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By on Apr 04, 2016 at 6:40 PM

For a while now, WSN has had an option to add new listings to a category by using a google search for a given term. Unfortunately this isn't officially supported by google so runs the risk of getting your server blocked. The solution? The bing search API.

WSN 10.0.2 Beta 2 introduces the option to add listings from a bing search, using any of their dozens of country/language locales and the search term of your choice. To use this you'll have to sign up for an API key, but the good news is it's free for the first 5000 searches per month and you're unlikely to need more than that.

In the future, I could use bing's spatial API to allow adding results from a particular city. There may be a way to fetch addresses also. News searches by categories are also an option. Let me know if you're interested in any of these possibilities.

By on Mar 29, 2016 at 5:05 AM

WSN 10.0 is now available. The initial new feature is an adblock detection and nag tool, which allows you to show a message to people who are blocking your ads asking them to please whitelist your site. This should increase your advertising revenue, if your ads are inoffensive enough that people are willing to leave them whitelisted. Go to Admin Panel -> Revenue -> AdBlock Prevention to activate this tool (it requires that your ads be set up through WSN's advertising slots system).

The current development goal is to just do incremental changes -- no more big releases that contain dozens of new features saved up at once, because I found those led to more bugs that took longer to discover compared to just introducing the features one at a time in minor releases. Thus 10.0 isn't a major change from 9.2 yet, though it will become one over the coming months.

The 10.0 series is where new stuff will be added from now on, making 9.2 the stable series which will only get fixes. Basically the purpose of 10.0 is to stabilize 9.2 so that those who don't want to deal with a lot of changes and
possible bugs can upgrade from 9.1 and enjoy the 9.2 features. 9.1 becomes a legacy series which will only get security fixes, but the 9.1 -> 9.2 upgrade is easy and risk-free.

Whether you want 9.2 or 10.0 for your site just depends whether you value updates or stability more for the site, or whether you spot a particular feature added to 10 that you want at some point.

By on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:58 PM

For the past decade plus, WSN has made use of google pagerank to give you and your visitors a quick indication of how popular the domain name a link comes from is. Unfortunately, google is no longer making pagerank accessible to the public in any way. Changes in WSN are thus necessary.

As a replacement for pagerank, I've decided to use alexa's site ranking. Alexa provides an esimtate of where a site lies on a list of the most popular websites, where 1 is the most popular and unpopular sites number in the millions. As of 9.2.47 Beta 1 you can show this rank number in a template using {LINKALEXARANK}. That number doesn't mean much at a glance though, so I've converted it into a pagerank-like 1-10 ranking (1 being least popular, 10 being most popular) with {LINKALEXAPOPNUMBER}. To show the pagerank-like bar image, use {LINKALEXARANKIMAGE} and it'll look just like what you're used to.

To make the transition easier, you don't have to make any template changes. If you leave your templates as-is, google pageranks will be displayed for domains where you've already fetched them and the alexa-based popularity bar will show on new listings where pagerank isn't available. The two improvements you'll get if you swap out your old pagerank template code for the new {LINKALEXARANKIMAGE} are tooltip text listing the exact alexa rank number and automatic hiding of the image when data hasn't been calculated for that domain yet.

Pagerank and alexa rank use different fields though, so you will have one significant problem if you don't update your templates: you won't be able to sort a category by pagerank, except for old listings that still have that data. For that reason, I'm automatically updating templates to swap the pagerank sort for an alexarank sort in the "Sort Links" template. If you have a customized theme where the sort options aren't in that template, you may have to manually update to change option="pagerank" to option="alexarank".

It's important to ...

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By on Mar 08, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Looking to update to PHP 7 to take advantage of improved speed and memory management? WSN 9.2.44 Beta 4 introduces preliminary compatibility with PHP 7. Be advised that PHP 7-specific bugs are likely to be popping up for a while, so it's probably best to keep stable production sites on PHP 5 for now.

The main issues with PHP 7 so far have been the new requirement that method prameters be the same on child classes as parent classes, and a change to the behavior of assigning array indexes as proprties of objects (it used to assign to the property name indicated by the array index, now in 7 it creates an array as an object property instead). I've updated my development PC to PHP 7 and am fixing these issues as I encounter them.

By on Feb 19, 2016 at 12:21 AM (Edited Feb 19, 2016 at 12:25 AM)

A new theme, 'downloads', is now available for all of the WSN scripts. To install it, go to Admin Panel -> Themes -> Add Themes and find it in the list. It was initially made for WSN Software Directory but is adapted for the others. Best used with the 'left side category menu' switch turned on.

