IO Report # 6 (2022-02-14)

This report was submitted by IO/FA Turtle Jerrar/CS-3/VSD Stalwart


Emperor's Hammer Internet Office

Internet Officer Report #6

13 February, 2022
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Welcome to the sixth installment of my Internet Officer report. We have some exciting news and announcements to make!

Internet Office Activity

Logistics Officer Position Realigned and New Logistics Officer Selected

Following the departure of FA Mark Schueler, GA Rapier has realigned the position of Logistics Officer, placing it within the Internet Office as a supporting staff officer and Command Staff member. An updated position and duty description has been posted on the Emperor's Hammer wiki Logistics Officer page.

I am pleased to announce that after careful consideration, the Fleet Commander and I have selected Jaxx "Hijacker" Nassin as the new Logistics Officer of the Emperor's Hammer. I am happy to welcome him to the Internet Office team, and look forward to working with him on efforts designed to improve resources across the Emperor’s Hammer and its Groups. Commensurate with this appointment, he has been advanced to the flag rank of Rear Admiral with a date of rank of 4 February 2022.

Per his request, Hijacker will also maintain an assignment within Firebird squadron.

I would like to personally thank the candidates that worked through the application process for this position. The commitment to maintaining and improving the Emperor’s Hammer for our members was evident in each of the applications we received.

Project Minos Relevancy - Phase 1 Release

The Internet Office team is happy to present the initial “phase 1” release of the new web site in support of the Minos Relevancy project.

A lot of the work on this project has gone on “under the hood”. This included things such as restructuring and manipulation of ~1.4 million database records and upwards of 70GB of archived data. We have done a lot of work to normalize database structures, eliminate duplication and errors caused by past code, and improve the efficiency of queries.

We’re happy to get this initial release to you so that you can start reaping some of the improvements in functionality and ease of use. Most importantly for the IO team, the transition to the new code and database structure provides us the ability to deliver more frequent iterative releases. This provides us the capability to deliver improvements and enhancements without needing to wait on a long-term monolithic release.

We’re well aware that there are some rough edges, and likely some bugs that will appear in the coming days and weeks. If things aren’t working the way you expect them to, please let us know. Issues should be reported via the GitHub IO incoming isssues queue so that we can appropriately triage and track the issue. When reporting issues, please try and be specific to give us enough information to effectively troubleshoot. While we generally try to be responsive to any issues raised and @mentioned through Discord, it’s easy for us to miss something among ~70+ channels.

Because the number of changes are too numerous to list, here are some highlights:

