New engine, new functions, old concept: the updated OMLauncher Portal

The maintenance that was expected to end in the middle January, actually lasted almost the half of the year. Time to get back to regulary scheduled program!

  1. Why it took so much time?
  2. Where did OMLauncher download page go?
  3. Global changes
  4. Sacrificing principles
  5. Full changelog (in text)

Why it took so much time?

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to comply with project deadline, especially when duty hours leaves me with very little amount of time for creative things. It is fair to note the need for a complete rewrite of the engine, since its dual code base did not allow updating the entire site. You could notice that in OMLauncher Update Archive because it was a bunch of HTML files. Any minor mistake will result in complete structure breakdown. Despite that the alternative launcher was shut down more than a month ago, I decided to save it and upgrade. What was said, what was done: the archive is rewritten from scratch and optimized for search bots.

I'm not sure if the upgrade is successfully completed, so I need help with finding bugs in the whole thing. The known issues are listed in the end of the article, please don't report them again.

If you want to report a problem you found, join our Discord server. You should carefully read its rules and agree with them. When you will be ready, feel free to submit a report in #omlauncher-discussion channel.

Where did OMLauncher download page go?

On April 16, 2021 all OMLauncher and OMWGUS servers were shut down. The corresponding page was removed for the same reason.

Global changes

It is difficult to say how much the changes in the engine affected the appearance of the page, at least the page compiling speed was increased by reducing the number of elements on it, CSS files were slightly redesigned to reduce their size. After optimization, their size decreased by 9.94%.

Along with CSS files optimization, the styles itself got noticeable compatibility improvements for all Chrome and Chromium based browsers. The pages will look same in all versions of these browsers (and those who use their engines) starting from very first and ending with the latest ones. The screenshot below shows how Chrome handles Community section's landing page. The compatibility warning is gone afterwards because no more issues ocurred.

I didn't forget about Internet Explorer while working on Chrome and Chromium compatibility improvements. CSS rules that were loaded upon Internet Explorer 10 request were useful to fix Chrome issues, that's why they were merged with the main stylesheets. Intenet Explorer 9 still requires special care, its wishes are satisfied by the engine as much as possible there. There might be minor issues that don't ruin the navigation process.

Sacrificing principles

Legends tell that OMLauncher website was designed to be completely functional without JavaScript on the client side. Unfortunately, some elements couldn't be implemented in pure CSS. The multiple page carousel located on home page and in Community. The pure CSS implementation is incompatible with Internet Explorer 11, no need to ask what happens in older versions. The original carousel from World of Tanks website was added due to that. It is based on code written by Wargaming back in 2012. To reduce the amount of JavaScript files in the loaded page, the engine includes the jQuery library and a lightweight version of the Wargaming library for the carousel only for those pages.

The slides are rolled every ten seconds, you can open any slide you want just by clicking the button in top left corner.

The plan was to be fine only with JavaScript carousel, but the navigation panel reminded about its existence. There were two navigation panels that didn't have any connection between each other. If you were in mobile mode and stretched the browser window in width (or rotated your smartphone horizontally), you would notice that opened dropdown menus on mobile side were closed on desktop one.

The problem was solved with JavaScript. It also removed some duplicated page elements. Nice bonus is included: if you click outside the navigation panel, the dropdown menus will be closed.

If you are in mobile mode right now, clicking (tapping) outside it will close both navigation and dropdown menus.

This is the end of major changes review. You can find the full changelog below. This is what was done in last five months.

Full changelog (in text)

Fixes and improvements:

  • New website engine
  • Added a feature to use links without explicit language setting
  • Fixed wrong margin for language switcher
  • Fixed an issue with service messages appearing on the content area.
  • Added active state for opened dropdown navigation menus
  • Fixed an issue with borders in dropdown navigation menus
  • Added external link icon for some elements
  • Navigation panel can be closed by clicking outside of it
  • Reworked a navigation menu compiler function to improve rendering on mobile devices
  • Added useful links in footer section related to World of Tanks
  • Fixed synchronization of the indicator of the latest version of the game on some pages
Home page:
  • Added multiple slides support for the carousel
  • Carousel changes its size depending on screen width
  • Minor visual fixes for banner between news on the home page
  • Fixed an issue where news categories were not displayed on the portal home page.
  • Reworked World of Tanks RSS feed reader
  • New graphics for 'Join our Discord Server' banner
  • Removed OMLauncher alternative launcher download page
  • Removed the offer to perform troubleshooting with WGCheck install the alternative launcher
  • Removed OMLauncher and OMWGUS installation files
  • News viewer: new page compiler
  • News viewer: added an option to read the article in other languages when available
  • News viewer: fixed an issue with line feed character
  • New categories link format
  • News list: when the category is selected, a brief description is shown when available
  • Sidebar: fixed top margin for Important News section
  • Added multiple slides support for the carousel
  • Carousel changes its size depending on screen width
  • Useful Sofware section pages are rendered the same way as news
  • New categories link format
  • Useful Software: OMLauncher update archive is hidden due to service shutdown, the access is still available
  • Useful Software: navigation improvements for OMLauncher update archive, new links format