Release Notes: Improved dev environment instructions, removed non-functioning profile buttons

Release Notes: Improved dev environment instructions, removed non-functioning profile buttons

Come hack transparency with MuckRock!

Edited by Beryl Lipton

Last week, we fixed up some local dev environment quirks and rewrote the instructions so it’s easier to play around with MuckRock’s code on your local device. We also fixed up some minor bugs, such as non-functioning profile page buttons.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday - along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself - subscribe to our developer newsletter here.

Site Updates

Improved documentation and env setup

Thanks to feedback from a number of users, we fixed up a few quirks with our dev environment set up to make more of the steps explicit while also updating our documentation to reflect how it actually worked. Most importantly, we switched to Docker a while ago for the development process, but we never updated the ReadMe to reflect that. This is now fixed, so it’s easier than ever to poke at MuckRock and FOIA Machine.

Non-functional profile buttons removed

A user reported an issue that put buttons on user profile pages indicating that anyone could modify another user’s plan. Fortunately, you could not actually edit other users’ plans, but the fact that the buttons appeared at all was confusing at best. They are now removed and only show properly on your own profile page.

Improved email parsing for some very long emails

Agencies come up with new and exciting ways to send inbox-crushing emails, so we occasionally find something that stumps our otherwise trusty MuckBot. In this case, some long strings of text with encrypted data would cause the site to fail at processing emails. This is fixed.

Come hack transparency with us

Every Tuesday night, we gather in Cambridge with a group of coders, designers, and others who want to see more open government. Over the past few months, we’ve been mixing MuckRock’s agency database with a set of scanners and scrapers to help gauge the accessibility, mobile-friendliness, and security of America’s digital infrastructure.

You can find out more and join us by checking out Code for Boston’s website.

Reporting bugs and submitting fixes

There are a number of other ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock site experience. We have a project and a weekly newsletter, “Release Notes,” that highlights everything we’re working on. Register to get a summary of site updates each week and details on open issues that need your help.

Check out some of our issues labeled “help wanted” for ideas on good places to start or just pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel.

Subscribers to the weekly newsletter get exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits only available for subscribers. You can subscribe to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

If you spot a bug or have a feature request, you can also help by opening an issue on GitHub.

If you do, please search open issues first to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported previously, please leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details about when it crops up or what you think is causing the problem.

In addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack.

Image via Wikimedia Commons