Friday, September 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.32.691

Slendermania continues! (Work in progress.)
Release 2.32.691focuses on the Manager's second most popular browser, FireFox, and addresses a number of issues affecting performance, presentation, etc. in that browser.

Basically, to get this one done, I worked on a few low-impact items from the backlog, but, instead of debugging/QAing in Chrome, I worked in FireFox and just fixed things as I went.

Beyond the FireFox-based adjustments, this release also chips in a little more work towards resolving the long-standing issue where some non-Chrome browsers fail to load a view based on JS/API failures: a number of order-of-operations, timeout and scope problems that have been associated with  never-ending page loads are addressed/corrected in this release and, in a worst-case scenario where the browsers loses the cookie or the authentication token info, the javascript app will just straight-up kill the legacy webapp session, logging the user out (i.e. so they can start from scratch).

Finally, in terms of big-picture progress, release 2.32.691 also puts in some more groundwork on an entirely API-based dashboard view, which should massively decrease the time it takes to load the dashboard (once its finished: for now, sucky dashboard load times are here to stay...but their days are numbered).

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Change Log: 2.30.670

Slenderman work in progress.
Release 2.30.670 is mostly focused on back-end enhancements required for The Watcher, but there are one or two enhancements/upgrades to the legacy webapp in this one that users might notice.

Most noticeably, the mechanism by which individual survivors are "favorited" has been enhanced so that multiple users can mark a survivor as one of their favorites. Since the beginning of the feature, once a survivor was marked as a favorite, every player saw it as a favorite. Now, individual users get a customized display that only shows them their own favorites.

Another thing that some users might notice is that API failures in the legacy webapp (e.g. when you try to save or update something and it fails) now produce a full-screen, modal error that has to be clicked through. These API modal errors contain the API's response as well as some specific information about the route, assets, etc. that were in play when the error occurred.

Hopefully this helps with error-reporting.

Otherwise, there isn't too much for the user experience in 2.30.670. At some point in the next release (or maybe the next one after that), I'm going to re-do the dashboard and finish the Survivor Sheet upgrade, i.e. so that none of the controls on the sheet require a reload/refresh.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Change Log: 2.29.654

Illuminated Lady (work in progress).
Release 2.29.654 is another pretty big one, so be on the lookout for issues.

The release is primarily focused on back-end enhancements, but the one major user-facing aspect of the legacy app that does change in this one is the way the login screen works.

And boy howdy does it change.

As I teased in my last post, the whole sign-in experience, from presentation to the back-end/API stuff, has been totally redone and massively upgraded. The legacy app now authenticates versus the API for everything, including password resets.

In other UI/UX news, release 2.29.654 also address a couple of performance issues that have been escalated recently.

There's a ton of stuff in this release: hit the jump for more details (and another funny work in progress shot on my Illuminated Lady)!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Sign-in UI Feature Demo

Mobile/phone resolution feature demo!
As of right now, I'm working on polishing up a pretty big release of the manager. If everything goes according to plan tonight and tomorrow morning, it should be deployed early tomorrow.

Among other things, the release implements a brand-new sign-in, user registration and password reset interface.

Since I haven't done one in a while, I decided to create an animated GIF feature demo showing how password resets will work once the release goes out. Enjoy!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Change Log: 2.27.614

Release 2.27.614 adds a "random" option to the top of the Fighting Arts picker and corresponding support in the API.

(The changes in this release should have gone out earlier, but...I'm an idiot.)

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Change Log: 2.26.608

Release 2.26.608 implements API-side controls for managing survivor Fighting Arts! This means that the Survivor Sheet in the webapp will no longer have to reload when fighting arts are added or removed!

Also, as part of all that, 2.26.608 completely overhauls and upgrades the presentation of the Fighting Arts, so that they look a lot better, overall.

(Also also, I should mention that I finally got around to fixing the alignment of the Survivor Sheet "Survival" number input at all three breakpoints. That's been bugging me for months now, and it feels really good to finally get around to it.)

And speaking of presentation, this issue addresses a handful of issues affecting Firefox. I have been monitoring browser/OS information a little more closely lately, and it looks like more users are coming in with Firefox, so I'm going to start using it more in my QA/pre-release process.

Finally, I should stay that Survivor Sheet Disorders are next on the list of UI/UX elements to improve (i.e. by making it so they don't reload the page), but I've got a handful of javascript revisions/bugs I need to do first, as well as some authentication/user-creation work that I've got to turn in for The Watcher beta, so it'll be a minute before I get around to fixing up the Disorders.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Change Log: 2.25.579

Release 2.25.579 pushes a refactored dashboard "World" panel that automatically refreshes itself.

The code is primarily based on the work I've been pushing this week on the new API Admin Panel, so, in a way, this is the user-facing payoff for the last two production releases. The new "World" panel not only looks better at all three CSS breakpoints, but should help the dashboard load a little more quickly.

(Current average render times on the dashboard are hovering around 0.480874010989 seconds, and I'd like to get them down to less than half of that. Signing into the legacy app now hits the API, which slows it down, so I'm trying to compensate for that.)

At any rate, work on The Watcher will resume with the next release.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.566

Release 2.24.566 is focused on the new Admin Panel for the API and, like the previous release, does not do much for the legacy webapp, though it lays the ground for the dashboard upgrade that I've been working on for a while.

