Monday, May 21, 2018

Another Day, Another Big Update!

Yet again, I'm ready for the Next Big Update. This is a massive update that has the potential to break break all sorts of unexpected things, but hopefully I've tested it thoroughly enough that y'all only find minor problems.

But for as massive as this update is, you probably won't notice much that's changed. The majority of the changes are under the hood. But there are a few things I'll point out:

* You'll find a few cosmetic changes here and there. You might have to do a "page refresh" to see some of these changes if your browser is using a cached version of the CSS. (Try clicking Ctrl-F5 if you're on a Windows machine.) Eventually your browser will update this whether or not you manually force a reload.
* The premium membership pages have been updated to work better with smartphones. You shouldn't have to zoom in and out or do any horizontal scrolling to navigate those pages anymore.
* I've added a few feature requests over the last few months. I didn't keep a running list, but if I posted or told you that it'll be in the "Next Big Update"--this is it.

The "massive" part of this update is in the location information stored in the database. I redesigned how locations are stored, processed and updated. If I broke something, there's a good chance you'll find it when running a location-based search (including trip searches, area searches, rectangle searches, etc.)

For most of you, the main thing you might notice is that if you create a custom location, you'll find that the coordinates and radius of your location may not update immediately. This will happen when somebody else is already using that location with different coordinates and/or radius. Basically, AQ recognizes the fact that two different people are trying to use the same location, but that disagree over the location or size of the location. Which is right? AQ doesn't know!

So your new coordinates/size are put into a list that moderators will be notified of and they can look at the information provided by both people and make a determination about which is the correct data to use. Hopefully it won't ever take more than a day at most before one of the moderators can validate the data and approve the change (assuming the information you provided is accurate, of course).

This process only happens with two different people are trying to use the same location but disagree on its coordinates and/or size. If you are the only person using a location, AQ will happily accept whatever you enter regardless how of incorrect it may or not be and the change will happen instantaneously. =)

So that's it in a nutshell.

Unless you're a premium member--in which case there's a new feature/perk you can check out! Under the Toolbox menubar, you'll find a new option labeled Manage Locations. Here, you can check out a list of all of the locations that are currently being used by your account--the locations of all of the boxes you've listed, events you've listed, custom locations added to other people's boxes, etc.

This is actually a page I've used for years as an admin tool to update incorrect locations or check out the details of a specific location to figure out what's going on when people report problems with the search and it's incredibly useful. For non-admins, it's probably not as useful, but it's still interesting to look at and lets you handle locations separately from boxes, event or whatever the case may be.

You can use this to see exactly what AQ has in its database about the location you're using and edit it as needed. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that you're editing the actual location information when you change a location from here. When you "change" a location by editing a box (for instance), what you're really doing is pointing the box to a different location. The actual location doesn't change--just which one you're referring to. Changes with this new tool, however, changes the actual location, so if you have multiple boxes pointing to the same location and edit that location, all boxes using that location will get updated.

So the rule here is to use the Manage Locations page to correct location information (like your box in New York is showing up in Texas searches), and use the old "edit box" (or event, or tracker, or whatever) to change the location of a box/event/whatever (because, for instance, the box used to be located in New York, but it was retired from there and moved to Texas).

Related to this, when you pull up the box/event/tracker details page, you'll find a new link that will take you directly to the page with all of the information AQ has about the location for that page. Just to make it a little easier to find that page without having to go through Manage Locations page. =)

So that's it in a nutshell.

Unless… you're a moderator. =) And I'll post about stuff you folks should know about in the Moderator board.

I've done a heck of a lot of testing for this update, but it's a massive update that affects thousands of lines of code across hundreds of files, so there are almost certainly a few bugs that slipped through my testing. Let me apologize in advance if you run into trouble from any of them, and I'll be monitoring AQ closely for the next couple of days so I can hop on whatever problems might arise. Please be patient, though! I'm optimistic the problems will be minimal, though, and hopefully most of you won't notice any bugs at all! =)


Mendel Golden Retriever said...

EEk, right before PAL Day! Hope it's smoothe going , by Thursday!

Teresa said...

For custom locations, what I run into is a park or trail with multiple parking areas or trailheads, and you're trying to direct them to a particular one. The mapping program often insists on going back to the default single entry. For example: Shelton Lakes Recreation Path, Pine Lake entrance Vs. Shelton Lakes Recreation Path, Dog Park Entrance. Said path is 4 miles long, so these two different locations should map differently. The mapping program would delete the entrance info and bounce back to whatever entrance location was originally entered.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, I have about 600 custom locations!

I too use the custom location feature for specific entry or parking locations.
When using a smartphone app, these custom locations are especially important when I'm traveling and have done the background preparation work at home
-Dartmoor Dreamer

Anonymous said...

Don't know if anyone has reported it but the look of my searches is quite large, ie.
not a compact list, with a lot of vertical "things" making the spacing.