March update

March mainly consisted of finishing off Afrique and Hindi, and then moving on to Mundo.

I ended up throwing myself into picking up some of Bogdan’s PHP work to do with supporting audio.

Bulletins

There was also a lengthy discussion about bulletins for Hindi. It turned out that creating a static MAP page proves rather difficult, so we had various options, none of which were solid nor doable within the time scale.

Then we ran into further problems when we realised that Afrique also had bulletins, which we were not aware of, making things more complicated.

In the end, it was decided that we would reskin the old stack pages as an interim solution while the Programmes pages are build.

Mundo

As with Afrique, I did the majority of the setup for Mundo. This was all relatively simple.

There were a couple of issues:

  • We still have them problem of not being able to fully test social shares that crawl for information until the redirects have gone in.
  • Rolling News was hardcoded in several places for Russian. Spent some time with Stefano sorting those out.

Setup steps wiki

Jordi mentioned during the Mundo development that the Jira tickets are quite disorganised. I took it upon myself to write up a Wiki page for him detailing exactly which tickets are needed, in what order, containing what, and adding some that were missing.

Code reviews

I’ve also been doing quite a lot of code reviews in between pieces of work this month; mainly CSS code, as that is what I have enough knowledge in to be able to review.

What have I learnt? Code reviews aren’t just about picking out little things like a missing semi-colon or a place where they could have used CSS shorthand for example. It’s also about looking at the code as a whole and seeing if that is the best way to do it.

Good code reviews, I find, also provide suggestions and examples of how to do something differently, not just saying, “I don’t like this, do it differently”.

Shared codebase inheritance

Whilst having my code review hat on, I was taking a look at our codebase as a whole. When we are building our new components, we are very concious about ensuring that do not load for News. This is good and follows mobile first methodology.

However what we haven’t yet taken into account are all the styles and scripts which we have inherited from News that we aren’t using.

Now, I’m going to make a sweeping, but probably quite accurate) statement and say that on average, World Service end users are more likely to have less advanced phones than UK users. This means that it should be more of a priority for us to ensure that our users are only getting the bare minimum of what they need to load our pages, not all this other gumf that isn’t being used.

I began working on a solution to this for the CSS but never finished because Mundo took priority. Hopefully I’ll get some time to look at this soon!

Posted Sunday, March 31st, 2013 under BBC.

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