Drew here! I’m sure many LoD fans have wondered about the lack of website development over the last year. I’ll shed some light on the situation and provide some historical context, but I’ll open with the TL;DR of what’s new:
- New block-based theme (part of a big WordPress update)
- All pages have a Header and Footer
- Header: contains a sensible, comprehensive navigation panel
- Homepage: recent-news carousel added
- Fixed nesting issues with URLs
- Last but definitely not least, a customized 404 page featuring Ruff!
When I first set up legendofdragoon.org (2019?), we were at a point where the fandom was starting to come together but still had very few volunteers. I had high hopes for a unified website to bring us all together in many ways! A lot of good came of that, but the winter 2019 petition for a remake consumed most of my effort at the time. The idea of having guides, modding coverage, et cetera got put on the back burner indefinitely.
We had a few web devs come and go since then, which is part of why progress was halted for so long. We’re all volunteers – sometimes things take awhile to line up. And even if a new volunteer comes into the picture, their skillset may be different. For my part I spent a majority of my donned time moderating and interacting with the community, including via Discord and Reddit, while dealing with various real-life challenges. Also, the whole pandemic thing.
Last September or so, we got some new volunteers again. Initial meetings and progress were very good, but due to a miscommunication that effort went silent over the winter. The goal was to re-evaluate our vision for the website, and thus its sitemap as well as visuals/layout. We set up two test beds here and here. Overall we like the first one a bit more, and are looking for ways to neaten it up. However, you can see how much potential there is. A tidy news carousel, event widget (yes, we’ll have those), and a section for featured articles we want to stay visible for longer periods. An organized navbar, too.
Fast forward to now, that latter effort has resumed and things look much better now. Communication is high, and we’re setting soft deadlines. I’ve set aside some of the other LoD projects to give this website priority, as it’s supposed to be the unified “face” of the fandom and that’s kind of a big deal.
WordPress – the CMS or Content Management System we are using in the short/medium term plan – recently came out with a big update that makes theme design much easier. Now, those test beds I linked above are made with a special third-party tool. In all likelihood we’ll still go with that method, but I’ve tasked myself with seeing how much of it I can emulate natively in WordPress thanks to the new update. This allows LoD fans to enjoy an improved website without having to wait the several weeks or perhaps months it may take for the third-party theme to be built. Our navbar is already in much better condition, and the front page is a little more functional with a recent-news carousel for example. More to come!
I’m still shaking off a ton of rust; please bear with us. If any readers out there have the skill, time, and willingness to help us build faster or add features, come say hello on the LoD Discord server. We’ve got a #website channel where updates are discussed.