league website

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league website

Post by ts » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:00 pm

Hi there,

as GU league uses a very old version of webleague, upgrading would be a lot of work and remembering one more password for every website is not so nice I thought coming up with something entirely new would also be an option.

Well, after countless hours it seems like the development has made enough progress to allow a public test (state: somewhere between beta and release candidate). I gave all players match adding and editing permissions for the test.

Additions: Different bzmail system, different login system and other stuff end users can not see.
Removals: No forum, no permission system for local logins, no team passwords.

The imported database is from 2010-07-08 (year, month, day), you need your guleague password from that day to login. The test website can be found at http://vps1.moooo.org/ts/. Special thanks to Upsetter, zaphod and brad.

Feedback is welcome.


The license is a real problem. I would like to open huge parts of its source code but the GNU Affero General Public License does not allow this. Especially as the artwork would be closed source and 2 included files are LGPL'ed.
As consequence the license is proprietary at the moment.
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Re: league website

Post by strayer » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:49 am

I appreciate the work on a league framework with the intention to improve the league-life.

Since I'm known for critical appraisals I'll concentrate on the elements I don't like. Please keep in mind my bad English when you feel some of my comments would sound too rude. :o)

Design / Layout
Well, the rounded corners and the the idea of placing the/a logo on the left side instead on top is nice eye-candy. Unfortunately all three available themes have the same problems which make them appear to be not well-thought-out.
(a) There is no balance between text size, border line width, spaces between block elements etc..
(b) Having the same (somehow structured) background image everywhere makes it pretty hard to read the text content.
(c) The elements seem not to be consistent in their layout (e.g. rounded corners for blocks vs. typical rectangle line design of table rows or input fields; everywhere ordinary text vs. text shadow for the links in the right top corner)
(d) The elements aren't placed very well (neither optical pleasing like [the "overview" link at the team profile pages makes the first block slide down a little] nor user friendly [you can have some presentation slides about web-media ergonomics if you want to]).

HTML
The HTML code is (similar to the web-league) a big mess. On the one side the document type is declared to be XHTML1.0 (which is not too up to date but better than HTML 4.01) but the content seems to be some kind of uncontrolled growth. The HTML code seems to be written by people with completely different knowledge. Some pages are perfect XHTML while others are nothing you should show anyone.
(a) Upper and lower case isn't the same for XHTML.
(b) Some used tags (e.g. FONT) are far away from being valid XHTML. It's the same with basic syntax.
(c) Some content isn't encoded correctly. Have a look at the news where I can see unmasked characters like "&" which point on an incorrect handling of dynamic content.

Innovation
Where is the advantage of using this framework instead of the web-league? The chance of using BZFlag's weblogin doesn't justify a complete changeover.
(a) From the user's point of view, the web-league is nothing to recommend, but the presented alternative is more a step backwards. The handling is not better and I don't see any new features.
(b) The administrative point is nothing I can give a statement to...

Rest
(a) I wasn't able to write a BZmail to any player. In theory it seems to be possible write myself a message (because of the link shown when I view my own profile), but whenever I entered a player name, I got the error message "Not all of the specified recipients did exist. Please check your recipient list.".
(b) When you allow to use special characters like "*" as placeholders in a search, then you should inform the users.
(c) I wonder about the security aspects when I see that you don't care about database specific characters which seem not to be masked before you execute the SQL query!
(d) No matter how good or bad such a league framework will be - as long as it isn't open source, you will have serious acceptance issues.
A pessimist is an optimist with experience... ;o)

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Re: league website

Post by smoooth » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:12 am

I feel the same way as strayer. I appreciate the efforts to improve the league but i'm also not a fan of the redesign in general. It seems messy and the rounded broken line "theme" seems as old and outdated as what is there now. I would recommend going one of two ways.

1. Make it very graphically sharp and visually appealing with basic functionality

Or

2. Make it very simple clean and nongraphical, but very loaded with information and features.

A site redesign is long overdue and would be really nice! Thanks for putting in the effort.

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Re: league website

Post by mrapple » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:43 am

I've been considering working on this for a while now, and I think the time has come.

