AO3 News

Post Header

2013-04-04 03:00:40 -0400

Welcome to Release 0.9.6: The Headering! Ariana, bingeling, ecuoln, Elz, Enigel, Nathan J Xaxson, Sarken, Scott, tuff_ghost and Tegan contributed code to this release, which was tested by our awesome testing team: Alison W, Ariana, Emilie K, Enigel, estirose, FishieMishie, Jenn Calaelen, Kylie, Lady Oscar, Matty, mumble, Sam J., Sarken, Scott S, and Tai.

NOTE: If you see a collection of buttons at the top of the screen rather than a thin bar with menu titles as in the screencaps in the header preview post, please try clearing your browser cache and reloading.

There are some instructions for clearing cache in various browsers here.


New header and footer and JavaScript, oh my!

This code deploy sees the release of our brand new header and footer! Back in February we gave you a sneak peek of our design, and we are now proud to give you the final product. Much love and thanks to Frontend Lead Sarken who was the lead architect for this redesign (and also made sure it works in all major site skins!), and many thanks to all those who spent hours poking and prodding it to make sure everything was working correctly in a wide selection of browsers and platforms. We have also cleaned up the footer so it matches the new header, and reorganized some of the links.

As we mentioned, a lot of work went into coding, testing, re-coding and re-testing the new dropdown menus, and we can confidently declare it usable with and without JavaScript enabled, no matter if you're using your mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen to navigate. It should also play nice with other assistive tech such as screenreaders. However, if you run into any issues on your particular device, please send in a report to Support and let us know! We will do our best to fix it.

In order for this header to be as accessible as possible, we were required to update to a new version of jQuery. (Also, it's just good practice to try and stay up to date.) Many thanks to everyone who helped regression-test features requiring JavaScript all across the site to make sure everything was still working as expected after the upgrade! Extra special thanks to Testing co-leads Jenn Calaelen and Lady Oscar for providing testers with a huge and beautiful spreadsheet of ALL the things to test and managing testing parties for our volunteers.

New notification emails!

With this release we also see the rollout of our brand new HTML and text-based emails! Frontend coder tuff_ghost was the driving force behind this massive undertaking, with beautiful HTML templates provided by summertea. All our email templates (comment notifications, subscription updates, challenge assignments, gift notifications, and many more) had to be rewritten to fit the new HTML design, and a plain text version had to be created for each email as well. Many thanks to tuff_ghost for all her hard work!

We now send out true multipart emails: users who for whatever reason cannot or do not wish to view HTML formatting in their emails will now be presented with a stripped down version of the message (as opposed to bits of visible HTML code or unclickable links). Delivering emails in this manner, and labeling them correctly in the email header, is another step towards keeping our emails from being flagged as spam by service providers.

New option to disable guest comments!

Finally, the last of our big features for this release is the ability for work creators to decide whether or not they will allow anonymous (logged out) comments on each work they post. The posting form has been adjusted accordingly and a new 'Privacy' subsection with two ticky boxes has been added: you can still restrict access to your work to logged-in users only, or you can choose to just disallow guest comments instead, while leaving the work open to the public.

New fixes to our automated tests!

For years now, we have been using something called Cucumber tests as a way to make sure our code isn't broken (without having to manually try out every possible feature on the site) whenever a new version of the site is finalized. However, every now and then we slip up in updating these tests or writing new tests to cover new features, leading to broken tests (the irony!) and making them much less useful than they could be.

While we're looking into ways to update and enhance our testing suite in general (e.g. with the RSpec framework), we needed to make sure our tests were useful again in the short term, and coder Scott has heroically stepped up to do just that. Many many thanks for all the hard work he's been putting in!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues. This list is updated with each release, so please make sure to give it a glance before contacting Support - it might just offer you a temporary solution to your problem right away.

Release Details


  • Redesigned main navigation with drop-down menus and restructured footer area
  • Improved homepage to display the AO3 News more prominently, include a link back to the Archive's parent organization, and display all the OTW's twitter feeds for latest news
  • Ability to disable anonymous comments per work
  • Multipart emails (HTML/plain text) with uniform design across all Archive notifications
  • New About Us page

