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froomkin (2074)

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Journal of froomkin (2074)

Friday May 10, 2002
02:24 PM

Bugs & Patches

Submitted two bug reports (one updated with a patch), a patch, and an enhancement request to Project:Slash at

It would be nice to see some of this in the next version. It's not often that law professors get to contribute even trivial code to software projects...

Thursday April 25, 2002
12:57 PM

Configuration problems, wishes

The slash site is now up and running, thanks to the expert work of professional hosting by Openflows. But I have to configure it myself. (I will leave it un-named, as it's for a defined community and will soon be behind some privacy walls.)

So far I have run into a few things I can't figure out.

1. I set set variable discussion_create_seclev to 50, but a user with a seclev of one can create a discussion. Is this function known to be broken? If so, what would it take to un-break it?

2. I have created sections without any trouble, but even though I've spent some time looking at the templates, I can't figure out what to change to make the center column extend to the right margin (i.e. no blocks) for one of my text-rich sections.

3. In the articles section I shrank the blocks in the right margin [why are they blocks on the right, but not the left, oh nevermind], using the variable for fancybox width. Try as I might, though, I can't get the gutter between the columns on either side if the center column to be equal. The one on the right is always bigger. Minor, but frustrating.

I'm also developing a wish list.

4. I wish the Slash book had more basic formatting info, and an even better index. For example, the organization templates are not updating in the .shtml, and it took me a very long time to figure out that this was the problem; there wasn't much of a hint in the source code of that file as to where it was getting its data.

5. Another example: I just spent a real long time working out how to change the links footer (the links to functions below the motd) to remove "polls" [we won't have them except maybe as attached to stories]. This was unduly hard because the HTML source isn't well commented -- the bottom third of it doesn't actually tell you what templates are operating here. So wish #2 is that *every* template had a comment not just some of them.

6. I don't understand themes at all, but since I don't have any...

7. I wish I had better information about what happens to my various template mods if/when slash upgrades. I've been keeping fairly decent notes, mostly in the comment boxes of the templates, but still...makes you nervous. I kinda get the feeling they vanish?

8. I wish that box for editors to comment on stories among themselves could be made bigger. This tiny one is hard to use when many editors will be non-technical and nervous.

9. I really wish there was some way to integrate access control with the slash database. Because I can't code it myself, and the budget for help is skimpy, we're going to go with some kind of htaccess controll, which will mean a double log in for users at home (outside a defined IP range). Not real friendly.

10. Most of all, I think any future edition of the slash book should have a full appendix setting out the template logic: what order what appears out of the box. I'm prepared to work all this out myself, even with the handicap of erratic commenting (see # 5 above), but if I buy the book which is supposed to hold my hand...

Not that I want to sound too ungrateful. It's a wonderful program, very powerful, the book is indeed useful, and I look forward to using slash and maybe building a community with it. After I finish pulling out my hair.