Anselm Lingnau

There appears to have been an outage of the Strathspey (web) Server earlier today, which I am unfortunately not in a position to investigate in detail (being in Portugal and all that). I restarted the web server and it appears to run, and we should all keep our fingers crossed that it will continue for the next few days because I don't really know if and when I'm going to be online.

(Before you ask: I used to have an automatic check that would advise me if the server was down, but my mobile phone data plan doesn't work outside Germany, and the infrastructure in question wasn't quite carried across to the new server machine in the first place. I'm going to look into crash-proofing the server better when I'm home after next Sunday.)

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 8 December 2014 1:38

Anselm Lingnau

Dance lists in the database now are no longer automatically made “active” when they are edited. Instead there is a “Make List Active” button near the “Edit List” button on a list's detail page which you can use to make a list active.

The “active” list is the one that gets dances added to it via the “Add to List” button on a dance's detail page. If you create a new list that list is still implicitly made active; the only change is that editing a list doesn't make that list active.

The reason for the change is that I'm looking through previous class logs to find dances for our upcoming ball – which if the ball list is active is easy because you can click on a dance and from its detail page add it to that list. However, if for any reason you edit a previous class log (e.g., to make it public) then that list used to become active, so you had to go back to the ball list to make that active again, etc., which was annoying.

Note that you can edit a list whether or not it is active, so you don't need to make it active just to edit it. Also note that you don't need to explicitly make list A inactive before making list B active.

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 24 November 2014 14:39

Anselm Lingnau

The update seems to have gone through OK – it was a bigger job than originally planned but the system is now in as good a shape as it ever was.

We're also just half an hour of programming and a 2-hour import run of nearly 70.000 messages away from getting the Strathspey Archive back on track. There are a few loose ends to be tied up (e.g., dealing with the address rewriting that the nasty AOL/Yahoo! DMARC business inflicted on us earlier this year), but I'm quite positive it won't be long now. This goes hand in hand with an updated version of www.strathspey.org, which means I get to finally get rid of the previous version of the framework. Yay!

As always, if you find any anomalies or have other questions, suggestions, or criticism then do let me know.

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 20 November 2014 1:59

Anselm Lingnau

The my.strathspey status updates now include news from the “News“ page of the RSCDS web site at www.rscds.org. These are “scraped“ from the actual site at regular intervals as the Society does not publish an RSS or Atom feed (which would be the usual method).

Unfortunately, news items on the RSCDS site do not carry a date, which is why we get a whole bunch of them at one go (the Strathspey system needs to catch up, and we can't easily back-date them to where they ought to belong in the stream). From now on only new items should show up, though.

This is a side benefit of work that I'm doing in order to move the www.strathspey.org site over to the current platform. Devotees of the Strathspey Archive will be pleased to know that the new archive implementation seems to work well on my machine (including PostgreSQL-based full-text search in past postings), and this will also be available on the public server in due course.

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 14 November 2014 15:56

Anselm Lingnau

In the database, complex search operations for dances or recordings will now try to handle articles automagically. This means that if you're searching for something like “The Reel of” this used to return nothing because the database stores articles at the end of the title, as in “Reel of the 51st Division, The”. This change means that if a name query starts with an article, the database now also searches for titles with the article at the end (in effect, for a search for “The Reel of”, the database will also return titles matching the regular expression “^Reel of.*, The$”). I hope that this will lead to more predictable results.

In many cases it may be more advisable to simply leave the article off. This is because if you're searching for recordings for “A Trip to Bavaria” you will be missing a few recordings that are titled simply “Trip to Bavaria”.

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 12 November 2014 18:26

Anselm Lingnau

Here's another innovation for you: Dance lists may now have dates! With hindsight this is something that I should have added ages ago (but didn't because, reasons). What this gives you in the short term is the capability of specifying the date that a dance list applies to (e.g., the date the class took place, or the date the function is going to be at). The date of a list is displayed on its details page as well as on list overview pages, and list overview pages allow you to restrict the lists shown to a specific (possibly open-ended) date range.

This should make it more convenient to find dance lists for specific functions. There are a few other neat and useful ideas that we could use the dance lists for, so stay tuned.

I have added dates to most of the dance lists that had something resembling a date in their names. You may want to check whether these are correct for all your lists; the process was a little quick and dirty and I may have missed some corner cases.

database

· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 5 November 2014 18:48 (last edited on 5 November 2014 18:50)

Anselm Lingnau

I just deployed the long-awaited (or long-feared?) extreme makeover of the SCD database user interface. This should now be more in line with best web design practices for the year CE 2014, and work better not just on PCs, but also on devices with small screens (mobiles).

There are a few small glitches to sort out (mostly to do with videos) and I'll take care of those ASAP – I wanted to get the bulk of the update out in preparation for my talk at the RSCDS Teachers' Conference on Friday.

The changes confine themselves mostly to the appearance of the site; there has been only one significant change to its underlying workings, and that concerns dance lists. Formerly, users would have an implicit dance list (called “WORK”, with asterisks around it, if it showed up anywhere) which would receive dances through “drag and drop”, and could then later be edited and saved as a “named” dance list. The drag-and-drop interface looked neat at first but proved to be problematic in various respects, and has therefore been removed. Right now there are only “named” dance lists, and therefore to start a new dance list you need to create an empty one from the dance list overview or “My Dance Lists”. The most recently created or edited dance list is considered “active”, and if you click on the “Add to List” button on a dance's page then that dance will be added to the “active” list. I hope this avoids problems like the one where if you had the “WORK” list open for editing in one tab and then dragged a dance on it in another tab that didn't show the very latest version of the list as per the editing screen, your edited version would be obliterated :^( (If you edit your active list in one tab and then add a dance to it in another, you still need to re-load the list in the “editing” tab, but you won't lose any dances anymore.)

Do let me know if you notice any problems, or have suggestions for further improvement!

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 4 November 2014 12:26 (last edited on 4 November 2014 12:27)

Anselm Lingnau

The move to the new machine seems to be done now. Sorry for taking a little longer than planned!

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 13 June 2014 17:56

Anselm Lingnau

I just fixed a bug in the database that in some cases – mostly solo artists and newly-added bands – prevented albums and recordings from being credited to the respective artists on their »Person« pages. Thanks to Heiko Schmidt and Eric Ferguson for bringing it to my attention (with some persistence).

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 22 May 2014 14:19

Anselm Lingnau

I'm currently working on the Strathspey Archive with a view to not only reinstating timely updates, but also improving the user experience with regards to threading etc. This is proving more time-consuming than I thought because I need to re-index all 65.000+ past Strathspey messages, and the early parts of the Archive are in a fairly terrible state when it comes to metadata.

In particular, many messages have the same message ID (which theoretically isn't supposed to happen at all), and rather a lot of messages either refer to one of those duplicates (which needs resolving by hand) or else have something weird in their »In-Reply-To« header (which could be resolved by hand but I don't have the time just now).

The very early parts of the Archive have moved from one machine to the next for a very long time and it seems that the archiving software of the early days had a few nasty bugs. I hope that when I'm finished with the problems within the first few thousand messages things will improve. (Right now I'm in the 1800s.)

The strategic importance of this work is that I'm trying to move full-text search into the Django implementation of the mailing list archive (and in this process can manage to get rid of the external Sphinx search engine), and that we'll also get archives for the other mailing lists hosted on the system, most notably dancedata-friends.

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· · Posted by Anselm Lingnau · 5 May 2014 11:38

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