Bug fixes and backend enhancements

  • Previously it was not possible to edit works that were in closed collections. This has now been solved, and you can edit away!
  • When posting a new work, the date of the work was set to "2013-01-01" in some particular cases. This was a difficult to pin down bug involving the backdating option, and we hope it has been resolved now.
  • When you edited a chapter, then selected 'Preview', the preview page was rendering incorrectly. We have reworked this page, and previewing should now correctly display text changes.
  • Trying to look up an imported work using the original URL was throwing a 404 error. Additionally, the tool was causing problems when the 'www' part of an address was left off. Both have been fixed!
  • DeviantART imports were not working due to code changes on DeviantART's end. We have updated our import code to fix this.
  • There was a bug in our backend code that was affecting the archive importing tool, resulting in errors. The bug has been fixed.
  • Soundcloud has been added to our approved list of sites and can now be used when embedding media to your works on the Archive. 4shared has been removed.
  • Previously when works were deleted by the Abuse team, the email notification stated that the work was deleted at the request of the user. We have created a new mailer emphasising that the work was deleted for Abuse reasons and included a link to contact Abuse with any questions.
  • Co-authors were receiving emails leading them to believe that they had deleted a work, when in fact it was one of their fellow authors. The wording has been changed to avoid confusion.
  • When a user added a giftee to a work, and posted the work only after previewing, a gift email was not being generated. This has been resolved, and gift notification emails should go out using any workflow.
JavaScript and Frontend
  • The help boxes (visible, for instance, when you click on any of the blue questions marks across the site) were a combination of different patches and workarounds. The "lightbox" code to create these help pop-ups has been entirely rewritten for better performance and accessibility, also fixing a bug where keyboard navigation inside the box wasn't working in some browsers. Please note that optimization for the iPhone is still in the works.
  • The autocomplete dropdown (e.g. for adding tags to a work or using the wrangling interface) was not working on some browsers, most notably Opera. This has been resolved.
  • There were accessibility problems when attempting to remove tags from a work using screenreaders and keyboard navigation. The "X" that deletes a tag has now been tweaked slightly to allow keyboard access.
  • JavaScript tweaks have been added in some places to prevent the double submission of forms, e.g. when accidentally clicking a button twice. The 'Post' (or 'Update') button now changes into 'Please Wait...' once the form has been submitted.
  • On a bookmark index page, such as for a particular tag, opening multiple forms to bookmark separate works caused the character counter for notes to stop functioning. This has been fixed.
  • With JavaScript disabled, there were some non-functioning options when trying to access all pseuds by a user on that user's homepage. We have cleaned up this code to make it more accessible for those who choose not to use JS.
  • When viewing a user's fandoms, clicking the 'Expand full list' resulted in the addition of an ugly grey space between the top five and the rest. This has been cleaned up to display all fandoms as one continuous list.
  • The placement of our JavaScript code on a page was causing some performance issues. The JavaScript now loads after the main content, speeding up load times.
  • We have created touch icons for mobile devices, which should now show up when you bookmark any Archive address to your phone's screen.
Tag Wrangling
  • On Tag Wrangling pages, the ticky boxes for mass selection were in their own column, taking up valuable screen space. They have been moved to the column containing the tag names for more convenient selection.
  • When Tag Wranglers assigned an unsorted tag to a category (e.g. Relationship) and then searched for that tag, an error was occurring in Tag Search. This has been resolved.
  • When attempting to add synonym tags to a non-canonical tag, wranglers got an error message telling them that the tag wasn't canonical. The tag name is now a link to that tag, so wranglers can make it canonical if they wish.
  • Text on the Tag Wranglers' former landing page was edited and a couple important links were added.
  • The 'Unsorted Tags' wrangling page had no visible pagination links. They have now been added.
  • The Tag Wrangling menu has been re-worked to make the wranglers' workflow more efficient.
  • AO3 admins now have the ability to mass decline all requests for more invitations by registered users (like we decided to when we were battling server meltdowns last year), and notify the users by email with one button click.
  • Validation issues were making it impossible for admins to decline invitation requests by users by setting the number of invitations to zero. This has been fixed.
  • For ease of navigation, we have added Next/Previous links to the AO3 News posts.
  • At user requests, Quenya, Thermian, and tlhIngan-Hol were added to the list of languages a creator can mark their work as and to the list on the Languages page. Qapla'!
  • To make it easier for users to see the latest update about the state of the Archive during scheduled downtime, we added a feed of our @AO3_Status Twitter to our "The archive is down for maintenance" page.
  • We made some text changes to the page containing information about contributing to the AO3.
  • Safari on iPhones and iPads was getting stuck to anchored links (e.g. ?show_comments=true#comments) and after leaving kudos, not allowing users to scroll away anymore. This was a bug in iOS 5 that was taken care of in iOS 6, but should now also be fixed in older models.
  • Our automated tests were outdated in many places, leading to unhelpful results when running them. They have now been heroically fixed across the board.