I'm a bit behind on my root logs - as ever, you can see most of what I've done to the code in Patch Manager anyway, but I figure it's about time for a roundup of new features and suchlike.

  • The biggest feature, as announced in Writeup editing improvements, is an HTML toolbar adapted from Alex King's JavaScript Quicktags. At about the same time I added this, I also made it possible to freely toggle WYSIWYG editing on and off without losing any text, and fixed various issues with our installation of TinyMCE, our on-site WYSIWYG editor. This takes us to roughly the same level of ease of editing as WordPress, using much the same software. One thing we still lack is a facility to paste from word-processors without risking formatting craziness, though - I guess I should look into that.
  • Accompanying that, I added some JavaScript to reject writeups without any links (and tell people why, and how to add them), and automatically insert paragraph and/or line break tags if it doesn't find any (again, telling people why). This prevents the posting of a very, very large proportion of writeups with fatal but easily remedied technical faults, which is nice.
  • I also programmed a page I'm calling Site Trajectory (largely using code cannibalised from A Year Ago Today and the Reputation Graphs that in10se made). I always wondered what a graph of the rate of writeup submissions and new user signups over time would look like. Turns out we've been getting writeups submitted a fairly steady rate of around one every hour or two for the last two and a half years, though the rate at which we've been getting new users signing up has been far more variable. This probably has more to do with the level of validation required than anything else - for a while we had very little to keep out spambots, but we now have passably rigourous CAPTCHA in place and we're still getting a new account created every twenty minutes or so. That's good, but it makes us wonder why so many people are signing up but apparently not writing anything. Curious.
  • Something I've been wanting to do for ages is to make a version of Do You C! What I C? that bases recommendations on user bookmarks, and allows you to get recommendations based on other people's preferences, so that anyone can use it. This is now in place as The Recommender, though I'm not really satisfied with that name. Suggestions are welcome! I also changed Do You C! What I C? so you can put someone else's name into it to see what the computer reckons they would like.
  • Another change is that our Google Custom Search Engine now returns results within an E2 page. It looks a lot better, but it still doesn't make softlinks or respect your choice of domain name for the site. All the results should be from http://everything2.com now, so if that's what you're using anyway it shouldn't make much difference to you. I think we're probably going to want to use Google's Ajax Search API to fix those issues.
  • It's been a while now since we switched the default theme for guests and new users over to the Zen theme. I've since added a note to the front page for people using other themes suggesting they might like to switch, since we're not really supporting other themes any more. As revealed by Theme Samsara (counterpart to Theme Nirvana) an overwhelming majority of users are now on the Zen theme, but hundreds are still using Jukka (why?) or ekw (which to be fair still has ekw Preferences to recommend it over Zen). It's sort of nice that this shows we still have hundreds and hundreds of long-term users visiting, but on the other hand it means there are still lots of people using themes that I really don't want to have to keep debugging. I might just switch you all over to Zen one of these days, and leave it to people to switch back if they really want to.

Aside from that, it's mostly just bug-fixes - honestly, it's amazing how many little bugs creep into something this size, especially when you're adding new features. Speaking of which, several more new features are in the pipeline. I'll probably add them here as I finish them.

Right, yes, more stuff:

  • Collaboration nodes can now be made public - I figured out what I'd done wrong when I tried to code this a few months ago. See e.g. Science to Write for an example of a public collab node.
  • Writeups now count hits, each time displaywriteuptext is called except when it's the author looking at their own writeup, or a known spider, or the 'op' parameter is defined (to cut out multiple hits from people talking in the catbox, cooling writeups, etc.). To view this add 'hits' to your Writeup Settings display.
  • Implemented a settings page for writeup footers - N-Wing did almost all of the work necessary for this some time ago. This means we can now put all the feedback options that people usually want to act on only once they've read something after writeups, where they belong.
  • Added an optional drop-down menu for adding things to usergroups, which can be turned on in Writeup Settings by adding 'usergroups'. It probably makes sense to integrate this with both bookmarks and the Categories system; I think I'll open a discussion about this in the forum.

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