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HTML-Enabled Apps Released as Oasis Web

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Nov-17 Tue 22:10
ID
2162
2020-Nov-17 Tue 22:10
1 minute
2162

Oasis Web is now available. 

Cybele Software's Thinfinity VirtualUI has been deployed to provide HTML-enabled versions of some of our key applications, effectively turning our traditional Windows-based apps into fully functional HTML5-compliant web-based apps compatible with all the latest browsers and platforms.  Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers have been tested, as well as Windows, Mac and Linux desktops.  Mobile support for iOS and Android has also been tested.  It is expected that many additional HTML5-compliant browsers and platforms will work just as well.  Please do let us know if you encounter any problems with your particular browser environment.

For more information, please refer to the Oasis Web page.

Website Update: October 2020

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Nov-03 Tue 15:27
ID
2036
2020-Nov-03 Tue 15:27
4 minutes
2036

Website Performance

While there are currently very few visitors, website performance is still important for a few reasons. First, Google uses (according to some) performance as one of its metrics when rating sites. Better performing sites provide a better overall user experience, the theory goes, so they are deserving of a bump in the rankings. Seems plausible, albeit anecdotal at best. Second, while there are few users now, things can change quickly at which point having an optimized site will allow a bit more time to address the issue, should we be fortunate enough to have it. Load balancers and higher performing VPS infrastructure is not hard to come by technically, but is not cheap so spending time optimizing now could save a bundle down the road. Third, when a site is performing poorly, it is likely indicative of something that is wrong or misconfigured.

Website Update: September 2020

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Oct-05 Mon 17:18
ID
1676
2020-Oct-05 Mon 17:18
4 minutes
1676

Ongoing Maintenance

More cleanup and general performance improvements this month. Google has many tools for gauging how well a site is performing. Things like Google PageSpeed Insights,Google Search Console, Google AdSense among others. Firefox and Chrome also include tools for troubleshooting problems and behind-the-scenes issues that impact performance but that might not be visible to visitors. While this is very much a diminishing returns effort, much progress has been made in terms of meeting or exceeding targets set (often arbitrarily) by these tools. Always on the lookout for other ways to make the site faster, more secure or easier to use, so while this may not be at the top of the priorities list, it will continue to be an item of interest.

Website Update: August 2020

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Aug-29 Sat 15:19
ID
1170
2020-Aug-29 Sat 15:19
3 minutes
1170

Maintenance Update

As with any website, some maintenance occurs on a pretty regular basis. The 500 Foods website is no exception of course. Here are some things that have recently been updated or improved upon. As this has been the first full month with the relaunched site, there have been many behind-the-scenes improvements all around, but things have settled down considerably feature-wise as compared to last month.

New Artwork

New banner artwork (sourced from Shutterstock) has been added to the site. More is coming, along with more content to go with it. The new artwork hopefully rounds out and completes the overall look of the site. No further changes are planned in terms of structure or navigation. All the pieces are in place. Now the focus is on content for the most part.

Website Update: Live Chat

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Aug-17 Mon 17:57
ID
1066
2020-Aug-17 Mon 17:57
1 minute
1066

Rocket.Chat has been added to the 500 Foods website today, implementing the new 500 Foods Live Chat service. Live Chats can be started using the chat bubble icon appearing in the bottom-right corner of the website. This rounds out the suite of communications and contact tools available via the website.

Initially, 500 Foods Live Chat hours have been set to 8am to 8pm PST, seven days a week. As the site currently receives very little traffic, this isn't likely to be an issue. Will adjust going forward if needed.

Website Update: Watchlist Highlights

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-31 Fri 14:30
ID
890
2020-Jul-31 Fri 14:30
1 minute
890

After today's remarkable 10% gain by Apple, I thought it would be good to add some highlighting to the main Watchlist block on the home page. 

  • Green highlights indicate a stock that has more than a 5% gain.
  • Red highlights indicate a stock that has more than a 5% loss.

If you'd like some other highlighting options, just let us know.

Website Update: Filter+Sort

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-29 Wed 12:12
ID
883
2020-Jul-29 Wed 12:12
1 minute
883

The content sections of the website have been updated with a new Filter+Sort option which can be accessed using the icon appearing at the top-right header in each of these sections.

Date Filters are available to show posts or stories in a particular period of time, such as the Past 7 Days or This Year, for example.

