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Presenting Magic in the Browser Beta Release v0.1.0

Posted by Matt Soukup at 10:05 PM MST on 2015-10-23

Six years of development has led to this announcement... At last.

Dial back the clocks to 2009-- I just graduated from college. You can't imagine the vacuum that leaves in your day-to-day routine. (Or maybe you can.) It was only natural that this void would be filled by a combination of my two favorite hobbies: Magic: the Gathering and JavaScript.

The Magic software landscape of the day (Apprentice and Magic Workstation) left much to be desired. The obvious evolution was a web application that sidestepped the hassle of installing a program and manually updating new expansions. The next few years were spent working on a never-released version (v0.0.0, if you will) largely not knowing what the hell I was doing. At that point, it had a chatroom, a deck editor, and solitaire play mode. Functional? yes. Robust? Not quite.

Early version solitaire mode
OLD VERSION: Solitaire mode for playtesting two decks against each other

The amount of technical debt that early project had accumulated was unsustainable. Beginning in 2012, I declared technical bankruptcy and restarted fresh. I laid a new foundation of broadened experience and open source web frameworks. And nearly 4 years later, here we are.

Releasing this first version has been a struggle. In the past, I've made the big mistake of promising release dates and then coming up short-- of releasing something "just to release" trading proper QA for an abundance of "loose" functionality. Where does one draw the line? How does one determine the minimally viable product? We obviously want enough functionality for users to gain something, and those features we do have should be high quality and (nearly) bug-free. The devil is in the details, though, and there was always that one last fix I wanted to squeeze in. Any potential bugfix or "necessary" feature ehancement sparked an internal conflict: To fix or not to fix before releasing?

Today, the state of mitb in my state of mind has finally reached an equilibrium. Now presenting Magic in the Browser beta v0.1.0:

Deck Editor

Deck Editor: Card grid view

Deck Editor: Card list view
The two deck list views: drag and drop (top) and card list (bottom)

The cornerstone of mitb is the deck editor, and it has two primary goals: rich user experience and rapid deck construction. A deck can be manipulated in either one of two views. The first view is an image-based drag-and-drop view (similar to magic online). The second view is closer to a traditional text-based list but augmented with card art and mana costs. Deck construction was engineered to be lightning fast through its first-class keyboard support.

Sharing Decks

Share Deck
A deck can be made public and accessed by a URL

By default, all decks are private. Once a deck is made public, it can be shared with others via a URL. Viewers of your deck get access to the same two views available to the deck editor. Twitter and Facebook icons allow sharing across social media.

News

News Entry
Updates will be made available on the news page

We will be posting updates to the news section. It has a minimalist commenting system, which will be primary avenue for user feedback.

Preferences

Preferences
The Display Preferences tab allows you to choose any card's art as an avatar

The preferences page currently administers a few customization options (background, avatar) as well as some boilerplate account management (change password, change email, etc.).

Roadmap

Here are some of the higher priority enhancements we will be focusing on

  • Advanced Card Search

    Today, users must know a card's name in order to add it to a deck

  • Search Public Decks

    Users should be able to search for public decks by other users

  • Solitaire Mode

    Being able to goldfish a deck is helpful for making tweaks and understanding the matchups

  • Profile Pages

    Tell others more about yourself and learn more about others

  • Performance

    Loading of pages should be instantaneous and all features should be highly responsive

Thank you for trying out mitb. Please leave your feedback in the comments or log a bug in our issue tracker! Expect ongoing development! We're dedicated to making mitb the best it can be!

https://mitb.io

#mitb, #release

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