We are back! (Though not at full force quite yet)

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We are back! (Though not at full force quite yet)

Post by Rosehill »

Hello all, and WELCOME BACK! <3 (We're not fully operational yet!)

As is well known, the site has been experiencing on and off lag, gateway errors, cloudflare error messages, and such for soon two years. Analyzing the problem showed that for some -still unknown- reason the site's performance took a hit. When the problems started there hadn't been any recent code or configuration changes, or anything else that might easily explain what was going on. Everything had been running the same ever since 2019 when the site had a change of servers. What made figuring things out even more difficult was the intermittent nature of the lag, it many times happening while I was away or asleep, inability to reliably reproduce it, and all possible logs across the whole server and different services not showing that anything was actually wrong except things getting stuck on occasion. Different fixes were tried, tried, and tried again, with some helping a little, some helping not at all, and some seemingly helping; only for the problem to return again. Upgrading the whole of the server side thing was on the table from already pretty soon after the problems started, but we decided to try all the other things first, as the complete overhaul of everything would be quite the undertaking. Nevertheless, after nothing else seemed to work, that's just what's now been done. One possibility for the cause of the problems could be that the sheer amount of creatures, forum posts and such grew so big that the site just couldn't handle it any more. All the upgrades done now should also help with that if that was contributing to the errors.

I'm hoping that the upgrades that I have now made, make a difference, but I still cannot guarantee it. The team and a few volunteers has tested the site after the upgrades, but we'll see the proper loads now after all you peeps come back! If the site still keeps lagging or giving gateway or cloudflare errors, then I will need to continue trying to pinpoint what exactly is causing it all. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but if it does, then so be it and that just needs to be done then. In any case the site should now be faster, more reliable, more accessible and more mobile friendly, with also some minor improvements to the site's functionality. Even if the problems persist after these upgrades, there shouldn't be a need for a downtime of this scale while working to solve those issues.

Stuff behind the scenes
So what actually has been done during our time off the grid?
  • Everything, everything, was doubly backed up. All data from the database, all old code, avatars, custom css files, everything. Took a while! :')
  • The server's whole operating system was upgraded: This took some unexpected turns and problems occurred. Those were solved and as a positive side, when/if it has to be done again, the process is now documented. The operating system is the base of everything, all else is running on top of it.
  • The web server was upgraded: This was a piece of cake! The web server is the one responsible for running all the programs that run Magistream and making them reachable from the internet.
  • The database engine was upgraded: Easy-peasy! The database engine is the one that makes the databases of Magistream running and stores and serves all the data of creatures, posts, and everything else to the site's code base.
  • The code engine was upgraded: The code engine is the thing responsible for figuring out what all the code does, and doing it.
  • The forum software was upgraded: All of magistream's code runs on top of the ready made forum software. The forum software itself was upgraded majorly, and almost none of the old version's stuff worked any more, so basically this meant scrapping all Magistream-specific features, making a clean install of the latest forum software, converting the old forum database to fit the new one, and reindexing all the data. This took quite some time, and some fiddling to get things to actually work again.
  • A lot of Magistream specific code was brought back and updated to fit the new forum software version. This was by far the most time consuming phase, and it isn't completely done yet either. This phase is also the one that was way more work than previously anticipated, as I hadn't correctly estimated the impact that upgrading the forum software would have on Magistream code. Luckily in the end no complete recoding of everything was needed, but overhauling everything into new structures and updated ways to fit both the new forum software as well as the new code engine, took, and still takes quite a bit of time.
  • The advisors took a few rounds of testing the site, and we also asked the help of users to see if we might've missed something, and got some volunteers to be our extra eyes in seeing how the site's faring!
  • And lastly, everything was, yet again, doubly backed up, so that if the upcoming days and weeks reveal that something's still not working properly and it causes a bigger error, there's the possibility of going back to this moment.
Among all of this I needed to juggle with the order of the upgrades to make sure versions were compatible with each other, and that they'd enable further updates instead of hindering them, as well as seeing how much of everything has changed since 2019 when the server was changed, and from 2009 from where some parts still were. The upgrades took much longer than anticipated, but we wanted to get them a bit more underway instead of temporarily reverting back to the old version of the site while I'd have worked on the updates behind the scenes.


After this maintenance break, and after all of that has been said and done, I am thrilled to present you the (not actually that) new and shiny Magistream!

About donation creatures!
We entered te maintenance on July 10th, which means that the June Midmonth Donation Pet and the July Monthly Donation Pets were in the Donation Shop at that time. The June Midmonth Donation Pet, which is The Temple Burrower, will stay in the Donation Shop until mid-September, after which the September Midmonth Donation Pet will take its place in a normal schedule.

July monthly Donation Pets, which are the Azull and Goules Quetzalcoatls, will stay in the Donation Shop until the end of September, alongside the September Monthly Donation Pets. Starting from October we'll return to the normal Donation Pet schedule.

Things have shifted a little, so let me break down what's changed the most:

Site layout:
The layout of the site has changed. The site is now overall a bit wider and more scalable. I've tried to keep the visual changes to the minimum while taking advantage of the new forum software version's functionalities and hopefully making things a bit more easier to find. With the site looking like it has looked for years, it may take some time to get used to the new layout, but I hope you'll end up liking it!

Quite a few other smaller layout things have also been made so that things may have slightly changed their places. Hopefully everything can be found easily enough, and if you can't find something, or something seems to be placed unintuitively, just let the team know!

New header image:
We have a new awesome header image made by Munin!

Gold and shard amounts:
These can now be seen on the right side of the screen, above your avatar and username, instead of the left side of the navigation bar.

