Site updates: Feb and Mar 2017
By James Cridland
Posted 13 February 2017, 8.05pm est
Various code releases through the month, though I've been remiss in listing them.
Specifically, work on improving Google Snippets produced from the main directory pages.
Adult titles no longer embed content from their Twitter or Facebook pages.
The map is back at the top of job pages, after Google added a placeholder option in AMP iframes. Which is nice of them.
SoundCloud links in people pages - here's Jake Stevens - weren't validating in AMP. They are now. (All people pages migrated to AMP last year.)
Slow queries set on the new database server, which required a reboot and a very short period of downtime.
A query on the directory index pages was running slow and has been optimised.
- Changes to ad code (mainly in AMP pages). Removal of the right-hand skyscraper ad altogether; mobile devices will get a larger ad at the top of the page; ad at the bottom is now responsive.
- Adult titles no longer include embedded Facebook and Twitter feeds, and no longer link to them.
- Radio listening figures for Australian stations (specifically, those in cap cities) are now live.
- Directory pages are now AMP-enabled. This means the removal, for now, of the embedded Twitter/Facebook timelines.
- Some slight changes to advertising on the directory pages, to make the ads appear higher up in most listings; and some changes to the page template to look nicer.
- When resizing PNG logos with transparent backgrounds, the transparent background is now replaced with white. This will happen with all new logos entered from hereon; previous ones are cached and won't be regenerated for now.
- Probably the most jarring change if you're a long-term visitor: Source Sans Pro is no more; and instead, this site has reverted to Helvetica (Mac), Arial (PC), or Arimo (Chromebook) - or whatever your phone gives you by default. This is to help speed, to match the emails we send, and also because Source Sans Pro always felt a little austere and unfriendly. The precursor of this site, Media UK, used Arial. This site has used a few different webfonts, and at launch used the original Roboto paired with Roboto Slab. Font sizes and margins will be tweaked as we go (mostly using a MacBook as well as a Chromebook).
- Directory index pages are now AMP-enabled.
Publish dates on the website now show the local time for your country. The US defaults to New York time, while Australia defaults to Sydney time.
Some updates to the "listen live" pages. They now support broadcastURIs for FM, AM and DAB - though I'd ask directory editors to please not enter these for now. Australian listen-now pages are now supported, though there is only underlying data for that one radio station quite yet. UK listen-now pages now support AM, though once more, I'd recommend not entering these quite yet.
Listen-live pages, incidentally, aren't AMP-enabled and won't be for some time yet. Pop-up players don't function correctly from AMP pages, in case you've wondered.
Moved server to a PHP7 build. This may break lots of things: I guess we'll only find out when we try!
An invisible change to the breadcrumbs, which are visible in Google. Before it was simply reformatting the title slug, but now it should ensure that "BBC Radio 1Xtra" displays correctly, rather than "Bbc Radio 1xtra" which is, um, wrong.
- Updated our cookies page to reflect that.
- Changed marketing for DAB listings in Australia to correctly call it "DAB+ Digital Radio".
Some fixes for mobile layout, including a nicer-looking footer. The menu now opens our sitemap page to allow you to navigate throughout the website.
Removed amp-mustache from non-commentable article pages (like /cookies).
AMP pages now use the proper AMP-sharer modules. (i.e. buttons to share a page to Facebook, Twitter, etc). I've added one for email as well. This has the side-effect of making it more obvious which are AMP pages, which is "interesting" (no, it isn't really), but will also speed page load times.
The iTunes bot now correctly checks the right storefront. MSNBC's app, for example, is only available in the US store.
Also fixed recently - better links to Radioplayer (for UK radio); TuneIn links now only appear if there's no other way of listening; and better links to related news stories in directory pages - Heart 80s is an example.
Removal of support for Google+ pages (they never gave us an API for them, stupid Google); and directory editors can now edit rss_keywords, a mechanism to more correctly link news stories to specific media titles. This rss_keywords is now part of the news ingest (and something under test).
The front page is now AMP-enabled (and as a result, at last, the hero images display properly on mobile!)
After some speed tests, I've removed the CDN from media.info. Your connection is now direct, without a cache/proxy in the way. This has also meant a few changes in how images have been referenced, and they're now on a separate CDN once more. I've not run a server directly for about four years, so I'm hoping this is the right thing to have done! Who knows...
Thank you to the fine LetsEncrypt service, who now provide us with an SSL key.
...and this is now reverted, while I work out why this was bringing this website to its knees. Heh.
The last update for end March (which might include April 1 - I ought to add a better way of doing these release notes.)
- Google Material Icons are now added as inline SVGs rather than a blocking include on every page. This should further speed the website up, since the amount of SVGs is minimal and we no longer need to load a 80K font on every pageview.
- 'People' Twitter lists were being incorrectly calculated in certain cases. That's been spotted by Jake S and fixed.
- News stories are now automatically checked against the entire directory for matches. This has caused a few strange hiccups - Radio X stories were marked as being from Belgium, for example, since there's a Radio X there too - but most of the automated associations are now pretty good. Feel free to report any.
- News stories from "organisation" pages didn't work. They do now.
- Images on the front page are now all coming from media.info/i - some were coming from a random Cloudfront address. All images now have a TTL of a year, so should load faster for every user.
- There has been some tweaking of ad code, particularly on longer pages. Our goal here is a higher visibility for ad units, so you may see some shifted up the screen, or more units used per page. A small fee, of course, gets rid of the ads (and that small fee will probably increase in the next month or so).
- Listening figures are now available for Australian DAB+-exclusive stations, and a "five cities" cume is now quoted for multi-city services on analog. You might also note some regional survey results also in the directory.
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