New Design!

I have worked hard to fully update the SpaceHighway main site.

Please, note that I am still moving data from the old site to this one. 
Some sections may still be a bit outdated. I will fix them as soon as possible.

Some explanations

At one point, the original theme developer sold the theme I used on this site to a new developer, where suddenly several things broke.
I had neither the time nor did I wish to change half of the code base at that time.
Now, with this relaunch of the SpaceHighway website, I put myself to the task to rewrite most of the code, and I made the whole site better.

Instead of updating the old site, I have decided to build this one from the ground up anew.
I took this decision because the old site is several years old. In fact, the base was the same as the first SpaceHighways site in Spanish. Its database had hundreds of old and unused entries. It needed a complete overhaul.

If you find any dead links, I would be grateful if you could get in touch with me.

Details

New!

  • Domain name! SpaceHighways.net. The .ms domain name is getting more expensive every year… It was fun to have it, but I figured something more normal should be the norm. However, any .com, .net was already taken. Adding an s for the plural, at least got me a .net domain. I doubt i will change more soon, unless the .com versions become free and cheap.
  • Patreon login! Patrons can login via Patreon and read the full chapters, including eXtended and NSFW chapters, directly from the website. The same applies to the downloads.
    • No more ads! (Still working on it.)
    • Add comments and discuss right on the site.
    • Read the version you have access to, without finding the right download.
    • You can download any version you love.
    • Cross-referencing with the encyclopedia.
    • Please note that it might be a bit buggy for the time being until I have everything ironed out.
  • Behind the Scenes section. Only accessible for patrons!
    • Identifies correctly the patron’s tier level and either displays the article or an error informing of the minimum tier level needed to access it.

Updated

  • Updated to the newest version of the theme.
  • Updated code and design of almost every section.
  • Obviously, WordPress and all the plugins are up to date too.

Changes

  • Several free plugins were swapped either for other free plugins or paid ones.
    I also have ditched several online services to avoid tracking or further recurring fees.
    Most noticeable the following:

    • Advanced Custom Fields Pro (ACF). Plugin upgraded from Free to Pro. The repeater field, and the possibility to create option pages makes this plugin upgrade a must.
    • The Shareholic service was ditched in favor of the Easy Social Share plugin due to tracking cookies, ads, and excessive connections.
    • Google Custom/Web Search changed to Ajax Search Lite (I am still studying the possibility to switch to Pro), due to tracking cookies, ads, and excessive connections.
  • Merged: All Series belonging to the same arc into one Series. This includes the extras and the NSFW chapters.
  • Timeline. The timeline is now automatically updated once I fill a simple ACF form out on the same chapter post form.
  • References Section. The reference section has been streamlined and will update automatically via a simple ACF form.
  • FAQ Section. Is now easily maintained via an ACF form with repeater fields.
  • Gaia News. The news section has received a brand-new starting page.
    • This main page has received a new back-office UI for an easier maintenance.
    • The starting page works now. It somehow broke last month or so, and I didn’t try to fix it as the whole section was substituted with this new one.
  • Status Page. The Status page will now fetch automatically all the statistics and details, except for some minor details.
    • The current chapters’ progress can also be edited from the same config page.
  • News section. This section has also changed.
    It was a bad judgment on my part to have two news sections related to SpaceHighway, one Patron News section and a Site News section (see further down in Removed). Both are now only one section.
  • SpaceHighway Encyclopedia. New home page which updates automatically, and is more pleasing to use.
  • And hundreds of small design changes and tweaks.

Removed

  • Patreon News section. Over time, it was clear that this section is redundant and I merged it with a global news section.
    • From now on, only important news will be published in this section. New and Updated chapters notifications and download links have been moved to another area and to the chapter page in case of the latter.
  • Removed plugins:
    • Ad Rotate Plugin. As the SpaceHighway website only displays its own ads to Patreon subscriptions, there is no need for an ad plugin.
    • BJ Lazy Load. The new theme already sports its own lazy load plugin. There is no need for a further one.
    • List category posts. Due to custom templates and Advanced Custom Fields, I have no need for this plugin anymore.
    • Q2W3 Fixed Widget. This widget conflicts with the new theme. I created my own adapted solution and do not need it anymore.
    • Rich Text Excerpts. I wrote my own code for the same functionality. No need for a plugin.
    • ShortCodes UI. Sadly, not updated in a long time. Seems abandoned. Substituted by self-coded shortcodes combined with advanced custom fields.
    • Several other minor plugins.
  • A huge amount of old self-written code.
  • Most old surviving pages in Spanish. Some are still there, but not listed (https://spacehighway.ms/es).

To do

These things I’ll be able to do even after the new site has gone live.

  • Update the code of the ads widgets to hide when a patron is logged in.
  • Clean up some redundant code left in template files.
  • Fix some UI quirks and its CSS code.
  • Fix some minor bugs.
  • Fix some major, but not life threatening bugs:
    • Sometimes, patrons have to login again after having left the site.
    • Patrons are not directed to the right tier after clicking the “Become a patron” button.
  • Optimize loading and parsing of the pages.
    • Configure the cache and integrate again with Cloudflare.
    • Optimize assets to reach at least a B+ on speed tests.
    • Despite not being optimized yet and still in development mode, the new site is already quicker and more responsive than the old one which is fully optimized.
  • Hide multiple patron messages in consecutive hidden extended paragraphs.

As you might have noticed, the Advanced Custom Fields Pro plugin is used almost everywhere. It is truly a timesaver. Instead of copy-pasting a lot of date continuously, I only have to fill the date in once and the new code does the rest. I still have to fill in most of the data, but everything is now in one place.

In addition, I have substituted plugins with custom post types wherever possible, or with custom-made templates.

 

Hope you enjoy the new SpaceHighway website,
SSjr

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