More complex Tag Filters can be used to show content that has certain tags assigned. Multiple Tags can be selected, and options for how those tags are applied to the search can also be specified. Sorting options include sorting by content date, star rating, number of bookmarks and number of views.

These options are available to all visitors of the website, no account required.

Website Update: Bookmarks

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-24 Fri 11:46
ID
882
2020-Jul-24 Fri 11:46
1 minute
882

A new feature of the website, accessible only to those visitors with an account, is the ability to bookmark content found in most sections of the website. 

For example, if you're reading a story from News From Elsewhere that you find interesting, you can bookmark it using the icon found in either the story header or in the main list of stories for that section of the website.  Likewise, content from other sections can be bookmarked in the same way.

Website Update: Star Ratings

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-18 Sat 12:20
ID
821
2020-Jul-18 Sat 12:20
1 minute
821

A new feature has been added to the 500 Foods website that allows visitors (anonymous or otherwise) to rate or "star" content on the site.  A rating of 1-5 stars can be assigned to posts in our own Container Culture, Better Than Organic and News from Here blogs as well as the stories collected in the News from Elsewhere section.  Users with an account can also rate content in the Product Updates section.

Website Update: Watchlist Additions

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-13 Mon 22:45
ID
777
2020-Jul-13 Mon 22:45
1 minute
777

Some additions to the 500 Foods Watchlist. 

  • Currencies:  The USD/CAD and CAD/USD rates have been added.
  • Indices:  The DJIA, NASDAQ and S&P500 have been added.

Importantly, none of these come from the IEX Cloud interface but rather as a direct pull from the Yahoo! Finance website, and are updated every 30 minutes as well.  Why is this?  Indices aren't available at all via IEX and they don't plan on making them available any time soon due to licensing and fee structure issues. IEX does offer currency data, but not on the free tier that we currently use. Should we subscribe to one of the premium tiers in future, perhaps to get more timely data for the Watchlist, then we'll change the currency data feed to use IEX as well.

Website Update: Search

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-09 Thu 11:18
ID
436
2020-Jul-09 Thu 11:18
1 minute
436

As part of the continuing roll-out of new features for the 500 Foods website, the search function has been revamped and improved. 

Using the search field at the top of the page, drop-down results are instantly available as soon as you start typing.  Content is also indexed differently now, and much quicker than previously.  In particular, this makes the "News From Elsewhere" content considerably more useful.  Partial word searches also now work properly (search for 'lambo' for example, to find the story about the guy in Dubai delivering mangoes in his Lamborghini).

A future update will address searching Canvas content.  Considerably more complex.

Website Update: Responsive Design

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-08 Wed 22:51
ID
429
2020-Jul-08 Wed 22:51
2 minutes
429

One of the biggest changes to web design, likely since its inception, is the need for 'responsive design' - a fancy term that just means that a website has to be both functional and presentable on a wide array of device resolutions and orientations, ideally without regard to vendor or other device-specific settings.  Basically a website designed in this way should look and work great on a phone, a tablet or a desktop screen, and nothing should be lost when moving between these formats.  Sounds simple, right?

Website Update: Sitemap

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-06 Mon 20:09
ID
381
2020-Jul-06 Mon 20:09
1 minute
381

Website Update: New Website

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-01 Wed 20:18
ID
16
2020-Jul-01 Wed 20:18
1 minute
16

We now have a new (and improved!) website.

The previous website was slated to be upgraded, but along the way it ended up being easier to just replace it as the upgrade path from its previous home under Drupal 8 to its new home under Drupal 9 was not as smooth and well-orchestrated as one would have hoped.  As there wasn't much in the old site to carry forward anyway, and as it had been carried forward from Drupal 6 and 7 previously, it seemed a good time to start with a clean slate.

There are many changes that are coming to the website now that this new foundation has been laid.  Details to follow as the changes are rolled out.

Website Update: News From Elsewhere

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jun-27 Sat 19:45
ID
301
2020-Jun-27 Sat 19:45
1 minute
301

As part of the recent website overhaul, a new section "News from Elsewhere" has been added to the site.  This is a curated collection of RSS links covering topics of interest to 500 Foods and its current and future stakeholders and community members.  These are largely focused on container growing, vertical farming, and generally alternative methods of commercial growing, along with the related labour and packaging considerations.  All topics of interest here.