Simple Comments Release Notes: v.920 (1/2) | WebReference

Simple Comments Release Notes: v.920 (1/2)

current pageTo page 2

Simple Comments Release Notes: v.920

By Dan Ragle

[This is a release bulletin for the Simple Comments script. For general information pertaining to the script, including the latest release download, system requirements, etc., visit the Simple Comments main page.]

Welcome to a new release of Webref's Simple Comments, a Perl-based system that allows you to add a talkback facility to the static Web pages of your Apache-based site. This version of Simple Comments adds a single significant new feature as well as several smaller enhancements and adjustments.

Replies Supported

First, the significant new feature: With this release, Simple Comments now supports the ability to reply to a previously posted comment.

Of course, a person could always post their reply to a person's comment, but in past versions of Simple Comments the reply would not be tied in any way to the original comment. Since Simple Comments allows administrators to approve comments before they are displayed on the site (i.e., because there may be a time delay between the time you submit your comment and the time the comment actually appears on the site), other comments may sneak in between the original comment and the reply that you posted; creating a potentially confusing layout. For example, consider this collection of comments:

Without reply-tos, comments are posted sequentially
Without reply-tos, comments are posted sequentially

Clearly comment 3 is an answer not to comment 2, but instead to comment number 1 (and I don't know what comment 2 is related to). In previous versions of Simple Comments, all comments were always displayed seqentially. With version .920 users can reply to an existing comment; and that reply--provided the administrator has configured the system to allow it (more below)--will appear beneath the related comment. Here's what the same set of comments would look like in the new version:

With reply-tos, comments can be posted with the comments they pertain to
With reply-tos, comments can be posted with the comments they pertain to

Note that an unlimited number of reply-to levels is supported, though the default display template will only differentiate (by indenting) 5 levels of replies. Of course, since you can modify all templates, you're free to support any level of comment indentation on replies (up to the limits of your CSS imagination). More on that below.

Multiple new parameters and template features work in combination to allow this new functionality:

One caveat with the new reply-to feature. If you delete a comment that has replies, then all of the comment's replies (and all of their replies) will be deleted. Since this could result in the deletion of many more replies than you intended, a special warning screen will be displayed and you must approve the deletion before the administration script will continue. This warning will only be displayed if at least one of the comments you had marked for deletion did, in fact, have a reply.

What Else Is New?

Other new features, in no particular order, include:

And, of course, a few bugs were also exterminated with this release of Simple Comments. The most prevalent of these are:

That pretty much sums up the new features, changes, and bug fixes in Simple Comments version .920. On the next page, we examine our Digest::MD5 problem in more detail, and explain why you might have similar problems in your own Digest::MD5 based scripts if you haven't accounted for it...

current pageTo page 2

Created: December 26, 2006
Revised: December 26, 2006