epershand: "It was becoming an obsession" (Obsession)
epershand ([personal profile] epershand) wrote2011-11-13 09:43 am

Let's talk about AO3 skins

And how awesome they are.

In particular, let's talk about how fundamentally what [personal profile] lim did there was RE-WRITE LJ'S S2 ENTIRELY IN CSS. Hands down it is the most technically-impressive and well-designed thing I have ever seen come from the AO3 development team.

It's really fucking sexy, guys. Like. A lot. A whole lot. I've been playing around with it since it launched and I KIND OF WANT TO HAVE ITS BABIES.

Yeah, ok, the initial skins that launched with it aren't the best ever, especially to eyes that are used to the sexy layouts that most web2.0 social networking sites provide in advance. And yeah, there are some bugs in them. But the change this represents? Is probably the single thing I've wanted most from that site forever.

For the first time, the AO3 is offering its users a way to customize part of the site from the ground up and submit that change back to them so they can make it available to everyone. (No, the previous skin system did not do that. The previous skin system provided a way for people to override the look-and-feel of the site if they were willing to fill their code with painful overrides and forcing mechanisms.) And that is a very good sign of things that could come.

I am not an AO3 coder, and am very unlikely to become one any time soon. But now I can do really cool things with the AO3 and bend it to my will (visually, at least) without having to become one! And so can fandom's very many awesome designers--I've seen what people can do with an LJ layout, and I'd love to see what fandom will wind up with if those people are let loose on the AO3 and given encouragement and incentives to play with it. I'm competent, but so many people are BRILLIANT. (And while it's not great for a lot of *other* AO3 users, it's pretty swell for me that the set of available skins right now is really just a set of tutorials/examples for ways you can modify different parts of the site.)

Fundamentally, the revolution in social media in the last five years is "do not try to be everything to everybody. Build a solid foundation and give people the tools to bend you to be what they want." This, IMO, is the primary factor responsible for the success of Twitter (via replacement apps), Facebook (via add-on apps), etc. This skins launch isn't perfect, but it's the AO3's first step down that road, and it makes me more happy than you can imagine.

(Now if only they offered an API for bookmarks and tags. The things I would do with that! The glorious, GLORIOUS things I would do with that. (By which I mean, the fun I would have playing with that...))

EDITED: To remove the passive-aggressive block. This is a positive fucking entry, damnit.
via_ostiense: Eun Chan eating, yellow background (Default)

[personal profile] via_ostiense 2011-11-13 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
her committee chair needed to spackle over the most poorly-designed part of the AO3's codebase in order for her pet project to work this year.

By the pet project reference, I assume you're talking about Naomi? Just a quick clarification, Amelia & Elz are committee chairs and afaik not yuletide mods, not Naomi.
marina: (Default)

[personal profile] marina 2011-11-13 07:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Man, I really love the new skins! I feel like I'm the only one in fandom or something (apparently not!) but even on a purely visual level I like the new skins (some more than others, obviously, as you'd expect), I like that they're so easy to use, I like that there's built in variety. I just... this is such a big step for the website, and I remember the options places like ff.net used to offer on that front (IDK if they're still there, but ~back in the day~ I found them useless at best) and I'm so happy that the Archive finally has this! \o/


(Anonymous) 2013-05-22 02:48 am (UTC)(link)
I think that the core ethical value that could be deteostramnd in the book, Seed Folks is responsibility. I believe this because everyone who has a garden in the lot chose to put it there, so therefore they have to take care of it. Also, they could be responsible for other people's gardens when they need assistance.
were_duck: picture of David Bowie from The Man Who Fell To Earth, looking at sky pensively (Bowie Fell To Earth)

[personal profile] were_duck 2011-11-13 07:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for this post! I don't really ~understand~ the coding stuff so it's cool to see someone knowledgeable talk about the improvements and why they are awesome, to help the rest of us see past the (presumably? hopefully! short-term) bugs and issues with the skins.
busaikko: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Default)

[personal profile] busaikko 2011-11-14 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
Can you point the way to any good tutorial on how to use the new skin system? Because I think you're right and there's a lot of awesome potential there, but knowing "how to get there from here" is where a lot of people are stumbling.


(Anonymous) 2013-05-21 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the core ethical value i larened from Seedfolks would be responsibility. I think it taught me this value because you have to be responsible enough to give your plant enough water so it doesnt wither. Also you would have to give it enough sun light so that it could grow so that it could get bigger and better.
unjapanologist: (Default)

[personal profile] unjapanologist 2011-11-14 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
Haven't had time to really play with the new features yet, but I totally love the skin functionality and how it lets people change the Things and give those changes/improvements back to everyone. This is a big step forward for the archive, and I can't stop sadfacing at how the premature launch has prevented everyone from really appreciating how wonderful a step it is.

Thanks for this! *links*
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2011-11-14 07:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, this. The underlying changes are absolutely wonderful.