0Few new articles, lots of new design work

For the last 2–3 months I’ve been too busy to write much new con­tent for the site. This has­n’t been helped by a drop in things to write about — most of my art­icles are about tech­no­logy fixes or excit­ing new HTPC related devel­op­ments. There haven’t been too many new devel­op­ments, and I haven’t fixed much tech­no­logy because I’ve been too busy. That does­n’t mean the site has been entirely ignored however…

Whilst con­tent has been rather lim­ited, I have done a lot of work on the code (i.e. word­press) behind the con­tent. You prob­ably wont notice too many dif­fer­ences, but fix­ing little nig­gling issues can some­times make a big dif­fer­ence, and there were a fair num­ber to address. The site has also had a few minutes of down­time due to a few of the fixes not work­ing quite right first time, but hope­fully it has­n’t been too disruptive.

The out­come of all these little fixes is that there should be few­er UI issues, we should be even easi­er to access on mobile devices, we should be quick­er to load, and our com­pli­ance with web stand­ards should be even bet­ter. In terms of meas­ur­able met­rics there are a few below

  • Google PageSpeed has been improved from 95% to 98% on the homepage (and 96% on con­tent pages)
  • Our HTML5 is cur­rently 100% passed by the w3c val­id­at­or (altho HTML5 is cur­rently a mov­ing tar­get, so it’s likely more changes will be needed as the stand­ard evolves)
  • We cur­rently pass the google rich snip­pets test­ing tool (although, again, google are mov­ing from micro­formats to microdata so this is also a mov­ing target)

Oth­er issues which you may have noticed that should now be resolved include

1. Text some­times miss­ing from the middle of sen­tences in the pop­u­lar posts sidebar.

This was caused by a bug in a word­press core func­tion strip_shortcodes() which does­n’t just remove short­codes but also their con­tentsA quick edit to line 331 of wp-includes/shortcodes.php was needed. Changing

[php]return $m[1] . $m[6];[/php]


[php]return $m[1] . $m[5] . $m[6];[/php]

does the trick, altho I don’t know if this might have any side effects yet.

2. Mag­ni­fy­ing glass image in search box was­n’t cor­rectly posi­tioned in non-fire­fox browsers

I gen­er­ally use fire­fox and had­n’t noticed this slight appear­ance glitch. A few CSS tweaks fixed it, altho as is so often the case, it is posi­tioned using a float and vari­ous neg­at­ive mar­gins and pad­dings in com­bin­a­tion so it was actu­ally quite a tedi­ous pro­cess to work out how to clear this up.

3. Hov­er menu par­tially incom­pat­ible with non-mouse devices

The menu pull­downs require a hov­er which touch­screen devices can­’t provide. When attempt­ing to cre­ate a hov­er, by click­ing, the actu­al res­ult was instead to click on the link — the sub­menu appeared but quickly dis­ap­peared as a new page was loaded. I have now dis­abled the links from the head­ing but­tons to fix this. Click­ing on a touch­screen device now brings down the sub­menu as it should. The loss of the links to the par­ent cat­egor­ies isn’t import­ant — the par­ent cat­egor­ies aren’t very use­ful and they can be accessed through the bread­crumbs if for some reas­on someone really wants to view them.

4. Wasted space in pop­u­lar wid­get sidebar

The images float­ing in the pop­u­lar posts sec­tion did­n’t have text wrap­ping below them very neatly. Spe­cify­ing a line height of exactly half the image height has fixed this — the 3rd line is now always full width.

5. Bul­lets not shown in cor­rect position

The CSS reset code we use sets the left-pad­ding of unordered lists to 0, which res­ults in bul­lets being shown out­side the left edge of the con­tent dis­play area. We had over­looked over­rid­ing this styl­ing, so bul­lets wer­en’t cor­rectly loc­ated. This has now been rectified.


All site tweaks are now logged in our pub­lic [int­link id=“2807” type=“page”]site updates log[/intlink]

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