First off, I agree with everything strayer said. The HTML is a huge mess, and I'm sure some of the PHP code that runs everything still is too.

Responding to what smooth said, I agree with point 2. The web league system needs to be simple, easy to use, not shinny/colorful, and be loaded with information and features.

Hopefully over the next week I'll produce something to show, but I am going on vacation soon so don't expect to see anything to soon.

Overall I appreciate ts's efforts, but I think they went in the wrong direction

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Re: league website

Post by ts » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:44 am

strayer wrote:Design / Layout
Well, the rounded corners and the the idea of placing the/a logo on the left side instead on top is nice eye-candy. Unfortunately all three available themes have the same problems which make them appear to be not well-thought-out.
(a) There is no balance between text size, border line width, spaces between block elements etc..
(b) Having the same (somehow structured) background image everywhere makes it pretty hard to read the text content.
(c) The elements seem not to be consistent in their layout (e.g. rounded corners for blocks vs. typical rectangle line design of table rows or input fields; everywhere ordinary text vs. text shadow for the links in the right top corner)
(d) The elements aren't placed very well (neither optical pleasing like [the "overview" link at the team profile pages makes the first block slide down a little] nor user friendly [you can have some presentation slides about web-media ergonomics if you want to]).
Well, I admit I was quite unsure about the design and I'm surely open to suggestions, even changing it a lot but I only see the background interferes with text in the "Snow" theme.
strayer wrote:HTML
The HTML code is (similar to the web-league) a big mess. On the one side the document type is declared to be XHTML1.0 (which is not too up to date but better than HTML 4.01) but the content seems to be some kind of uncontrolled growth. The HTML code seems to be written by people with completely different knowledge. Some pages are perfect XHTML while others are nothing you should show anyone.
(a) Upper and lower case isn't the same for XHTML.
(b) Some used tags (e.g. FONT) are far away from being valid XHTML. It's the same with basic syntax.
(c) Some content isn't encoded correctly. Have a look at the news where I can see unmasked characters like "&" which point on an incorrect handling of dynamic content.
Non-issues.
The messy XHTML is not a result of the code but because of importing the stuff from webleague. The pages would have to be rewritten using bbcode.
Old player and team pages also have the imported HTML but once people change these pages they would have to use bbcode which also results in clean XHTML.
Point (c) is also a result of importing. It won't be there with new or edited entries.

XHTML 1.0 is used because sending it as text/html is allowed there. A so-called "browser" named Internet Explorer has a lot of problems with a different MIME-type.

strayer wrote:Innovation
Where is the advantage of using this framework instead of the web-league? The chance of using BZFlag's weblogin doesn't justify a complete changeover.
(a) From the user's point of view, the web-league is nothing to recommend, but the presented alternative is more a step backwards. The handling is not better and I don't see any new features.
(b) The administrative point is nothing I can give a statement to...
It should be more secure and faster. Having smaller output (kB), valid XHTML (provided the user entered content is updated), bbcode in private messages, private messages to more than one player, outbox, visits log has a host column, being able to disable login for users, leaving admin comments on their profile page are some examples of new features.
strayer wrote:Rest
(a) I wasn't able to write a BZmail to any player. In theory it seems to be possible write myself a message (because of the link shown when I view my own profile), but whenever I entered a player name, I got the error message "Not all of the specified recipients did exist. Please check your recipient list.".
(b) When you allow to use special characters like "*" as placeholders in a search, then you should inform the users.
(c) I wonder about the security aspects when I see that you don't care about database specific characters which seem not to be masked before you execute the SQL query!
(d) No matter how good or bad such a league framework will be - as long as it isn't open source, you will have serious acceptance issues.
First of all the bzmails were actually broken and should now be working again.
(b) There is no new FAQ written yet.
(c) Any variable in any query should be escaped. I wonder if you could an example. Also you do not have permission to see what the actual queries are.
(d) As you see in my first post I am wanting to open it..
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Re: league website

Post by blast » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:42 pm

Sending XHTML with the content-type "text/html" will mean it is processed as HTML, not XHTML. So using XHTML is really pointless in most cases. You'd be better off just using HTML4.01 or HTML5.
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Re: league website

