Monday, January 23, 2012

Bottleship Now Free For All

Our winter break nears its end, and with it, change and progress knock at our doors once again. The knock is mild, but audible.

Since today, Bottleship is free for all. You no longer need an invitation to register an account and paint a few pretty pictures.

Originally, we had planned to keep the site closed until all features have been sufficiently developed, but it seems what we are trying to do was enough of a fringe cause to even dry out the steady initial trickle of curious guests that the site has enjoyed. We have only five active users left who simply refuse to leave. So if we can't have less users, then, logically, we need more of them - more spirited sailors like you.

Even more good news are going to follow soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Update: Swag & Grog

Sorry, I meant "Drag & Drop". The problem-ridden drag UI has been refined and improved to allow for more future uses. Anyway, here's the list of changes for this rollout:

  • Hovering works hides the class icon.
  • Hovering movicles loads and plays the animation.
  • Improved cache-piercing: changes to picoids are now reflected on index pages on next load.
  • Clicking a work no longer opens the editor, but selects the work. To edit a work or see its details, double-click it. When not logged in, clicking will work as before.
  • Hold Ctrl and click to accumulate works to your selection. All selected works can be dragged.
  • Valid drag targets ("work boxes") highlight in red when hovered.
  • Insertion point is now marked by a red line.
  • When drag & dropping to other boxes, selected works will be copied.
  • When drag & dropping within the same box, selected works will be moved. Holding Ctrl while dropping will create a copy instead.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Site Redesign

The past days have been spent redesigning the site to make better use of screen estate; I also wanted to use a darker color scheme, so the user content shines more.

We picked a new font, Terminal Dosis by the gifted free font designer Pablo Impallari. At different weights, the font goes from thin minimal  engineering-planning strokes to thick fun-playful strokes, which communicates the goals of the Bottleship rather well.

The initial plan was to rewrite parts of the site, but as that took to long, I applied what I had learned to the already existing design. Here's a short list of changes:
  • Dark scheme to bring out the colors and exhibit user content better. Some inspiration was drawn from the Blender 2.5 UI design.
  • Fixed page layout, fixed footers, scroll bar is now only present in the content area.
  • Pocket is now permanently fixed to the left side, plain and simple.
  • Works (Picoids, Bundles, ...) use a 50% gray background to work against any contrast.
  • Site designed to work with a screen width of 960px, that's one half of a 1080p screen.
  • Site menu folded into dropdown menus.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Update: Movicles and Publishing

First of all, about publishing:

You may have noticed that the front page is now rather empty. This is because new content will no longer bubble to the front page, but remain on your user page until you click the "Publish" button, which is the button with the little sun on it in the info box. Note that unpublished works are not invisible: people who visit your user page will still see them. But your works will not turn up on the front page and "Most Recent" list.

We added this feature so you have greater control on when to show off your work, and also keep individual animation frames unpublished, so they don't show up along with the final animation.

Moving on. In the past days, we've added a bunch of new features, here's a round-up:

  • Movicles: you can now create APNG animations from your picoids. The interface is very similar to bundles: just drag and drop picoids to your pocket, and from there to the animation.
  • Publishing: unpublished work is only visible on userpages, and hidden from public lists.
  • All general operation icons (Delete, Clone) have been moved to the info box.
  • Remixes are shown for bundles, too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Update: A Bunch of Smaller Fixes

Spent the past days refactoring the work status infos, and cleaning up, which in turn (hopefully) fixed a few issues:
  • Status infos now all share the same layout.
  • Picoid titles can now be viewed and edited.
  • Works have an icon next to the title that can be dragged to the pocket. If you are currently editing that work, the icon will currently not update.
  • The "Based on" icon can also be dragged to the pocket now.
  • Social media buttons on the front page are loaded after the document is ready, so third party sites can no longer stall the main page.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bundles of Love

Your pocket is finally of use: bundles just went live (see an example here). Using bundles, you can now aggregate your favorite picoids, create theme collections, and even put bundles in your bundles, so you can... well, you get the idea.

A lot of Javascript code has been changed, so in case you notice any glitches, you may want to hit F5, Shift+F5 or Ctrl+F5 depending on your browser to clear your cache.

Notice that this is the first implementation of Bundles, and it's nowhere from being complete. There is no support for multi-selection, explicit cloning, or deletion. All these features will arrive somewhere in the future.

Next stop: animations.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Catch a Falling Star, Put it in Your Pocket

The first new feature on our way to bundles to and animations has arrived: your pocket.

Once you are signed into Bottleship, your pocket appears at the bottom of every page you visit. It acts as temporary space for works you want to carry across multiple pages or remember for later.

Try it yourself: drag any picoid from a page to the pocket content area to put it in your pocket. Your pocket will contain a reference to that picoid until you remove it by dragging it to the "remove" icon at the far right of your pocket. This empties the item from your pocket.

The pocket is saved in your browsers local storage area, which means that it is always local to your browser - we do not store its contents on the server. If you use Bottleship from a different browser or clear your browsers cookies, your pocket will be empty too.

Pockets are going to be elemental for creating bundles and animations: you will be able to easily add new elements to your work by dragging and dropping picoids from your pocket to a bundle or animation.

More to follow this weekend, stay tuned.