Spoilers now look a little different, but the functionality remains the same. Please note, that for the moment things spoilered in you About Me section won't appear under a spoiler.

Profile custom CSS:
PLEASE NOTE! Due to the upgrades, profile custom css is not currently working. You can still see the custom css code you have used within your user control panel, but it will not take any effect on your profile. This is due to the profile page element names and sizes changing, so using the custom css codes is temporarily disabled. If you want to save your old custom css code, please copy it onto your own computer. Old custom css codes will be deleted at the end of this year, and new custom css codes can be used some time beginning of next year.

Mobile use:
The site now has a different mode for mobile and small-screen users. This should make navigating easier and be more optimized for use on smaller screens. Main navigation links (i.e. Forum, Shops, The Keep, Trades, etc.) will be displayed under a "hamburger" menu (icon of three horizontal lines) on the top right of the page if they do not fit on the screen. Navigational links to the Inventory, Bestiary, Families list and Library will be under the "Quick links" and "hamburger" icon on the left side of the navigation bar. Trades, notifications and private messages will be displayed by icons on mobile view, and the official site time will be visible on the lower right side of the boards under another hamburger menu.

You can view the black information hover box of creatures on mobile view by tap and holding a creature on lineage views, and places where you need to select a creature like Rone, using an item, breeding etc. Do note, that in some cases, like in Rone, your mobile device may count this as clicking, so be careful especially in places where you may end up transforming your creature unintentionally.

Not every single thing is fully mobile optimized quite yet, but those will be brought to mobile-compatibility in the coming weeks as well.

The site is now more accessible than before, but might not be completely so. If you are a user using visual or hearing aids to navigate the site, and you run into some weird stuff, feel free to contact me (Rosehill) and let's figure out what to do about it.

New forum features:

You now get in-board notifications from different things. You can control your notification settings in the User Control Panel -> Board Preferences -> Edit notification options. You can choose to receive board notifications and/or email notifications of different things.

It is now possible to mention, or "ping" another user on posts. To mention someone, write the letter @ and start writing their username. Sometimes it takes a little while for the username list to load, so in case you get a "no match found" message, just try again. PLEASE NOTE! The setting to receive notifications about mentions is by default turned off. If you want to receive an in-board notification when someone mentions you, please go to your User Control Panel -> Board Preferences -> Edit notification options and turn on the checkbox of "Someone mentioned me".

Now when you quote someone's post, a link to that post is provided within the quote, so especially if you are quoting someone from a few pages back, it's easy for people to find the quoted post if they so wish. You'll also get a notification when someone's quoted you.

Profile fields:
New profile fields are available for different social media accounts.

IMPORTANT! List of things that are still under construction:
  • DONATING! Please be aware, that Donations are currently handled manually! Your donation goes through to Magistream, but shards aren't automatically added to your account. Raneth and I will be adding the shards manually as quickly as we can, but we ask that you bear with us as we cannot be on alert every moment of the day. This is fixed. ^_^
  • Trades: Trades are currently disabled while I'm working on bringing them back.
  • The Stream: eggs are currently stationary, and won't automatically be replaced by new eggs without refreshing the site
  • World map: The visual world map is being wonky. While I work on getting it back online you can still access all the world locations through the world link where you will see a list of all the locations and whether or not they have a tributary.
  • About me: currently you cannot edit your about me section. It is shown on your profile the way it was before the downtime with the exception of spoiler tags not working. In case you absolutely need an urgent update on your about me section, please PM Rosehill.
  • BBcodes on profile's about me are not working
  • The friend/foe functionality is disabled for the time being
  • Saving drafts is not working
  • Changing the order of your Keep tabs isn't currently working.
  • Embed multiple only allows you to embed creatures on your main tab
  • Mass moving things from a tab to Main tab isn't working. Mass moving from main tab to other tabs, or from a non-main tab to another non-main tab is working.
  • Using some items (mainly gender change potion), may give you an error page especially if you have a big Keep (over 20 000 creatures or so).
  • Breeding may give you an error page if you have a big Keep
  • Adding or changing you lineage's crest isn't currently working.
  • Some confirmation messages, e.g. when posting (telling you your gold amount) aren't shown
  • The Bestiary, Families list, and Creature statistics pages aren't yet mobile friendly, so part of the table showing information gets cut off from the right side of the table. On mobile devices, if you have the need to, you can circumvent this by enabling "desktop mode" from your mobile device's browser. Please note that enabling this mode may make the site look a bit weird otherwise.
  • Some layout issues, e.g. item list headings get wonky on some resolutions, shop and forum descriptions get cut out on mobile view, header banner image gets all wonky on certain resolutions, profiles may look weird on mobile if you have long links or something else really wide there
If you encounter any weirdness, errors, slowness, or the likes, please report it in the new "Report site errors here" thread!

Upcoming new things, clean ups and features (once all the old stuff is working again!) that are planned:
  • In-board notifications on when an egg hatches
  • In-board notifications on when a hatchling grows up
  • In-board notifications when you get an achievement
  • Hatching and growing times visible on a creature's page (applicable only for creatures that hatch and grow after this change is put in place)
  • Deleting spam users. New and more efficient ways to prevent bots from registering have already been put in place.
User avatar
Member of The Herbalist's Guild Member of Artificer's Association Member of Preservationists Association An icon depicting the element Life
Posts: 7791
Joined: July 24th, 2009, 4:03:51 am
Gender: Female
Location: Northern Europe

Re: We are back! (Though not at full force quite yet)

Post by Rosehill »

Automatic donations are back on the menu! <3