Jahed Ahmed

FrontierNav Report: December 2018

Progress Report

Changes in December


Preview showing the new entity pages and navigation across different guides.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Full changelog on GitHub.

Entity Pages and Terminology

I'm still not 100% on the terminology to use, but Entity Pages are basically like Wiki pages. They represent a "thing", which is what an "Entity" is. Entities have "Properties" and "Relationships" which are visualised using "Guides". The goal of Entity Pages is to link all of this up for fast, consistent navigation.

Mobile Support

Pretty much every wiki I've used works horribly on mobile, so for FrontierNav I've been actively trying to keep a pleasant user experience. It does make the overall application more complicated, but seeing the end result is almost always satisfying.

Navigation is maintained when going from one screen size to another.

Properties vs. Relationships

I mentioned that "Entities" have "Properties" and "Relationships". Thinking about it further, I don't think there's a need to distinguish them.

For example, you can have an Item with a "price" property of "100", but that could equally be a "price" relationship with a property of 100 to a "Gold" entity. This would also allow you to go from "Gold" and see a list of ways its used in different quantities.

However, it adds an additional layer of data, lookups and complexity so I'm in no rush to solve it.

Community Features

While I was auditing the database, I noticed new users were registering almost daily. That was kind of a surprise.

When I work on FrontierNav, I always have this mindset that at most maybe one person might be using it. The rest being bots and people passing by. But that doesn't seem to be true.

It's a shame that this activity isn't at all visible in the app itself. While I'd hate for FrontierNav to become yet another off-topic social network, it'd be nice if the app acknowledged the existence of other users. Kind of like the Blade Reports in Xenoblade X. Just a way of saying "We're here too!"... I miss Miiverse...

Data Editor

Now that there's a page listing all the categories, pages for each category and pages for each entity, I can start experimenting with interfaces to edit FrontierNav's data.

A few years back, I had a simple form-based approach, but as more data was added, using individual forms became really slow. Similar to manually editing wiki pages. I've mainly relied on spreadsheets and scripts nowadays.

A spreadsheet is probably a good direction to start with. Though, I can see it getting really complicated.

Next Steps

Highest priority right now is to fill in the missing data for Xenoblade 2 and improve its presentation.

It'd also be nice to get a basic editor up, even if it's just experimental. Though, it'd be just as nice to get some community features up to test the waters. An editor without a community isn't too useful, especially considering participation inequality.

Thanks for reading.

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