Demos: WSN Links, WSN Gallery, WSN KB, WSN Forum, WSN Classifieds, WSN Software Directory, WSN Directory

By on Feb 04, 2016 at 10:37 AM (Edited Feb 04, 2016 at 10:39 AM)

Sometimes, especially in WSN Gallery, you may want to overlay text on top of an image. Today while working on a custom theme I applied this simple CSS to overlay the image titles over the top of the image thumbnails (in category and search results) and the tool links over the bottom of the thumbnails:

.gallerylink .linkbitinfo .linktitle, .gallerylink .linktools { text-shadow: -1px -1px 0 #FFFFFF, 1px -1px 0 #FFFFFF, -1px 1px 0 #FFFFFF, 1px 1px 0 #FFFFFF; }
.gallerylink .linkbitinfo { position: relative; top: 25px; }
.gallerylink .linktools { position: relative; top: -45px; }

The text-shadow line puts a white outline around the dark text so that it'll be readable on any color of image. The other lines move the title down and the tools up, respectively, using relative positioning CSS.

By on Feb 01, 2016 at 10:59 AM (Edited Feb 01, 2016 at 11:00 AM)

The newest feature this week in the 9.2.41 beta releases is draggable resorting of attachments. When ordering your file uploads on submitting or editing a listing, you no longer need to set sort order numbers manually -- just drag a file's row to above or below other rows and the sort order numbers will automatically update accordingly. There's a small new column with an icon to help indicate draggability. This uses jquery UI's sortable under the hood. If you've customized your file uploader template, you'll need to update it to get this feature.

Also, the file uploader tool and ckeditor WYSIWYG editor tool have been updated to their latest versions in the latest WSN beta. Nothing significantly altered there.

By on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:25 PM

Big release tonight, 9.2.40. It includes 5 fixes:
- Fixed unparsed {BUMPSTODAY} in autobumping field description. This affects you if you have the bumps system on, normally used for classifieds websites that order by submission time.
- Fixed lightbox on validate attachments page. Just cosmetic and only the admins see it, but it makes the process of validating attachments a bit easier and prettier.
- Fixed display of attachments from other members on previewing editing listing. Previously, if you were an administator editing a regular member's listing, the preview frame would not show the images they uploaded. Now all images are shown in the preview.
- Fixed theme packager option to include custom fields. Previously, selecting to include custom fields was causing an error -- now you can use all the options as intended, though in most cases you won't want to.
- Fixed autodeletion of old abandoned file attachments. This was an odd old bug

One change that's halfway between a fix and a feature:
- Ads no longer show in the admin panel. This change arose from the realization that some people are putting ad slots in the redirect template. The redirect template is used after submissions, but it's also used various places in the admin panel like the importers, and javascript junk from those ads can break the automatic redirects that you need for the importers. So I decided that ads shouldn't be visible in the admin panel, which means you can safely place ad slots in the redirect template now.

And three new features:
- Added wsn_makeconfirmdialogajax and wsn_makeconfirmdialog for easier confirmation dialogs. These are just developer tools making it a lot easier to leverage jqueryui, but if you're an advanced user it'll be quite handy -- see last week's blog about making confirmation dialogs for deleting files for an exampel of how to use it.
- Added play/pause for slideshows. Covered this in the last blog.
- Added Dutch language pack. Got Dutch-speaking visitors? Copy /...

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By on Jan 18, 2016 at 9:06 PM

One of the limitations to WSN's lightbox slideshow feature has been that it only worked manually. Now, as of 9.2.40 Beta 3, I've added a play/pause button. Look to the left of the slide title. Click play and it'll start flipping through the images automatically, then press the pause button (which appears in the location of the play button when play has been pressed) to stop.

Want to change how long it pauses between images? Go to Admin -> Settings -> Files -> Slideshow Pause.

Want to make slideshows autoplay until someone presses pause? Use the new Admin -> Settings -> Files -> Slideshow Autoplay? option.

By on Jan 12, 2016 at 9:55 PM

Sometimes, users act before they think. Those big inviting delete buttons on their file attachments when editing a listing may get clicked without good reason, and then the file is lost. The solution? A confirmation yes/no dialog.

The 9.2.40 Beta 1 release adds a new javascript handler function to help with this, named wsn_makeconfirmdialogajax. It takes two parameters: the first is the name of another javascript function which will be called when the user says 'yes' to the dialog, and the second is the value of a parameter to pass to that function.

You can use this function to make a confirmation dialog for any javascript event. If you'd like to make a confirmation dialog for a simple url redirect event, use the wsn_makeconfirmdialog function instead -- the only parameter you need to pass to that is the destination URL.

For confirming file attachment deletion, we'll just need to go to Admin -> Themes -> Manage Templates -> File Uploader. In that template, replace wsn_deleteattachment({%=file.attachid%}) with wsn_makeconfirmdialogajax('wsn_deleteattachment', '{%=file.attachid%}') and replace wsn_deleteattachment({ATTACHID}) with wsn_makeconfirmdialogajax('wsn_deleteattachment', '{ATTACHID}')

That's all, you're done!

Please note that as of now this solution is only good for English-only websites because the dialog prompt can't be translated without a very awkward workaround. If you need a multilingual solution, please contact WSN support.
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