Friday, January 24, 2020 by Tim Webb
This is an update that I've been putting off for ages because I knew it would suck to code it. I was right.
Fortunately the results are super useful. This finally addresses the awful search that has been on the site since day 1. It is fantastic now! This includes both article search and app search! Now if you search for Audiobus the first result is Audiobus, and not any of the 838 other apps in the site's database that mentions Audiobus.
What's new in discchord v3.5:
+ New Search! Better, slower, way way more accurate and helpful!
- Fixed Android! Updated scraping to latest Google changes, and made some tweaks to database.
- Fixed # at the end of App Store links, so that the # doesn't end up in the database.
- Fixed YouTube links to other @channels
- Fixed Exploit in Search that exposed Patron Only Posts (Thanks Cosmo for letting me know!)
- Fixed anti-cheat in contests to avoid false positives. Sorry!
Brought to You By Medicinal Amphetamines
This long awaited update would not be possible without the aid of amphetamines! Under medical supervision I've been experimenting with Vyvanse to treat my, now extremely problematic, ADHD. Things started off rough. I've now found a dosage that works for me! I'm finally able to tackle problems that before seemed too boring, or dangerous. Addressing search here was a bit of both.
Search is Hard
I've known the search here sucked. I was relatively new to Python in early 2016 when I wrote it. Surfacing relevant search results is tricky and I just didn't know how to do it back then. I've known how to do it right for a while now, but search is kind of woven into the code all over the place and I knew it'd be a long and boring process to retrofit a better search. The code base for discchord is huge now, and it is a little dangerous for me to go poking around at fundamental portions of it. I was able to face both of these problems with patience!
I'm quite proud of the new search and hope it will be much more useful to you.
Android is Shit
Regular readers here will know that I hate Apple. In fact I strongly resisted buying an iPad because I was waiting for Android tablets to get their shit together. When Korg released iMS-20 I caved and bought an iPad 2. I'm glad I did or I'd still be waiting for Android to get its shit together. Despite my hopes, Android has not become a relevant platform for music makers. So I find it particularly galling when Google keeps fucking with the web scraping I use to include Android apps in the site's database.
I was pretty close to throwing in the towel after the last attempt to block me. I've updated the scraping again to bring Android support back in-line with iOS in the Music App Guide. This may be the last time I do so unless I hear from a lot of Android fans that actually care.
discchord is becoming self-aware!
I split the roll-out of this update into two stages, so that if something went wrong I would know where to begin bug hunting. I was keeping Twitter apprised of the situation and soliciting feedback on any bugs. After the Stage 2 post this morning, Audio Damage developer Chris Randall made a very prescient tweet.
There were also a lot of changes in the backend. They're not mentioned in these update notes because that would just be a wall of [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] in the [REDACTED]. One of these is a very early stage Machine Learning project I'm experimenting with on the site. I go through hundreds of YouTube videos every day, and I'm trying to train an AI model to help me do that. It isn't actually doing anything right now, but yes, Stage 3 is world domination.
The last time I asked for user suggestions there was one idea that almost made it into v3.5.
Set Pagination in reverse so that people viewing page "995" always go back to the same page when they refresh. (Markus Gräser)
I like this idea a lot, but I want to get your feedback. I can see how this would be useful, but I'm worried that this is going to break something that I'm not thinking about. I use the site differently than you, so I'd like to hear what your thoughts are! If you have any other suggestions this is probably a place to post them.
And as always, please report bugs! Do not assume that I know about it. As far as I know the site is amazing and nothing is wrong. I can't fix problems unless you let me know about them.