Weird Waves is now in beta! In fact, while writing this I realised it's almost out of beta, going by the goals I set at the start. Here's how its progress looked in alpha, is looking in beta, and will hopefully look in gamma:
First, I got the basic script up and running, so the site can play audio tracks on a schedule that's the same for every listener and seamlessly move from schedule to schedule each week, and I laid out and styled the site to give it a decently-readable presentation. Total show count: 104/100 by the end.
Second, I've added extra features and options that make the site more useable (or just that I think are neat) while tweaking the scripts and style. More info in the rest of this post! Total show count: 132/250 at the moment.
Third, I'll fine-tune things, add more decoration, and make a general version of Weird Waves for anyone out there who wants to use the format themselves. Total show count: aiming for 520 (so with the current 10 shows per schedule, each show could be used once per year).
And then at some point in the future I'll see about rewriting certain parts of the code from scratch, because there's probably better or more efficient ways to do some of the things the main script does.
Beta to-do list
Here's my to-do list for beta, expanded a bit from the to-do list I wrote on the app's news section when I finished alpha:
- make a landing page with recent news, a schedule overview, and the upcoming forecast
- add a theme picker that lets you pick from pre-set colour schemes
- add a sans-serif font option
- add a "personal primetime" setting so you can mark ranges of time on the Forecast (to e.g. mark out the times you can listen to shows)
- use custom and/or templated HTML for boilerplate-heavy structures like the toggle switches and palette buttons in Settings (the theme picker takes up ~5 kB by itself)
- get to 250 shows in the Archive
The landing “page” is done, including a feature that highlights recent news (with 24 hours leeway) and a little intro section was well:
Theme and font pickers
The theme picker's also done, with 4, then 12 themes (6 dark, 6 light). Each one's got a button marked with the name and colour palette. With 1(?) exception, every colour combination meets the triple-A WCAG 2.0 guideline. I'm thinking of doing some more colour schemes later—gimmicky ones that maybe aren't as useable or accessible as the regular 12—but for now, this is done (theme in the screenshots is Ash):
The font picker looks pretty much the same, but it's just got 2 options for now: serif (Bitter) and sans (Fira Sans).
Finally, I added “personal primetime”, which adds dots beside shows in the range of time you mark as “primetime” in the settings:
Reaching 250 shows
I'm gonna have to branch out to get to 250, since of the 6 series/sources I've got so far I'm pretty much done with 2 (Lights Out and Quiet, Please) and another 2 don't have much left (Suspense and probably Mindwebs). Here are some other sources I'm looking at:
Dimension X, a sci-fi OTR series that might have a few weirder episodes
Seeing Ear Theatre, a sci-fi radio play series that ran in the late 90s to early 00s (but the rights situation is a little hazy)
PseudoPod, a podcast of book readings, including recently-published(!) stories (only problem is a combination of 1: being released under a non-derivative license and 2: sometimes having minutes of discussion before and after the reading)
public domain BBC Radio material (there's a bunch of stuff on the Internet Archive), like Appointment with Fear (British radio thriller anthology with some weirder stuff thrown in, like Suspense)
Macabre, an 8-episode OTR play anthology done by and for the US armed forces
The SCP Archives, readings of SCP entries and tales
The Black Mass, a (mostly) 1960s radio horror anthology adapted from short fiction
All are (at least de facto) in the public domain or released under open licenses, except maybe Seeing Ear Theatre and The Black Mass (need to do more research).
bookmarking: Originally I was gonna add toggle buttons to every show's metadata to act as bookmarks (so you could e.g. mark shows you've already heard). Then I realised 3 problems:
this'd add a shitload of extra elements (the most consistent way to do it would be with the toggle buttons I'm using in Settings, but that'd double the number of elements per show from ~7 to ~14)
this wouldn't persist across containers, browsers, or devices
locally-stored browser data can be corrupted or deleted with no backup
font size setting: since modern browsers can already basically do that using the zoom command I didn't see a point in actually doing it.
changing CSS for News Archive: right now the News Archive has a (mostly-empty) radio container that just exists so the page gets laid out right in widescreen mode. I just don't think this is a big problem.
It feels kinda weird to know that I've built the site up to where I wanted it to be when I started making it (other than decorations and number of shows, and other ongoing stuff like adding links). It looks fine (AFAIK) at different screen sizes, it hasn't (to my knowledge) got any critical bugs in certain browsers, it has all the features and icons I was planning, it's (relatively) efficient (I think), it's got over 100 shows
I've still gotta finish the to-do list. The biggest part will be getting to 250 shows—the reason I'm counting that as beta and not just doing it in the background is it stretches out the beta so (hopefully) more people can try out the site and I can catch any weird errors.
That said, I might combine beta and gamma (except the part about getting to 520 shows in gamma) and release the generic app at the end of beta.Return to top