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By on Jun 17, 2016 at 3:09 AM

The big enhancement in WSN 10.0.8 is submenus support for the main menu in the menu manager. This solves the problem of having more pages than you have horizontal space for on the menu bar.

In new installations, the Options menu is a submenu associated to the member home menu, such that everything from the member home menu automatically shows on it. If you wish you can disassociate this and build a custom options submenu.

Bootstrap themes use the native bootstrap menu javascript and css. Non-bootstrap themes use superclick. Older wrapper templates may not support submenus until their menu template code is updated.


By on Jun 06, 2016 at 2:53 PM

When you set up a website, there are two ways people can access it: www.yourdomain.com, or just yourdomain.com. This creates a couple of problems. First, unless you've set the site's cookie domain to .yourdomain.com, when someone logs in at yourdomain.com they won't be logged in at www.yourdomain.com -- which leaves them confused if they end up on the other version from a link they found somewhere. Secondly, search engines don't like the duplication.

The solution for this has always been to add redirection into the .htaccess file to redirect www URLs to their non-www equivalents or vice versa. Many of you have done this in WSN using the extra .htaccess content option in the SEO settings.

The latest WSN 10 beta adds automatic handling of this situation, whenever URL rewriting is enabled on a site. It checks the directory url value to see whether you want www or not, so you can change it either by changing the directory URL at Admin -> Settings -> System Configuation or by changing the selection at Admin -> Settings -> SEO -> Domain Format (which will in turn update your directory URL for you). WSN writes the appropriate redirection rules to the .htaccess automatically.

Having a duplicate redirection (one you set in the extra .htaccess content as well as the new automatic redirection) shouldn't be a problem, works fine in my tests, so you don't have to change anything -- but can feel free to remove any redirection you added whenever you're ready, for clarity.


By on May 07, 2016 at 5:17 PM

Today I've been enhancing WSN's "add from web search" option to allow you to add articles from a bing news search. There are 8 categories of news to narrow the results to. If you're running a directory of news articles, this should be a huge help.

If you find this useful, let me know if you'd like the ability to set a category to automatically add new content from search results at an interval.

I've also added a checkbox to specify that the contents gathered from web/news searches should be held for validation. There was already a tweak, but this makes it easier to hold the data for manual review and just use the searches as a fountain of ideas.

In the process of adding that checkbox, I've created a generalized way to make checkboxes that are remembered by cookies -- just use <input type="checkbox" name="x" value="1" onClick="wsn_tickcookie('x')" {FUNC_TICKCOOKIE[x]}> where x is whatever name you want.


By on May 06, 2016 at 9:12 PM (Edited May 06, 2016 at 9:13 PM)

Lots of changes in tonight's WSN 10.0.5 release.

Fixes

I fixed a situation where sponsor type separation had been on by default when it shouldn't be, by disabling it for anyone who hasn't declared the sponsor types in the template. Fixed a bug with sponsor type separation where it wouldn't show sponsored results in a search if there were multiple sponsored types. Fixed the link checkers to not check unvalidated listings. Fixed the ability to disable automatic bug reports, which was only disabling one of the two types of bug reports before. Corrected some wording on updating passwords. Enforced automatic writing of .htaccess files for those who chose in long ago versions to disable automatic write, because managing .htaccess by hand is begging for site-disabling errors and the option to turn off auto-write hasn't been visible for a while anyway.

New Stuff

I've added a URL search to the admin search page, for your convenience in case you want to find listings by URL or parts of their URL. On the listing validation pages I've added the full path to the category so that there's no longer any confusion at a glance about what category the listing is in if your bottom level categories often have the same names. Added server-side thumbnailing of thumbshots, which means your thumbshot images (from pagepeeker or thumbshots.com) are now much smaller and load much faster.

Added a new tweak 'nomembersearch' which provides an easy way to disable the ability for people to search members, and also automatically prevented members from being able to search members when the 'can view member list' permission is turned off for their usergroup (these changes are useful for sites that use emails as usernames and want to avoid exposing email addresses to spammers).

Made some small changes to your paypal receipts for paypal sponsorships for your conveience. The receipt emails now include the sponsorship level description and the listing or member profile url. This makes it quicker for...

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By on Apr 06, 2016 at 7:08 PM

As you upgrade through the 10.0 series in the coming days/weeks, you may notice that there are a ton of small template changes and you may wonder what these are for. These changes are part of ongoing efforts to merge as much of the default theme and the bootstrap theme as possible without changing the appearance of either.

The reason: bootstrap needs to be a first class citizen, so that you can feel secure building on it and easily apply your own custom bootstrap themes even if you start from the default theme. With bootstrap having dozens of customized templates like it has so far, maintenance is difficult and it ends up being buggier than the default theme because I occasionally forget to apply a change to bootstrap that I apply to the default theme. As I merge the templates, bootstrap will be able to directly add its style to default templates. Only a small number of bootstap templates will remain customized -- even though they'll all look just as customized as they do today, and the default theme won't start looking bootstrappy.

How is this possible? Basically, I'm including both the standard and the bootstrap css classes on each element. For extra elements bootstrap has which default lacks, I'm adding those into the default while leaving them unstyled so they're not visible in default. Table header rows on submit/edit pages are the most difficult since bootstrap's titles are above the table while default's are in the table's first row, but I've solved that by changing it to the bootstrap version while making it appear the same in default as if it were the table header row.

So far, so good. While I'm testing as I go, there's always the chance of this messing something up for someone, which is why I'm doing it in the new series and not the stable series (9.2 is now the stable series). In the long run, it's very good news if you're a web designer who wants to more easily take advantage of the many bootstrap themes out there.


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

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