Post by Jacko H » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:46 pm

Nah, too hard for people it's not bad just leave the old site
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Re: league website

Post by blast » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:25 pm

Jacko, the existing web-league site is absolutely terrible. There are security issues and just badly written code. However, without seeing the source code for this new site, it's impossible to say if it would really be an improvement.
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Re: league website

Post by Bullet Catcher » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:59 pm

I have found the markup validation service at http://validator.w3.org/ to be very helpful for finding HTML errors. I even installed the Fedora w3c-markup-validator package so I can use it on my private web server instead of bothering the public one. For what it's worth, the front page of ts's test web site successfully checks as XHTML 1.0 Strict.

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Re: league website

Post by mrapple » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:31 pm

I'm sure the front page is OK, but, most of the other pages are full of errors and such.

In my opinon, a total re-write of the system is really needed, which is why I'm working on one.

Developers are welcome. Checkout the source that I'm working on here http://leagueconnect.googlecode.com/ and take a peak at the interface here http://static.bzextreme.com/webleague/leagueconnect/
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Re: league website

Post by blast » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:38 pm

Hmm, seems the website users a directory and a index.php for each section...

As in, http://vps1.moooo.org/ts/News/ is really http://vps1.moooo.org/ts/News/index.php and http://vps1.moooo.org/ts/Teams/ is really http://vps1.moooo.org/ts/Teams/index.php. This is a case where URL rewriting and a single index.php acting as the application bootstrap could/should be used.

Also, mrapple, this one IS a total rewrite. The data from the old league site was migrated over, and that data isn't necessarily "clean" XHTML (or even clean HTML). The pages that do not include old data do appear to be valid XHTML.

I don't think anything will be accomplished by people going off on their own and making a league site in some dark corner. There needs to be someone that gets a team of people together and has a definitive plan (including picking the license) from the start. It's too large of a project for a single person to complete with any success.
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Re: league website

Post by Cobra_Fast » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:21 pm

To me as a visitor the new site doesn't look much new. They just switched some stuff around (like the banner now being on the left side, what i personaly dislike) and redoing the overall look. I wonder if any of the technical stuff behind it changed as the thread creator is not willing to give out details I highly doubt it.
mrapple wrote:In my opinon, a total re-write of the system is really needed, which is why I'm working on one.

Developers are welcome. Checkout the source that I'm working on here http://leagueconnect.googlecode.com/ and take a peak at the interface here http://static.bzextreme.com/webleague/leagueconnect/
I also thought of writing a new league web system that keeps the old score-math though. I'd very much like to join on this.

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Re: league website

Post by mrapple » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:46 pm

blast wrote:I don't think anything will be accomplished by people going off on their own and making a league site in some dark corner. There needs to be someone that gets a team of people together and has a definitive plan (including picking the license) from the start. It's too large of a project for a single person to complete with any success.
Im definetly looking for some help. I know that you know PHP so why don't you help.
Cobra_Fast wrote: I also thought of writing a new league web system that keeps the old score-math though. I'd very much like to join on this.
Submit a few patches and I'm sure you'll gain commit access quite quickly.

If anyone else feels like developing League Connect, join #bzextreme on irc.freenode.net

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Re: league website

Post by zaphod » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:54 pm

come on guys ::: this is a new and totally rewritten league-site! no need in starting a new project!
ts wrote:It should be more secure and faster. Having smaller output (kB), valid XHTML (provided the user entered content is updated), bbcode in private messages, private messages to more than one player, outbox, visits log has a host column, being able to disable login for users, leaving admin comments on their profile page are some examples of new features..
the GUI itself is certainly a question of taste but the core itself is solid&secure and what more is needed to get across important information without being fancy about it.

excellent work ts and i know how many hard working hours and sweat went into this.



