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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

Fixing the Teaspoon

Filed in: Website Management.

A while back I volunteered to help in the technical side of running A Teaspoon and an Open Mind, a Doctor Who fanfiction site. The site's currently using the eFiction CMS, though Barbarella (the other technical admin) and I will be writing a new CMS as eFiction is not great. Bugs fixed so far:

1. Disappearing Help text
Most of the text on the help page disappeared. The problem turned out to be because the text had < symbols in it, and when the help text was edited in the eFiction settings, either the browser or eFiction would cut the text off at that point. The solution was to double escape the tag to &amp;lt;

2. Broken Mac posting
A user posting from a Mac said that their paragraph breaks were being lost and their stories appearing on the site as one huge lump of text. This was likely to be because the Apple line uses a different byte to signify the end of line, so the solution was simply to convert the end-of-lines to Unix format.

The last item is less a bug than an annoyance. PHP likes appending huge session IDs to the links on the site, so you end up with a hugely long URL with a PHPSESSID thing on the end of it. This causes many problems, including messing up the site's indexing in search engines - because the spiders get a different PHPSESSID each time, they keep indexing the same page over and over. The solution to the ID problem is three lines of code which go in the .htaccess file. Excellent.

That may still not fix the site's indexing in Google because Google is apparently wary of parameters called "sid", and eFiction uses "sid=#####" to select the story to display. It also uses exactly the same title on every single page (the site's name and slogan) which I'm sure doesn't help either.

Posted August 26, 2005 8:16 PM

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