Irydacea.me

Hi, and welcome to Irydacea.me, my little semi-secret project for the past year that’s finally complete!

Cover screenshot

After years of relying on other people host my website, I’m finally in a position where I can do it all on my own and run any software stack I want — and more importantly, use my own personalized domain name, a name that took no small amount of effort to decide upon but is now consistently used for my socials and GitHub.

(The exception being one service where I’m still shadowm because it’s just so, so lucky I got hold of the name before anyone else back in the day and I sort of want to keep bragging about how I got the name before anyone else there. Naturally, Iris is already taken.)

But the new website isn’t just a pretty domain name, no. Following over a year of constant pestering from Vultraz to join the cool kids and learn about —ugh— modern —ack— Web development instead of staying stuck in 2012 or so, I finally got around to learning... React. Yes. This whole thing is written in React + Gatsby, which probably makes it more of a serious project than Iris/Amethyst or Dorset ever were — by virtue of having had to write half of it by hand instead of relying on a pre-existing CMS, and hand-coding a lot of new features.

So let me give you a little run-down of what’s changed.

Project portfolio section screenshot

Art portfolio section screenshot

About section screenshot

Blog screenshot

The refurbished Projects section is much tidier than before, with all content carefully arranged to mislead people into believing I am at least half-competent at the stuff I do. I tried to make things more concise and accessible for people who have absolutely no idea what Wesnoth is. I would like to think I succeeded.

Under Art you can now find a few galleries of... well, art, and web design projects I have done in the past. Naturally, the bulk of it is art I made for Wesnoth under the Project Ethea umbrella (meaning Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm) — pixel art, to be precise. I did see fit to include a few screenshots of my largest web design project yet, codename Wesmere a.k.a. the Wesnoth.org site design used since mid 2017. I have a half mind to include Norsula + Ayame (Irydacea.me) in there at a later time, but I feel that might be too presumptuous of me to do. 😄

The Articles page is gone since my plan to write reviews of Wesnoth user-made content never really panned out for a multitude of reasons.

About and Contact are once again merged into one. I made the bio portion of About less wordy and more to the point, while still sticking to the same informal style I’m known for. My contact info is now included in a cleaner form and I don’t seem to be allergic to email anymore! (Just don’t tell people that I will not be checking my main contact address too often.)

And finally, the Blog is still here, and not much has changed for a casual onlooker since the content is generally the same. What really did change about it is that the backend is no longer Serendipity — instead, it is the exact same backend as the rest of the website! It’s also all static. Yep. All blog posts are built from a Markdown/MDX source to allow me to focus on the content instead of the markup going forward.

The transition to a static blog does mean that all comments and comment posting functionality are gone, and they are not coming back. It’s not a huge loss anyway, as most people commented through Twitter, IRC or Discord instead. It does also mean I am no longer in posession of rando email and IP addresses and don’t create cookies, all of which is a huge plus in this economy. Finally, it also means that the httpd does not need write access to any files. There are only wins here.

Primrose cover prototype screenshot

Primrose About section screenshot

Primrose Blog prototype screenshot

The backend and content portion of this initial iteration of Irydacea.me is codenamed Norsula, while the CSS/design is Ayame. I have always said Norsula plays a crucial role in Project Ethea lore, and as a matter of fact there was a development iteration of Dorset7 for shadowm.rewound.net codenamed Ethea before merging it into what eventually became Iris (and later Amethyst).

In 2020 I made the bulk of Ayame’s general design under codename Primrose — more on that below — but the result never managed to convince me and made me feel like I was heading entirely in the wrong direction. At the time I was also working with a Jekyll-based codebase under codename Norsula. I don’t think that was a bad idea by any means, it’s just that the project didn’t live up to my expectations and only caused me unnecessary frustration. Thus, I decided to shelve both Norsula and Primrose indefinitely.

A year later, I resolved to resume Norsula’s development as soon as I decided on a new username for my online activities, and rushed to pick a Node.js-based solution based on Vultraz’s previous badgering about the matter. I was fully expecting to write a lot of things from scratch, but to say I underestimated the amount of work and learning that would be involved would be putting it lightly, so say the least. Did I learn stuff like he wanted? Yeah, I guess. What did it cost, though? At least I am 100% positive it was a character-building experience.

Although Ayame absorbed a bunch of code from Primrose into itself, I still consider them separate projects due to some major palette differences. Because I still can’t seem to get over my addiction to CSS preprocessing, it’s all written in Sass. But very much unlike Wesmere and Iris/Amethyst, it doesn’t have a pesky icon font in it and just styles embedded SVGs from Norsula instead. Glorious embedded SVGs.

Hosting my website under ai0867.net wasn’t an issue for either of us by any means, but I have been well aware for years that AI0867 doesn’t have much time for server maintenance, and our provider also doesn’t make it particularly convenient to keep the OS on the latest feature release for reasons beyond my understanding (a heavily customized kernel is involved). However, for building, testing and deploying software I really need the flexibility that comes with being able to manage the entire OS by myself on demand.

shadowm.ai0867.net is now a permanent redirect to irydacea.me. There may be a lot of broken links for sure, although I have set up redirects for most things that matter. Mind you, my original plan was to start the blog over from a clean slate, but I changed my mind after realizing that people continue to link to my Wesnoth Evolution posts in the official Wesnoth Discord in 2021.

There is a distinct possibility that we’ll pull the plug on shadowm.ai0867.net for good after a year, so if you have any links or bookmarks pointing here — whyever someone would do that — you might want to fix them. 💜