Site Projects

Technical Improvements - New Content

 

Owing to the size of this site and to my reluctance to release anything half-baked, major updates generally take a long time. Sometimes many years. Here are some projects that I am working on or that I would like to take on. Feel free to comment on my ideas and to bring forward suggestions!

 

Technical Improvements

Automated feed creation I currently add news to my RSS feed completely manually, meaning that I copy the text from my HTML update announcements and paste them into the RSS file. I often have to rephrase it too, because RSS doesn't allow inline links. And I have to escape certain characters. Automating this whole procedure would save me a lot of work. With the update information entered into an online form, a PHP script could create the feed and an HTML fragment to be included via SSI in one step.

An Atom feed instead of RSS may even have visually the same format as the HTML news list. Yet, Atom (or rather its parsing) is incredibly pedantic and collapses at the slightest impurity of the syntax. I tried it, and while RSS worked immediately, I gave up on Atom when it still didn't work after three hours of unsuccessful debugging.

It seems that what I have in mind has never been done before, and this must have a reason. The feed creation script has a high priority nonetheless.
Status: first steps

Comment form and database For many years I have been thinking of a commenting system for EAS. Ideally it should allow visitors to add a comment or reply to a comment on the bottom of each page, which would be more specific and more versatile than a guestbook. Since EAS consists of static HTML pages, there is no way I could use a ready-made PHP software or plug-in. And programming one myself would cost hundreds of hours and quite possibly exceed my abilities.

So I had a look at some off-site commenting services, although I am generally opposed to them (because of their non-permanent nature, lacking privacy and the danger of pollution with ads). I found that Disqus comments work smoothly and blend in nicely. I also developed a way to improve your privacy and speed up the loading of the page by activating the Disqus comment section only on request. 

I have enabled Disqus on all static pages and will keep it open, as long as the moderation can be handled and as long as it remains ad-free.
Status: implemented 

Display of "lean" site statistics and of a counter I have removed the Sitemeter counter, a web-based counter using a cookie to monitor visitor movements, which is not in compliance with the strict EAS privacy and security policy. Now it may be time to create an on-site counter. I would also like to post a live summary of the EAS web statistics instead of just a few figures that I need to update manually.

I have commercial statistics packages installed on my server. But there does not seem to be anything like a plug-in to incorporate their results into a publicly available web page, much less to create a counter for individual pages. I could install a less sophisticated analysis software on my server, but it would have to be a very reliable one, one that wouldn't count double hits to pages. Maybe it will turn out easy, but I am still searching.
Status: nothing yet, but low priority anyway

Conversion of the whole site to HTML 5 and CSS This is currently more like a dream than a real project. Maybe someone can help me write a script that would automatically convert the whole site to valid HTML (keeping only the tables as a remnant of the old ages). I think it's not possible. At least not without excessive manual correction, especially of the countless <font> or </font> fragments that are often inconsistent (It is all based on Frontpage!) and that the script may not be able to eliminate in a way that the layout is not totally messed up afterwards.

When I converted the episode reviews to CSS, I came up with regular expressions for a partial automation of the work. The debugging of the expressions took hundreds of passes to account for all eventualities in the messy Frontpage HTML source code, but eventually saved a lot of typing. Unfortunately most of the rest of the site doesn't have such a systematic layout, and even with excessive regex automation I reckon that it will take more than 200 hours just to convert it to CSS, plus the time to further develop the CSS in the first place.

This project currently has a moderate priority, but this may change quickly should a major browser terminate the support of the quirks mode that allows my old (and allegedly "wrong") HTML to be displayed the way it was always meant to be. Without the quirks mode, the layout would be completely messed up and would make me look like a complete idiot.
Status: 15% done

 

New Content

Article series on warp propulsion This project is not dead, although the last update was in 2011. I need to do a lot of research before I take on new chapters, but I'm planning to get at least Chapter 3 :Subspace done soon. It depends on how much work I have to spend on more urgent tasks, although I definitely would rather like to care about this project, which is not only very big but also quite popular, as I can tell from frequent requests to finally update it.
Status: chapter 6 ready, more updates planned

Completion of TNG and DS9 reviews This is the second section that visitors would like to see updated. I haven't seen most TNG and DS9 episodes in years, so I can mix "business" with pleasure. And my Voyager reviews are waiting to become more detailed too.
Status: done

Species/planet or device/weapon database The Starship Database is complete after the addition of TAS (and don't bother to ask, I will never add any ships from games or RPGs). So what can I categorize next? Basically it should be something that isn't already covered at Memory Alpha in great detail, because my small private website could never compete with that. Still, I could imagine that a database on planets and/or species in the same style as the ships could be a handy reference. Or rather one on the various devices, although caring about things that were often seen for just a second may become a bottomless pit. I could focus my interest on weapons though.
Status: nothing yet

Study of the changes in TOS Remastered Although Trekmovie.com has already done a thorough job to compare TOS screen caps with their TOS-R counterparts, it is worth doing much the same in a condensed format. I would also like to evaluate and comment on the changes in TOS-R. Which has precedence: TOS because it was first, or rather TOS-R because it fixes or refines many effects that were insufficiently considered or executed in TOS?
Status: done

Visual analysis of TNG-R Jörg suggested this to me when the first TNG-R Blu-ray was announced in early 2012. It has become the biggest project of EAS and will grow to 178 extensive articles, one for each episode.
Status: in work

Treknology vs. real life This is an idea that I am thinking about for quite some time, and that is occasionally suggested by visitors as well. How about a thorough and scientifically correct comparison of Trek devices and their (emerging) counterparts in the real world? Science journalists very often cite Star Trek whenever a new development in the real world seems to mimic some function of a phaser or of the transporter. I could add a Trek perspective (without resorting to Technobabble).

The advantage of this project is that it does not have to stick to a certain format, can be gradually expanded and can grow as big as I like.
Status: nothing yet

 

See Also

Introduction to EAS - site info in a nutshell, my motivation and viewing requirements

EAS Site History - milestones of EAS and former layouts, reconstruction of original site (1998)

 


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