Tofugu News

    Brand Spankin' New Tofugu

    words written

    久しぶりだね (Long time no see, yeah?), Tofugu-peeps.

    For the last few months we haven't been writing new posts, but instead focused on building a new Tofugu, from the ground up. Really, a big thanks needs to go out to Viet, Michael, Kristen, and Aya for doing almost all of the work. I just get to announce it.

    Why'd we do it?

    We've wanted to get off of Wordpress for years. There's nothing wrong with Wordpress, necessarily. But, due to my incompetence, Tofugu grew heavy–perhaps obese–over the years. Lately it's been slow to load, and every time I wanted to add a feature to the site, I would make it worse. Probably had something to do with how I'd hack up plugins with the dull axe that is my understanding of PHP.

    In addition to this, there have been several features we wanted to add to Tofugu for a long time now. Now that we have full control over everything, adding those features in will be possible. Some of them are already there, others we'll probably add over time. So…

    This new version is a fresh start.

    Tofugu is a static website built with Middleman and served with Amazon AWS resources. Non-technically speaking, things should load much more quickly.

    We've tried to optimize the site so that we can still display bigger, better media without slowing things down too much. The most complicated pages on the new Tofugu probably load faster than the lightest pages on old Tofugu. I haven't tested this hypothesis, but new Tofugu does feel way faster. Should be nice for all of you reading Tofugu on your phones.

    We've also moved content around. The main categories before were Articles, Travel, Guides, Reviews, and Videos. We're changing it to Japan (our new general purpose category), Japanese, Interviews, Reviews, Travel, and Videos. I'm sure you can guess what each of these mean.

    Even better, each category has its own custom style and options. Scroll down to the bottom of a Travel post and you will see a map, additional information, rating system, pros, cons, and more. Or, take a look at a video. It's a page that makes watching our videos a joy. There's more, but I'll let you click around and find them yourself.

    There are some new things too.

    • We have a better search. It's simple right now, but at least it's not broken anymore. We'll probably improve it over time.

    • People pages are better, and actually include all types of articles (before they only included articles from the "articles" post type, which was weird). Aya also gets credit for all her wonderful illustrations.

    • One new thing I'm excited about (but we haven't done much with, yet) is our "Series" section. There's a lot of possibility here, though. I could make a series post of all my favorite posts from 2015. Or, I could compile 10 travel reviews of Tokyo places you need to visit. It's just a fun way to curate content and bring back old posts in new and interesting ways. I'm excited for this to evolve and get better.

    • We have a lot of new post styling options, which we haven't been able to use much yet, mostly because we've been working on transferring old posts to the new site. But, you can see quite a few of them on: The Gay Of The Samurai. Look at that header move!

    Speaking of…

    We're still transferring old posts over, though we've gotten the main ones back on the site already. We are also purging posts. A little over 1/3 of Tofugu's posts are disappearing forever. Another big chunk of posts are slated for rewrites. I want every single post to be great so someone can spend hours clicking through suggested posts just reading and reading and reading…

    Think of it like Hollywood going back and remaking old movies, except in this case the new stuff will actually be better than the old. I'm looking at you Point Break.

    I look forward to showing off more of Tofugu's new features and plans, but to do that we'll have to write some new posts. We'll start doing that very soon, promise!