A Whole New World

We look different! It’s not just you, it was totally us.

Rose's Reveal

This new theme was built from scratch by us. Tracy, and her co-worker Scott, came up with the design and implemented the layout. I wrote some of the weirder reusable code bits and sped up the processing. Together, we have made a beautiful, professional, fast website.

The Design

I had only two thoughts about the design. First it had to be pretty gay, by which I meant it should celebrate queerness. The rainbow toaster, for example, should stay, and any color choices made should pair well with it. Also? I wanted to keep the pink.

Somehow Tracy took that, reviewed a million other media sites, and came up with a design we both loved.

Hello, Tracy here 👋. A site redesign had been on my mind since Mika and I met up in Disneyland last March. Luckily, I co-own a web development company and was able to recruit one of my employees, Scott Wilson, to help. We looked at a lot of Entertainment Media sites. I wanted the new site to highlight the wealth of data we’ve accumulated in the 3 years since Mika & I first built it. It also needed to be a good platform for news and commentary on the state of LGBT representation in the media. Lastly, I want folks to easily find the shows that do a good job of showing our stories while not killing us off.

What makes our site unique is Mika and I are both web developers with very complimentary skills. Combine that with our obsession with LGBT TV and we can build a really fabulous site.

The Code

This is the boring part.

We did ‘cheat’ a little, using a starter theme. It’s based on Underscores, but it was the one Tracy’s company uses, so it had a lot of extra bits and bobs already set up. What it didn’t have was the incredibly crazy code we had to cope with people like Sara Lance (3 shows, 2 actors, dead but alive), and shows like The L Word (where I had to write a ‘Yet another character who sleeps with Shane.’ hot key command).

There’s a code concept called DRY – it stands for “Don’t Repeat Yourself” and it’s meant to, well, write code that can be reused without having to rewrite it over and over, or having to remember all the hundred places you need to edit to make a change. The problem with that is you have to properly accommodate in the beginning for things like multiple actors or shows. That’s “The Sara Lance Conundrum” for you.

The other problem was that you don’t want code to run forever. That means when you tell your code “Get me a list of all characters from this show!” you want to set the number of possible characters, otherwise you’ll search your entire database every time. That makes a site slow. Most shows have less than 20 characters, but there’s one that absolutely does not. We call this problem “The Shane Clause” because of exactly what you’re thinking.

The End Result

After a few weeks of work (in between family obligations and the work that pays us), we built out, tested, tweaked, tested some more, and cleaned up the whole design to present to you this. Our new theme.

It’s fast, it’s good looking, and it displays data just as fast (if not faster) than the old theme.

We hope you like it too!

About Mika (ipstenu) Epstein

Mika is a longtime fangirl, with experience in running fansites and organizing communities, especially with WordPress and Tracy. Mika lives with her wife in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid.

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