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GensokyoRadio 5.1 & Anime Weekend Atlanta
LunarSpotlight  2013/09/23

Many of you probably already know about the database update that I've been working on, but there's a number of other things I've been working on, almost in parallel. Internally, we've given this a certain codename, but I may as well just wrap it all together and tell everyone what we've been calling it, and that is...



Normally around this time, historically, we've pushed an entirely new site design and other stuff into the public realm for all to enjoy. This time however, we're sticking with what we have because we enjoy this particular theme and layout; we just want to improve upon it. That's where this update comes in.

Codenamed "GSR 5.1", this update will bring a few new things to the website, as well as changing and improving other elements. Let's run down the list.

Database
The database is being updated with a new library implementation system. Actually, the new library has already been created, but what remains is to seamlessly integrate that into the existing system. Technically speaking, the identifiers for songs in the database have all changed with the new system, and we want to convert the existing ratings, comments, and log history identifiers to match. We actually did this once before when we went from GSR2 to GSR5.0, but the difference is that instead of converting 3,000-ish songs to match with a library of 40,000-ish songs, we're converting 40,000-ish songs to match 40,000-ish other songs. The scale is larger, and things are more complex this time around, so it is taking some time to get things straightened out.

The database upgrade will also include greater support for features that have been mentioned before, but have still not been implemented yet. These are things like Song Favorites and Song Recommendations. These are still not quite near the top of the to-do list, but they are on the list.

Web Structure
Some recent communications I've had with listeners have prompted me to investigate certain parts of the website. In short, there are parts of the website which don't behave quite as they should. This is related in part to the HTML5/JavaScript implementation introduced in GSR5.0 which allows people on the site to browse around while still listening to the embedded flash player. Some rather important features such as account recovery are affected by this bug, and coming up with a clean and easily applicable fix is difficult because of how things are set up.

What will eventually end up happening is one of two things. Either I'll be able to find and apply a fix to instances where JavaScript interferes with expected page loading, or I'll be removing much of how JavaScript loading works within the website to simplify things, and return to a structure which mimics how most other websites function.

Part of what makes the second solution more feasible is due to how ads are served on the sidebar via Google Adsense. Adsense doesn't really support content loading the way that this site does, so we might push towards better support to that end as well.

Player
If we change the way that JavaScript handles content loading on the website, that would also remove the current player functionality, where you're able to listen and browse at the same time, uninterrupted. The answer to this possible eventuality is the implementation of an external, dedicated web player. Essentially, it's a similar version of what currently exists, but instead of being integrated into the header bar of the website, it will have its own dedicated window space. This would also allow us to display more information about currently playing music, and possibly change how R&C (Ratings & Comments) works later on.

Homepage
I've already had people ask me, "Lunar, where did the country flags go? I liked seeing my country's flag on the front page and I already miss it :'( ". Well, I'm here to reassure everyone who's wondering, they will return with the implementation of this update. I've had this design for the site homepage sitting in a notebook for months now, and I can't wait to make it and get it out there. Seriously, it'll make the homepage way more engaging than just reading the last news article or post.

Beyond
You've read the posts on the site, rated songs, listened to the Lives, and maybe even been lucky enough to get a postcard designed especially to try and get the sounds of Gensokyo into your ear (I'm talking about the handouts). What comes after that? Well, that falls into the ideas which are for implementation beyond this update. We have things lined up to have new things such as posters and T-shirts available to our listeners in the coming months, maybe even sooner. I've talked a lot about T-shirts with the staff over the past few days, and we've got some ideas on how to get them out to people. We just need to know how much interest there is on that front, but before you start commenting about it, I'll be posting a separate article/poll to get a better idea of how many people would realistically want to nab one for themselves. Also, there's this awesome photo of the Finland group that helped promote at Tracon8 where they're all wearing Gensokyo Radio T-shirts which were printed just for those three, and it's pretty awesome. Wait, I said that already.

~

Finally, there's this thing called Anime Weekend Atlanta coming up this weekend, and it's going to be huge! We've got a group of people from Touhou Music Reviews who are helping us at AWA with a record-smashing 500 handouts. The odds may actually be reversed here, in that if you're a Touhou fan and you're there, and you don't get one, well.... actually, I shouldn't underestimate the Touhou fan base. I did that once. If you're going to be there, be on the lookout for Rosana's and Ramnik's artwork, and don't forget to have fun!

Thanks for listening! ~