I figure on maybe one or two more days of work on this Admin Panel, and then I should be able to get back to work on The Watcher and the legacy app improvement/API migration project.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.559

This release implements the first draft of the API's admin panel.

This doesn't really mean anything to you as a user, but the legacy webapp's admin panel is my primary insight into who is doing what with the Manager, and it helps me pick up on unreported bugs, issues, workarounds, etc.

Expect another tiny release in the very near future as I continue to work on getting this new panel cleaned up and workable.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.558

I'm back!

Release 2.24.558 is a tiny break/fix release that addresses a few user-reported bugs and cleans up a couple of annoying UI/UX issues.

Now that I am back from vacation/moving, regular updates and work on The Watcher will resume and the next release will pick up where I left off on optimizing the Survivor Sheet by expanding the API's ability to support survivor management operations.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Out of Office

Starting on Friday, 2017-07-21, I am out office until the end of August.

While I am out, I will not be able to respond to emails/issues/etc. If you find a bug/issue, I encourage you to report it using the controls in the webapp or by opening an issue in GitHub.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.539

Release version 2.24.539 tidies up some minor UI/UX annoyances on the SurvivorSheet. It also ties the javascript downloads to the release version number, so we should have fewer cache-related user issues from now on. 

The release adds no new functionality, but I suppose you could call 2.24.539 a "quality of life" release. 

With any luck, this tiny release will be the last release until the end of August.

Change Log: 2.24.531

Release 2.24.531 is basically a break/fix patch to undo the damage caused in Monday's deployment.

So yeah, uh...sorry about that.

In order to apply this fix, I had to finish up and push out a couple of new API routes and, whenever I do that, there is always risk of unintended consequences, so I'll be keeping an eye on this release and potentially doing another patch tomorrow or this weekend.

Otherwise, assuming that this release looks OK and sits well for the next day or two, I do not plan on doing any additional releases until late August, so this may be the last you hear out of me for a while.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Settlement Sheet monster controls are broken!

I am currently out of office (work travel), but I just got done reading a few write-ins about weird behavior affecting the Settlement Sheet and checking logs and it looks like I made a pretty bad mistake in my haste to get the last release of the manager into production.

Basically, I accidentally pushed out some code that I wasn't done with and, long story short, the Settlement Sheet controls for managing quarry, nemesis and defeated monsters are broken: they're not working at all.

I have opened an issue in Github and will be working on a patch over the next 48 hours: I'll have some updated code in production by Wednesday night (USA Central time).

Change Log: 2.24.521

Release 2.24.513 did not break as many things as I expected it to, so this follow-up release is not very extensive, but should clear up a the major/disruptive issues introduced in the last one.

Specifically, the bugs affecting the automatic application of settlement principle buffs (specifically the "Conviction" principles) and weapon mastery are addressed. Problems with updating survivor sex and retirement status are also addressed.

As of right now, I think I will probably do one more 'stabilizing' release this week as minor issues trickle in (assuming they do trickle in).

After that, there will not be another major release of the Manager until mid-August. Thanks for your patience.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.513

Survivor Sheet upgrade!
The Survivor Sheet Upgrade release, otherwise known as 2.24.513, is finally here!

It is also is probably the biggest release since the Anniversary Release back in January.

As far as features go, this one overhauls most of the controls on the Survivor Sheet:
  • Adding Abilities & Impairments no longer reloads/refreshes the Survivor Sheet
  • Settlement Sheet "flags" (e.g. "Cannot use Fighting Arts") are now automatically set (though you can still toggle them) based on A&Is
  • Survival Actions on the Sheet now also appear/disappear automatically as A&Is add or remove access to different SAs.
  • A number of Survivor Sheet controls have been refactored to no longer require page refresh/reload, including Cursed Item controls and Savior controls, Dragon Traits and "The Constellations", etc.

This one is also a major API milestone: as of 2.24.513, we've got API-side survivor normalization and we're starting to enhance the survivor data model so that it can support all of the UI/UX magic we've got planned for The Watcher.

Speaking of that, this one also pushes a slew of new API routes for working with survivors: there are now 20 documented routes for managing various aspects of the Survivor Sheet via the API.

As of  2.24.513 (API release 0.51.381), I would say that we're about 60% finished with migrating the old survivor update methods from the legacy webapp to the API, which is one of three major prerequisites for the alpha release of the Watcher (the other two being API-based user and settlement management).

Finally, if precedent is any guide, this release, since it is such a major overhaul of the front- and back-end components of the Manager, is almost certainly going to be associated with some usability/presentation issues. Thanks in advance for your patience!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Major Survivor Sheet Upgrade tomorrow!

The Survivor Sheet upgrade release is ready to go, but I want to spend a little time QAing it before I release it, so it's probably not going into production until tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, I made a feature demo GIF showing how the new, improved Survivor Sheet will work for PotStars campaigns, with respect to updating the Dragon Traits/Constellations table without having to reload or refresh.


Controls for Fighting Arts and Disorders still require a reload/refresh of the page.
That will be addressed in the next release of the Manager!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Release postponed! New feature demos

I woke up this morning planning to deploy the new release, and then ran into a number of issues with survivor creation (which is moving from the old webapp to the API) and decided to hang back.

