Commentics v2.3 was released recently and this post explains what you can expect from the new version. As always, full details are on the changelog page.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference in this version is the addition of the permalink feature. The permalink feature provides a link which will always take you to the particular comment, no matter what page the comment ends up on. This is useful if you want to share or bookmark the location of a comment and be able to return to it at a later date. The permalink feature highlights the comment by darkening its border, just in case the anchor wasn’t able to position the scrollbar to its location.
An important change in the new version is the performance of the comments loop. It was clear that the demo here at commentics.com was starting to suffer from the 1,500+ comments, as it was taking around 6.897 seconds to load. By making a few small improvements to the comments loop, such as selecting only the information necessary from the database, and exiting the loop as soon as it’s no longer needed, the demo now loads in approximately 2.512 seconds, which is a 63.58% improvement! This change is expected to be only the start of a number of changes to improve the performance of the script.
To keep the script up-to-date with new developments, the frontend now validates for the upcoming HTML5. HTML5 has some nice changes and the admin panel for Commentics is already taking advantage of them. These include using the ‘input type=email’ which instructs the web browser that an email address should be entered, and the ‘required’ attribute which tells the browser that an entry is needed. As HTML5 is still in draft form, some browsers such as Internet Explorer are yet to support these parts of it but they will degrade gracefully. Although the frontend now validates, the admin panel still needs a few changes so these will be made in a future version.
The improvement that took the largest proportion of time was fixing how the script encodes and handles certain characters. To do this, many test strings were created that aimed to highlight the issues that needed fixing. For example, the name field may have had an entry such as “Mr. ö-ç學書’&”, and this entry would then have been tracked throughout the rest of the script like when saving and editing it in the admin panel and receiving it as an email. The script now has a better understanding of unicode characters and it also treats the handling of URLs better by encoding spaces. Harmless characters like “ö” and “ç” are no longer converted to their HTML entities.
There are many other improvements and fixes that were made which make this version the best yet. It’s planned that over the next few weeks the commentics.com website will now receive some focus. This may include enhancing the documentation and encouraging more community involvement with the project, so watch out for such changes in the near future.