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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.
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