State of the Blog

I figured the milestone of 100 puzzles would be a good opportunity to reflect a bit on the blog itself.

In terms of the content, this was never really meant to be purely a puzzle blog. I also wanted to use this as a devblog for my game development projects, but I’ve just been stuck so deep in logic puzzle land the last few months that there was no development to blog about. If and when I do get back into making games, don’t be surprised if some other content will pop up here as well.

On the technical side of things, the whole setup is of course very minimalist, which was intentional to get something off the ground quickly when I first started this blog last year. But some of the resulting limitations are starting to show with the growing amount of content here.

I have a bunch of plans to improve the blog, of varying urgency. And I figured I should maybe just list some of them here, to give myself a bit of accountability to actually get around to implementing them:

Example puzzles

There’s a number of things I want to improve about the puzzle-rules system, but the most egregious omission is the lack of example puzzles. Especially when it comes to original genres and variants, I currently have to rely on my rule wording and the first/easiest example to be clear enough to teach it to people. I really want to set something up to display a small example puzzle below each rules box for reference.

Of course it’s going to be a lot of work to backfill these examples for older puzzles, but that shouldn’t stop me from adding in the functionality and at least having examples for all puzzles moving forward.

I will need to put a bit of thought into how I’m going to set this up (especially when it comes to variants), but it should be doable.

Currently, the only way to browse the blog is to go through the pages one by one. That makes it a huge pain to get back to the first posts, let alone find any specific puzzle again. There’s a few things I want to do to improve this:

  • Better pagination. It should at least be possible to skip ahead a couple pages at a time and go straight to the earliest page.
  • Browse by genre. This seems like the most important feature here. I already have the metadata I need for this, but I’ll need to generate the relevant pages.
  • Maybe a sort of archive where you just get lists of post titles for each month or so. This doesn’t seem as crucial with improved pagination, but might still be useful, especially as the blog keeps growing.

At this point, it might also be nice to have a list of my original genres (and maybe genre-agnostic variants) somewhere on the blog.

Build automation

This one’s mostly for myself. I have a bit of automation set up to simplify the process of updating the blog after writing a new post, but it’s very rudimentary. I still need to type in a bunch of commands to open everything on my local machine to write the post and test it, and then manually SSH onto the server to run the build script.

It would be nice to automate those steps further and save myself a bunch of time going forward.

Those are the main points I’d like to improve about the blog in the near term. Let’s check back after puzzle #200 and see how that went.