Changing the world one byte at a time

Tag Archives: javascript

Subtitle: I fixed it!

The bug that had prevented me from adding any more feeds to WFS is now fixed!  It was surprisingly easy; it had to do with an unescaped apostrophe throwing a wrench in the Javascript in the admin page.  The tricky thing that made it hard to diagnose is that it only threw an error  when you tried to save a new feed AFTER you had added and successfully saved the feed with the apostrophe in the Name field.  Normally, if I run across a bug in the Admin page (of which there are many), I would get an error when I try to submit a newly added feed that it doesn’t like.

I finally found the source when I noticed in Chrome Developer Tools that the Javascript was throwing an error right at the line that had a name with an apostrophe; I then looked at the other two planets that I know are affected and sure enough, it showed the same error at the feeds that had an apostrophe in the name field.  Because single quotes were used around the string value, the apostrophe was treated as the end of the string, when clearly it wasn’t supposed to end there.

Now that the bug is taken care of, I’ve added the remaining intern feeds for this OPW round, so you can now read all the OPW intern blogs on the Women in Free Software planet.  I added a few Google Summer of Code students as well; if there are any other female GSoC student who would like to be added, just let me know!

With these additions, the number of feeds on Women in Free Software planet is now approaching 100, which feels pretty big to me.  There are some folks who don’t always want to read all the blogs in the feed; for example, you might want to only read blogs of people who are working with the same coding language, or working with the same organization.  If this is you, I have a request and a suggestion:

(a) in case you’re not aware, Planeteria enables anyone to make their own planet.  You can make a planet with a much narrower scope if you like and read just those blogs that you want.  Just go to the homepage, fill out the two-field form, and start adding your feeds!  It’s that simple.  This is probably the best approach in the short term; however….

(b) there is a new feature coming down the pipeline that will enable you to sort the feed by tags.  Tell me what catgeory/ies you would like to be able to read within the feed, so that when the time comes to implement it, it will have tags that are useful to the planet’s readers.  Leave a note in the comments!

A new session of the OPW (Opportunity Program for Women) internship has begun, and even though I’m no longer an intern, I’m continuing my work on what was my internship project this Spring,  The website has lots more work to be done, and I feel like there were many things that I wanted to fix during my internship but didn’t get around to.  In fact, in many ways it feels like much of what I accomplished during my internship period was just wrapping my head around what could be improved about the site, how to prioritize those tasks, and doing a lot of housekeeping that would enable me and other contributors to move forward.

This includes updating the README file to be clear and accurate; conducting a user survey to determine what the pain points are for users (thankfully there really aren’t many) and what new features might be useful to people; creating a project Road Map to inform potential contributors about the direction of the project and what the next steps are.  I also got a start on a redesign of the site, which will make it more mobile-friendly, update the code to use contemporary jQuery libraries, and add a few new features to the site.  The most exciting feature to me is the ability to tag each blog feed within a planet with themes, organizational affiliations, technologies, and other categories that site visitors can then use to narrow down the feed to blogs most relevant to their interests.  The redesign has been put on the back burner, however, while we focus on addressing more immediate functionality issues, which I’ll discuss more below.

I personally have a lot more to learn, so working on Planeteria continues to be an opportunity for me to build my skills while making improvements to the site.

I’ve also enjoyed following the new OPW interns’ blogs on the Women in Free Software planet, which I manage/curate on  Along with the 50 new interns, there are many former OPW interns on the planet as well as several Google Summer of Code participants.  The OPW logo appears next to entries of current OPW interns, and the Google Summer of Code logo appears next to current GSOC students.  (There are a few who are participating in both; I’m not sure which image to add to those blog feeds. This will no longer be an issue when the tagging feature is implemented and we’ll no longer use images to designate affiliation with OPW/GSOC.)

However for those who are keeping track, there are still a few folks in the current OPW program missing from the feed.  My apologies to those who are still waiting to be added!  Unfortunately I ran into a bug that prevents me from adding new blogs to the planet before I had added all of the new OPW interns.  The source of this bug is the file that governs the behavior of the Admin page; which was written back when AJAX was still a new concept that people were just starting to implement.  The javascript is pretty antiquated and has been the source of more than one bug.  I had already been planning on rewriting it soon, and I’m now torn between the desire to work on a quick band-aid fix for the several planet admins who cannot add more feeds until the immediate issue is fixed (including myself), versus focusing my time instead on the re-write of the code so that it uses modern jQuery libraries to be more efficient and (hopefully) less buggy, or at least easier to debug in the future.  The plan is to work on a short-term fix and then dive into rewriting it, before I run into yet another bug that stems from the code.