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Re: league website

Post by ts » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:02 pm

mrapple wrote:I'm sure the front page is OK, but, most of the other pages are full of errors and such.
This is because of old data, it has nothing to do with problems in the source code and you should know that, considering you feel capable of doing a league website, too.
mrapple wrote:Developers are welcome. Checkout the source that I'm working on here http://leagueconnect.googlecode.com/ and take a peak at the interface here http://static.bzextreme.com/webleague/leagueconnect/
Good luck, I was amazed how many problems were arising during development. It took me 2 months of coding to reach this stage.
blast wrote:Sending XHTML with the content-type "text/html" will mean it is processed as HTML, not XHTML. So using XHTML is really pointless in most cases. You'd be better off just using HTML4.01 or HTML5.
Even for HTML parsers XHTML is better suited because certain SGML features are missing. Look at this valid page: http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http: ... ;verbose=1

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Re: league website

Post by blast » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:48 am

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Re: league website

Post by plasma kaz » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:57 am

zaphod wrote:come on guys ::: this is a new and totally rewritten league-site! no need in starting a new project!
ts wrote:It should be more secure and faster. Having smaller output (kB), valid XHTML (provided the user entered content is updated), bbcode in private messages, private messages to more than one player, outbox, visits log has a host column, being able to disable login for users, leaving admin comments on their profile page are some examples of new features..
the GUI itself is certainly a question of taste but the core itself is solid&secure and what more is needed to get across important information without being fancy about it.

excellent work ts and i know how many hard working hours and sweat went into this.



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completely agree! why don't you guys all work together on ts's website rather than start a whole new one? I think you're judging the book by its cover too much, he worked hard to add lot's of neat features.
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Re: league website

Post by mrapple » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:13 am

plasma kaz wrote:completely agree! why don't you guys all work together on ts's website rather than start a whole new one?
We would love to work on it.... if we could see the source code.

Not seeing the source makes it very hard to work on it ;)

Until then process is trucking along on http://static.bzextreme.com/webleague/leagueconnect/

Login if your on the GU Spawn list and take a quick peak.

If you know PHP, we wouldn't mind the help :)
plasma kaz wrote: I think you're judging the book by its cover too much, he worked hard to add lot's of neat features.
As far as I know there are a few new features but not many. The league site needs a complete overhaul in my opinion, which I don't believe ts's version does.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but until we see the source code its impossible to know.
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Re: league website

Post by plasma kaz » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:31 am

im implying that you could try the practical (rather than technical) thing of asking ts if you could help him.

I don't see why he would refuse your assistance
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Re: league website

Post by ts » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:02 pm

First you recommend using nbbc which produces XHTML and then you do not recommend XHTML. :o

The license questions got resolved, see CMS/LICENSE.txt in my source code. To get a copy you need svn. The command to check out a copy from the repository is "svn co http://vps1.moooo.org/svn/ts/" (without the quotes). Help is appreciated.

Mrapple get your own topic. Topics are cheap. :wink:
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Re: league website

Post by blast » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:56 pm

Nothing says you can't modify NBBC to strip out the XHTML specific code. It is, after all, Free Software and open-source.

http://nbbc.sourceforge.net/readme.php? ... ro_license

But I guess that would be too complicated.

(Also, saying "This could be useful" is different than "recommending" something)
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Re: league website

Post by mrapple » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:07 pm

ts wrote:Mrapple get your own topic. Topics are cheap. :wink:
Discussion will continue here http://my.bzflag.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=103&t=16380
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Re: league website

Post by ts » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:26 am

blast wrote:(Also, saying "This could be useful" is different than "recommending" something)
I obviously misunderstood you then. Sorry for that.

Luckily as an external bbcode library is used, that library could be replaced and non bbcode output could be easily changed XHTML to HTML by a config switch. :D
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Re: league website

Post by blast » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:32 pm

Looks like there's a whole 8 places that you'd have to change to make it output HTML.
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Re: league website

Post by ts » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:48 pm

blast wrote:Looks like there's a whole 8 places that you'd have to change to make it output HTML.
Please tell me where in the source code. :wink:

The only occurrence I see that is not covered using a "if ($site->use_xtml()) { … } else { … }" is in Logout/index.php and there it always outputs HTML already. Database entries would be needed to be updated during every bbcode library update anyway and I'll write a script for doing that.
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