Usability Enhancements
  • Many areas that require selecting a specific member (match submissions, search, join form, member record management, etc.) support a flexible member search component. The search component allows versatile searching by a member's name, PIN, or ID line information such as assigned position(s) or unit. Begin typing in the field to view possible matches, and click on a member to select them.
  • We now support Markdown formatted text in areas where plain text, HTML, or ugly hybrids of the two was the norm. Markdown provides support for simple formatting to add emphasis and structure to your text. Don't need formatting? Write in plain text and there's nothing else you need to think about. Not familiar with Markdown? Use the new rich text editor which adds the appropriate Markdown annotations to your text, and lets you preview the result. Drag and drop images from your computer to include them within your text; they are uploaded and archived on the site, eliminating the need to host them yourself and potential for them to break in the future.
  • In areas where HTML input has been historically accepted, we are continuing to do so. However, HTML support should be considered deprecated, and will likely be limited or removed in the future.
  • Improvements to multiplayer match submissions including easy member selection, prefilling of last submission for the same platform and list of players, and an arbitrary number of players for each team. (We have currently administratively capped the data entry at 10 players per team, but if there is reason to increase this please coordinate your request through the COO office.)
  • The Battle Submission Form (BSF) process should be a lot better for everyone. If the selected file follows the standard naming convention (`9555TIETC1.tfr`), it will pre-populate the pilot and battle selections. Basic errors relating to invalid files will be communicated up-front, with no need to wait for TAC processing. The form is built with enhanced web components for pilot and battle selection, as well as a pilot file data viewer.
New Features
  • Lots of improvements to timed tests. Some of these include a test information page, a management interface for test runners, semi-automated scoring functionality, and the option to require an image upload for the test answer.
  • The COO staff has a significantly improved queue processing system that incorporates certain automated checks and eases handling of common match report problems. The updated system should improve their efficiency in processing match reports.
  • The kill boards no longer rely on a separate storage mechanism, which proved to be problematic and prone to inaccurate data. They are now computed at run time from submission histories.
  • Posts to the front news page will now automatically post to the Discord announcements channel. Markdown is supported in news posts and is the preferred method of preparing news posts, but HTML can be used as well. (We strip HTML posts down to plain text for compatibility with Discord, but Markdown posts will be sent as-is and render with Discord’s native Markdown support.)
  • The site now provides a very flexible notification system that we’re pretty excited about. Certain site activities (that probably generated an e-mail in the past) now generate a notification event. In your account preferences, you can select which types of notifications you would like to receive e-mails for, and whether to receive a message immediately or in a daily digest. We’ve selected what we feel are some sensible defaults for these settings based on feedback from our testers, and you can change them at any time in your profile settings. All notifications generated for your account are always visible in the site’s native notification viewer. Overall, this system should provide much greater flexibility to receive information via e-mail that is relevant to you and your duties, and reduce the burden of unwanted site-generated e-mails.
  • We have developed a flexible approval queue system that is currently implemented for promotion recommendations and awards. This system provides the capability for intermediate review or approval authorities. For each request, the submitter can view the status of their request and see where it is currently at in the approval process. Approvers now have the option to return certain requests back to the submitter for corrections. This enables small corrections or updates to requests without requiring them to be denied and re-submitted.
  • There is now a consolidated page to view your various pending requests (promotion recommendations, medal recommendations, match reports, etc.).
Unit Management and TTT3 Integration
  • Squadrons/wings/ships are now implemented as units, and there are many improvements to unit settings. A few that Squadron Commanders may want to direct their attention to include:
    • Setting a description for their unit. This description is displayed on the “About Squadrons” page.
    • Setting primary and secondary colors for their unit. These colors establish some theming for the unit on certain pages, for example on “About Squadrons.”
    • Setting a helmet base color and decoration color. These colors will be provided as defaults to members of the Squadron in the upcoming version of TTT3, streamlining helmet creation for Squadrons that like to standardize their helmets.
  • Because all units now operate within a standard framework, ships can now set a patch that will be displayed on the unit roster and information page. (Uniform policy remains that unit patches are only worn on the shoulder for FMs, FLs, and CMDRs.)

This phase 1 release serves as a starting point for us to continue development. Refer to my Internet Officer Report #5 for additional information concerning each phase of the project.

I would like to thank the Internet Office team for their continued contributions during this project. Whether it was commiting code, providing expert advice and insight, testing, or helping to fix problems, your contributions were invaluable. I'll be putting out some more formal recognitions in the near future, so for now - thanks!

Reminder: TTT3 Certificate-Related Problem

Following some changes to the Let’s Encrypt certification authority on 30 September, a few users started experiencing problems with TTT3. This problem manifests as a "No Internet Connection" warning in TTT3. We’re still working to understand a little better why the library used in TTT3 has trouble with the new certificate chaining on certain people’s systems. As a workaround, members experiencing this problem should download and install the Let's Encrypt R3 certificate from https://letsencrypt.org/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.der. After downloading the certificate, right click it, select Install Certificate, and proceed through the dialogs. Windows will automatically place the cert into the correct store.

From Around the Internet Office

  • VA Silwar Naiilo has updated and published a revised version of Gonk that implements the updated ATR information provided by the migrated site.

