Dear Handmade Reader,

This is a significant month for the Handmade Dev team! It marks the end of the website's beta; if you find any bugs with our stable site, report them ASAP.

At the start of this year, we made it a priority to wrap up essential features to complete v1, and the team performed admirably and worked doubly hard to finish on time. Most noticeable is the final look-and-feel of the site, but very important security / backend measures were implemented too. In this blog post, we outline what was done to consider the site stable, as well as some of the things that might come for v2.0. If you like how things are progressing, consider supporting us on Patreon. We wouldn't be here without your support, and we unfortunately lost some pledges (as it happens at the start of every year); consider helping us out!

Wrapping up backend work

I'll let Jeroen van Rijn, our lead dev, explain:

As always, we'd planned to do more this month, but various things conspired against this, chief among this a sudden influx of spam bots starting on the 11th. You'll not have noticed this, but handling and innoculating ourselves against this took away valuable time from our budget. So, all things considered we did get more done this month than it ended up looking like we would when dealing with this deluge of miscreants. A selection of things I've worked on this month:

  • Unfurling of HMN URLs when you paste them into Twitter, Slack or many other sites
  • Atom Feeds of new threads, blog posts, replies and comments on the site
  • Simplifying the backend code for easier maintainance
  • Dealing with spambots systematically in a way that's transparent to actual members
  • Fixed uploads for project owners and streamlined this a bit
  • Allowed for email+password logins as an alternative to username+password logins

  • Added the long-expected password reset feature in such a way that it can't be readily abused to spam our members with password reset token emails.

  • During this time, the community was more than helpful reporting issues here and there. And a special thanks to mmozeiko for alerting us to a bug in the bbcode parser.

    Wrapping up frontend work

    Our dear dragon and frontend dev, Andrew Chronister, discusses recent progress beautifully, and the value of community feedback:

    When you work on a single codebase for a while, with the recurrent constraint of needing to be user-facing at all times, jankiness can pile up and it can be difficult to make the sweeping changes necessary to remove technical debt, especially when working in as haphazard of an environment as HTML templates and plain CSS. However, this month, I was able to move forward despite these challenges, and worked with Martin Cohen (who graciously donated his time, advice, and design mockups) to improve the site style tremendously. I also worked with Martin Wardener (d7samurai), Demetri Spanos, and others in the Handmade Network discord to settle on a font family, style, and size to use more consistently throughout the site, which made far more of a difference that I thought possible.

    In addition to these, I also made a few minor changes around the site:

  • When submitting a new project, you are now prompted to read our Project Submission Guidelines and Monthly Update Policy -- a formality that ensures everyone is on the same page about what it means to have a project on the site

  • The landing page now works closer to how it was originally intended, featuring the latest posts and activity from projects around the site. (I made two revisions to this, and then Jeroen came through and wrote the final version in use now, which streamlines the queries and is a little more robust)

  • Projects in the project list are now sorted by activity (aside from featured projects, which always appear first in the list)

  • Adding and tweaking UI for various minor additions such as RSS feeds

  • Thanks for all the support and encouragement as we worked to improve the visual quality of the site before your very eyes. After a short break, we'll begin working to start from a clean slate with fresh designs (in the vein of recent changes) and moving forward with our plans for the future of handmade network.

    Version 2.0

    Martin Cohen has recently been streaming new designs for v2.0 of our website, and there are fast-moving discussions within the team of what new features to add in. In general, we recommend you follow these blog posts as new official details arise, but if you want to catch us with our current thoughts, we're always available on the chat (see home page to access either Discord or IRC; we live in both).

    Well-deserved break

    The community here is amazing, and I am proud that we have a stable website for everyone to discuss caring software, and to create projects that uphold our manifesto. Take a step back and look at how far we've come! We've made it!

    The team won't start work on v2 until March, meaning this month we'll be focused on HMN Educational Materials. At the time of writing, I'm preparing a second post discussing the roadmap, and a proper call for volunteers. Stay tuned!