This update is mostly heavy on features and improvements. Specifically:
- SEARCH ENGINE. We’ve switched the search box in the upper right corner of every page from basic SQL queries to an Open Search Server engine. The main object of this switch it to facilitate searches for people not using the exact orthographies. For instance under the old solution, searching “She Hulk” didn’t work because she’s referenced as She-Hulk” on WORG. Now everything works – she hulk, she-hulk, hulk, he lk*… not “shulkie” or “hubba hubba”, though, the AI is not that sophisticated. Yet. We’re using n-grams to facilitate that, though we’re still experimenting with the stupid shingle filters to beat some common variant orthographies.
It also draws results from he Notes field, for those people who just want to type something in the box and automagically get results.
Hopefully it will drastically reduce the number of people not finding an entry that is actually there. Still, remember the first law of search engines everyone — use short and distinctive search strings.
- SEARCH ENGINE (AGAIN). Our Parse page has long suffered from Google only knowing a fraction of WORG – and being very reluctant to find pages it had missed. Well, we now offer on that page both our old Google search and a brand-new Open Search Server search, which has every single page indexed and can plow through every single word on writeups.org.
There are still various tweaks to be done (snippet centring, smaller slop values from using quotes, that sort of exciting things) but right now it is way, way more useful than the old parse page ever was. And of course, writeups.org thanks its partners at http://www.open-search-server.com/ for letting us play with their toys (and hopefully not break anything).
- SHANG-CHI IS ICONIC. “Iconic take” is a new qualifier we’re hammering out (inspired by DC Adventures) to make it clearer which writeups are super-detailed and specific, and which writeups are more sweeping and concerned with providing a gisted version of a character. The Shang-Chi entry being both very popular and in the second category, it’s the first one to get the ‘iconic take’ tag. That way people don’t come to streamlined entries expecting tons of research, or to detailed entries expecting a quick read.
- MINOR CLEANUPS. A few antislashes remaining in Notes fields due to an encoding issue have been eliminated, and all mentions of actors in the Names fields should now use the revised format. Those people who did not have the proper “JLA” tag in the notes have had that fixed. Other thrilling database maintenance things.
- TEXTUAL HEALING. The usual multi-staged reviewing and editing process. In this batch:
- Shang-Chi, of course
- Doctor Faustus. This entry was full of huge, quite complex sentences. This is now fixed and reading it has become a less suffocating experience. A few bits of art got descreened, too.
- Cyblade (will have to be redone one day, but in the meanwhile the text looks much better)
- Henri Ducard
- Stallion (DCU). Reviews and fixes, but also additional material (text and material both) after also checking the primary sources.
- Ezra – mostly rewritten since it lacked focus, more better art
- Meta – ditto
Entries count remains unchanged, of course.
* though I have no idea why anybody would search for “he lk”, honestly, but that’s how n-grams search works.