At this point, the plan is to have the new release ready to go before this weekend, e.g. Friday or so, if everything keeps going the way it has been going.

In the meantime, I created some mobile resolution feature demo GIFs that show some of the new functionality that will be included in the next release of the Manager.

The left one shows how settlement event logging will improve and will list all bonuses applied to newborn survivors; the right one shows the new "Seven Swordsmen" survivor creation option and how Cursed Items will work without refreshing the Survivor Sheet:


Monday, July 10, 2017

Survivor Sheet feature demo: new Cursed Item and Savior controls!

Progress on the next release, which will include a major Survivor Sheet upgrade, is going well and I still plan to deploy on Wednesday.

I put the finishing touches on the new Savior management controls and, in order to document a little bit about where I'm at with the whole thing, and made a new feature demo GIF of how the controls look at tablet resolution.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Survivor Sheet feature demo: teaser for the next release!

Contrary to what I said last time, there will not be a new release of the Manager deployed today.

Instead, I've got a short good news/bad news post.

Good News

The good news is that I've been diligently plugging away on the next major release, and I've got some good progress to show for it.

Check out this new feature demo, which shows the refactored, no-page-reload controls for Survivor Sheet Abilities & Impairments, Survival Actions and permanent affinities:

Some things to notice:

  1. Affinity controls no longer need a page reload.
  2. The epithet picker refreshes itself and prevents duplicate epithets
  3. Survival Action tool-/title-tips are now tablet/phone friendly and appear when the element is clicked/tapped
  4. The A&I picker refreshes itself, preventing duplicate picks when duplicate picks are against the rules
  5. A&Is, once applied, can automatically update survivor epithets (among other things...but more on that later).

Bad News

The bad news is that all of the new stuff that will come out in this release is basically requiring me to port like, 80% of the survivor management code from the legacy app to the API, and that is taking up quite a bit of time.

All of which is to say that the next release of the Manager is taking longer to put together than I initially predicted, and I will probably not be able to deploy it until some time later this week. I'm thinking Wednesday, latest.

It will be worth it though: Survivor Sheet automation is about to take a major leap forward.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Friday, July 7, 2017

New release coming this weekend!

I am currently working on finishing up a new release for this weekend that will upgrade a number of components on the Survivor Sheet. As of right now, I plan on deploying it to production on Sunday morning.

Until then, check out this feature demo for a sneak peak of some of the upcoming enhancements!

(Presentation elements are not final.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Change Log: 2.14.414

Before I get into change details, I want to mention a couple of housekeeping type details:

  1. I just updated the About page on this blog, which acknowledges people who have contributed or continue to contribute to the Manager in some way, shape or form. I don't acknowledge them enough on here, but without the users who write in with feature/enhancement and bug feedback, the Manager would suck way more than it already does!
  2. I also created a Twitter for the Manager yesterday. Ultimately, I plan to integrate it into the dashboard view, e.g. to use it to rapidly post short status updates, etc. for all users to see. For now, it isn't really implemented or used, but feel free to follow it!

Moving on form housekeeping to actual release details, the most important thing about release 2.14.414 is that it makes what I am pretty sure will be the final changes to the way the Manager is installed and deployed.

Today's deploy involved a restart of the World daemon, the API server and the CGI server and was completely issue-free: going forward, the deployments should be non-disruptive and fully automated.

In terms of new features and enhancements, the main thing about release 2.14.411 is that re-implements the Survivor Sheet Controls of Death in AngularJS and adds API methods for same: the Survivor Sheet no longer needs a reload/refresh to set (or unset) survivor death information.

This release also upgrades the Settlement Sheet Survival Limit controls. Adding new innovations can automatically increase the Survival Limit (where appropriate) and there's a new tooltip feature that provides additional detail about how Survival Limit is working in the current settlement.

As far as back-end/API enhancements, the front-end guys working on The Watcher have asked me to focus the API development effort on porting the survivor sheet methods from the legacy webapp to the API, so that is the main focus of this release and will likely continue to be the focus for the next month. It also explains why this release and the one before it have focused more on the Survivor Sheet than the Settlement Sheet.

So for now, the tl;dr is that you can expect another release with more Survivor Sheet enhancements in another couple of days...and then probably another one a couple of days after that and so on for the rest of July.

Thanks for using the Manager!

New release later today!

Happy Independence Day!

I'm celebrating with a big release that starts to address some of the longest-standing UI/UX complaints about the Manager. The new release will be deployed to production later today.

In the meantime, for a sneak preview of how it will improve the Manager, check out this feature demo GIF, which simulates two different users managing a campaign together.

The settlement founder/creator/admin is on the left, and the non-admin user is on the right:

In summary, the demo shows:

  1. Creating a new user
  2. Creating a new settlement with four survivors for the prologue/"First Story"
  3. Giving another user permission to manage a survivor in that settlement
  4. Adding an innovation to the Settlement Sheet without reloading
  5. [NEW] Adding an innovation to the Settlement Sheet that increases the settlement's Survival Limit without reloading the page
  6. [NEW] The Settlement Sheet tooltip for Survival Limit
  7. [NEW] The Survivor Sheet automatically enforcing Survival Limit and alerting the user with a pop-up
  8. [NEW] The Survivor Sheet controls of death working without a page refresh
  9. [NEW] The Settlement Sheet death count and population updating automatically when a location or innovation is added.
  10. [NEW] Tooltips on the Settlement Sheet for population and death count

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Change Log: 2.12.376

Release 2.12.376 is a housekeeping release. It does not add any new features and mostly does break/fix work on the last release.

