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posted by NCommander on Monday August 18 2014, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-there-was-much-rejoicing dept.
Over the weekend, Paul finished upgrading the site to the latest release of Slashcode, 14.08, which contains the usual slew of bug fixes, site improvements, and plenty else. I know this is late, but we had to do a fair bit of regression testing to make sure the biggest part of the update, UTF-8 support, didn't cause any regressions. Here's the short list:
  • Full UTF-8 Support
  • Subscriptions - Revamped and almost ready to go live
  • Nexuses - Ready to go, still DEPWAIT wildcard SSL certificate
  • Removal of the most annoying aspects of the lameass filter
  • Two new themes, CSS fixes, and blockquote changes
  • Removal of journal themes (it was half broken, and interfered with the new theming engine)
  • Updated zoo, and topic logos, as well as touched up logo and favicon
  • Improvement some of the more stupid error messages
  • Backend upgrades and improvements performed during the weekend downtime
  • File upload support for admins (no more wiki abuse!)

All things considered, a pretty large update! I've got more to talk about, but check back past the break for that.

So, a long announced, and long-delayed feature, I want to offer a round of applause to TheMightyBuzzard, who did most of the grunt work; Bytram, who did most of the sanity checking; and paulej72, who lost his sanity in getting UTF-8 full-functional in Slashcode with a massive merge that caused my brain to melt the first time I looked at it. This was a massive amount of work, but the site should no longer have those long-frustrating issues where characters randomly show up, or get mutated after you click Preview or Submit, something that was true on the other site as well. As part of the work on this, Slashcode was modified to be native UTF-8 or in other words we're not dong any sort of conversion to HTML entities or such, and four-bit unicode characters are also working as expected (contrary to what was previously reported). As part of this update, most of the annoying aspects of the lameass filter got ripped out as they were incompatible with unicode support, and mostly served to piss people off vs. serving any using spam prevention method.

In other visible changes, we've updated most of the images, and artwork this goaround to be somewhat more consistent, and to make the site itself have a slightly cleaner look and feel. Thanks to rand, mrcoolbp, and paulej72 for their efforts in this department.

In other news, its been somewhat hectic since we completed our incorporation, and are now moving towards getting the site towards self-sufficiency. Due to various administrative hiccups, combined with what ultimately became an ill-timed vacation on my part, we've still got a few minor business hangups before we can accept income and revenue, but everything will be resolved by Friday. As I noted above, our subscription code required an unexpectedly large amount of effort to get functional again due to missing components (which was not evident until we tied it into PayPal), but I'm pleased to note that everything promised got implemented in this update, we're just doing a final smoke test and business 1-2 before pushing the button.

I'd like to offer an apology on behalf of the staff, simply on the long period of time it has taken us to get our act together. For those who haven't realized it, SN is now six months old, and while we have made tremendous progress, none of us are able to work on SN full-time. Unfortunately, that means some things do fall by the wayside such as the long promised, and under-delivered moderation rework. As always, we welcome anyone to come by and volunteer time and effort to the cause; you can find all of the staff on IRC, and anyone is welcome to attend both our staff meetings, and the board meetings (with the next one scheduled for August 20th, at 23:00 UTC) are open to all.

Looking ahead, we've still got a few major things that need be solved relatively soon. The migration from Apache 1.3 -> 2.x is still a high-priority item, one that I think I'll be able to dedicate the necessary time and effort in the next month, which will mostly complete our list of "things we need to fix from golive". Looking ahead, I'm slowly developing a list of longer term objectives to fulfill in Slashcode; in no particular order, or promise of delivery:
  • Subslash support (basically our version of subreddits)
  • More advanced filtering options for the main page for customization
  • Overhauling journals to be more usable as a blogging platform
  • Article rating system
  • Renaming slashcode
  • Revamped voting system
  • Bidrectional NNTP gateway
  • i10n and i18n of slashcode (a LOT of our userbase is international, and I won't mind working with someone who'd be interesting in SoylentNews in second language)
  • RSS Reader Functionality (have your favorite RSS/Atom feeds show up as part of "your" homepage)

As I've stressed before, time and again, this site exists for the community, so if you've got some ideas, post them below, and let us hear about it!

On the business side of things, I'm working on drafting a "longer-term" plan, hopefully ready to present something this week, or early next week, which lays down a specific "here's what we are going to do" plan, and then let you guys think it over, poke it with a stick, then call me an idiot, and have me do it again; as far as running a site, its been a pretty successful model thus far :-)

Expect one or two more "meta" posts in the next few days, and until then, let me know your thoughts below ~ NCommander

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by MrNemesis on Monday August 18 2014, @09:57PM

    by MrNemesis (1582) on Monday August 18 2014, @09:57PM (#82776)

    Just browsed at -1 and... well, didn't really see anyone saying "thanks, devs!" so I, for one, would like to say thanks to the devs. Being a rightpondian I've only really cared much about having my £ sign work, but you've managed to achieve what ToS couldn't manage in a lifetime and caused frustration to no end of non-english speakers (I for one would like to see some more finnish swearing), so as lowly and humble as your task may have seemed there are plenty of us out here who appreciate it.

    So at risk of sounding like a broken record... no pain... no pain... no pain... no pain... and thanks, devs! :)

    "To paraphrase Nietzsche, I have looked into the abyss and been sick in it."
    Starting Score:    1  point
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       Insightful=5, Overrated=1, Total=6
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19 2014, @10:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19 2014, @10:42AM (#82995)

    Oh yeah! SN is nothing short of amazing. The mouth breathers and the marketing droids were left behind at the other site and we got to this new Eden, thanks to the kick ass SN crew.


  • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:31PM

    by Open4D (371) on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:31PM (#83086) Journal

    thanks, devs!

    Personally I don't mind typing “GBP” instead of “£” but I still appreciate your effort in bringing us Unicode.

    Out of the full list of new features, the one I most appreciate (indirectly) is subscriptions. Because that is progress towards keeping the site viable in the long term.

  • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:59PM

    by Common Joe (33) <> on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:59PM (#83105) Journal

    I know I've quipped about the UTF-8 thing from time to time and that I didn't contribute and I tried not to make too big a deal out of the UTF-8 thing because I knew you were working on it and I knew it was a big job.

    Well, I'd like to say how I really feel about this: Friggin' awesome! Six months is not a long time to do everything y'all have done with this site. You guys are amazing and I stand in awe of you.

    I know someone else was complaining about the amount of UTF-8 art on this post, but (if I may be so bold to speak for others), I think that is most people's way of saying thank you.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you for the all the hard work all of you have done.

  • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Wednesday August 27 2014, @08:08PM

    by DECbot (832) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @08:08PM (#86437) Journal

    So, you think the UTF update will manage to show up on the green beta site? Or do you suppose that they will continue to only update the javascript and css, updating the database only to collect more data for their marketing masters?

    Personally, I'd think it would be pretty interesting to see the Soylent slashcode updates show up on /., but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base