellenic primordial gods. I've got Gaia itself, then Ananke (the consort of Chronos, she is the goddess of necessity), which loads all the settings and themes, Ourea (the primordial god of the mountains), which handles all the user functions (all of them), Erebos (god of darkness), which is the helper class that does all the menial busywork, and Metis (the Titan goddess of wisdom, she is the mother of Athena), which handles all the database functions. And the theme is named Eros (in the original myths, he was born from Chaos after Gaia and Tartarus, and had a hand in forming the cosmos; he is the god of irrational desire and attraction). How the hell I ended up with a Titan god party in the core folder, I don't know, but here we are.


(If anyone's curious, I named it Gaia because it was envisioned as a returning to the roots of RP and walking away from the over-complication and bloat of social-media-angled software. Gaia seemed like a fitting name for a software with such a purpose.)


Alpha 1 was kind of a trip. Mostly I was focused on getting the user functionality operable, and I did good. Then in Alpha 2, I mostly wanted the settings working. Alpha 3 I jumped into making the forum module (Gaia is not exactly a forum software, as I didn't intend for, nor design, the system to revolve around the forum functions - Gaia can technically operate without the forum system), but I realised about there that despite rewriting them like five times, the database functions were still really restrictive. It became most obvious in Alpha 3 when I was getting the forums displaying. I had to do like four or five different database calls to get the forum index working. That was too much. So in Alpha 4, I set out to rewrite it from scratch, again, in order to loosen up the database functions and keep them secure while not restricting functionality to the point I had to fuss with it really hard to get a core module working. ... Alpha 4 was an unmitigated asshole. I don't even know why but it was throwing me all kinds of hell.


So I scrapped Alpha 4 about an eighth of the way into it and restarted. Now I have Alpha 5. Idk what happened between 4 and 5, but 5 is going much smoother, and I should be caught up with Alpha 3 by tomorrow night, ish. I've also gotten a lot of little things working along the way, like the login page looks nicer, and the theme variants now work appropriately, and I have a rough idea of how to make theme installations work, um, profiles have cover photos now, they did not before, there's also a password strength metre, Alpha 5's got a better WYSIWYG editor than Alpha 3 does, reCAPTCHA support is now a thing... I also rewrote my form input validation handler to be able to check for the reCAPTCHA response and run a session check without being explicitly told to (so it will now automatically do a session check for every form that a user can submit to, and to get reCAPTCHA working on a form, one line of code is all that's needed to tell it hey this form requires a reCAPTCHA validation and it'll figure it out on its own).


This whole thing's been rather the trip. And kind of a gigantic "HEY FUCKNUGGET YOU ARE ACTUALLY GOOD AT CODING, SHUT UP," message. I also intend, sometime after Gaia reaches Beta-testing stage, to set up an install script that will set up a new installation of Gaia on a server with no back-end access, so that I can get a free host for Gaia working, and you can sign up for a Gaia site like you would a Jcink or Proboards site. (I'm hoping that makes people more inclined to try it, because I'm fairly convinced a good deal of the RP world would love it if they tried it.) I've been at coding it for almost three weeks now, I think it is... not nearly done with it. But I'm making pretty good time, and I actually might get it to Beta before my original guesstimate of this summer. I may not. We'll see. I guess it really depends on how many more times I have to fucking rewrite Metis. xD


Anyway, blah blah, I just needed to typeramble. xD

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