Up Down
(Hey I can even make it work on this image!)

I know, I know, I said I was going to be focusing on content updates, but there’s not much I can do with the database on my lunchbreak at work. What I can do is fiddle with some code so the site works better.

This is probably the last major speed tweak for a little bit, but it’s a good one. The AddThis button was loading the image separately from the rest of the site, and not caching it with the rest of the widgets and content. I changed the code up and am now hosting the gif myself, so it should cache properly.

I also moved the javascript to the header, and since it’s pulling from their CDN, it should never be a speed problem there. The Navbar is also now loading in the header, so you’ll never have to wait for your slow connection to pick up that last thumbnail in the reading order again – the pagination will always be there when you need it.

One other thing I fixed with the AddThis button is it’s ability to pick up the permalink for posts right in the main blog views – before it wasn’t working quite right and tended to link to the blog page as a whole instead of the particular post you are sharing. That’s fixed now.

AddThis Is Awesome.

I want to make it totally clear, though, that my problems with how AddThis worked on this site were caused entirely by my slightly unorthodox and slipshod site design and code. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeting – I’m not a programmer or even a designer. I’m a working artist, writer, and fan – smart enough, sure, but still learning everything from scratch as I go along.

The staff at AddThis has been amazingly helpful. In particular Justin Thorp, the Community Manager for AddThis and Clearspring, whose email I found randomly through another thread somewhere out there, has been helping walk me through these particular tweaks in a series of email conversations.

AddThis is used on some of the biggest and most important sites out there on the web and the fact that Justin (and I assume, their other employees) was willing to help me in such detail really speaks a lot about how they support their product.

Which, now that I know how to use it properly, is excellent.

So I wanted to give them some serious props for that. It’s easy to let service slide when you’re in such an impersonal medium – and many sites and applications out there do. AddThis didn’t, at least in my case.

Question: Would you guys want a little button (just a plus sign or similar tiny icon) on each of the books on the reading order pages? It wouldn’t be terribly hard to do and shouldn’t slow the site since the js loads on every page anyway for the sidebar button. You could use that to quickly share a database book link with friends (or send it to yourself for later reference) without having to go to that book’s individual page. Sound like something I should do?

I may do it later regardless, but if people express an interest right now, I’ll put it in tonight and see how it looks.

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