denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2013-11-25 04:46 am

dreamwidth news: 25 november 2013

hello, Dreamwidth! I apologize for not having posted a news post after our last code push -- I've been on exceptionally restricted typing due to multiple RSI issues (we're talking 'no more than an hour a day, no more than five minutes at a time') and my dictation software has been acting up as badly as my elbows. Since it's been a while since our last code push -- due partially to my sharply lowered availability and partially to us having spent the past few months primarily working on backend things and making some hardcore repayments on our technical debt -- I know that looks like we haven't been doing much. Rest assured, that's not the case!

Related to the above, I won't be able to reply to the news post comments the way I usually do -- [personal profile] misskat and [personal profile] kareila will be around later this morning to help out people who are having problems, but I do have to save my very limited typing time for handling things like payment questions and the like.

Behind the cut:

  • Development

  • Notifications changes

  • Mod Hat

  • Custom text in styles

  • Import problem fixes

  • Profile section collapsing fixed

  • New update page: progress report

  • December points bonus


Code tours that were included in our last code push:

11 Jun - 27 Jun
27 Jun - 18 Jul

Code tours for this code push:

19 Jul - 24 Aug
25 Aug - 16 Oct
16 Oct - 24 Nov

Fixes & features not mentioned elsewhere in this update:

  • A fix so that spammy PMs don't continue to show in your inbox once the spamming spammer who sent them was suspended for spamming;

  • a fix so that if you open a tab for an entry with a poll in it and leave it for more than 24 hours, then come back and vote in the poll, you no longer get a completely unhelpful error message (you still get the error, since putting a time limit on filling out forms is a security thing, but it tells you how to fix it);

  • when choosing a custom access filter security level while posting, you see a list of all the usernames in that custom filter (beta update page only);

  • added individual CSS classes to the entry metadata (mood, music, location) so styles designers could target those things with CSS;

  • automatically redirect .htm suffixes to .html so if you accidentally missed the last character when copying & pasting, you don't get a 404;

  • added a confirmation when banning users so if you accidentally misclick on the hover menu, you don't ban your best friend from your journal and cause horrible social misunderstandings;

  • fixes for a number of feed-related issues (so if you had a feed you couldn't create or a feed that wasn't updating, check again!);

  • a fix for some older styles not properly displaying the journal title/subtitle;

  • a fix for a bug preventing the manage logins page from working;

  • adding instagram, google docs, and kickstarter as sources for embedding content;

  • adding "reply to this entry" links to all notifications of new entries;

  • adding the ability to tell the style system to use different colors for the comment & interaction links on an entry instead of requiring you to use the entry link color;

  • splitting up the Recent Comments page into "comments posted" and "comments received" to prevent the page getting super long;

  • new themes for Strata, Crisped, Patsy, and Summertime, by a number of different designers;

  • new styles Trifecta by [personal profile] ninetydegrees and Snakes & Boxes by [personal profile] pari;

  • and a whole slew of styles display fixes, more minor bugfixes, backend bug fixes, and the like -- see the code tour for all the details.

Notifications changes

Thanks to [personal profile] exor674, this code push includes some of the (massive) backend work needed to redo the subscriptions & notifications system to allow for some things people have frequently suggested.

Long story short: the notifications system is exceptionally complex (this is a ridiculous understatement) and, up until this code push, was actually two separate systems, one for "comments in your journal" and one for "replies to comments you made outside your journal". (That's why, for instance, replies to entries you made in communities didn't appear in your inbox.) The distinction was silly, confusing, and hard to explain to people.

So, beginning with this code push, everything's using the same system -- that's why you'll start to see notifications appearing in your on-site inbox that only went to your email before. We know that some people want to bypass the on-site inbox and get all their notifications only by email: that's the next step, so stay tuned.

Mod Hat

If you're the admin of a community, how many times have you wanted to distinguish between "I'm commenting or posting as part of the discussion the way any other community member would" and "HEY Y'ALL I AM THE MOD HERE SO LISTEN UP"? Now you can, also thanks to [personal profile] exor674 (who has been chewing bubblegum and kicking ass lately).

If you're the admin of a community, and you want your comment to be "wearing the mod hat", hit the "More Options" button on the inline comment reply form, and you'll see a checkbox labelled "Admin Post".

Likewise, if you're posting to the community and you're using the beta update page, there's a new panel for "Entry flags" that will display if you're the comm admin.

If you check the tickybox, the entry or comment will display a little ([admin post] as admin) next to your post or comment. That way, your community members won't have to worry if you're speaking "officially" or not.

Custom text in styles

Previously, if you put anything into the "custom text" box on the Text tab of the "Customize your theme" page, that text was associated only with the particular theme you were using -- if you changed your theme, you'd have to re-enter the text.

Thanks to [personal profile] momijizukamori, the custom text you enter there will now carry over from theme to theme, and keep displaying in the "Custom Text" module on your journal even if you switch themes. (As long as you have the custom text module enabled -- if you add custom text and it doesn't display, make sure the custom text module is enabled by checking the box on the Modules tab.)

We did try to preserve the custom text you had entered in your currently-applied style in the migration, but a few people have let us know that it didn't work for them. If your custom text has disappeared, or you want to rescue custom text that you'd entered into a theme that you aren't using currently, [personal profile] momijizukamori posted instructions for rescuing custom text over in [community profile] style_system. (Which, if you don't already know about it, is a great unofficial community for people who are looking for help figuring out how you can achieve particular customization effects you're looking for!)

