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Website Cleanup Report - Part 2 21st July 2014 Tags: fsfe xslt

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 smoothing out the web server setup and tidying up our collection of xsl rules.

Hello List,

despite me being sick last week (I feel well again), the work on the web site continues with undiminished effort. Here is about the changes I have merged into the trunk today.

1. Enabled .htaccess rules

Well, this was not actually done in the repo, but on the web server. The page http://fsfe.org/tools is protected by a htaccess rule denying access to the directory. This was supposed to be the case for the last four and a half years. However instead of replying with a grumpy 403 when trying to access the directory, the webserver used to fail with a 500 "Internal server error" whenever someone hit that folder. This is because acceess rules in the .htaccess files had not been allowed in the web server configuration.
Admittedly in this case the effect was very similar to what was supposed to be achieved, but http://fsfe.org/campaigns/browserbundling/ did also fail with an error 500 because the .htaccess file tried to override the directory index without success.

2. Removed unneeded libraries

I believe the oldest occurrence of date-time.xsl was the one in the news folder, where it had been added in 2009 with the saucy svn comment "I hate XSLT 1.0."
The 1447 line file offers three features which we use on the web site:

The first two functions are not actually used in the news section - they are trivial and are reimplemented directly in news.rss.xsl. I didn't bother with that though - some day we are going to replace this code with a localised function anyway and date-time.xsl will not be of any help there.
The third function - the one that was actually used - is a 7 line implementation of a variation of Zeller's algorithm. That makes 1440 lines of wasted code.
Wait! The weekday is actually only needed for the pubDate field of the RSS data. The RSS standard requires the pubDate field to adhere to the date format specified in RFC-822 and RFC-822 in turn explicitly specifies the week day as being optional in date statements.
So we do not actually need this function either.
I removed the file changing the format of the pubDate field in our RSS feeds.

The function get-month-name is still used somewhere on the site, so we retain a copy of the date-time library at some other point. I will remove this copy in time and either switch to a truly localised or purely numeric date display for event items.

Thus questioning the usefulness of some of the library files, I started to track down their usage on the site. In the end I removed most files from the "XSLT Standard Library". BTW. despite this stately name the lib has nothing to do with the xslt standard. It is just a project name and the library hasn't been updated in almost 10 years. I have it in for this monster, bet I can throw it out completely.

All in all I removed some thousand lines of code form the build process. Surely I am not finished yet ;-)

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