There is some new development in the form of new API functionality around survivors, Survival and Survival Actions. The front-end team is hard at work on the Survivor Sheet in The Watcher and this release pushes a handful of fixes and enhancements related to that.

And, speaking of that, 2.12.376 also focuses on API documentation, which has sort of...lapsed over the last few releases. As of today all functioning API methods are documented. Additionally, I have revised many of the documents, added usage tips and cleaned up the presentation.

Expect another feature-enhancement release during the long weekend or, worst case scenario, this coming week: I'm working on a few things and I'm excited to get them pushed out to the production webapp!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Change Log: 2.11.359

...and we're back. Deployment of the new release had the Manager down for about 10 minutes, and everything is looking really nice in the aftermath.

In terms of what's in this release, let me just say that 2.11.359 is a big boy: it took me a couple of weeks to put it together and it improves the Manager quite a bit. What follows is a quick breakdown of everything included in this major release.

Installation/deployment. This release fixes the numerous sysadmin-type problems/issues with the last one, which revised the way the manager is deployed (i.e. the way its various services and processes are initialized). Long story short, the last release made a lot of assumptions about the target system that ended up not being true: the installer now displays more flexibility/adaptability in those critical areas.

Settlement Sheet upgrade! Release 2.11.359 one also includes some important usability improvements, the most significant of which is the implementation of an angularjs-based locations picker on the Settlement Sheet, which will finally mean (drum roll, please) that the Settlement Sheet will no longer reload/refresh when locations are added/removed using the Settlement Sheet controls.

Back-end security and performance enhancements. There are some improvements on the back-end as well, including some new code in the legacy webapp and the API that will help transition the old application to the API's security model and allow us to start locking down parts of the API. 2.11.359 also migrates a number of legacy webapp methods/features to the API, which will a.) make them perform more reliably and b.) get us closer to our alpha release of The Watcher.

Fixes and corrections. As far as fixes go, this release also resolves all of the issues that were reported during my two-month hiatus, including several issues with the Location picker, the resurrection bug affecting the Controls of Death and the way that API failures happen.

At this point, the most important short-term goals, in terms of getting the API ready to work with The Watcher and modernizing the legacy webapp are these:
  • refactor all Javascript used by the legacy webapp to no longer use the modifyAsset() function, i.e. the function which makes a call to the legacy app to update a survivor or settlement, and replace all of those methods with API calls.
  • make the "private" API routes, i.e. the ones that manage user-created assets (Survivors and Settlements), require JWT authorization. 
  • deprecate all legacy webapp code that modifies user assets and replace it with an equivalent API method.
Finally, due to some outside complications, I will be taking another break from active development/support of both the Manager and the API from July 17th through August 17th.

Which means that the agenda for the next few weeks of development is to make some of the major enhancements that we need for The Watcher and stabilizing the legacy webapp so that it doesn't need any serious attention while I am out of office.

As usual, hit the jump for the full change log.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Scheduled downtime starting soon!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am re-installing the Manager today and will require a short downtime to change everything over and deploy the new release.

With any luck, this will be the last time I end up having to do this and we won't have any more downtime deployments going forward.

At any rate, the downtime will start in about an hour.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

New release this week: short downtime and Settlement Sheet enhancement!

A new release of the Manager will be out this week and, like the last one, it will require a short downtime.

With any luck, this will be the last release for a while that requires a downtime. Either way, as usual, I will post a warning here shortly before the production application goes away and I will post a follow up when it comes back.

Also, I am happy to say that the release will also include some new features intended to improve usability and performance by leveraging some of the API development that has been going behind the scenes for The Watcher.

Among other things, the next release of the Manager will (finally) update the Settlement Sheet's location picker so that it no longer refreshes the Sheet when locations are added or removed!

Check out the animated GIF feature demo in this post to see it in action at tablet resolution.

I am presently targeting Tuesday of this week for the release. Watch this space for updates.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Change Log: 2.9.318

...and we're back.

Regular enhancements/support for both the Manager and the KDM API have officially resumed, effective immediately!

As I mentioned earlier, release 2.9.318 required a downtime/outage to deploy because it implements a new, unified process for installing the Manager and the API. The updated file on GitHub describes the new process, which, in addition to being greatly simplified/streamlined, should make both planned system updates and unintentional system restarts go much more smoothly.

Additionally, this release pushes a couple of significant bug fixes for the Settlement Sheet, including one that allowed users to add forbidden innovations to the settlement and another that prevented users from adding the "Pictograph" innovation.

Now that I am back to work on the project, I will take a look at the old, planned milestones and the outstanding, open issues in the project and redesign the development roadmap accordingly, so watch this space for updates on that.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Scheduled downtime/outage imminent!

Release 2.9.318 is ready to ship and, as I mentioned yesterday, it will require a downtime to fully/correctly deploy.

That downtime will take place in about 15 minutes from now. The outage is not expected to take longer than a few minutes (but one never knows with these things).

See you on the other side!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Outage/downtime and new release tomorrow!

I'm back!

