News for January 2008

Strange bug in Internet Explorer31 January 2008
The Review graph disappears for some reason in Internet Explorer 6 & 7. I am looking at the problem.
Show / hide "Newest & Updated" stories30 January 2008
I've added a simple toggle feature on the "Newest & Updated stories" section in the Study area. Just click anywhere in the titlebar to show or hide the newest stories.

The newest stories will show again when you move to another kanji, that's intended: hiding stories permanently would defeat the purpose of the "newest" stories section; which is to give a chance to the new stories to get votes. The feature is there for when you scroll up and down a lot between shared stories and the edit area.

Last weekend I was a bit burnt out, I didn't work as much as I hoped on Trinity. However I played around with the Google charts api again and tested a simple chart showing the amount of vocabulary flashcard you have added in the past four weeks :

Graph of vocabulary added in the past four weeks

Maintenance18 January 2008
In case you're wondering there were a few bouts of downtime and the forum also went down for a minute as I was doing some maintenance on the database, sorry for the trouble.
Faster page loading (update)11 January 2008
I have activated compression on all the website pages, this should make the pages load a bit faster. Most notable change I think is on the members page, which goes from ~150kb to ~21kb size.

The Study area still uses a lot of data that is not compressed so you won't see a big difference there, I'm working on it (hence "part1" ;)).

UPDATE Did more optimization on the pages, using compression on stylesheets and javascripts, plus setting "expire" header on those files. The typical Study page was ~250kb after a full page refresh, now it is ~80kb. The browser should be able to cache the pages more often.
Trinity : Kanji Progress and Help system7 January 2008
Something that's important to me in the upcoming Trinity section, is to set a clear target for learning both the chinese and japanese (on and kun) readings for the general-use kanji. Last weekend I finally settled onto a straightforward progress display for the Kanji section of Trinity:

Screenshot

The current targets are of 1908 kanji for the chinese readings. This number corresponds to the subset of kanji from RtK1 for which there is a chinese reading and where the reading actually appears into a word marked as a "priority" entry into the Japanese dictionary EDICT.

Having attained this target means you will have learned one common chinese reading for all the RtK1 kanji (which includes the jouyou set, plus some kanji appearing in place and person's names).

The Japanese readings will not be available in the first release of Trinity, but I was very excited this weekend as I have figured how it will work. It will work similarly to the chinese readings, but I thought it would be overwhelming at that point to continue manually choosing an exemplary word for every kanji with a Japanese reading. Instead, there will be a preset list with a Japanese word for each kanji in RtK1 that has a Japanese reading. This list will be based on EDICT, but it's not set in stone. When it comes out, I invite everyone to discuss and propose changes where you think a better example word could have been chosen (this during the "beta" stage).

One interesting way the list will work is that if you happened to add any of the words from the list into your sentences it will count towards your Japanese reading progress (an example word like 食べる - to eat, for example is very common). Thus like the chinese readings, you can "passively" progress by working on sentences and vocab alone, or you can actively work on filling in the gaps and completing the chinese readings and Japanese reading targets!

Something else I wrote this weekend is the help system. It was not a critical feature for the Trinity beta release , but it was fun to do. On every page if you click the help link you can jump to the documentation, but you also get an invitation for a "quick tour" of the page :

Screenshot