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Website Cleanup Report - Part 1 10th July 2014 Tags: fsfe

This post was originally written as an email to the mailing list of the FSFE web team. In the text I describe my progress in tidying up our collection of build scripts and xsl rules.

Hello List,

in the spirit of opensslrampage.org I am going to talk a little about what I found out and what I did when cleaning up the website build scripts. I will try to save the worst phrasings for the svn log.

This will be the first mail, there will be more.

1. Removed build-test.pl

Currently we use a bunch of build scripts for building fsfe.org, test.fsfe.org, documentfreedom.org, test.documentfreedom.org, as well as the analogous translation logs and build status pages.

You guessed it, all those scripts look the same. Or at least at some point they were supposed to. What started out as minor forks with some file system paths altered evolved into a diverse and colourful ecosystem.

So last week I merged build-test.sh and build.sh into one script and got rid of build-test.pl which showed only a very minor difference to the original build script.
I threw away the patch files which recorded the difference between the scripts at the same time - they had been hurting the feelings of svn diff for long enough.

The same is to be done for the translation log files and some others.

2. Split up fsfe.xsl

This file was suffering a bad form of feature cancer. Each time we wanted to make something look different on the page we put some more code in there. That was fine because it worked. Only at some time it became harder and harder to grasp why it did so, harder to find the section of code which we would need to change to have a particular effect, and impossible to judge what code could be removed.

So I made a new folder, called it build/, put a bunch of files in there and ripped fsfe.xsl into pieces. Now there is still superfluous code, but at least the we can see, where definitions for the html footer start and where they end.

I put this into practice already. Some xls rules for example are only used in the supporters section. Until recently however they were processed for the built of every single page on the website. Having the rules in separate files, allowed me to only include them for processing of the supporter pages.

I am sure there lurk many undiscovered processing rules, which are only applied to parts of the page, or even not at all.

Being able to select which rules will be loaded for processing a page does also enable us to introduce different page headers, footers and other sections for campaign pages and similar.

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