After a bit of a hiatus from the project, I am happy to say that I am back and I've got new code to deploy. In fact, I am actually going to re-install the whole application.

I will release full change notes when I push the changes tomorrow, but the next revision of the Manager fundamentally alters the way that it is installed and initialized, in order to deliver a.) easier deployment, b.) better recovery and c.) better resilience overall.

In order to roll those changes out, I basically have to switch over to a new version of the webapp in production, which means that the Manager will go away for a while tomorrow afternoon, probably about half an hour or so.

As usual, I will post a short notice here before the outage and then an "all clear" notice when we are fully cut-over.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Change Log: 2.5.307

Release 2.5.307 is primarily a break/fix release that corrects the numerous issues introduced in Monday's 2.5.293 release.

This release also refactors/redesigns a lot of the back-end code involved in managing user sessions and JWT authorization and enhances the API documentation.

There's not much else to say about 2.5.307, but I will say that we had a conference call this morning about how we want to do the alpha/pre-release stuff for The Watcher, and we've got a go-forward plan on that.

If you are a.) interested in participating in the alpha/pre-release preview and b.) you are a current user of the Manager, make sure you are on our registration list: it won't be long until we start reaching out to you guys to take a look at what we've been working on!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Scheduled Outage!

Deploying the new release (2.5.293) will require an outage: I posted a warning in the Manager earlier today.

The outage has begun. I anticipate that it will not be a lengthy one.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Update: after a spot of trouble with Nginx and refreshing JWT tokens, the outage is over and the deployment is complete.

As usual, the new release introduces a number of issues that I didn't catch during development. I am collecting/tracking the issues here, if you use GitHub and want to check in with a comment/issue.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Change Log: 2.5.293

2.5.293 is not fooling around.
Release 2.5.293 will be the only major release of the Manager and API this month.

There are several reasons for that:

  1. This release is 'yuge: not only did it take more than two weeks to put together, but it modifies almost 2000 lines of code. And while lines modified is no measure of quality/content, it's a definite measure of effort and a lot of effort went into release 2.5.293.
  2. This release includes major API enhancements: among other things, it is the first time a private (i.e. auth-required) route has been added that processes JWT authorization info and uses it to create a user asset. This is a big deal for us, in terms of Milestones for The Watcher, since it is the first release that supports external asset creation via a protected route. Woohoo!
  3. Release 2.5.293 also includes major API refactoring, including a non-trivial revision of the way that the internal request object is updated/managed and how logging works.
  4. I'm at like, hour 116 of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and I have to beat it before I can move on and get back to my life.
At any rate and as usual, release 2.5.293 applies a couple/few usability and bug fixes for the legacy app (including some clean-up/reconciliation of the PotStars default timeline: hit the jump for full details on that).

Most of what this release does will not be noticeable in the legacy app, however. As the above suggests, this one is a major back-up update/overhaul/enhancement and most of the action is behind the scenes.

That said, these kinds of releases tend to break things in new and interesting (haha) ways, so even though this is the only major release I'm doing in March, there might be some tag-along break/fix stuff over the next week or two.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Change Log: 2.4.268

This release addresses a couple of  long-standing back-end (i.e. invisible to users) issues re: new settlement creation and adds a couple of new features to the API (as well as a general update to API documentation).

In terms of general agenda for the near-term, the focus is on two things: getting the API to the point where it can create new settlements without the help of the legacy web app and adding the ability to update survivors.

Once that happens, we'll have a general overhaul of those aspects of the legacy app. The main impact of updating survivors via the API will be that I will have the ability to cut the number of page refreshes required on the Survivor Sheet (which is a major annoyance for a lot of users).

tl;dr This release doesn't really do anything major for the legacy webapp, but it's groundwork for some major enhancements and big progress on The Watcher.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Change Log: 2.4.259

Other than a couple of bug fixes based on errors that showed up in the logs from last week, this tiny release contains all API enhancements related to the first/alpha features of The Watcher.

Just a heads up, while break/fix and bug support will not slow down at all in the near term, feature work (including refactoring and redesign) for the legacy app is going to slow down quite a bit over the next few months: between work on the The Watcher and the fact that I'm moving this spring/summer, I don't feel like I will have the free time to keep up with the kind of insane release schedule that I kept up during November/December/January 2016.

That said, we're still full steam ahead on The Watcher and should have some real news on that very soon!

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Change Log: 2.4.254

Release 2.4.254 is primarily focused on API enhancements required by The Watcher and laying some groundwork for some future enhancements/optimizations to the Manager.

(Speaking of The Watcher, if you're not doing it already, follow The Watcher on Twitter: once user-facing stuff starts to become available, that will be the major channel for updates/statuses, etc.)

2.4.254 also contains a few bug fixes, and most of them either came directly from users or were the indirect result of other user feedback. Thanks to everyone who has written in over the last week!

And thanks again for using the Manager!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Change Log: 2.4.245

Normally, I depend on users to report issues with the Manager.

I will definitely concede that it's not a great system, but I'm a one-man-show here, after all, and it's a system that works well enough.

Except when it doesn't. 

Release 2.4.245 very specifically targets a bug introduced in release 2.4.243 that affected weapon mastery innovations. No one reported the issue, though a number of users would have been disrupted by it, and I was working on some new feature development when I just randomly noticed it happening 20 or 30 some odd times during the last week.

