Since the sale of ActiveRain from Zillow to Ben Kinney, this is our first release where we are making updates to the code on ActiveRain. We inherited a capable development team from the Zillow group, and have seeded that team with our own people to make sure we have the best of both worlds; legacy knowledge about the code base combined with a fresh approach to developing new features.
For this first round of updates, we wanted to take it a little slow and make sure that everything is in order with our new servers and testing environments so that we can avoid as many hiccups as possible when we bring enhancements to the site.
We actually have three 'sprints' worth of development work ready to deploy once testing is complete. Here is a list of things that went out in today's release. There will be two subsequent releases that will deal with additional known issues around the site. So if you don't see your most annoying issue in today's list, feel free to ask and I'll let you know if it's slated for one of the next two releases.
Today's Fixes and Minor Enhancements
Ability to mark contact messages as spam: You've gotten them. And if you haven't yet, you will soon. You know the type.....a rich prince in the middle east would like to give you $10M because he likes your profile picture. Now, from the messages area you will be able to mark those messages as spam and it will notify us so that we can block the IP address if necessary.
Add a Filter on the Points Page: Previously you were able to sort your points only based on month. Now you will be able to sort your points based on: blogging points, commenting points, product review points, profile points, Q&A points, invite points, and other (where contest points end up in other). Now if you think you never got points for that last contest, you can easily check and sort your points for a given month based on different types of points.
Blog Snippets on Hyper Local Pages: Previously if you went to a hyper local page (here's an example of a community page for the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle) you were met with the entirety of whatever blog posts had been shared to that page. In order to enhance our SEO, we have moved to a snippet view of blog posts on hyper local pages. This makes the pages look much cleaner and also drives anyone reading on that page to click directly into your blog post in order to read the entire thing.
Code Review on the Write a Blog Post Page: There were about 8 issues all connect to this one ticket. We had one developer go through and do a complete overview of the code on the 'write a blog post' page. Each of these individual issues was fixed assuming that we could recreate the issue. You should see less irritation with this page now. But as always, it makes sense to clear your cache from time to time to avoid unnecessary hassle when writing a blog post.
Editor Not Saving Entire Draft Post: This had been reported by a few different members. As part of the code review we tested every save option possible (auto save, clicking the save button, hitting the close button) and each of these scenarios tested out and should be working properly.
Built Mobile Versions of Hyper Local Pages: Those same pages I spoke about above....they now have a mobile optimized version that will display when someone access the hyper local pages on their phone or mobile device.
Nightly Chron Job Warning: This one won't mean a lot to you on the surface, but it's a big help to us. I'm sure you have noticed that every now and then notification emails get caught up in our system. Then, when we release them, you get a flood of emails. We built something in to make sure when this happens we are notified and your email notifications don't get stuck for too long. I'm talking ringing sirens and clanging bells in the office!
Draft Post Save Before You Go: If you try to close down a window that has a current draft post in edit mode, you will be met with a pop up that asks you if you would like to first save the draft post before exiting the page.
Spell Check Fixed: In certain browsers there may have been an issue with spell check. Spell check has been verified and fixed on all browsers and everyone should be able to once again use the spell check function inside of ActiveRain
Ability to Edit an Answer: Previously you were unable to actually edit an answer that you may have left on a question in the Q&A section. This has been fixed.
There are another 12 or 15 tickets that were either behind the scenes or very specific to one member. I'll spare you the details. As I mentioned above, we have another round of bug fixes and minor enhancements that will deploy in the next 7-10 days (or possibly sooner depending on if this release causes any issues).
Questions or Comments
If you have some specific issue you are wondering about, ask in the comments and I will update you on the status.
This first round of bug fixes and minor enhancements gave us a chance to get to know all of the developers on the team and also let them get to know us. We have added some new faces to the team so making sure that everyone understands how everyone else works is helping to set us up for some awesome work moving forward. After we get through these first three rounds of sprints, you will start to see us tackling some larger projects on the site.
If you see anything around the site that doesn't seem right after this update, please leave a comment and let us know. Our team will be watching for any reports and ready to jump in and make fixes.