Code improvements, slight performance improvements

January 16th, 2009

Tonight has been a productive night. I have started on some of the code optimisations that i’ve been waiting since September to get around to!

Some of it has been about reducing and reusing code, for consistency and for ease of writing and maintaining the codebase. Some of it has been about optimising to reduce the amount of HTML and JavaScript that gets sent to your browser - this makes page refreshes faster.

One major leap forward today is the introduction of Low Pro, a technique for taking out inline JavaScript and putting it into separate files. It’s something i learnt about at RailsConf, and i’ve been wanting to put it into MyChores ever since. It’s really good for making the same page work with or without JavaScript, meaning we can soon get rid of the “Enable JavaScript” option in the preferences. Instead of explicitly attaching an AJAX post and a Scriptaculous fade effect to every task, a single snippet of code dynamically attaches itself to the tasks.

Despite the reduction in code, page loads are still a bit slow. I want to optimise the database queries so that fetching your tasks happens faster for the initial page load. Once the page is loaded you should find that ticking off your tasks feels a bit more responsive.

Please let me know if you see anything broken after tonight’s changes. You should find that everything works just the same, although i did put in a few subtle enhancements … i wonder if anyone will notice! :)

Whoops!

January 15th, 2009

I applied a few security fixes a couple of days ago. I apparently overdid it slightly, accidentally making it so that no new people could register! I am sorry about that … it’s fixed now! :)

Filter by team members

January 10th, 2009

We have a new functionality for people who are in teams with two or more people: filter by member.

This was suggested and implemented by Derek, who wanted the functionality to help oversee what other team members had to do.

You’ll find the new option in the filter menu at the bottom of the workload page.

Filter by person

The more people you have in your teams, the more options you’ll get there. If you just use MyChores by yourself you won’t notice anything different.

This has been the first change that has been well tested. The tests provide a very useful starting point for refactoring and speeding up the task lookup and display.

In other news, i am going back and looking at MyChores Mobile, since somebody has now asked for it. Once the MyChores API is complete, it opens the door for other plugin applications, such as MyChores for Kids, MyChores Google gadget, and possibly a Facebook application and an iPhone application!

Calling MyChores members for a Wired magazine article

January 5th, 2009

Wired magazine is looking to interview MyChores members. I don’t know very much except that the article is about life-tracking technologies, so i presume it’ll be about how MyChores helps in your day-to-day life.

Please let me know if you’re willing to be interviewed and i’ll pass your details along. Thanks!

Email issues

January 2nd, 2009

Apologies for the delay for some people to receive your signup emails and email verification links. The problem has been fixed and the backlog of emails is just being processed now.

I have also heard reports that some emails are being blocked or marked as spam by Yahoo and Gmail. I’m not sure whether this is true, or is just a symptom of the email blockage on our part. Please let me know if you’re still not receiving emails when you think you ought to be.

Facebook fan group

December 31st, 2008

It is with some embarrassment that i report there is now a Facebook fan group for MyChores, courtesy of Kristen Bonardi Rapp, who says it is for “Fans and friends of the MyChores system”.

It is with even greater embarrassment that i notice i have been tagged as “Creative Genius Behind The Site” - heh, thanks Kristen!

Once i got over the initial embarrassment, i realised that it could be a good place to spark discussion, for example about the ways in which people use MyChores. So if you feel so inclined, become a fan and invite your friends too!

Pictures are back!

December 27th, 2008

No thanks to HostingRails (hem hem!) i have managed to restore almost all of the user-uploaded pictures. In the end we only lost 32 pictures. If you are one of the people who have lost pictures, i am sorry, you will have to upload them again.

Apologies again for the problem, and the delay taken to rectify it.

Pictures update (again)

December 19th, 2008

I am so sorry to say that HostingRails have provided no help at all in this matter. I believe it must be their fault that the pictures went missing: it certainly wasn’t anything i did. They have made no attempt to explain what happened, or how i can be sure it won’t happen again. They also showed no initiative whatsoever in trying to restore the pictures, which has been made worse by the fact that i’ve had limited Internet access over the last few days. The timing has been very unfortunate.

I believe i will be able to restore some of the pictures, but not until i get home from Christmas holidays, on 27th December. Unfortunately i will not be able to restore everybody’s pictures. I never imagined that i would have to make my own backups. I thought that HostingRails would be able to take care of that.

Please be assured that everything else on MyChores seems to be working fine. The workload, hot map and calendar views will work for you, even if the collage view is all but useless without the pictures.

Pictures update

December 17th, 2008

Unfortunately i regret to say that things are not looking good for restoring the pictures.

Apparently HostingRails only keep 1 week’s worth of backups, and the earliest backup they have (now 10th December) has no pictures.

I am trying to see whether there is any other way we can get the pictures restored. If not, i’m sorry to say that you will probably have to upload them again. A real nuisance, i know, i’m sorry. I still have not had an explanation as to why they went missing in the first place.

Unfortunately i am away in Germany at the moment without my usual connection to the Internet. I’ll keep you updated as and when i find out more.

Pictures missing - we’re on to it

December 16th, 2008

Very strangely, all the uploaded pictures have suddenly disappeared off the server. I don’t know how this could have happened - i’m sure it is nothing i have done. They have all just vanished, inexplicably.

I apologise for the trouble this will cause, particularly to those of you who use the Collage view. I have sent a message to Hosting Rails, the web host company, and hopefully they can just restore them all from a backup.

The rest of MyChores should still be working as normal.