謎WordPress Part 1

There’s a Japanese word I like, “謎” – the dictionary defines it as “a mystery”, “riddle”, or “enigma” – I like to define it as “something that makes no logical sense whatever”.

Here is a part of WordPress that I think makes no logical sense whatever.

Inconsistent Naming Convention

In The Loop, as WordPress likes to call it, you are given some functions that will output information for you. Handy!

the_title(); // outputs the title of the blog post
the_content(); // outputs the content of the blog post
the_time(); // outputs the timestamp of the blog post
the_permalink(); // a "permalink" to the blog post

You get the idea. Now, you don’t want to output them? You want them in a variable? Fine:

$title = get_the_title();
$content = get_the_content();
$time = get_the_time();

BUT WAIT A SECOND.

$permalink = get_permalink();

WHAT?

WordPress, you had a great, consistent naming scheme up until then. Come on.

text-rendering: optimizeLegibility;

Basically, do not use text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; with Japanese. At least, not yet. Why not? Here are some examples.

The top line has text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; applied, and the bottom line use the browser defaults. As you can probably tell, optimizeLegibility has indeed optimized the legibility, and the type looks much nicer. However, there is a fatal bug in rendering Japanese characters with optimizeLegibility: It seems that the actual optimization is taking place after the length of the line is calculated. As you can imagine, this is a problem. Here’s a screenshot with an underline applied:

Because length-of-line calculations are used to determine line breaks, this bug will also make your sentences break in weird places.

Screenshots taken with Chrome 21 on Mac OS X 10.8. I was able to reproduce this in all WebKit browsers.

Font Smoothing

This is what text (more or less) looks like in Windows! Just do:

“`css
* {
-webkit-font-smoothing: none;
}
“`

To enable Windows Emulation mode. Great stuff.

There’s a few resources about -webkit-font-smoothing in English, but I was wondering what it would look like in Japanese. Here we go.

none;

おはようございます。僕の名前は敬太郎です。東京にうまれ、アメリカのメイン州育ちです。大学は国際基督教大学、3年間の後で退学しました。今は、東京武蔵野市の吉祥寺に住んでて、Flagship LLCでエンジニア・プログラマーとして働いています。よろしくお願いします。

subpixel-antialiased;

おはようございます。僕の名前は敬太郎です。東京にうまれ、アメリカのメイン州育ちです。大学は国際基督教大学、3年間の後で退学しました。今は、東京武蔵野市の吉祥寺に住んでて、Flagship LLCでエンジニア・プログラマーとして働いています。よろしくお願いします。

antialiased;

おはようございます。僕の名前は敬太郎です。東京にうまれ、アメリカのメイン州育ちです。大学は国際基督教大学、3年間の後で退学しました。今は、東京武蔵野市の吉祥寺に住んでて、Flagship LLCでエンジニア・プログラマーとして働いています。よろしくお願いします。
 

Source: Max Voltar

Varnish on a Dynamic Site

TL;DR: Scroll to the bottom for the attached VCL.

No, I’m not talking about the stuff you put on paint to make it last longer.

I’m talking about this amazing piece of software: https://www.varnish-cache.org/

Put simply, Varnish is a “reverse proxy” – a piece of software that goes between the main server and the client. Basically what it does is caches content, so PHP (or whatever backend you’re using) doesn’t need to run for every single request – this makes perfect sense with static content. For sites like WordPress, filled with mostly static content, Varnish will work out of the box (minor configuration changes are required for small things).

Using Varnish with mixed-static and dynamic content is a little harder, though. Recently, we were hired to optimize a client’s website. This particular website was written on a particularly horribly-written framework (it looked like some proprietary framework – not something I want to dissect and analyze for performance). For an example of how awful this framework was, it took about 10 seconds (yes, seconds) for the server to render the index page. After doing as much optimization as possible without dissecting, I was able to cut the time down to about 2 seconds.

2 seconds is still an eternity.

So, I decided to use Varnish. With a big caveat: it only caches content if you aren’t logged in. Since the framework I was working with was intent on setting the PHPSESSID cookie on every page load, I couldn’t just tell Varnish to cache when that cookie was present. Instead, when the user logs in, a LOGIN cookie is set, and Varnish uses this cookie to determine whether to cache the content or not. Logged-in users still have the awful user experience of having to wait 2 seconds for each page to load, but at least people who are just coming to look around have a decent experience.

Here are the relevant sections of the VCL file that enables this logic:

sub vcl_fetch {
  if (!(beresp.http.Set-Cookie ~ "LOGIN") && !(req.http.cookie ~ "LOGIN")) {
    unset beresp.http.Pragma;
    unset beresp.http.Set-Cookie;
    set beresp.http.Cache-Control = "public; max-age=1800";
    unset beresp.http.Expires;
    set beresp.ttl = 30m;
    return (deliver);
  }
}

sub vcl_recv {
  if (req.http.Cookie ~ "LOGIN") {
    set req.http.Cookie = ";" req.http.Cookie;
    set req.http.Cookie = regsuball(req.http.Cookie, "; +", ";");
    set req.http.Cookie = regsuball(req.http.Cookie, ";(PHPSESSID|LOGIN)=", "; 1=");
    set req.http.Cookie = regsuball(req.http.Cookie, ";[^ ][^;]*", "");
    set req.http.Cookie = regsuball(req.http.Cookie, "^[; ]+|[; ]+$", "");
    if (req.http.Cookie == "") {
      remove req.http.Cookie;
    }
  } else {
    remove req.http.Cookie;
  }
}

Flagship LLC

As many of you are aware, I have been working for about 6 months now, with 2 other people.

On July 4th, we are pleased to announce that we have officially become a company, Flagship LLC. We have some pretty cool projects lined up in the near future, I’ll be posting updates on our released projects (and maybe if you’re lucky, bits and pieces of unreleased projects) here!

Our goal as a company is multi-fold, but I feel that the most important facet of Flagship is to bring modern web development and standards to Japan. In a country where Japanese translations of English reference material is prominent, especially in technology, we strive to be the flagship of truly born-in-Japan material.

I’m looking forward to the great things we’ll be accomplishing together, and I’m even more excited to share our products with all of you!