Announcing AppleVis 2.0: The Second Decade Edition

The Editorial Team and I are pleased to announce a major upgrade and redesign to the AppleVis website.

When I created AppleVis ten years ago, I built it quickly and with little idea of where the site would go... and certainly no expectation that it would become as popular, valuable, and successful as our community has made it.

AppleVis has surpassed all of my hopes and expectations, and I truly thank everybody in our community for this.

Over the past decade, the content management system that's at the core of the site has served us well. But in the past few years it has begun to show its age and present numerous challenges and restrictions.

Consequently, for the last several months I’ve been working on a ground up rebuild of AppleVis.

My goal was to retain as much of the site user experience as possible to how it was before, but to also make some accessibility and usability enhancements. It is my hope that low vision users in particular will enjoy an improved experience, most notably on mobile devices.

While I've made every effort to keep the new site compatible with the old one, there will undoubtedly be some teething problems - there will be things that I missed during development and testing; there will be unforeseen issues that only surface now the site is being used; there are things which simply could not be addressed until the site went live; and there are things which I delayed for practical or technical reasons .

In the past, our routine site maintenance and upgrades have involved mainly under-the-hood improvements; however, because there has been no ‘in place’ upgrade path this time, the process has been significantly more involved--and it has necessitated some changes to features and functionality.

While I was able to rebuild a lot of the old website's functionality on the new platform, some features were not able to be carried over because of technical limitations with the available tools; one of these features is the auto-posting of new content to our Twitter accounts. I realize the value that these posts have to many in our community, and I am currently exploring possible alternatives to automate this process. In the meantime, our plan is to manually tweet links to blog posts, podcast, and trending topics on our forum.

All of that to say that you should expect to notice fixes and further enhancements in the coming days, weeks, and months. I ask that you please bear with us during this transition period.

Later this month, AppleVis will celebrate its tenth birthday. Our community would not be what it is today without the support of all of our users and visitors, and it is my hope that this upgrade will place AppleVis on firm technological ground for many years to come.

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Domenic,
it's Daniel Angus MacDonald. You have no right ti express your opinion in this condasending tone. I say, to everyone else on here, a warning. Domenic spoofs her age, even if t=she's fee mail, their is know why of knowing. do not pay him / her any mind!!!!!!!! if you were on the Zoom meeting as most of us were, you would've known this site is changing! I find it very offensive to hear your tone! since you do not like it one bit, to quote you, you can stay or leave, but do not express yourself with this atadude.
Daniel

Submitted by Chris Gilland on Sunday, August 2, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

David, over the years, you and I have had some disagreements, some even quite severe in nature, however, at the end of the day, you have done an incredible job with this website/community, and I am very very greatful for what you have been doing, and will continue doing. Your commitment to this project clearly shows through the content found up here. Not that I wish to do this, but if I wanted to build a competing website to host similar resources, though I may get the website working, from a content standpoint as well as a traffic standpoint, I highly doubt I'd be near this successful! I commend you for what you're doing, and brother, I just wanna encourage you personally to keep up the fantastic work that you guys are doing, not just you, but the whole editorial team as well. You guys are amazing, and I am honored to have each of you as my friends! I really mean it from the bottom of my heart!

Submitted by Khushi on Thursday, August 13, 2020

hello @David Goodwin
I had a question :)
I think earlier the previous version of applevis, I guess there was an option to follow a particular blogger of applevis. I'm not too sure but I remember as if there was.
if there was an option like that, can you please bring it back cause I can't find it now. and if it wasn't there, is there any way something like this can be done? where we can subscribe to a particular blogger on applevis via email and we can receive an email notification whenever that person posts?
:)
thank you for reading my comment :)

have a good day xxx

Not to mention the fact that people come up with the most irrelivant string of words which means you have to read through the actual post to get a feel for what it is about. Drives me nuts.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

which explains why 50+% of subject lines mean I waist time looking for stuff in a post. It would be really helpful if this weren't the case as most people start off with hi. bla bla bla which frankly tells me nothing about the post it pertains to.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

Hi David. Beautiful. Sending both sets of fans home happy. Well done! :-)

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Hi. I don't use forums that often but of late, I've had the need to ask a couple of questions regarding my new Apple TV, and it seems that I'm not receiving notifications via email when someone responds. Is this how it's supposed to work? Cheers.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by Khushi

Hi Khushi,

There was the option in the past to follow specific users, but this was removed some time ago as there were only a couple people actively using it.

I will make a note to revisit it. But, being frank, the past level of usage and what it takes to maintain the functionality make it unlikely that it will return.

I know that this won't be the answer that you want, but each function adds something more to monitor and maintain; something to check still works when making other changes; and something more for people to swipe through. If people aren't using the function, then this overhead is simply too great to justify.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Hi all. Again, a little teething problem for me with search, or maybe it's user error. i go to search, type in apple tv, and get all sorts of posts come up, a lot of which have absolutely nothing to do with apple tv whatsoever. Am I using the search incorrectly or is it just throwing anything up with the words apple in it? Thanks.

Hi Kerry,

You need to manually subscribe to any post for which you wish to receive email alerts of new comments.

When creating a new post, there is a checkbox to subscribe. Otherwise, you can click or double tap on the “Subscribe” link located just below the “Options” heading on the post page.

Hi Kerry,

The search currently has a minimum term length of 3 characters, as anything lower typically degrades the indexing performance.

However, I do appreciate that this isn't ideal when “TV” might be something that people on here might reasonably use as a search term. So, I will check to see if I can address this without a hit on search performance.

