Simple Comments Release Notes: v.930 | WebReference

Simple Comments Release Notes: v.930

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Simple Comments Release Notes: v.930

RSS Comment Feeds

Each page that displays comments on your site can now also provide an "RSS 2.0" formatted feed (have a look at the feed from our test page for a sample), allowing RSS savvy users to follow along as new comments are added to the page. This is a great tool--and increasingly common on sites--enabling anyone who has an interest in the comments of the page to follow along as new comments are added. The latest versions of both Firefox and Internet Explorer provide a simple "subscribe to this feed" link whenever they display such a feed in the browser.

I put the "RSS 2.0" in quotes in the paragraph above for the simple reason that the feed that is displayed by the comments system can actually be whatever XML format you choose. The format of the file delivered to the browser is defined in the new rss.tmpl file that is in the tmpl directory of your Simple Comments distribution. Like all the other template files, you're free to modify this file to suit your own tastes--you can provide a different standard format feed (such as RSS 1.0), or even change the format entirely to suit your requirements. In this version of Simple Comments, the feed will be delivered to the browser with a mime-type of text/xml, so you're limited to the delivery of XML files only. As is always the case, if there's enough interest in some other type of file I can add that as an additional parameter option.

Before I leave the topic of RSS feeds, note that I'm now including the standard RSS feed icons (i.e., this one: RSS Feed Icon) in the Simple Comments distribution file, so you can use them as links to your comment feeds. I believe my use of these icons is within the guidelines as proposed by the Mozilla Foundation for their use. As always, let me know if you feel otherwise.

Administrator Replies

Administrators often want to immediately respond to a comment that they are approving; since many comments are targeted specifically to them. In former versions of Simple Comments, this could be a cryptic task: You had to approve the comment in question, go back into the page the comment was on, fill out and submit a reply via the standard form, go back into the administration script, then approve your own comment submission. A cumbersome process, to say the least; and if you didn't jot down all the comments you wanted to reply to it took extra time to hunt them down; either in the search screens or in the actual pages of your site.

Each comment now has a 'Reply to this comment' link in the administrator approval screen'
In the administrator comment approval screen, each comment now has a "Reply to this comment" link.

The new release of Simple Comments makes this process a bit less tedious. From the administrator script, you can now enter a reply by following a link within the comment approval screen--and when you submit the reply, both it and the original comment will be automatically approved and published to the site! Since this feature will primarily be used only by administrators, the new comment will automatically be flagged as an administrator comment (which you can override when you submit the comment, of course).

The process still isn't perfect; since you still need to separately edit the original comment, if that is your policy, before approving it. However, on this point keep in mind that you can go back to the original approval screen (using the back button of your browser) and submit it, after you've edited any individual comment. The approval screen itself--in this release of Simple Comments--only sends the comment keys of the comments back to the administrator script for processing; not the actual text of the comment entries itself. (Or, in other words, the comment script looks up the version of the comment currently on disk before publishing it; not the version that was displayed in the administrator approval screen.)

Other Changes

Other improvements and fixes that found there way into this release of Simple Comments include:


While there's always more room for improvement, Simple Comments continues to mature thanks to your thought-provoking questions and improvement suggestions. Thanks for having a look at the script, and I hope it continues to be of use to you on your own sites!

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Created: April 27, 2007
Revised: April 27, 2007