Much of what I have done to the site since kind donors from rypn.org funded its continued existence for a couple of years has been directed towards making the site and its data much, much easier to maintain. This is being done because I have fond hopes that someone will continue to operate and maintain this site long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil. In any case, over the past several days, I have continued work on the site’s Administrative interface.
There were all kinds of problems with the Add Video/Delete Video functionality. I’ve talked about that here previously and won’t rehash it. When I got to the point that the functionality looked good and worked well, I got rather distracted, and spent some time adding videos to the web site. Now, more than 1000 locomotives have videos. Some locomotives have more than one. All of our videos come from Youtube and are hosted there, and included in our site by a technique call <iframe>. This means that when you view a video, though it is framed in our site, the actual streaming is done by youtube.com.
Looking at Google Analytics for our site, I was quite surprised at the number of people who view these videos (pleased too!) and I do want to point out a small bit of functionality that may not be obvious. If you are watching a video and place your mouse cursor over it, you’ll see the Youtube comand bar at the bottom of the video, with Pause, Volume and so forth. At the far right of this bar there’s a little square. If you click on this, you’ll see the video in full screen and can return to steamlocomotive.info by hitting the Escape key on your keyboard.
The Note System
The Note System was originally conceived as a sort of community bulletin board where people could comment on, and interact with each other regarding the locomotive. Sort of like an electronic Post-It Note. This turned out to be a really bad idea. Porn, political nonsense, religious proseletyzing and other electronic detritus became the principal content of the Note System.
So… a moderation system was designed and implemented so that a note posted went unseen by anyone except the editors who had authority to approve or disapprove the submitted note. And it worked quite well. If you go to https://www.steamlocomotive.info/notelistingx.cfm?startval=1 you can page through all 16,124 notes that are currently in the system, and you’ll discover there are few if any off topic notes.
I realized that a Delete Note and an Edit Note function might occassionally be necessary for our Editors and I wrote both. What I did horribly badly was design the user interface for these two functions. They work, but finding an individual note to edit or delete is time consuming and unpleasant. So, I’ve redesigned those interfaces and am actively rewriting them to the new design. About 4 or 5 hours of coding, and an hour or two of testing, and this will be working, I think. It won’t affect site visitors much, but it should make the Editors (including me) more able and more willing to correct issues.