Publishing Again

Well, we're back up and running. I had some weird issues with a particular image, but after some research and work, all appears to be well and functioning again (YAY!). With all of that said I'm going to take this moment talk a bit about SWAG's future.

SWAG runs on the Content Management System called Drupal. Drupal is a fantastic set of tools that helps me manage SWAG with very little community help (i.e. Currently Hisham and Evan Black help out in the forums, but Drupal does virtually all of the heavy lifting as far as the images go). This is great, but Drupal has recently released a newer version of their software, and while we can't upgrade to the newest version quite yet, that moment is soon approaching, and once it arrives I hope to begin SWAG's transition.

This will be a very large transition (not as large as the transition from pmachine) but some technologies were used that experience has taught me would have been better left alone. With that in mind it does appear that I have an upgrade path from where we are to where we want to be, so we'll have to execute on that and see how it goes. If all goes well with it, we will reap MANY benefits. The benefits on my mind at the moment are:

  1. Fewer images on the server w/o reducing our library size
  2. Better file organization (as in all of stirzy's images would be in a "stirzy" folder on the server... this may seem insignificant, but it has greater ramifications for the server at large)
  3. Better "Featured Image(s)" handling. Currently this is totally hacked together, and I'll have the ability to REALLY make this shine in the next version.

There are many other things in the pipe too... for example, I'm seriously considering giving guild members the ability to publish content w/o approval. This will of course be on a trial basis and people who abuse this privilege (by posting things they shouldn't) will be disciplined accordingly, but our community is VERY fine in these regards, and I really have no worries. After significantly more than I year of actually RUNNING SWAG, I've had no real issues, and I'm not sure I see the point in holding onto this particular "power" in the next version. I think the biggest worry in this regard is that a member might unknowingly publish artwork that could get us in trouble with LFL... a problem we don't want, but we're pretty good at self-policing, so we may at least give it a try.

With all of that said, I wanted to at least give the community a nice big update on SWAG in general. I expect these changes will probably help SWAG grow even more, and when that happens we truly will need to consider moving to our OWN server, but again an issue to cross when we get there.

I expect I'll probably refine the existing design for this next version, I was never 100% happy with it.