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Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2011-04-21 12:58 am

Dreamwidth Update: 21 April

Hello, Dreamwidth! I hope everyone (in the Northern hemisphere) is enjoying the fact that spring has sprung (and everyone in the Southern hemisphere is ready for the winter!) Over here, I'm just incredibly thankful for the fact that I grew out of my spring allergies as I got older; [personal profile] sarah is not as lucky. (Neither is Eldest Cat, Gabe -- there is nothing in the world more pathetically adorable than a cat with the sniffles.)

We have a very full update this week, so on we go!

Behind the cut:

* Development
* Code Push/New Stuff
* Fixing Your Layout
* Imports
* Beta Features
* Seed Account sale
* Non-US Payments
* Finding Neat Stuff
* Great Community Rec-O-Matic: Round Two!


This week saw the announcement of our April-May Old Bugs Hackathon -- the idea is to clear out some of the things we've had "on tap" for a long time, and knock out some of the Bugzilla tickets that have been waiting for somebody to find a round tuit for a while. If you're interested in joining in, the link explains the parameters: any patch for a bug with a Bugzilla ID under 2000 will earn DW points through May 31.

Meanwhile, this week's code tour comes to us courtesy of [personal profile] jaciem (a first-time code-tour driver -- I always love seeing a variety of voices taking the code tour, so much, and if you're ever interested in taking one, check out [site community profile] dw_volunteers, where I usually post calls for code tour drivers on Tuesdays).

This week's development effort included a lot of frontend things, which means that you'll actually be able to see a lot of the stuff we've been working on this week! And all of the changes are live on the site, due to last night's...

Code Push/New Stuff

As mentioned in [site community profile] dw_maintenance, we did a code push last night, with the last few weeks' worth of associated changes. Code tours covering bugs that went live in this push are:

(the tail end of) March 17-March 31
April 1-April 12
April 13-April 20

New frontend features and bugfixes that are now available on Dreamwidth for you to play with include:

* The entry preview window -- the window that pops up when you hit 'preview' while posting an entry -- now has a window title, so it isn't just assigned whatever your browser titles an untitled window. It will now read "Dreamwidth: Entry Preview (Unsaved)."

* When you use the "Filter to this entry" link in the Dreamwidth inbox, notifications of comment edits will be caught in the filter, whereas for a few weeks they weren't being. (This was due to changes in how we formed edited-comment notifications, in order to keep from duplicating the entire comment contents in the inbox on comment edits.)

* You can now add a note when you purchase a gift of paid time for someone else, so as to explain why you're giving them paid time.

* Comment subjects are now cleared when you switch what comment you're replying to. (This needs a bit of explanation: basically, if you reply to a comment, the comment subject is autofilled with "Re: comment subject". If you then switch the comment that you're replying to, or decide to make your comment a top-level comment instead, the text of your comment-in-progress is preserved, which is good, but the subject was also being preserved, which often made things not make sense. Now the comment subject is cleared when you switch which comment you're replying to.)

* Embedding videos in an entry no longer require you to manually type the <site-embed> tags around them to make them work right -- now you can just paste the code the other site provides.

* The options on the Customize Journal Style page are now back in the proper order, instead of whatever random order the server coughed them up in. (Oops.)

* The options for "year your credit card expires" in the Shop now default to 2011 instead of 2010, and 2010 has been removed.

* Logging in as an OpenID user from the navbar will now return you to the page you had been reading, instead of forwarding you to the OpenID login landing page afterwards.

* There's a new option to expand all cut tags on the page, displayed in a style module. Using it is the equivalent of hitting the cut-tag expander on each and every cut tag on the page.

* The little "age restriction" notice graphic, if you've chosen an age restriction for your journal or for specific entries, is now displayed on site-skinned entry pages as well as on styled entry pages.

* Users' icon pages (for instance, can be displayed in custom journal style or in the site skin, and the navstrip will now have the appropriate options for changing what style you're viewing them in. (We made the change to allow icon pages to be styled in the journal's style a little bit back, and have been adapting each of the system styles to support the icon page properly, but we forgot to alter the style setting options on the navstrip.) ([personal profile] fu corrects my misconception: it's possible to display your icons page in your custom style, but only by going into the Advanced Customization section right now; we'll enable it for everyone once we finish converting all the layouts to take native advantage of the feature.)

* Something a bunch of people have been thrilled about already, and it only went live last night: now, when you're previewing a comment, it will display the icon you've chosen to use for the comment, and allow you to change the icon right there instead of having to go back.