At any rate, release 2.4.245 should a.) fix all settlements broken by the bug and b.) prevent the bug from affecting future settlements. And, in the meantime, I'll be working on a better schedule for reviewing the logs and errors, etc. to hopefully catch some of these things sooner.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Change Log: 2.4.243

Stepping up the Manager's cross-browser support.
As promised in my previous post, release 2.4.243 specifically addresses usability and presentation issues affecting Safari (mobile and desktop).

(An aside: the Manager is not recommended for use with Safari (mobile or desktop), but I try to support it anyway. I do this on behalf of the handful of helpful/dedicated users who have been the de facto QA team for the Manager on Safari over the last few months. If you use the Manager in Safari and you're not one of the guys who writes in regularly with issues, you owe those guys a debt of gratitude, because they're really driving this thing.)

Beyond correcting a long list of Safari issues, 2.4.243 also completely refactors the Settlement Sheet controls for adding innovations. In a nutshell, the controls (including the part where your Innovation Deck is displayed) are now totally real-time and dynamic and no longer require page refreshes.

Additionally, and somewhat controversially, the drop-down/select list that shows options for adding innovations now shows all available options.

I have been going back and forth on the best way to do this since the earliest releases of the Manager, and I am aware that there are strong user opinions on either side. For a long time, there was a user preference that users could use to either get a full or partial list of Innovation options, and I had been maintaining back- and front-end code for both options.

At this point, however, I have come to be of the opinion that the best solution for everyone is to remove the preference, commit to a single user experience, and cut the baby in half, so to speak: the Innovation Deck box on the Settlement Sheet will follow game rules for building an Innovation Deck and the drop-down will include all available options, based on expansion content, campaign, etc.

With any luck, this "best of both worlds" approach should satisfy both sides of the argument.

As usual, hit the jump for the complete release notes. And thanks again for using the Manager!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Safari patches and no-refresh Innovation controls coming tomorrow!

Tablet resolution animated GIF feature demo!
On Thursday, I started working on the recently introduced usability and presentation issues affecting Safari users and realized that, rather than simply patching or working around the issues affecting the Settlement Sheet, it made more sense to just go ahead and totally overhaul the Innovations controls.

This afternoon (i.e. Saturday), I finally finished up the new Innovation controls and now the plan is to do a release of the Manager tomorrow morning that will include all of the Safari-specific presentation fixes that I failed to release last Tuesday as well as totally redesigned Innovation controls on the Settlement Sheet.

Check out the animated GIF demo at the right to get a sense of how it will work, but the big ideas behind the redesign are these:

  1. Adding or removing innovations updates the Innovation Deck without refreshing the page.
  2. Clicking/tapping the Innovation Deck refreshes it without refreshing.
The basic idea is that working with Settlement Sheet innovation controls no longer reloads/refreshes the page, no matter what you're trying to do.

And, like I said above, I will definitely release that feature tomorrow (i.e. Sunday) morning and, with any luck, that plus the Safari fixes will solve a lot of issues for a lot of people.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Safari-targeted patch coming very soon!

Thanks to a couple of users who wrote in with a very specific issue affecting Safari, I spent some time in desktop and mobile Safari (I borrowed an iPhone) and I am currently working on a patch to directly address the Manager's performance and presentation in Safari (mobile and desktop).

The patch will include resolutions to the following GitHub issues:

When these issues with the legacy application are resolved, I pull push them into production as a single release. Presently, I think I will be able to get all of these issues resolved by Tuesday, 01/24.

I apologize if you are one of the people who ran into these.

Thanks for checking out the Manager (an for checking in with issues)!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.3.213

This tiny release corrects some of the typos and minor usability issues introduced in the last release, as well as a major, application-breaking JS issue affecting Firefox and Safari.

Special shout-out to uffevind and jwsrex for checking in right away on the Firefox/Safari bug.

Change Log: 2.3.206

Before I get into the changes, I would like to quickly observe that we hit a bit of a milestone last week: between this release and the  2.1.188 release, the application-wide death count ticked up past 2000.

That's a lot of dead survivors!

And, speaking of milestones, release 2.3.206 of the Manager adds support for the final, outstanding bits of expansion content, the Green Knight Armor and Slenderman expansions, and I am happy to (finally!) be able to say that now supports all published expansion content for Monster!

Given the relatively small amount of content included in and changes required for GKA and Slenderman support, I do not expect too many issues, but, as usual, if you see something, say something: please use the in-app tool to contact me directly, or use GitHub to report any issues with support for either expansion, etc.

Finally, in terms of what's next, the current plan is to continue to whittle away at the Campaign Summary refactor milestone, improving application usability according to the goals/guidelines set out in the Anniversary Release, while continuing to improve the API and work towards the Alpha release of The Watcher.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Release Tomorrow to include Slenderman and Green Knight Armor support

It seems like this is going to be the new normal for at least a little while, but the next release of the Manager includes some non-trivial API updates and deploying it will require a small downtime.

My original plan was to wrap up the release and deploy it today, but Saturday is a pretty busy day for the Manager and my track record on smooth, disruption-free deployments is kind of garbage: basically, I took a look at the admin panel, and there are enough users managing campaigns right now that I don't want to risk it. 

