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Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-06 UTC

One more reason for no longer supporting offline pages is that many pages now include script-generated images with the drawdiagram.php script. These will work on a website running PHP, but they will not work offline. If I wanted offline pages to support them, I would have to write a script that finds each link to a script-generated image, creates a copy of the image with a unique name, and replaces the link to the script-generated image with a link to the copy of its output. That's too much work for something no one probably needs anyway, and archive.org can already make copies of them.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-06 UTC

I did occasionally use the "info" page, previously linked to from the icon of an index entry. But I do not consider this worth keeping either. Those pages can still be reached from the "info" link in the footer of the item's actual page (except perhaps for multi-item pages?).

That's why I figured it would be okay to get rid of the link from the icon. The link in the footer had been the only link to the info page I had been aware of, and I figured it would be enough for anyone who wants to go to that page. I think most people would be unaware that the icon links to an info page or would just be interested in the link to the actual page rather than the link to a page with metadata about it. The index page really gave no indication that the icons linked to something different than the actual page, and most people who clicked on an icon would probably be surprised that it didn't go to the actual page.


Ben Reiniger wrote on 2021-10-05 UTC

I did occasionally use the "info" page, previously linked to from the icon of an index entry. But I do not consider this worth keeping either. Those pages can still be reached from the "info" link in the footer of the item's actual page (except perhaps for multi-item pages?).


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-05 UTC

Since I can now work on code on the development server, I took the time to remove the remaining code for creating offline pages. While David used to make offline versions of the website, I have never done that. For one thing, I wasn't familiar with how he went about it. But I also didn't see the use for it. Things have changed since David wrote the code for this. Back when we got on the internet with 2400 baud modems that used the phone line, it would have been convenient to have an offline version of the site. But now that broadband and WIFI-enabled mobile devices are both common, it is easy enough to connect directly to the website. When the site is down, as it was recently, archived copies of pages can be found at archive.org. So, an offline copy is not needed for archival purposes. Additionally, the website has grown more interactive than it used to be. While it was originally a set of static HTML pages, it now includes comments, database-generated pages that may be revised on the website, and ongoing games. Finally, when I program code, I write it simply for a website, and I do not want to have to take care to build in support for generating offline pages.

Besides code that was run with the condition $foroffline or $offlineindex, I replaced every instance of echoandwrite with echo, and I removed the function definitions for echoandwrite and echoorwrite. The latter wasn't even being used anyway.

Removing some of the $foroffline code created a bug, and this happened to draw my attention to the icons that appear to the left of links. I had thought of these as slightly informative decoration, but they included links to information pages and included a bunch of ALT text telling some things about the item linked. I got rid of the links to the information pages, changed the ALT text to TITLE text, and reduced the provided information to just telling what the icon meant. With this done, I was able to remove the remaining $foroffline code in make_author_line, and I also removed the $foralttext option from it. There was really no need to include author information in the ALT text for the icon when it was already on the screen anyway. Removing the little-used links to info pages and reducing the information provided by what is now a tooltip should reduce page size and make index pages quicker to load. With that in mind, I may look into extending how many links may appear on an index page.


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