Hey guys, get ready for a lengthy post! I’m actually furious right now because it disappeared on me halfway when I misclicked. My own fault for typing it in-browser, bah!
Why A New Site?
This might come as a surprise to you, but this new site is really just an ancillary benefit. What we really spent much of the past half-year working on was a new CMS (content management system) to replace creaky old Wordpress. Our backend was slowly dying an ugly, ugly death. While we hacked the shit out of Wordpress to try and keep the front-end alive, throwing all sorts of caching solutions (Varnish, nginx, and more) to extend its life as much as possible, the fact remains that Wordpress isn’t inherently a great scalable option. You can do it, but it takes more and more work and really isn’t worth it when you are dealing with 130 million pageviews a month (which is what we do). On the worst days, it was taking us upwards of four or five minutes just to post a single chapter on the backend... assuming we didn’t error out! This was a productivity closer.
Wordpress has many pluses, but the minuses got to the point where even with significant overhauling and hacking, it just wasn’t worth it anymore. Each additional hack just increased the overall complexity and bulk of the already-bulky system that is Wordpress. It was obvious that we needed something custom-made for us, with all the functionality that we want, and so we spent over half a year getting all that done. As translators (and you readers as well) should attest, things are going to be much faster now that we’ve gotten rid of Wordpress’ overhead bulk.
In short, we have a brand new ‘operating system’. That was what really mattered. The new site is just a side perk, and we’ll be working on improving it as time goes on.
So What Is New?
Yes, yes, I can hear you saying – the backend and everything runs like a beauty now, but what about the functions that are gone or the functions that are new? What’s the scoop? So here’s the rundown on the front-end stuff (I won’t bore you with the many backend improvements). Also remember – there are many TWEAKS in general that need to be done, such as icon resizing, etc. I’m not counting the minor stuff here, there’s plenty and we’ll go through them all!
COMING BACK SOON:
Dark Mode: Yes, it is coming back! I am so very sorry that we didn’t have dark mode at launch, and it’ll be one of our top priorities in the next two or three days. I never use it myself, so while other people have mentioned it to me in the past I viewed it as always a ‘nice to have’ that wasn’t a priority. Obviously, I am very wrong ;). Bringing dark mode back will be a tippity-top priority and we’ll get it done asap, I promise you that.
Listed Novels: The idea was as we get more and more novels on the site, it gets incredibly clunky to have ALL the novels listed on the front page. Yes, it works for ten or twenty novels, but as we get to thirty? Forty? When does it really stop? That’s why the listed novels were removed… BUT.
I have been reading the feedback and do realize that it means a lot to a number of you. What we are going to do is changing www.wuxiaworld.com/updates, which currently shows an expanded version of the home page ‘updates list’ at the bottom, to be something resembling the older version where there is a list of all ‘active’ novels as well as the latest chapter which was posted and how long ago it was posted. It will be in alphabetical order but split up between Chinese Novels, Korean Novels, and Original Novels. That way, for those who DO want to be able to scan the latest novels at a glance, they can see it from the /updates page without it necessarily clunking up home page, esp. as we bring on more novels.
We’ll probably be doing the same for dropdowns as well as a stopgap measure. Dropdowns really do not work well when you have dozens of them nested together, but we’ll keep them there for ease of convenience for y’all!
NEW FRONT-END FEATURES (ALREADY ROLLED OUT)
Auto-Updating Indexes: This is self-explanatory. We’ll be working to make it prettier and add more functionality/style to the index pages, but the very fact that they’ll be auto-updating makes them much more useful going forward.
Karmic Commenting: Finally, we can upvote and downvote comments! Rumors say that later on, you will earn good karma for being a good commenter…
Auto-Bookmarking: Logged in users will see bookmarks automatically generated based on the last chapter they visited for each book! This function is already activated but will later be enhanced for even better functionality as well as manual bookmarking. Stay tuned for this!
Front Page Overhaul: This is probably the most noticeable for many. The front page was essentially being used as an updates tracker, but a front page isn’t really meant for that and it makes the site look unappetizing to NEW users as well as more corporate eyes. When we were talking to some Korean publishers, one of their comments (which hurt) was, “We don’t really get your site. It looks like some weird mix of a blog and lists. What is it?” This is why we have (for now) removed all ads from the front page as well.
The front page will now be more of a ‘show page’ and also be meant to promote really good novels that are high quality and quickly translated which people might not have seen via the new ‘Editor’s Choice’ function and other functions. As for the update-tracker functionality, that’s what the www.wuxiaworld.com/updates is meant for (and as I said, it’ll be overhauled to reflect how the older site worked).
Translator Thoughts Below Chapters: We’ve gotten rid of most ‘chapter announcement posts’, which have become increasingly spammy and devoid of content. When translators DO have something they want to say, it’ll appear in a box of its own below the actual chapter page itself (AFTER the chapter, to prevent breaking of immersion). This makes for a leaner, cleaner site.
Tags: There is now a proper tagging system on Wuxiaworld for novels. This will play into more systems later.
UPCOMING FRONT END FEATURES (COMING WEEKS)
Ad-Free VIP Accounts: Wuxiaworld will be finally putting in ad-free VIP accounts, and we’ll be looking to pack them with more perks as well! Ads have just been getting worse and worse in both revenue and quality, and we’re as sick of them as you are, but we don’t want to go paywall/microtransactions like what some others have done. We’ll be putting in ad-free VIP accounts, and we’ll be adding more and more VIP-specific perks!
Karma system/karma store: Already talked about in the ‘comments’ section, but to promote better interactions, upvotes and downvotes will eventually be enhanced so that they, amongst other things (like reviews, tbd later), count towards a Wuxiaworld currency known as ‘karma’ which we’ll allow you to spend in various cool ways. Before you ask – NO, karma will not be purchasable for real money. We want to keep this system apart from monetization and have it genuinely be a tool for promoting more and better interaction amongst readers.
Reviews and Rankings: A proper reviewing system will be put into place and activated soon on Wuxiaworld, and it will be karmic-bound as well. You will also be able to upvote/downvote reviews!
In-House Advanced Chapters: The ever-popular Patreon chapters will all be in-housed and we’ll add more and better functionality to it. I personally want to see more professionalism when it comes to taking people’s money, and I can promise you that any overhauls to the system will only be for the betterment of readers.
Lots more to come: Now that we have our own CMS, we have lots more flexibility to put in stuff that we’ve been thinking about but didn’t really want to waste time on doing in Wordpress. You will see many more nice things in 2018 than you did in 2017… and if you have suggestions, hit us up in Discord in our special new site suggestions channel! We’ll be keeping very, very busy.
Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are things changing even as I speak. Also remember that we are reading your comments… but most importantly of all, we have a fairly small team working on this, so if we don’t respond and/or change things right away, that doesn’t mean we don’t plan to! You’ve stuck with us for this long – stick around for the rest :D