WIWX 8.3 - MAJOR UPDATE - Discussion Boards/Forum and Comments
By Justin Poublon
October 16, 2019 - 10:56 AM CST | 1,464 0
It's been 14 days since our last update (10/2/2019) and this one is a real doozy.
Going straight for the jugular.
Discussion boards have been on my wish-list for years and finally had the time to make it happen. It was a massive project taking about 13 full-days of development time, brutal at times. The good thing is I only need to build it once. I'm not much of a forum guy but I know some of you might be. I saw an opportunity in the way and where I communicate smaller tidbits of information. Along the way found room for at least 80 inline-changes. Most of the work was high effort/thinking projects so feeling the slightest of burnout this week. But it's okay! Things have changed significantly since summer :)
Without further delay, here is the change list...
- Discussion Boards - Huge huge huge project adding a whole new dimension to wisconsinwx.com! Click here to check it out. I decided to keep the number of topics low to start and will add more as needed. Only moderators can create topics. Members can create threads within topics. I think this will be good; it's definitely a great start.
- Comments - We have a new comment system for our posts including notification system that lets you know when someone responds to you! We've needed this for a LONG time. Comments will NOT get displayed all over the website (Feed, Profile) like before. I will add functionally as need becomes obvious. I would rather limit where comments gets shown.
- Notifications - There are new settings in "My Account - Notifications" (also where I moved the emailable flag). The way it works for discussion board and comments. Threads have their own notification settings (you have to visit individual threads to toggle on/off) but they all follow the same logic. This is important - wisconsinwx.com will not send you another notification for a specific thread or post until you check your notifications as shown below. The reason is I felt there was a smarter way to send notifications. I didn't want to blast away at your email inbox. We do offer a service to notify you when new threads are posted anywhere in the forum. To review your notification settings, click here.
- Members Forecast - In the past I allowed the first day to be visible. Now it is ALL LOCKED DOWN. I also serve a membership only popup for non-members(which I think looks great btw!). I removed "summary" section to reduce clutter. OVERALL - I'd like to have it full all the time. It's not humanly possible nor necessary to keep it filled with information during slow times. Naturally things fill up as the storms roll through. And we spend our time in other area's much of the time.
- WISCONSIN ROAD CONDITIONS - If you haven't seen it yet, here is the new map. I made some tweaks based on first use last weekend. I like the black background because it separates it from the rest of the maps. I removed the radar imagery because it clashes too much. Can be found updated every five minutes on our maps page! Shout out to WIDOT for making this possible! These maps are free to share!
- NEW SYMBOLS - You'll see them around. I like them a lot and will add more in the future. They help with finding things.
- Account page - small changes mainly on the location of some of the controls. You can enter your phone number for our future SMS service! We don't sell or distribute your information. Just need contact info for our services :)
- Registration Page got a face-lift. Looks nicer!
Working out email blog post notification problem that has probably been around since August. It seems the send job has been ending prematurely after ~230 email sends. Our list is 760 so that's only 30% and goes out in alphabetical order. The send email blog process is on a job with other high bandwidth processes so I'm branching it out on it's own dedicated job on this update. If that doesn't work, I can try tweaking the application pool settings or change the architecture to send "on-command" (as opposed to sweeping the DB every 2 minutes perpetually). Eventually will move to "on-command" sending. I've got a project coming up where that will be the new thing so I'm okay with a band-aid right now. Going to test it with this blog post actually. This appears to be fixed now. Thank you!
- Turned off Beach Hazard Statements from maps. Like Flood Warnings; when seemingly perpetual; it is not effective for our purposes.
- Fixed bug with forecast page not displaying 7 day forecast by default
- Master dead-mans switch for admins - We have switches for many things such as stopping storm alert emails or preventing access to the account page during system maintenance. Now we have a master switch for everything in case I get hit by a bus!
- Turned off heat index map, added windchill
- Storm alert bar that pops up at the top of the website will show up sooner with "UPCOMING" tag for events beginning within the next six hours.
- Email and notification records will be deleted automatically after 6 months.
There was a lot of inline changes. It's crazy to think how many projects I've got going out there between the website,facebook and youtube. Going forward the goal is to make progress. It can be easy to slip into a busy mode running in place not going anywhere. It's hardcode development mode now. In the future expect hardcode storm updating and storm chasing modes.
UP NEXT - Work will continue as I increase the value of our $4.99/mo membership. New storm report tool and SMS communication at the top of the list. Thinking about long range forecast system. Will try to take the rest of the week off from development while monitoring the discussion boards and email blog send issue.