Monday, December 08, 2008

Version 4.0 --- then 5.0

You've likely noticed some happening with Citation Machine. If it has caused you any convenience or grief, please accept my apologies.

My main concern has been that efficient performance. With the end of the semester approaching and now here, the usage of CM nearly doubles, and I know that slow loads can be very frustrating.

So, a couple of months ago, I tried utilizing iframes in the code, something I hadn't done before -- and it worked quite nicely. When you click [MLA], and the list of content sources appears, that is the only information that is reloaded. Before, the entire page had to be reloaded. When you clicked a source to be sited, and the web form appeared asking for info on the source, then that form is the only thing that is loaded.

Version 4.0 was born.

The problem that emerged was that although my Windows computer (a Mac Intel machine) ran the new tool just fine, many people wrote in indicating that these new features were not loading at all -- rendering Citation Machine useless.

I write in some workarounds, that would recognize Windows machines, redirecting them to non-iframe versions of the Citation Machine, which meant that I was maintaining multiple versions of the tool. The workarounds thickened the programming and caused more problems, nececitating more workarounds and more coding. It finally got to tedious to work with.

So I got up early yesterday morning and started a complete re-write of Citation Machine, using Cascading Style Sheets, something I'm doing more of -- finally. Pulling in working modules from the earlier versions, I seem to have finished it after another early morning codathon (3:00am to 7:50am).



Version 5.0 seeks to solve both the problems of slow loading and complexity of the code. To address both of these problems, Citation Machine will now offer either the menu of citation styles and sources, or the web form or completed citation -- rather than loading both the menu and the forms with each mouse click. The significantly simplifies the code and page loads should be nearly as fast as with the iframes.

Please let me know if the new version causes any problems.

13 comments:

Diane E. Main, GCT NorCal 2006 said...

Love your new look. Here's a link to a video I made that incorporates the previous version. Missed the new one by about a week!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3muQavaAA10

Kodai Sodality said...

Just a shout out to say that I'm loving the new CM just about as much as I loved the old CM (i.e. a lot!) While I never had any problems with 4.0, I'm glad you're fixing it for those who did.

(P.S.: Is there a way in APA to single out a particular article in a compiled work? Seems like there should be...)

Josh said...

I used the site this morning at school on IE7 and got 5.0 but I'm using it now at home on FF3 and get 4.0. Is that normal?

David Warlick said...

We had to switch back to version 4.0 last night because of technical problems. This is one of the heaviest times of the year, so I decided to put off 5.0 to do a little more work on it.

So sorry for the confusion. Also, I hope that I'm making sense. I'm typing this into my cell phone, in a cab, crossing the border into Canada.

Alex said...

Haha! Oh, and I love CM too. I loved the old version, BUT I love 5.0 even more!!!

ktd said...

Hey — I love citation machine. It's all I use. I just wanted to point out the new MLA specs: one of them says "Ditial" (I'm assuming it's supposed to be "Digital"?). I'm not being pedantic — just thought some people might put something weird in their paper citations.

Thanks!

Elusis said...

Hi - I'm noticing that the APA tool doesn't offer a selection for citing a chapter from an edited book. This is an extremely common kind of citation (often 30-50% of my references page) and is hard to get right because of the many components to such a cite. Would it be possible to ask that, when you have time, you include a form for this particular citation type? Thanks so much! I appreciate being able to use Citation Machine when I'm away from my office and my APA Handbook.

Meyersgold said...

I have been a fan of this site since I went back to school January of 2008. I have become dependent on the site for correct reference form in my papers. I am in need of its services for my current paper but can't get it to work. Is it going to be down long?

KennyAxel said...

Love the site and I've been using it off and on for over 5 years, through a BS in Computer Science and an MBA.

I have to say, I'm not a fan of the new advertising, though. Several times this morning I've had ads pop-up and impose themselves across my citation, making it impossible to copy/paste anything under the ad. I'm a capitalist and I'm all for helping support the site with advertising revenue, but ads that block the content aren't acceptable.

Thanks again for all the work, Dave. I hope you get things sorted. Meanwhile, I'll google for something a little easier to cope before coffee.

Miss Green said...

The new pop up ads interfere with me copying my citations. I've loved your site for many years, but if the ads don't go away, I'm going to use another site and have my students do the same.

Elusis said...

Rajkumar - yes, this is the "chapter from an edited book" issue I asked about above. I am baffled as to why Citation Machine doesn't offer this, since it's one of the most commonly cited types of work, yet it's also very hard to do well since there are so many elements to keep straight.

Kelly said...

How do you site more than 5 authors? It doesn't seem to let me.

Ladyhihi said...

I'm a high school student as well, and I don't know what I'd do without Citation Machine. My English teacher last year recommended it to me last year and I have not written a single paper without using the Citation Machine. Thank you so much for making citing others' work so easy!