* We fixed a bug where poll answers couldn't be just plain "0".

* We also fixed a bug where anonymous poll answers weren't being mapped properly -- if you had an anonymous poll with three questions, and User #1 answered questions 1 and 3, while User #2 answered all three, User #2's answer in question 2 would be displayed as coming from User #1.

* When customizing your style, you can now choose whether to put icons on the left or right of entries and comments (and will soon be able to choose not to display icons at all), and you can pick whether or not you want to display icons at full size, three-quarter size, or half size. (These two improvements aren't in the code tours yet, since work isn't completely done on them and therefore the bugs haven't been resolved, but we've done the preliminary work. More on this in a minute.)

* And finally, there are new themes for Crossroads, Drifting, Brittle, and Colorside, and a bunch of assorted bugfixes and display fixes for various themes.

Fixing Your Layout

As a result of the changes we've made to improve the handling of icons in journal styles, some people have noticed things looking slightly different in their style after last night's code push. There are two possible problems you might be having:

* If you use Transmogrified as your layout, and you put in custom CSS to change where the icons display, you may now notice that icons are overlapping subject lines. To fix this, you can either remove the CSS entirely (and use the new option to "Place icons on the left or right of entry" to get the effect you're looking for), or edit your CSS to change:

.has-userpic .header


.has-userpic .entry .header, .has-userpic .comment .header

* If you use Brittle or Bases as your layout, and you've noticed your icons changing size, this is due to the changes we made to offer the new icon size option. Both Brittle and Bases had CSS to size icons down to 80 px maximum, and some people may have used custom CSS to override that. When we released the new icon sizing option, we set the default for Brittle and Bases to three-quarters of default, in order to approximate the old behavior. (All other layouts default to icon size being 'full', but we wanted to keep those two at three-quarters, because it's closest to how they were before we added the option.) If you'd overridden the CSS to resize the icons, you should remove that CSS, then go to the Customize Journal Style page and find "Select the size of icons" on the Presentation tab. Change that to 'full' for both options, and your icons will be the right size again.


As many people have noticed, our import queue has finally cleared out after two weeks of being backed up due to LiveJournal undergoing a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Things are now moving along nicely again, so if you'd held off on performing an import due to the backup, you can go ahead and start it now. (If enough people start an import at once, the queue may creep back up again, but imports are processing a hell of a lot faster, so the wait shouldn't be long at all.)

Beta Features

Are you willing to put up with a little bit of mess in order to help with the construction of Dreamwidth?

We're in the process of converting all of the Javascript used on the site to use the JQuery library, which will help us in a lot of ways, including letting us convert a lot more things to working inline (instead of having to load a separate page). It's a huge, tremendous undertaking, though, and we're going slowly and carefully to make sure that we don't break anything in the process.

We need people with a variety of browsers, operating systems, and accessibility needs to test things out and make sure we aren't introducing nasty bugs. If you'd like to help out, you can opt into the New JS on Journals beta test. Once you've done that, any page you view on Dreamwidth will use the new Javascript files instead of the old ones. (Viewers to your journal, and you when you're logged out, will still see the old JS.)

After turning on the beta for your account, go ahead and browse normally. Report any issues you find to [site community profile] dw_beta in the Issues Post.

Not everything is implemented yet, so you'll find some things falling back to the non-Javascript option. (The list of what's supported and what's not supported is on the beta features page.) If one of the things that isn't yet implemented is something you just can't live without, don't worry about turning on the beta yet -- we'll make sure to keep the beta running for a while after we get everything converted so people can test everything fully, and I'll mention it in an update when we implement more things.

Seed Account Sale

As a reminder, we will be selling seed (permanent) accounts as part of our anniversary celebrations! A seed account is the equivalent of a Premium Paid account that will never expire, and costs $200 USD (the equivalent of 4 years of Premium Paid time). We will sell 400 accounts, placed on sale in batches of 100 each over a full day to make sure that there's at least one sale time that isn't in the middle of the night for everybody.

The times each batch of accounts will be added to the available pool will be:

April 30, 9PM EDT [May 1, 1AM GMT]
May 1, 3AM EDT [May 1, 7AM GMT]
May 1, 9AM EDT [May 1, 1PM GMT]
May 1, 3PM EDT [May 1, 7PM GMT]

Accounts from each batch will remain on sale until they have all sold out. If all the accounts from a batch don't sell out before the next batch go on sale, the new batch will be added to the total available.

