Alpha Update 0.3.1

A couple of weeks ago I published &alpha-update-030. Today I'm excited to share a new update about the Tree Explorer. If you are curious about older updates, check out the development logs archive: $rs-devlog. The intent of the Tree Explorer is to give everyone a way to discover posts, archives and writers on Reading Supply. Unlike other popular social networks, the connections are made manually by the community. An algorithm is not controlling or directing what you see, you are. Originally, I shared the early concept in an annotation with @haris. After some work, this is what I ended up with:

The implementation is simple, here is how it works:

  • The tree is composed of nodes you can visit.

  • New nodes will appear as you navigate around.

  • Use arrow keys to navigate around and discover new nodes.

  • Press return to visit the URL associated with the node.

  • Press escape to return to the beginning.



As you navigate to nodes, any node with a post, archive, or writer mention will appear. Even with our small community, the tree can get pretty big!



If a writer mentions a post, archive, or another writer in their biography, the Tree Explorer will show those relationships too. The same effect applies to archives as well.

Navigating all of these nodes should feel fun. When I was in high school. I would get together with my friends in the library and play the Wikipedia Game. Players would start on the same random article on Wikipedia, and each player must navigate to another pre selected target article. As Reading Supply grows I hope there is enough content to be able to have a similar experience.

The Tree Explorer solves practical problems too. It should be easy to find the origin of any writing such as a white paper. It should also be easy to discover the next thing to read within the context of what you are reading. Therefore I made navigating to the /explorer page convenient. Every mention of a writer, archive, or post shows a link to the Tree Explorer. Every post and user profile also has a link.





Currently, the Tree Explorer defaults to an archive named Genesis. Anyone is welcome to join the archive and publish to it.





A few big problems

It is important to get feedback early. So I shipped this release knowing there are problems.



  • The Tree Explorer can be really slow.

  • The animation motion should feel a lot smoother.

  • The breaks in animation ruin the experience at times.

  • Loading should be asynchronous and some nodes should be preloaded.

  • You can't click to navigate.



If you discover something that bothers you, please share! I want to know anything and everything! 🙏



What is in the next release?

There are small bugs everywhere :-)



I will be addressing as many as I can. Here are a few reported by the community:

  • @eyecheng reminded me that Reading Supply needs to be usable from a mobile phone.

  • @cindy helped expose how custom domains and archives don't work nicely together.

  • New lines are getting formatted as soft new lines, so sometimes markdown shortcuts will not work.





Join us

Interested in trying out Reading Supply? All you have to do is ask a member of Reading Supply for an access key. If that feels like too much, you can direct message our Twitter account. Once you get an access key you will be able to create an account and give others access. Till next time 👋

Hey! My name is Jim and I love to build websites. You can learn more about me here.

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