Rather, I'm going to wait until tomorrow morning (Sunday mornings are usually slow-ish) to do the downtime and the release, so keep an eye out for that.

Finally, when it does go live, the next release of the Manager will include Slenderman and Green Knight Armor support, a good number of non-trivial bug/issue fixes and a handful of major API enhancements. 

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Change Log: 2.1.188

The 2.1.188 release is remarkable because it is the first release to make API improvements and enhancements intended solely to facilitate feature development for The Watcher (i.e. and not to facilitate enhancements to the legacy webapp).

Before I get into details on that, I want to say a few things about this project that I have been meaning to say for a while now.

An interesting fact about the Manager is that, since I started it, I have hardly played any KD:M at all. Rather, I spend most of my personal "Kingdom Death time" working on the Manager, or the API, or other projects related to The Watcher, etc.

Every so often however, usually when a major release or upgrade has been released (and patched) or when I add coverage for a new expansion (and get it patched), I'll break out the box, fire up the Manager and do a little "play-testing".

It's great. It's my favorite thing: it makes it all worth while. It also really helps the so-called quality of life (QoL) features evolve and improve.

To wit: most of the application updates and fixes in 2.1.188 are the result of one of my play-testing sessions: the QoL improvements and bug fixes in this release are pretty much the direct result of my getting to sit down with the Manager and roll some dice (though there are a few fixes and resolutions that were submitted as GitHub issues or via email, etc.).

But, to get back to what I started out saying, the rest of what's included in 2.1.188 is API enhancements related to our phase one/pre-alpha stuff for The Watcher.

Which, to put that another way, is to confirm that the major work on the The Watcher is officially underway, and that another huge feature push for will probably not happen for a while, if at all.

(Personally, I would very much like to keep things incremental, going forward: the Anniversary Release was way too huge of an advance in way too short of a time span and ended up turning into a month-long nightmare for me, and I definitely don't plan on doing that to myself again!)

That said (and I know I've been saying this for weeks), I plan to add Slenderman Expansion support this weekend, so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for using the Manager!

New release and downtime tonight!

Things generally die down in production on Wednesday mornings and Friday nights, in terms of general traffic and usage on the Manager.

The next release of the manager overhauls a lot of the API (i.e. back-end) functionality and is going to require a brief downtime, so that's going to happen tonight when the user active user count gets down into the low double- or single-digits.

The downtime should only be momentary (but could go on for a few minutes, especially if I screw it up as badly as I screwed up the last one).

All of which is to apologize in advance for any issues tonight and say thanks again for using the Manager!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Quick Note on Performance and Usability Improvements

As I mentioned in the release notes for the Anniversary Release of the Manager, I made the decision back in November 2015 to slow down on feature development and focus on usability and "quality of life" (QoL) improvements.

What follows is a bit of an extended meditation--a sort of "State of the Union"--on how the Manager will improve during 2017, with respect to general usability, performance and so on.

I haven't written out anything as fancy/formal as a road map, but I have taken the time to set down some goals and a rough agenda that I thought regular users might like to read.

If that sort of thing interests you, hit the jump for more. Otherwise, I've got a release coming out later tonight/tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Change log: 2.1.167

Go watch the teaser at
Music by Yours Truly!
Courtesy of our little announcement on /r/kingdomdeath, yesterday was one of the busiest days on the Manager in a long time.

Hello new people!

The huge influx of traffic ultimately ended up being kind of a good news/bad news situation, however, and that is reflected in today's little release.

The good news is that a lot of people got to check out the system and are signed up to learn more about The Watcher. Close to 100 people signed up for the Manager for the first time today and something like 300 or so have signed up to get announcements about The Watcher.

That's really good!

The bad news, however, is that a lot of people ran into some of the leftover issues from the Anniversary Release (and a couple from the addition of Spidicules support, which actually went live before the AR). The consequence of all of that activity is release 2.1.167, which is the third (and hopefully final) patch of the AR.

(Which, if you think about it, is also maybe kind of good news because the bugs were discovered and I'm able to deal with them now, so...I guess if you're philosophical about it...)

At any rate, I'm going to file this one under "good things come in threes", I guess, and, with any luck, this will be the last release that will be fully devoted to stabilizing the AR, and I can get back to work on Slenderman support, other new feature development and work on The Watcher.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Coming Soon:

Go watch the teaser video and sign up for the mailing list at
Teaser trailer music by Yours Truly.

Today, the last day of the epic, record-shattering Kingdom Death 1.5 Kickstarter, is also the day that The Watcher is finally, officially announced!

In a nutshell, The Watcher will be the evolution or next phase of the project, leveraging the KD:M API that I have spent the last year developing, but will start with a new UI/UX approach and will be built from the ground-up to do way more than the current Manager will ever be able to do.

Go check out the video and sign up for the mailing list if you haven't already. If you want to know more specifics, we've got a good Reddit going over at the birthplace of, /r/kingdomdeath.

Also, while I'm making announcements, I should also announce that, due in large part to the huge influx of Manager traffic today (i.e. on account of the announcement), a bunch of new issues have either come to light or been brought to my attention today, and I will have a third release of patches for the Anniversary Release of the Manager ready to roll out tomorrow morning/afternoon.

Get pumped about The Watcher! And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Change log: 2.1.146

Release 2.1.146 is part two of the Anniversary Release patch.

