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How to organize the spell pages


I’ve been trying to work out the best way to organize the Spell Encyclopedia. There are basically four types of entries: spell names (Full Body-Bind), incantations (Petrificus Totalus), unnamed magic (“fire whip”), and categories (fire magic).

Trouble is, every spell doesn’t have both an incantation and a spell name. Some have neither, some have both. So how do I organize the lists? What do I alphabetize by, and when I have an entry for both the incantation and the spell name, do I duplicate information or link one to the other, so list spells by spell name and list the incantation with a link back to that spell name? But if I do that, how do I list the spells that have no incantation given? And how do I make it clear which spell names are actually given in canon and which ones I’ve had to invent in order to list the spell? I’ve started putting quotation marks around the non-canon spell names, which helps, but still …

Nowadays, this sort of problem seems, well, quaint and archaic. But remember, this is the Lexicon, which was created in the late 1990s before Wikipedia or databased websites or content management systems. Each page is a separately created HTML document and is basically a static page. No sorting on the fly, no clicking on categories, nothing. Yes, yes, it would be great if the Lexicon were recreated in the modern style, but that would take way too much time and money. It is what it is.

So I’m left with the problem: how do I organize the spell lists?


Pensieve (Comments)

  • cloudyday

    Couldn’t you just give them different colours? Red for canon names, blue for made up ones?

    • Yes, that’s what I was doing, basically. Most of the pages have different colors for things like that. However, that’s really not good for accessibility purposes, since it requires being able to get information from colors. The new page style guide is much better for accessibility (thank you, Lisa!) and I want to stick with that as much as possible.

      The F spell page and the herbology page are currently set up with the new styles, if you want to see what it’s “supposed” to look like. All the entry names are “Heading 4,” which is dark blue and bold. It does look really nice like that.

      And that’s probably more detail about old-fashioned HTML website design than anyone wants to know!

  • About the “money” part of the last sentence, I am totally available to progam anything you need in Php or MySQL for The Lexicon.

    In the other hand, what about do a three columns table?


    Some of them should have the SP cell emtpy, others the Inc cell empty, and others will have the full row.

  • Fredoyy

    I do not know if any of this would be easy/possible on the Lexicon, but, here it is…
    There could be a few buttons on the top of the page, in the form of links, perhaps, that say “Sort by: Spell Name, Incantation, etc.”. If a spell is lacking a name, it could be on its own page with others after the “Z” page.
    I also think it would be nice to be able to search for keywords or tags of a spell. For example, a Lexicon user might type ‘warmth’ for a spell that makes a room warmer or ‘poke’, if they want a spell to repeatedly poke someone.

  • Lindsay

    For ease of reference, I feel like relying on the Spell Name as the default is the best way to sort the spells.

  • Detail Seeker

    A spreadsheet-like list would do totally, having the effect, the incantation and the Name side by side. That would make clear, where we know everything and where there are missing informations. As we know all effects – as far as I can think of – but partially do not know names or incantations, a sorting by effects alone is feasible.

  • Nishala

    Try thinking straight and you will find the answer. Also arrange it in a way those below 13 can understand

  • Nishala

    I know what your doing is mot easy. I think you should arrange it in the easiest way possible.

    Thanx for the good work,
    Steve. Good job done

  • StoneDragon

    there should be a search bar where you can tick either ‘name’, ‘incantaion’ or ‘description’ (where description is found via key-words) as well as an alphabetical list for named spells, and a link to ‘unnamed spells’ which are listed alphabetically by incantation. Under them (or something like tht) should be unnamed spells that don’t have an incantation.
    Good luck!

  • Luna

    I was thinking that you could have separate sections for the spell types, unnamed spells, and another for incantations/spell names. For the spell types and unnamed spells, you could just put it as it is currently only in its own section, and for the incantations/spell names you would just put “no incantation given” or “no spell name given” as necessary.

  • potterfan

    try using css to organize them