You can also buy Dreamwidth Points in the amount needed for a Seed Account ahead of time, and check out using points when the account goes on sale -- if you want to do this, accounts will cost 2000 points (1 DW Point = $.10 USD). You will be able to pay for a Seed Account with all the payment methods we accept for regular payments, including check and money order. If you're paying with check or money order, you do not need to buy the points ahead of time: just put the Seed Account in your cart when they become available, then check out choosing check or money order as your payment option. You'll then have 30 days to get the payment to us, and as long as we get the payment within that 30 days, we'll honor the cart.

Non-US Payments

For our users outside the US who don't have a credit card (or who have a credit card that isn't Visa/Mastercard/Discover/AmEx) and whose banks charge ridiculous fees for international money orders or checks in US funds: I'm really sorry that we haven't been able to implement more payment options yet. (We are working on finding other options and services that will work for y'all and don't either charge an arm and a leg in fees or refuse to accept us because, as an internet-only business where all transactions are remote and all services are intangible, they consider us a risk. It's a hard problem, though; every service we've looked into so far has fallen into one of the two categories.)

One thing that will work for getting payment to us, and this applies to all payments and not just for a seed account: American Express traveler's checks. They only come in certain preprinted denominations, but you can use them to buy Dreamwidth Points and then use those points for Dreamwidth services over time.

You can also send money to a friend who has a credit card that will work, and have them buy the services for your account, but that's a private transaction between you and your friend! Prepaid VISA cards will also work, although our payment processor for some reason freaks out at prepaid Mastercards.

Finding Neat Stuff

Finally, I'd like to say a welcome to everyone who's joined us in the past few weeks! I've been so excited to watch the growth and activity -- we're coming up on one million accounts and 100,000 personal accounts (as opposed to communities/syndicated feeds/OpenID external identity accounts). (I'm also thrilled to see so many people choosing to support Dreamwidth by buying paid time for their accounts: thank you, each and every one of you.)

For those who are new to the Dreamwidth community, we know it can be hard to find content you're interested in. Here are some tools that I use to find interesting things going on here:

* The Latest Things page, which also includes a tag cloud for the most-frequently-used tags. (There's a small bug in updating that list, which means that occasionally you might click on a tag to find there's nothing posted with that tag, but we're working on that one!)

* And, the Follow Friday tag on the Latest Things page: if people make a post tagged "follow friday" (or "followfriday"), it will get aggregated into that tag. (Right now it's empty, but keep an eye on it anyway!) "Follow Friday" is a DW-community-started habit: every Friday, post some accounts on Dreamwidth that you subscribe to and tell people why they're interesting.

* The Site and Journal Search page. Everyone can use the full site search to find public posts containing your search terms (assuming the author hasn't opted out of being searchable); paid users, and people viewing the journals of paid users, can search that individual journal for content. (The link to single-journal search is on the account's profile, in the interaction menu for that account.)

* The Interests Search page, which has a bunch of nifty tools that help you find people who are interested in the same things you're interested in.

* The Random Journal and Random Community pages, which will bring you to a random active journal (or community) on the site. (I will confess that I have lost a ridiculous amount of time to those links.)

* [site community profile] dw_community_promo, which people use to spotlight communities they own (or belong to).

And, finally, if you're looking to broaden your circle or looking for communities that will scratch your itch, it's time for:

The Great Community Rec-O-Matic, Round Two!

A while back, we did something we called the "Giant Community Rec-O-Matic" for finding new communities: people who were interested in finding communities that fit their interests could leave a comment describing those interests, and people would come along and say "oh yes! I know just the community!"

So, since we've had such an influx of new people, it's time to do a repeat! Here's how it works:

* Comment here with a list of some of your interests, and the kind of community you enjoy reading and participating in.

* Then, once you've commented, read through the other comments and see what things other people are listing. If you see someone you think would be a perfect match for a community you admin or participate in, comment back to them and point them at the community!

Also, if you're new here, you might want to check out the Dreamwidth 101 section (scroll down) in the 8 September 2010 news post (which is where the first community rec-o-matic happened, and which also includes lots of lists of things that DW has added that make people happy, so the comments are worth a read!)


That's it from us for now! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page; if you've got an idea to make the site better, you can make a suggestion.

We'll see you on April 30 for our seed account sale announcements, and in two weeks for our next news update.

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