Website updates – Email subscription and responsive design

This post is about updates to CNX Software website. If you have subscribed to receive daily digests by email through Feedburner, it’s not going to work anymore very soon, as Google plans to terminate the service in July. I’ve implemented another solution, which I’ll explain in more detail below.

Up to now, I maintained three versions of the website: desktop, mobile, and AMP. This was kind of a mess, as I had to manually update some plugins. Google is also sending much less traffic than before for some unknown(s) reason, so I’m working on modifying the website with a responsive design just like the Chinese version of the website that will allow me to serve only one version of the website to all devices. But it does not look as nice as it could right now.

Email subscriptions

There are currently a little over 1,000 people who have subscribed to receive CNX Software news by email. The service will be discontinued soon, so I had to find an alternative. I end up using a service called follow.it as it’s free with an unlimited number of users.

While I could export Feedburner emails into Follow.it, I’d rather not do that without consent, so people wanting to continue receiving updates by email would have to resubscribe through the new service. On desktop, you’ll find the subscribe box on the top sidebar, while on mobile it’s after the list of posts on the main page or the comments section on single posts.

Desktop (left) and Mobile (Right)

All you’d need to do is to enter your email and click Subscribe. You’d then receive an email from follow it, and you need to confirm your subscription by clicking on the link in the email. You’d then received a daily email with a list of posts published within a 24-hour period.

I’ve been using it for a few days, and I didn’t have any issues, and no spam, but note that the service will send an email at the time a user subscribed. So if subscribed at 14:00, you’d receive an email every day at that time, provided I’ve published some content. I post a piece of news at 14:15, it will be included in the email the next day.

Responsive Design

The reason I’m writing about the changes here is to let people report any issues they have with the website. I don’t expect much change on the desktop side, but in the mobile version, it may not be another story.

For anything related to the GDPR/CCPA window or programmatic ads, please also provide information about the device, OS, browser, and country. Screenshots would be ideal in any case.

I’ve already received some useful complaints, which I’ll document below:

Q1 : Social login to this comment section box still does not work, Facebook responds with “URL Blocked: This redirect failed because the redirect URI is not whitelisted in the app’s Client OAuth Settings. Make sure Client and Web OAuth Login are on and add all your app domains as Valid OAuth Redirect URIs.”

A1: Noted, I’ll need some time to work on it. [Update Jul 4: Fixed]

Q2: On mobile, “UniConsent” pops up on almost every visit, even if I hit “Agree and proceed”.

A2: I’ve notified the company that helps me, and they can’t reproduce the issue.  They further included some potential workarounds

CMPs use cookies to remember user’s consent. Most probably the user’s browser does not keep the cookie from UniConsent. Possible causes:

    • the user agent indicates that the user is using Firefox. Firefox by default has enabled tracking protection and might be deleting third party cookies. The user should make sure that third party cookies are allowed

    • if the user is browsing in incognito mode (safe mode) the cookie is not saved and the CMP pop-up will be displayed every time

    • if the user clears the cookies the CMP pop-up will be displayed

Q3: Also on mobile, this new “white-on-white” theme is atrocious, shows less information per post than previous ones and it’s hard to see borders of elements.

A3: That will be the trickiest one to solve. It may depend on font settings, browser, resolution, etc… For instance, this is what the mobile website looks like on my phone in Chrome.

This looks fine to me, and we’ve tested the theme on multiple devices, and responsive mode in Firefox and Chrome. So If there’s any issue with the website on your device, it would be nice to report the model number, browser, OS, etc… and screenshots would be ideal. If you rather not leave a public comment there’s always the contact form.

Thanks for visiting CNX Software, and bearing with me while I sort out the issues.

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20 Replies to “Website updates – Email subscription and responsive design”

  1. While you have your hands in there, could you fix the “Your privacy choices” consent form which pops up on each and every page? Might be only with Safari due to third-party cookie blocking or something of the sort, but it’s mightily annoying… Thanks!

    1. Ooops didn’t notice you already mentioned it… But I’m using Safari, and not in incognito mode, and not clearing cookies.

      1. Yeah, I’m using Chromium and in those browsers you can view all 3rd party cookies for a page, blocked or not… You might want to review the domains that set cookies and find the ones that aren’t ads.
        Perhaps we should make an extension that automatically clicks ‘agree’ for a certain list of sites.

        1. I think there are plugins that block Cookie/GPDR/CCPA banners. I have never looked into those, mostly because I’m not impacted because I don’ live in Europe or California. Using a VPN is another option, but it’s not ideal.

      2. If the GDPR popup shows for each page, it’s most likely because the cookies are not set or Javascript is disabled. It took months to implement a solution that complies with GDPR, especially after the changes last year, and I ended up getting help from a third party (my ad display partner). So changing anything there would be challenging. Maybe I could write instructions, or those already exist on the web somewhere. I’ll ask.

        1. Cookies and JS are enabled, but Safari (and others, I believe, and this is probably going to expand, as most privacy-protecting moves by Apple end up being mirrored by the others a few years later) block so-called “third-party cookies”, i.e. cookies set and received by other domains which are integrated in your page (through images, iframes, XHRs, etc.). The cookie which says “consent given (or refused), no need to present tot pop-up” needs to be a first-party cookie to work correctly.

          1. OK. I’ll ask them if it’s possible to change that because it should affect all websites they manage.

  2. On a Amlogic A95X TV box, I am using Samsung internet browser, no problems. In Desktop or Mobile mode. Even followit subscription works. Hope it helps.

  3. Somebody asked about dark mode. I’m not sure I’ll implement it on the website. But on some OS, it’s possible to configure the settings to dark mode, for example, on Android.

  4. Added comment count to the list of posts on mobile.
    Changed a few colors (background, title, links) to make it more readable.

  5. Yesterday I have noticed that this new mobile version finally shows comment count like previous one did. I’m still baffled by this all-white design, and how UniConsent shows on every single page right after I reported this minor inconvenience. Also, as you can see, social login finally works, thank you.

    1. I’ve adjusted some colors on the website (both mobile and desktop).
      It should like quite similar to the old one now, even on desktop. Maybe it’s not showing yet because of caching.

      Do you mean the UniConsent issue is new?

      1. I’ve tested it with a UK VPN, and the UniConsent window only shows once. Both on desktop and mobile.

  6. It took be a while to get back here (I’m writing about current situation here to preserve context) manually since search isn’t that well and /author/username page is broken.

    Good news is that Uniconsent on mobile finally “works”, it may still not remember anything, but now loads faster and only needs one click to dismiss.

    Bad news – since AMP=1 is the forced default for mobile, that consent pop-up is pointless for most users, since data is being collected from first handshake with “accelerator”. Also that version of page has single-level comments, making it impossible to follow threads.

    1. Uniconsent is not supposed to load at all on mobile since I’ve switched to AMP.
      I think there’s a problem is redirection. It may be loading part of the mobile page before doing the redirection to AMP.

      The comment system WpDiscuz is not compatible with AMP. People would be able to read the comments, but commenting does not work. So I’ve disabled WpDiscuz in AMP, and rely on the built-in WordPress comment system..

      I’m doing this to try to please Google. Google Search traffic has gone down by over 60% since Jan 2020…

      1. Between the hammer and the anvil… surely there must be a less drastic way to keep this webisite alive?

        1. I’ve gone back to normal for now, as the redirection actually slows down the website, and it has been hammering my “Page Experience” score. It’s only temporary, as I’m working on another solution.

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