Import problem fixes

There have been two comment importing problems lately that have affected some people trying to import: some people were finding that their comments didn't import but there weren't any error messages in their onsite inbox, and some people were getting an error message along the lines of "Unable to map comment poster from [import source] user ext_XXXX to local user".

[staff profile] mark fixed the failing-with-no-errors problem a few weeks ago, and imports that were failing with the "unable to map comment poster" error should be fixed after tonight's code push. If you were having one of those problems, try your import again.

If you try it again and still get errors, please open a support request in the "Importer" category. Include any error messages that you get in your inbox, and if the problem is that things aren't being imported that should be, include links to the entry/comment on the remote site (and, if entries are being imported but their comments aren't, links to the entries on DW that should have the comments but don't.) The importer is a very complex system that can break in very interesting ways that require a lot of troubleshooting, and the number of people who can do that troubleshooting is very small, but as long as you have a support request open, we will do our very best to fix it for you.

We've also had some reports of imports and crossposts to InsaneJournal failing -- we're trying to figure those out and get them fixed for you as well.

Profile section collapsing fixed

If you've collapsed more than a few sections on your profile, you may have noticed that the preferences for which sections you'd collapsed weren't being properly saved. We identified the cause and fixed it (so any future settings will be saved properly), but as part of the fix, everyone will have to collapse the sections you want collapsed one more time. (We could have migrated the data, but because of the bug, we had some unrepairable preferences stored for people. We thought it was better to go for the fresh start.)

New update page: progress report

We've had some people asking us lately when the beta update page will be taken out of beta and made the default, since we've been working on it for a while and new features (such as several mentioned in this post!) are being developed exclusively for it.

We've been moving very cautiously with it, since updating your journal is such a core function of the site and past experience has taught us that people feel very strongly about changes to the updating experience! The good news is, we're pretty sure we've ironed out most of the bugs and UI fixes people have requested. There are two major things remaining that still need to be added before we can bring it out of beta:

* a WYSIWYG/rich text editor to allow people to post formatted entries;

* the ability to save draft entries, both so you can deliberately postpone entries for posting later and so that an unexpected browser crash or problem during the posting process won't cause you to lose work.

The backend for draft post support is almost entirely done thanks to [personal profile] allen; [personal profile] fu is working on the frontend part of that. We're still looking for a good rich text editor to integrate that will do everything we need it to do.

Admin editing of community entries (to delete entries or to add 'admin overrides' of certain entry properties -- currently only the age restriction, but we'll also be adding things like allowing admins to add a <cut> tag for entries in the future) is also not enabled yet -- it will fall through to the old update/edit page for that -- but that's because we're working on a better way to handle that workflow than just sending it through the update/edit page!

There's also the minor, but significant for some people, missing feature of being able to tell the site not to automatically format text to add linebreaks. We'll be adding that as soon as we can figure out a good place to put it. In the meantime, if you're one of those people, and that's the only thing keeping you from using the beta update page, you can add <raw-text>/</raw-text> tags around the areas of your entry that shouldn't be auto-formatted.

Once we finish up those missing features, the beta update page will be taken out of 'beta' and will become the only option. (Once it's ready for "prime time", we can't keep supporting both versions: as people have already noticed, developing new features for two versions of the page is almost impossible to do, and the new update page is designed specifically to allow us to add new features in the future and allow people to customize their experience.) We don't have an ETA, but I'm hoping that we can put some epic effort into it soon. In the meantime, if the things that are missing are things you can live without, you can enable the beta update page at the Beta Features page.

December points bonus

December is nearly upon us (seriously, I swear I just got used to writing '2013' instead of '2012', I'm not sure where this entire year went) and that means it's nearly time for our December-holiday bonus offer.

During the month of December, all orders (made by a logged-in account) for paid time or Dreamwidth Points will receive a 10% points bonus, saveable and spendable for Dreamwidth services in the future.

To take advantage of the promotion, visit the Dreamwidth Shop during the month of December and buy paid time or Dreamwidth Points, for yourself or for a friend. For instance, if you buy a 12-month paid account (350 points), we'll give you 35 points to spend later, once you complete your order.

This is our way of saying thank you to all the people who make it possible for us to keep Dreamwidth running. We've done a bunch of expansion this year, both in terms of being able to add more servers when we need them and in terms of being able to afford things like training materials and conference registration and travel for both our staff and our volunteer developers. All of this was thanks to you: we don't have any outside investors, we haven't taken any venture capital, and we don't accept or display advertising anywhere on the site. The points bonus is our way of saying "thanks for another awesome year".

(The small print: the bonus only applies to purchase of paid time or DW Points; rename tokens or bonus icons don't receive points bonuses, since the cost for those is intended to cover the cost of delivering that service. If you buy paid time or points for a friend, the points will be delivered to you, not them: the points go to the account that placed the order. We're still seeing occasional errors when completing a payment, which is a very intermittent ongoing bug that we can't track down; everything we've tried to fix it has turned out not to be the problem so far. If you get an error when completing a payment, open a support request in the Account Payments category and I'll look into it for you as soon as I can: don't try to resubmit your payment until I let you know it's okay to do so. If an error causes you to not get your bonus points, or you think you should've gotten bonus points and you didn't, open a request and I'll look into it for you. Side effects may include lightheadedness from knowing how awesome you are for making it possible for us to keep DW running. Cape does not enable wearer to fly.)


That's it from us for another update! 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.

Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 0500 EST (see in your time zone).
misskat: Kat and Afuna, both grinning (Kat and Fu)

[personal profile] misskat 2013-11-25 02:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Believe me, I'm pretty happy about that one too. :)