Submitted by Khushi on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

hi
I certainly get what you are saying. :) thanks for replying :)
hopefully some day there will be more people like myself who'd like to follow certain bloggers from applevis's team of bloggers and then we might see this feature making a comeback, probably in more enhanced way than before.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, August 13, 2020

I appreciate that the tweets about newly added comments are back, but they only take one to the top of the article, not the new comment that was added. This is only slightly more useful than not having them at all, but having to go search for the new comment(s) is very frustrating. Can you please bring back the links to the new comment in the tweet? Thanks.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, August 14, 2020

Simply open the thread in a new browser window. I actually do this for most forums I'm on if able so I can just pick up wherein I left off, not just this one. I can't remember what publication taught me that trick but it works well.

If this is a response to my post about ApplevisXL tweets, it doesn't solve the problem. When I follow the link in the tweet, a new browser window does open, but focus is placed at the top of the page, not on the new comment. If there are 40 comments on the page, but only 3 of them are new, that's a lot of comment headings to skip to find the new ones.

The whole point of the ApplevisXL tweets is to direct one to the new comments. If all it does is open a page at the top of the thread, it's not especially useful.

So far, it seems to me that the site was working much better before version 2.0. Don't misunderstand me, I think Applevis is a fabulous resource -- if it wasn't, I wouldn't care so much -- but some of its most useful features got broke in the upgrade and I'm finding it very disappointing.

Hi Jeff,

We appreciate your continued feedback.

The links in AppleVis XL tweets are "anchor links," meaning that they are supposed to route users to a specific place on the page. The issue is that various screen readers, depending on which platform and screen reader is in use, do not handle anchor links particularly well. For example, my understanding is that VoiceOver always took users to the top of the page, even when an anchor link is used and even before the site upgrade.

We realize that the upgrade has been a bit frustrating for some, and there were unfortunately some compromises we had to make along the way. With that said, the reality that prompted this whole process is that the version of the platform we were using to power the site was beyond its useful life, and not every tool/script we used would work with the new system. Please do continue to provide feedback, and we'll make improvements and enhancements where we can.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, August 14, 2020

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Hi Holger,

On Windows, the quickest way to get to the top of the page is to press Control Home. If necessary, refresh the screen. (With JAWS, this is accomplished by pressing Insert Escape.)

I'm using Jaws 2020 and the Brave browser. Jaws with Brave definitely worked in the previous version of Applevis. This is the link that Brave displays for my last comment:

https://www.applevis.com/comment/115802?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=t…

I don't see any anchor in that URL. That's why I'm reporting this. I think something might be broken in the URL produced for the tweet.

Submitted by Jeff on Friday, August 21, 2020

Michael, David, somebody... Can I get an acknowledgement that the anchor links are missing or not working in the ApplevisXL tweets? I've brought this up 2 or 3 times and each time my posts seem to be ignored. If you're aware of the problem, why hasn't it been fixed?

Hey Jeff,

Michael Hansen did reply to your earlier comment on this.

As he said, there is a great level of variation in how different combinations of screen reader, browser, and platform handle links to a specific position on a web page. The links posted to Twitter are to the position of the comment in the thread, but I've yet to find a way of having the site handle these which is consistent across all screen readers, browser, and platform combinations.

Submitted by Jeff on Friday, August 21, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

David, I realize not all browsers work consistently when handling anchor links, but Brave *does* handle them correctly when they are constructed properly. I responded to Michael's post showing that the anchor is not present in the Twitter link. There needs to be the number-sign character (#) preceeding the anchor in the URL. Here is the URL for your response above from the tweet:

https://www.applevis.com/comment/116114?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=t…

Note that there is no number-sign (#) in that URL. Now, from the email I received because I subscribe to this thread, it contained the following link to this comment:

https://www.applevis.com/comment/116114#comment-116114

That URL *does* take me directly to your comment above using the Brave browser.

Basically, you need to construct the URL for the tweet the same as you construct it in the email you send out for subscriptions. I hope you will correct this problem, or at least, explain why you won't.

Jeff, your tone in recent posts hasn't done anything to make this more of a priority over the other tasks on my ToDo list or to feel a need to explain anything to you.

For what it's worth, I have made some changes. They don't change the behaviour for any of my test combinations of screen reader, browser or platform, but you do at least now have the number symbol that you were demanding.

Submitted by Jeff on Friday, August 21, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

I'm sorry my tone came acrosss as negative. I was just feeling ignored and frustrated. As you can see above, I responded to Michael's answer with an explanation of what was happening. That was a week ago and I never saw any response from him or anyone else. And that was at least the second time I had described the problem with no response.

Anyway, I can't explain why your tests haven't worked for you, but they certainly have worked for me. With the latest tweets, I now land on the specific comment referenced in the tweet. Thank you so very much! It's working again like it used to work and I'm very, very happy.

Hi Jeff,

I did see your reply last week, and it honestly fell off my radar. I was definitely not trying to ignore you--I just read the comment, had no immediate answer, and then went on to reading and doing other things. Again, I definitely did not intend to ignore or disregard your feedback and concerns.

That's ok, Michael. As I just posted, the problem has been fixed, at least as far as I can tell. Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't fix the problem for other browsers/platforms, since this format of URL encoding has been a standard for years. But it works with Brave, and I suspect for other chromium-based browsers. I don't use Safari, which is the browser you mentioned. Thanks again for getting this fixed. It's great!

Submitted by Nikola Jovic on Saturday, August 22, 2020

Greetings,
there is a workaround, though not ideal you can use for Voiceover on iOS to focus the new comments correctly. This might require some mussle memory, but once you get used to it, it's fairly easy and I am able to consistently do it.
Once you click on such a link, while the page is still not loaded, touch the area of the screen below the address bar, which would be close to the top but not at the top exactly. You can also touch the center of the screen I believe. Keep your finger on that place until the page has finished loading, and this will prevent Voiceover from jumping to the top of the page, and once you lift your finger you should be able to swipe to the new comments or at least be relatively close.