Planned Maintenance: Upgrade to 1.7.0 - Complete

Starting April 22, 2023, GSC will be in maintenance mode while I perform the upgrade to version 1.7.0. For the duration of the maintenance window:

  1. You will not be able to save blankets to your account
  2. If you make a new account in that window, that account won’t exist after the maintenance is complete
  3. The main site and forums may go down for stretches of time

You can always check the status page to see if the site is up and the maintenance window.

What’s in the Upcoming Upgrade

A lot of stuff! Here’s the high-level list, and then I’ll give more details below that:

  1. You’ll be able to create accounts just using your email address with a password
  2. You’ll be able to login using multiple methods (Google and Facebook and email, if you want!) and remove methods
  3. Twitter login is going away permanently (I’ll post a guide on what folks who were using twitter should do)
  4. The site’s main font is switching to Atkinson Hyperlegible, a beautiful font that is easier on the eyes for low-vision readers
  5. Some other UI improvements: an indicator that blanket saving is actually happening, plus some fixes to the layout on small screens
  6. Major updates to the engines running the site and forums
  7. A significant database rearchitecture that frees me to make more feature enhancements

Early discussion of the 1.7.0 feature set can be found elsewhere on the forums, although you can see the scope changed. I was not very good about posting continued updates during this dev cycle. :sweat_smile:

Slightly More Technical Details

Logging in With Passwords

When I initially developed GSC, I did not want the responsibility for storing and security information like passwords. Data breaches were already a very frequent occurrence, and I knew I would not be updating the site at a pace that could keep up with good security standards.

Even in retrospect, when I know a lot of users probably dipped out when unable to create an account with a simple login, it was the right choice. :slight_smile: I was a rather new developer, the site did (and does) sit for long stretches without updates, and the tech I was working with in those first few years was honestly pretty bad in terms of defaulting to secure practices.

Things are different now. I have better tools at my disposal for being notified of potential security weaknesses, updates are easier to push, and I myself have more experience with modern and secure development practices.

So you’ll be able to login with an email address and password. If you already have an account using Google, FB, or Twitter, you’ll be able to add email/password as another way to login.

Big Database Reorg

Second is a major, major database structure upgrade, which is why I’m turning off the ability to save blankets during the upgrade. This is a change that’s needed to happen for, oh, almost 10 years, and is a product of both how inexperienced I was when I built this in 2010 and the poor state of the database technology I was using at the time.

This portion of the upgrade takes about 6 hours to run, according to my test runs, so I’ll basically pull down a copy of the database to my development environment, run the upgrade all day or overnight, and then make the upgraded database the production one when I deploy the rest of the code changes. That will make for minimal down time on the site, although there’s likely to be some.

Forum Upgrades

Honestly, every time I upgrade this forum software, either here or for my game Exploit: Zero Day, it’s a pain and the forums go down. I’m going to squeeze it into this maintenance window even though (for me), it’s a separate process.

This update is complete! It went relatively smoothly, given how many things could have gone wrong. :sweat_smile:

If you have any problems, reach out to me and I’ll take a look at the problem!