Site Notes

Quick Update on Site Cutover

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 17, 2009

I expected to encounter some problems during the RTH cutover last weekend, but it went surprisingly smoothly. However, some issues did come up over the course of this week, so here's a quick update on the status of the new site. As of now, there are no open bugs related to the site aside from the fact that I haven't gotten around to building a Site Traffic Report page yet.

Comment Score Threshold - All comments were appearing regardless of whether a registered user had selected the option to hide comments with a score below a given threshold on their profile page.

Comment Fade - All comments were fading on low scores, regardless of whether a registered user had enabled or disabled comment fading on their profile page.

Comment Formatting - Some unescaped ampersands (the & symbol) in comments were causing the site's HTML not to validate, and long URLs in comments were deforming the size of the comment box in Internet Explorer 6. (Who knew we would still be hacking around the deficiencies of IE6 nearly nine years after it was released?)

There was also a problem with markdown in old comments (like asterisks around a word to emphasize it) not formatting. This was because the old site converted asterisks to HTML entity codes before saving them in the database.

Page Loading Speed - The link to the RSS icon RSS icon was broken, resulting in a hidden download of the full "Page not found" error page. Also, due to a bad setting, files were not caching (being saved locally by the browser) and the server was not compacting files (using gzip) before transferring them.

Proper HTTP Codes - The "Page not found" error page was returning an hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) code of "200 OK" instead of the proper error code, "404 Not Found". This is bad because search engines don't realize they're hitting an error message and they end up indexing your error page.

Comment Posting - Along the way, I changed the code that posts comments so that the page reloads right to the just-posted comment instead of the top of the page.

Comment Editing - Incidentally, of the 145 comments at this writing that have been posted to RTH since Saturday, nearly 14% (20 comments) were subsequently edited. Since only registered users - 114 out of the 145 - can edit their comments, this means registered users have already taken advantage of comment editing in 17.5% their posted comments.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 17, 2009 at 13:36:42

Ryan wrote:

...this means registered users have already taken advantage of comment editing in 17.5% their posted comments

Are you trying to say we're bad spellers? ;)

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