This is a copy of all the information that used to be under the ‘News’ link, we’re moving it here so that it is still available.
We’re deleting that old link and then making sure that any reference to ‘News’ points to this diary, as this is now considered the official source of all updates and information.
The information below pertains to all releases
New Picture Sets
You may have noticed several new picture sets from Liltreasure, just uploaded today. If you want to give your diary a splash of new graphics then check them out now in the customiser!
More are on the way!
At 22:30 BST on Wednesday 14th June 2000, we discovered a horrendous situation whereby one or two users could inadvertantly cripple the whole web server. This was due to the showMyHits feature, which when used could consume all resources on the server, resulting in MAJOR delays for other users trying to update their diaries or read other peoples.
This situation was fixed at approximately 22:32, Wed June 14th 2000 but has resulted in the showMyHits script no longer being able to show the entire historical data, as the logfile which needs to be processed in order to achieve it is now over 500 Megabytes (half a gig) and dates back to October 3rd 1999. A better solution for recording ALL log data in a much compressed format is being researched.
Major Internal Structural Changes
Most definitely the biggest change in this release is the one that you probably won’t see 🙂 We have completely changed the way that the system stores all of the data to a modern database that should keep us extremely fast as the userbase continues to grow while still allowing us to add more and more of the features that you request. If YOU see any problems in your diary then please drop us an email at support.
Real and Visible Email Addresses
Many people want to receive email from the Dear Diary system but do not want to reveal their email address on their diary. Previously they were one and the same but in the new build we have separated the two out. Once you are logged in you can click on ‘Personal’ in the Members Button Bar and set the two email addresses individually. The one marked ‘Real Email Address’ will never be shown or given out to anyone else and is for the Dear Diary system to use exclusively. The ‘Email shown on your diary’ address is the one chosen to display in your diary should you configure your diary to show your email address (in the customiser).
Notify List Enhancements
Under the customiser you can now use the new Notify List Manager to see who is on your notify list, send a message out to all of the members of your Notify List and even change the standard messages that are sent out whenever you add or update an entry.
We have a few more bits to add to this facility that couldn’t make it into this release so look out for those in the next update – in the mean time if you have any suggestions then (as always!) drop us an email at support.
Using the new Search facility you can quickly find entries or diaries that match certain criteria. This is phase one of the Search coming online – we have many plans for it and we’re looking forward to receiving comments from our users about what they would like to see.
If you want to keep your entire diary, or even just individual entries, private so that nobody else can read them then you’ll love the new facility allowing you to do just that. To make your diary private just tick the checkbox in Basic Settings under the Customiser and your diary will become invisible to all but you.
To make an entry private you can tick the box when you write it, or if you want to toggle the privacy of an existing entry you can do so by ‘updating’ it and ticking the box.
Users that want to put their most intimate and private thoughts online can now do so without fear of anyone reading them.
Another feature requested by many people was the ability to have multiple entries on a single day, while maintaining them as different actual entries (so they show up in the index individually). This had to be done as a part of the structural changes so here it is 🙂 Note that combining this feature with the privacy feature means you can write a public entry on a day, and then write your real thoughts about the day in another entry on the same day marked as private!
A number of people (including us!) have had problems posting entries because their providers (Internet Providers) are using transparent proxy servers. This means that their web request actually goes via a third party server before reaching ours without their knowledge. This is fine when they work OK, but a number of ISP’s can’t run proxies for toffee. The net result is that adding entries can hang.
We’ve now automatically redirected ALL requests to Dear Diary… to a seperate port, port 6622. This port won’t be captured by any transparent proxy and so everything should work normally for you. BUT, as with any changes to the server configuration, there could be something we’ve overlooked, so if something is broken for you now, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
OOPS!!… Anyone using Wingate (or any other proxy software) suddenly couldn’t acces the site at all. Thanks to Indie for pointing this one out! Its therefore changed again – by default you’ll get the normal port, but https://www.deardiary.org:6622/ will ALSO work, for those of you having problems with your ISP’s. Those who use WinGate and have ISPs that use transparent and broken proxies are stuffed. Reconfigure your Wingate, or switch ISP!
No More Ads!!
We’ve been listening to feedback, and many of you have mentioned the advertising banners on your pages and how you don’t like them. So they’re gone. At least from pages that your readers will see. You will now only get an ad banner if you’re logged in to the system as an author. We feel this is a fair compromise, since the service is free for you to store your diary online, but we have to pay for it somehow (we wish we didn’t, but no such thing as a free lunch!). So, if you’re reading other peoples diaries, you’ll no longer get an advert in your face! Let us know what you think at email@example.com
Want to go back in time and re-do an event that you, on reflection (reading through your diary ofcourse) thought you could do better at? This functionality won’t let you do that 🙂 What it will let you do is move an entire diary entry to another date – so if you realise you’ve just entered your new entry into the wrong date then just UPDATE the entry and specify the new date and it’ll move it for you!
Not happy with the genre for your diary that you chose when you created it? Now you can change the genre of your diary in the customiser!
If you are a regular follower of a diarist but they don’t update on a regular basis it would be nice if you didn’t have to come back and check every day just to see if they have updated their diary. The standard mechanism for this in the online diary world is a ‘Notify List’, which is generally just a mailing list of people that are interested in knowing when a new entry has been put online. If the diarist adds the new ‘Notify List’ button to their menu bar (in the Menu Editor within Customiser) readers can now click on that to register their email address – diarists can then (optionally) have the Dear Diary system send out an automatic message whenever they write a new entry. That message will even contain a direct hyperlink straight to the entry so readers won’t even have to navigate into the entry, they can just click straight on it and go right there.