  • Following some internal coordination and discussions, MAJ Kalve Ryder has been working on customizable lightsaber components (3D assets). Our intent is to build custom lightsaber functionality into TTT3. You’ll see more news on this in the coming months as we refine the project in conjunction with updated policies coming out of the Dark Brotherhood.

Other Internet Office Activity

  • We'd like to welcome the Airlock Podcast, hosted by CPT LegionX, to the Emperor’s Hammer YouTube channel. If members have original content that they would like to include on the YouTube channel, please contact me for details and permissions.
  • Updated APIs for new site codebase: fleet, squadron, pilot, atr.
  • Perfomed a review of Emperor's Hammer policy documents, converted formatting, and updated as needed: Bylaws, Articles of War, Code of Conduct, Cheating Policy, Privacy Policy, Copyrights & Disclaimers, and LucasArts Rules.

Miscellaneous - Internet Officer

  • Work and coordination in support of IO projects including TTT3 development, 3D asset creation, APIs, and a handful of other stuff.
  • Internal discussion of some future IO project concepts.
  • Continual coordination with various leaders regarding EH operations (daily and strategic).
  • Coding... coding... coding... in support of Minos Relevancy. This has unfortunately led to my lack of presence in any of our gaming platforms. I hope to fly with all of you again soon.

Internet Office Priorities and Lines of Effort

LOE 1: Modernize and Unify Emperor’s Hammer Database

Objectives: Unify the main Emperor's Hammer and TIE Corps web sites and databases, implementing full support for the Dark Brotherhood and any potential future Groups, as well as cross-group functions such as the Imperial University. Modernize the codebase and database backend. Refactor and/or recode as necessary to implement modern techniques and standards that supports the continued maintenance of existing features, and eases implementation of new features and changes. Update the front end web site to present a user experience more consistent with modern sites, while maintaining and improving on core functionality unique to our organization and critical to its operation.

LOE 2: Audit Emperor’s Hammer Web Properties

Objectives: Conduct continuous audit and improvement of Emperor’s Hammer hosted resources to validate clarity, accuracy, and relevance. Links to defunct EH sites are removed or updated as appropriate. The Internet Office will update documents or resources within our purview, and identify proponents of other documents/resources. Key policy documents and manuals are reviewed and validated at least annually. Command intent is that the EH presents a uniform web presence that is as easy and intuitive as possible for new members to navigate.

LOE 3: Support Emperor’s Hammer Operations Through Automation

Objectives: Continually seek and implement innovative solutions to common Emperor’s Hammer functions through automation. Support each Group’s daily operations by improving processes for activity tracking and member recognition. Leverage data and automation to improve daily operations, and support long term Group efforts.

Suggestions and Issues

To request feature enhancements or report bugs for any Internet Office-supported project, please use the IO issues incoming queue on GitHub. This provides our office with a structured process to review, comment on, and refer issues as appropriate.

We are always interested in members that would like to assist with Emperor’s Hammer projects. We’re especially interested in people with experience in PHP, JavaScript, Python, graphics design, and 3D modeling. Please send me a message if you have any skills and time you would like to share with the EH.

Internet Office Staff

Information regarding current Internet Office projects and policy issuances can be found at ehnet.org.

Closing

I can be reached as needed by way of e-mail (linked from my TIE Corps profile), or Discord at turtlexiv#5752.

io-patch-2022-full.png TURTLE JERRAR
Fleet Admiral, Emperor's Hammer
Internet Officer
IO/FA Turtle Jerrar/CS-3/VSD Stalwart
GOE/GS/SS/BSx3/PCx3/ISMx9/IAR/MoI/MoC-poc-goc-soc-12boc/MUA/IS-2GW-2SW-7BW-CW-PR-4GR-3SR-3BR-2CR/LoC-RS/LoS-CS/DFC/CoE/CoLx6/CoB/LoAx9/OV-25E
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