Release Notes: MuckRock's new donation page, easier pinning of Add-Ons and stability improvements

Release Notes: MuckRock’s new donation page, easier pinning of Add-Ons and stability improvements

Our transparency tools continue to receive refinements

Over the past few weeks, MuckRock’s tech team has been hard at work. We recently rolled out a new donation page, just in time for NewsMatch, making it easier than ever to support our work. We’ve also worked to revamp the DocumentCloud homepage with more information, along with adding the ability to pin your favorite DocumentCloud features more easily.

Read about prior improvements on the Release Notes project page.

MuckRock Improvements

November 1 marked the start of NewsMatch, the end-of-year campaign season for non-profit news organizations. Your donations now through the end of the year will be doubled, and we have a new and improved donation page to make it easier than ever as well as get your questions answered.

This week, we also did a routine upgrade to our version of Mailgun, the system we rely on to send and track emails to agencies for requests. This upgrade was necessary because the old webhooks we previously relied on will soon stop working.

DocumentCloud Improvements

Certain support and information pages on DocumentCloud rely on a feature called flatpages, which let us quickly and flexibly create non-standard pages as needed. These were very handy but missing one major feature: Visible titles for your browser. That’s now fixed, so you can quickly tell the difference between our search tips and our roundup of all the latest Add-Ons.

We also gave the DocumentCloud homepage a redesign, with more information about what DocumentCloud is, who can use DocumentCloud, information about the API and more.

Pull requests for DocumentCloud frontend now have automatic deployment previews. You can view your work as you develop right in a staging environment before having your PR reviewed. Netlify generates the preview once you open the PR. This reduces barriers to development and saves time for reviewers.

The Python wrapper for the DocumentCloud API, python-documentcloud, now has detailed documentation on how to run and record tests for the library. This improves documentation for developers. The python-documentcloud GitHub page now automatically runs the pre-recorded tests on commits and pull requests to ensure code quality.

Add-On Improvements

Users can now pin or unpin Add-Ons from the detail page of an Add-On which makes it easier to save Add-Ons for later use.

Add-Ons now have validated maximum and minimum values for numeric fields, which prevents users from trying to run an Add-On with invalid numerical inputs leading to failures. Authors of Add-Ons can set the minimum and maximum values in their configuration files for the UI. Additionally, a temporary bug that prevented default values for fields set in config files for Add-On from being passed to the front-end has been fixed. Both of these fixes make Add-Ons less likely to fail to dispatch and more reliable.

SideKick is a machine learning tool designed to help you quickly test ways to categorize large documents sets based on semantics, apply machine learning to try to sort documents into one set or another, and get feedback on how well the model works. A bug that caused Sidekick to score some outputs too highly was fixed, which allows for more precise scoring of classification.

Document lists for projects in the API and Python wrapper got improvements which fixed errors when trying to add large sets of documents to a project. The Bulk Add to Project merged in these fixes, which now provides an improved experience when trying to add large sets of documents to a project.


If you’d like to help us continue making improvements like these in the future, there are lots of ways to help out.

If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue on GitHub.

If you do the latter, 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.

For those who want to contribute design, code, or otherwise more directly to the site, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack. Once you’re on the Slack, just drop a message in #Intros asking to be added to the #developers channel.