Focusing in new Members Button Bar
The ‘Update Entry’ and ‘Remove Entry’ buttons on the members button bar will now automatically refer to the entry you are looking at. If you are not looking at an entry they will just do as before and ask you for which ent
ry to update or delete.
Want to read another diary? Let the system pick one at random for you with the new ‘Random Diary’ button.
Enhanced Menu Bar Editor
We’ve slightly updated the text in the Menu Editor and put in a load of new options allowing you to add links to other resources on Dear Diary (and indeed, on your own diary). You can link easily to other diaries on the system without worrying about the exact URL, or to certain dynamic pages (Random Entry and Newest Entry for example).
Now your readers can vote for you in the Top 5 Recommended Diaries on the system. This new chart is shown in one of the new panels on the front page. Votes expire after 30 days to allow for new journals to show their heads on the Top 5 list, so once a month remember to vote for your favourite Diary and keep it on the Top 5!
New Front Page Updates
In an effort to keep the front page moving and perhaps make it a little more dynamic we have added ‘panels’ on to it so that certain information can be displayed in a more dynamic fashion – such as Top 5 accessed diaries and Top 5 Recommended Diaries. We have more plans coming for this facility!
How many comments?
If an entry has reader comments enabled then the Show Reader Comments button will now tell you how many comments there are so that if it’s 0 you don’t waste your time trying to find out!.
Another major effort in this build has been to put together a full tutorial for the system. Covering creating new accounts, setting up diaries and even simply reading them and what everything means, we hope that this will demystify some of the more powerful functions in the system for everyone. This will be continually developed and updated in each version coming after this one to keep it up to date and to respond to user feedback and questions!
Bug Fixes and Improvements
Before proceeding on with 1.3 we have cleared all outstanding bugs.
Menu Title Colouring
Something of an omission until now – you can now change any of the colourings and/or the text itself for the menu title (ie. the bit that says ‘Menu’ by default).
Save and Close on the Customiser
Another user suggested that it would be far quicker if the system automatically closed popups in the Customiser after saving the settings. If your browser supports this ability (as most do) then it will now do just that. If your browser does not support this then it will do as before and present you with a close button.
Upload your Own Graphics
Not happy with our system selection of graphics? We aren’t surprised, we’ve come up with those for our own diaries and it is quite likely that you will want your own for your own diary. With Dear Diary 1.2 you will be able to upload your own graphics to your own private space on our server and then have them appear in all the cusomizer screens automatically, ready for use. By default, your graphics will be only available to you, to preserve your rights to your own work, but if you want to make them publicly available (and get your name in lights!) then you can do that too using our new Private Graphics Manager.
Themes – Part 1
This release introduces the first stage of our Theme support. Themes allow you to quickly change your diary to look like something else at the flick of a button. In this build we will be providing a set of system themes for you to choose from (much like graphics were in the previous build) and you can set your diary to that theme (colors, images etc) quickly and easily. We have many more plans for the theme support in Dear Diary, more news as it happens 🙂
Modified Look and Feel
We have modified the way that the edit system works to make it more intuitive and user friendly. Now you click on the ‘members’ button to log in and all it does is add an extra toolbar onto your normal diary so that you can now add entries, update, customize and so forth in a familiar environment.
Random Diary Entry
Either a way to find some random days in the life of a diarist, or a way for you as a diarist to reflect on a random day in your life. It might not seem useful quite yet but you’ll see its’ benefit after you have a few entries in your diary and you want to ‘flick your diary open at a random page’.
Most people that have a website are very curious to know what readership they have got but in the case of your journal you do not have any access to our web server logs, making it impossible for you to find out how many hits you are getting and from where. New in this version is the ability to actually see where your hits are coming from and how many you are getting!
It would be nice to be able to get some feedback from your readers, after all it’s one of the plus sides to an Online Diary – the ability to hear from someone that is going through, or has gone through, a similar situation and for them to give you their thoughts. Rather than have them privately email you it would be even better if their thoughts could be added to your own for other readers, perhaps even starting a bit of a discussion in which you as the diarist are the moderator.
The new Reader Comments facility allows you to do just this.
When you write a new entry you can say whether or not you want to allow your readers to comment on the entry. After all, some entries you just want to have your say and you don’t particularly care what anyone else thinks.
If you want to change whether or not an entry can have comments added to it after you have written it then that isn’t a problem either, just go into the update entry facility and change the setting.
Defaults in the customiser mean you don’t have to continually deal with a setting that is wrong for your likes, if you generally don’t want to allow reader comments then switch it off in the customiser and by default it will always be off.
If an entry allows reader comments then an extra button shows up in the navigation bar to allow the reader to add their comment. Another extra button allows the toggling of the display of reader comments. After all, if an entry gets busy then people don’t necessarily want to download the entire thread without knowing what the entry was about in the first place.
With many entries in your diary the last thing you want to have to do is continually scan through your entries to see if anyone has added a comment. Optionally the system can also now send you an email whenever anyone adds a comment, just to let you know and to give you a hyperlink straight into the entry.
Ofcourse, the last thing you want is for people to be able to get away with writing anything into your diary. To this end we provide a full facility allowing you to go in and remove any comments you don’t want on the entry. You cannot edit a comment – that would be unfair to the original poster – but you are fully within your rights and abilities to zap the comment should you so wish.
ICQ, AOL and MSN Messenger Support – Part 1
Want people to be able to communicate with you online? The system now stores your ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger addresses if you enter them. We will be bringing various new facilities online to make use of these details on your site (such as the ICQ ‘I am online’ or the AOL ‘Send me an Instant Message’ buttons) coming in the next version.
Custom URL and Email Addresses!
Another major plus for this release is the new custom URL and Email addresses. Now your diary will have a URL that looks like: http://www.username.deardiary.net , and any email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will also get to you so now you can receive email from your users and still keep your personal email address private.