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Updates and Fixes – July/2020

In the last few days I worked hard on DFX.lv to create several improvements that were needed. I have some good news, some bad news, to share.

Let’s start with the bad news:

No more pages in Portuguese.
I was posting in English and Portuguese since launch, with the pages in English in the root directory / and Portuguese in /pt/, to get this feature enable I used one WordPress plugin called WPGlobus. I honestly loved the idea of ​​having both languages ​​on DFX.lv, and it didn’t bother me posting duplicates for each language ​​(Portuguese is my primary language), I even felt proud to post pages and jump between the English / Portuguese versions with ease. Unfortunately the problem is that WordPress does not have an efficient multilingual solution, WPGlobus plugin addressed the problem but in fact it is much more of a hack than a solution, everything were prefixed text control tags like {:en}Hello{:}{ :pt}Olá{:}, pages, descriptions, site title, site name… This is a nightmare for search engines and consequently the pages here did not have good results and were not found easily. So I need to cancel this feature, for now.

I won’t link Gitter anymore.
Last year I created several services and resources to associate with DFX.lv, including Gitter which is a chat/IM for developers, but Gitter never worked very well and some things are weirdly limited (like not being able to change avatars, not importing Twitter avatar automatically), I also never see anyone using or recommending the service, so it does not make sense to keep maintaining the link in the footer if I do not even remember that it exists.

Let’s go for the good news:

Speed, performance, rendering, optimizations!
I spent many hours on this features, I finally feel that DFX.lv is reaching a good moment in terms of speed and response time. WordPress is heavy (both server and client sides), PHP running on Windows server is heavy, Windows AWS Micro server (1 core 2Ghz, 1GB RAM) is hard to believe that it even works… But thanks to many tweaks and improvements and hacks and caches on the server side, now DFX.lv is working and responding much faster. The server is much lighter now, supporting a bigger number of simultaneous visitors, it may not have the troubles of going offline for hours when a search engine webcrawler decides to access all pages at the same time. Better navigation, better experience for the visitor.

Install the site as an app and browse offline!
It is now possible to install the site as an app, both on desktop and mobile, and browse visited DFX.lv pages while offline! I did not imagine that something (theoretically) so simple could make such difference. This is one of the cases in which I studied something completely unrelated to DFX.lv and the new learning knowledge ends up bringing ideas to improve DFX.lv, I studied PWA (Progressive Web Applications) for another project, after finishing it I thought “Maybe all this could work in DFX.lv, I will give a try”, having all files and techniques ready to use and install was almost magical, it was enough to copy the files to server and configure and it was working. I will need to improve this feature later displaying an “Install” button properly instead of let the default browser popup action asking the visitor to install on first visits. Anyways, honestly, I think it looks beautiful!

Client cache storage and ServiceWorker!
This new feature is a combination of the two previous works, in addition to improving the server and adding PWA capabilities, now the site also uses and abuses cache storage on the visitor browser, the 1st page visited loads and cache the common files from the current visited page, the 2nd page onwards common files are readed from cache, navigation is accelerated and response time is greatly improved. With client cache it was also possible to make DFX.lv work offline! Visit some pages, go offline (close your browser if you want) and try to visit the same pages again, they will work and display even completely offline.

Javascript Error Free!
There were dozens of small javascript errors all over DFX.lv, all of them coming from WordPress and plugins, I always thought this is unflattering, like visiting a car mechanic that drives a broken car, so I spent a lot of time correcting these errors and fixing them to allow the site to work flawlessly without throwing any error. Some typical Ad_Blocker errors will continue to appear just because they are natural to anti-advertising browsers but HTML DOM and jQuery errors will no longer happen. (if you see one, let me know!)

Translate highlighted!
I like sites that allow translations. Since DFX.lv launch, Google Translator existed in the footer to facilitate any visitor that wants or needs translation, now that I have removed all Portuguese pages, I found important to highlight that Google Translator is still available and now it resides at the top of the side bar, quickly any visitor can translate DFX.lv to others languages. I still need to hack the current combobox to list all the ​​available languages on Google Translator and not just a few pre-selected ones (<= done).

TinyTinyRSS is solid gold.
I had posted before about Feedly and InoReader but I completely forgot to post about my current favorite RSS Feed , TinyTinyRSS . I’m in love with this thing, I barely browse anything on the internet anymore, it’s all categorized and feeded directly to my TinyTinyRSS server, this means a lot faster daily updates, more shares and finds at WildWeb, more productive ways to use Internet. Add TinyTinyRSS server with Pi-hole and suddenly the NetRunner (or InfoHoarder) idea from Cyberpunk starts to feels more probable and usual.

Comments are welcome.

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