This one is mostly dedicated to stabilizing the AR and resolving issues that I've observed in the logs or gotten emails about, etc. The good news is that this is probably going to be the last one of these: I think the new features/functionality of the Manager are pretty stable at present, and I feel like I'll be ready to start working on features again soon.

Which reminds me: there is actually one new feature that goes out in this release. Settlements with the "Survival of the Fittest" principle will now see a toggle on their Survivor Sheets where they can manage whether the survivors has used the once per lifetime SotF reroll.

At any rate, assuming no other major bugs emerge in the near term, the plan for now is to get back to work on the Campaign Summary refactor and adding support for the Slenderman.

Look for more updates early next week.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Change Log: 2.1.129

Alright, so after the unfortunate, badly-botched, shotgun deployment of the Anniversary Release, it should come as no surprise that 2.1.129 is mostly corrections, fixes and finishing touches for the Anniversary Release.

I apologize again for the total face-plant/disasterpiece of a deployment. I tried really hard not to have to do too much day-of monkey-patching, etc., but I missed the mark by a pretty wide margin and that's on me.

Moving on, as I mentioned above, this one corrects a bunch of major bugs/errors/issues in the AR, and I would like to make a special shout-out to Jonahdel G, who put me on to a major bug that was affecting all settlements using expansion content.

I will continue to work on smoothing out/stabilizing the AR for the rest of this week, I think, and then get back to work on the Campaign Summary refactor milestone and adding support for the Slenderman expansion.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Change Log: 2.0.112 - Anniversary Release!

Alright, so this is the big one: the much ballyhooed "Anniversary Release" has finally arrived! The production version of the Manager is officially version two!

Before I get into the details, I would like to apologize to anyone who walked in on me while I was rolling it out: in spite of all of my preparations, the deployment was a major faceplant/debacle and I saw, in the logs, a couple of people log in and hit major errors.

I am really sorry about that!

Release 2.0.112 contains all of the following:
  • a complete, front- and back-end rewrite of the Settlement Sheet!
  • all new Timeline display and controls that are both touch-friendly and do not require page refreshes! 
  • relocation of the the timeline controls from the Settlement Sheet to the sidenav/burger: the settlement timeline may now be accessed from any view by all players!
  • the all new Campaign Notes feature, which replaces Settlement Sheet notes and is accessible by all players in the campaign!
  • total deprecation of the Settlement Event Log!
Initially I was planning on doing all of this a.) in bits and pieces and b.) much later in the Campaign Summary refactor milestone, but as I was sizing up the feature list for the milestone as a whole, I figured I should probably do all of this major stuff first, and then give myself plenty of time to fix all of the issues that releasing these features will inevitably introduce (e.g. while I work through the rest of the feature list).

Basically, I decided that I want to rip all the stuffing out and then fix all the broken bits as I go, rather than delivering a bunch of features and then having to go back and double-check them all in the wake of the massive upheaval that would be caused by introducing these major revisions later.

At any rate, 2.0.112 is not only a major milestone, but it represents a totally new direction for the Manager. In a nutshell, the new philosophy, which is based on all the implicit and explicit user feedback I've gotten over the last six months, is this:

  1. Pay more attention to presentation and aesthetics. You all have spoken and I am accepting the criticism. 
  2. Require fewer page reloads/refreshes.
  3. Implement more and better multiplayer support.

The new timeline controls are also a big step in the direction of directly addressing the multiplayer issue. I've been sort of dancing around it for the last six months, but the new timeline--which shows the event log lines alongside the timeline events--is meant to help non-admins see what's going on, w/r/t automation and general behind-the-scenes settlement business.

The Campaign Notes feature is also a direct response to a lot of the multiplayer requests I've gotten over the last year. I'm not really sure it'll do everything everyone has asked for in its current form, but I think it's a good start and I definitely intend to build it out, revise it, etc.

Finally, for those of you who notice its absence, the "Export to XLS" feature has been disabled temporarily. Release 2.0.112 revises most of the back-end data model, and the feature is currently totally broken as a result. I'll be working on repairing, revising and relaunching it during January/February.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Anniversary Release QA happening now; release imminent

Contrary to popular belief, I actually do look at this stuff before I put it into

Just a quick update: I hit some additional snags on the data migration piece and I've got some personal things happening right now. I am very close to having code ready to ship, and it's really causing me serious distress to keep postponing it, but it is going to be a bit longer before the Anniversary Release goes out.

In the meantime, enjoy this rare, behind-the-scenes snap of my world-famous, highly-effective, misses-no-bugs-ever QA process in action.

Thanks again for using the Manager.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Anniversary Release tomorrow!

First, the good news: as I predicted, the Anniversary Release is now working and ready to go into production!

Now, the bad news: I am not, however, totally satisfied that all legacy settlement data will migrate without issues, so I'm going to take some time tomorrow to import a whole grip of old data and manually QA it until I feel better about it.

When the release is ready to go into production, there will definitely be some kind of downtime. As of right now, I don't know whether I want to take the whole site down or just kill and restart everything real fast.

Either way, I will definitely toss up a warning on the dashboard alert box before I pull the trigger and start the cut-over.

Until tomorrow, please enjoy some screen captures of the revised Survivor and Settlement sheets at wide resolution.

Thanks for using the Manager!