House of Kenja – Vanguard:SoH Site

Over the last month or so I have been busy in a new game. And as usual I have found it to be a good excuse to try out some new things. Specifically I felt I needed a place to store some information and I couldn’t find a good desktop tool for it. So instead I decided to make a site for it.

Of course to be useful for quick data entry I needed to add a bunch of AJAXy stuff. Having already had experience with the Dojo toolkit it would have been the easy way to go. But then I needed some backend to power it too. PHP would have been an obvious choice since it is so easy to host. But data persistence is so annoying to setup. Instead I found out that Dreamhost (where I have an account) also supports Ruby on Rails.

Having made my salary on Java development these last years I have, of course, heard a lot of hype about the framework. So i figured it would be a good time as any to give it a spin and see what makes it so great.

Getting off the ground is super easy it seems. Rails is based on conventions and code generators. So getting a quick CRUD site together is as easy as running a script, configure data access and generate some boilerplate code for the tables you want to access. And you are off.

But that is where the chain breaks a little. One of the comments I have seen about Rails is that compared to Java persistence frameworks like Hibernate (that I learned entirely from the manual on their website) documentation is much better for Rails. And you wouldn’t need to buy books. Strange tho since the most prominent links on their documentation page is two books and their ‘manual’ is a couple of descriptions of add ons to the framework and not the framework basics itself. So basically you are left with a conventions-based framework that only has documentation the the actual API. Yay!

But Google (or any search engine really) is your friend here. Good queries and some patience sifting though mailing lists and blogs will eventually answer most questions.

The actual framework is nice enough once you get to know it. I don’t really like the syntax of Ruby very much. After years of C-based languages I miss the easily read block markers that curly braces make. Having an ‘end’ keyword blends into the code too easily even in well-formatted text IMO.

As for the actual site it will flow with my motivation to play the game. And Vanguard is somewhat down that scale right now. I got a basic site up with room for most of the diplomacy essentials. Cards and NPC decks. I also added the option for registered users to build their own deck but it does not do much other than just your cards.

I’ve gotten a lot of work to add quests to the site also. Mostly with the main focus still being on diplomacy. I’ll likely finish it up sometime soon if I get a spare moment. Apart from that my work on the site is a little dubious. But then as long as I am the only real user it does not matter too much I suppose.

It’s been placed on my ‘House of Kenja’ domain like the Dark and Light map since it is where I do my ‘gaming stuff’.
The site can be found here: House of Kenja – Vanguard site.

No Trackback/Pingback

You can trackback from your own site.

  • Garry

    I love what you’re doing. I too am using my Vanguard addiction to help develop new skills. I am currently learning PHP and MySQL. My plan appears similar to yours, in that I hope to take what VGTact started with their great Wiki but within my site as MySQL/PHP driven. I have a long way to go, and haven’t even uploaded anything to a public host, but am excited about the learning.

    Good luck with your site and I will continue checking in to see how it goes.

    Lanwin Mudtoe
    Flamehammer