Hello noders!

I wanted to give an update on the progress here on the site with something that is both huge news and small. First, the site is now using React.js, a modern JavaScript framework. This is the first step in creating the new UI for the site, first by scraping out UI components that are common to every page, converting them over to React, and making sure that we have data interfaces for each of the elements. The two elements that have been converted as of the time of this writing are Vitals and Everything Developer. The Everything Developer nodelet in particular uses the icon sets from Font Awesome, even though the layout could use some adjusting. This is great since it will allow us to make a more vibrant, more modern-looking website and not have it be as text-based. Other UI elements like Modals also work, so instead of widgets all over the page, we can hide things like private message boxes in UI flows that make sense

Now that we are in the consistent asset pipeline on top of the AWS containers, it all builds nicely and I can rapidly make changes. It is bolted on to the old JQuery-based framework, which has a few strange interactions that I'm still working through. For instance as of the time of this writing, the two nodelets that have been converted over (Vitals and Everything Developer) don't collapse properly. This is because the contents of the nodelets are written by React, but collapsing is managed by JQuery. This wouldn't be a problem except of course of the timing. I have a fix now that I'm sure that React works properly. There's going to be a few bumps along the road, but it's huge progress thus far.

Once the nodelets and associated APIs are in place to manage state within the application, we will go through a process of working through UI wireframes. This will allow us to show off to the community how the site will look after the coat of paint is complete. The superdocs and associated pages will still render internally to perl for a bit, but will eventually be just added to the JavaScript application; React is smart enough to leave that pre-rendered text alone for now.

This is one of those changes that appears to be incredibly similar under the hood, even though it is a massive overhaul. These will start to pay visual dividends in the upcoming months as we continue to scrape out the technical debt present in the site. If anyone would like to collaborate on the user interface wireframes in the Fall timeframe, please let me know.

That's all the news that is fit to print, but it is incredibly exciting from the technical captain's chair. As always if you see something broken, file an issue over at GitHub.


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