A lesson in WordPerss themes …

This one’s a little off topic, but it was a matter of great personal anxiety this morning so I thought I’d share … in case any of you do something similar.

While puttering around this morning I hit the blog’s admin page and saw an update to the theme I use was available.  I try to keep things up to date, I never know what bug fix or security fix needs to be included (I don’t work on web development professionally and it’s a lot to stay on top of otherwise) so I’m pretty diligent about applying updates.

The item database page is on a separate template so that it can run the scripts necessary for querying the back end database and what not, and as some of you have seen, I have put a half decent amount of time into getting it working.

After applying the theme update, all that was gone.  Let that sink in… gone… As a work in progress I haven’t backed it up anywhere and I’ve been working through a ssh shell and writing the script in vi … no auto backups anywhere.

Did I say gone?  A quick web search revealed I had just been inducted into the “Theme updates delete the folder and install a new copy from a fresh archive” club.  Yes, it deletes the whole damn folder instead of doing some sort of selective update.  Well Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds … who the hell designs this stuff like that without a warning??

Thankfully my hosting provider does nightly backups and I was able to restore the file from their backup … the guy on the phone used a “teach a man to fish” approach so I’ll be able to do this without the hour long panic attack should it ever happen again.

… and it will …

… because I’ll backup today …

… and tomorrow …

… but once I feel safe again, the files are on their own! :->

The conversion is DEAD!!!

When you look inside the corpse of the conversion you see

a SQL database containing 2500 items up to 2002

(This is just a short note to say that the conversion was fairly labour intensive, but it went very well.)

I should cover this in case it’s interesting to someone in the future approaching the same sort of problem.  As far as I can see, and I’m only in the very earliest stages of verifying data, the decision that was made during the change over from “anti-” to “allowed: ” seems to have been as follows

  • Alignment conversion is trivial, it’s obvious how this works.
  • If an item was anti a particular class make it anti the new genre the class belongs to.  If something was anti-warrior make it allowed everything except fighter and so on.
  • Some items need touching up, the one that leaps to mind is “Sun, Moon and Stars”, but that was because it used a wear program to enforce it’s restriction against warriors but allowed rangers and paladins – from the conversion point of view, this is something different than anti’s.
  • There will be items that have changed over the last 10 years.  Again, not a conversion issue.

Now that the homework’s done, down to business!

For the last week or so I’ve been absolutely obsessed with my final homework assignment, so other than a little socializing and running reroll or semi-afk golding scripts I haven’t been doing very much on the Realms.

When last we checked in I had started working on modernizing an item database that I used extensively when I played before.  This program was originally written by a player named Daltorak (a close friend, I’ll respect his privacy here) and was shared with me when I started playing.  It didn’t take long before we added a ton of useful features to it.  One of the most useful modes of this program was the ability to play “Mr. Dressup”.  Put in your character’s stats and start choosing equipment to dress them in.  This mode was invaluable for setting goals or planning different builds.  This program was collaborative, both Warren and I would share databases via ICQ and merge them.  This was years before Alexian started sharing his database with anyone.

The fact that I can use this program today and still get tremendous utility out of it is a testament to Daltorak’s original design.

What else was this great for?  Oh, any “find the item” type quest.  With nearly 2,500 entries spanning from old clan to (at the time) current, it was very hard to stump us for an item… foods, drinks, keys, scraps, whatever, we probably had it.  When we started importing the output of c ‘locate object’ and auction channel the database ballooned (these were the days before donation rooms were no-locate).

So where am I at?  I have set up a SQL database with the structure of what I think will model Realms items nicely.  Today I installed Turbo Pascal 5.5 into a VirtualBox session so that I could convert the existing database out to a comma separated spreadsheet.  You don’t appreciate how far OSes have come until you go back and do some serious text manipulation in a DOS editor… I’m telling you!!  This is almost complete and then I have to try to write an import script to the new database.  This won’t be too hard, but might be labour intensive and might reveal some flaws in my otherwise perfect plan 🙂  The item formats are in the pre-Shattering format, that is items might be “anti-good” instead of “allowed: good neutral” so a tremendous amount of verification will be needed to bring it up to a level I’ll be satisfied with it, but for now, not so bad.

Oh, yes, it is my plan that most of the database features will be available publicly … why wouldn’t I want to share and collaborate?  Exactly what form that’s going to be in is still to be determined, but feel free to comment and let me know what YOU’d like to see.