We have completely restyled our website.
Our thanks to Larry Smith from EduTone who initially alerted us to a bug in the process of signing up as a Kerika user: the confirmation email sent by Kerika wasn’t working well, particularly if the user used any browser other than Chrome.
For example, clicking on the confirmation email and having Kerika open that link using Firefox or Chrome produced this kind of behavior:
The problem was related to a recent decision we made to use Polymer for parts of our website.
It turns out that Chrome had a different sequence for loading the Polymer components than other browsers.
In Chrome the sequence is
Our build.min.js file needed components that were loaded only when element.vulcanized.html was loaded, which meant that the sequence in which these files were loaded by the browser was important, and different browsers were loading these files in different sequences.
We fixed this bug: Polymer has a method to ensure that all imports are ready before the page is rendered.
This has been part of the learning process for us as we adopt Polymer more for our website redesign (which is underway, and should be unveiled by Christmas), and also consider using Polymer to rebuild the Kerika app itself!
But, as we go through a review/refresh of our website, we are switching over to Vimeo for embedding these tutorials, because Vimeo provides a cleaner look that seems to be less intrusive within our own design.
Here’s the same video, embedded from YouTube (on top) and Vimeo (on bottom):
The YouTube video has a weird grey shadow on the top part of the thumbnail, like it was deliberately trying to provide a retro, cathode-ray-tube (CRT) look.
(We are not fans of CRTs; don’t own vinyl any more…)
The same video on Vimeo has a cleaner framing:
For a very long time we had a feature which was kind of cool (although we don’t know how many people actually used it!) — you could embed another website on a Kerika canvas, using a technique known as IFRAME.
IFRAMEs were common a few years ago, but have steadily dropped out of favor as browsers have increasingly become more secure.
By running another website inside your own, you can be vulnerable to various cross-scripting errors if you cannot fully trust that third-party website you have embedded. And, at the same time, people who run websites have become less keen on having their sites embedded into other sites — a practice known as “clickjacking”.
(You can read more about this on Mozilla’s website, if you are interested in the technical details.)
Since it became impossible for us to provide a consistently good experience across all modern browsers, particularly as the number of websites that allow themselves to be IFRAMEd dropped drastically, we decided to drop this feature. If you were using this feature in the past, you will find your old IFRAME is now just a simple bookmark…
Did you know that any Kerika canvas, whether on a standalone Whiteboard or attached to a card on a Task Board or Scrum Board, can be viewed as a regular Web page by folks who have been given access to the board?
Kerika automatically creates a version of your canvas that can be viewed without the Kerika application: you can get this version by using the Project Info dialog, or, more simply, by just changing the “m” in the canvas’s URL to a “c”:
Every Kerika page has a URL of the form “https://kerika.com/m/…”
The URLs are randomly generated and unique: every card, every canvas, every board has a unique URL.
The first part of the URL is always of the form kerika.com/m/… There’s no special reason for using the “m”; it’s just part of Kerika’s history.
But if you change the “m” to a “c”, like in the example above where “https://kerika.com/m/SRXk” becomes “https://kerika.com/c/SRXk”, then you can view the Web page version of the canvas.
In the Web page version there are no buttons or other indications of the Kerika software: it looks and works just like a regular Web page.
Of course, security is not compromised: you cannot view the Web page version of a canvas if you aren’t permitted to access the Kerika canvas itself.
(Finally!) we are updating our blog and website to use a “responsive” design, which will make it easier to view on mobile devices.
Note: this doesn’t affect the Kerika application itself, only this blog and the kerika.com website.
This work had been pending a long time, but it kept getting pushed off while we devoted all our time to the Box integration.
Now that Kerika+Box is almost done, we are ready to update the website as well: a nice new format that works well on mobile devices — we used custom Bootstrap code for this — as well as new content that helps users understand that there is now a Kerika+Google product and a Kerika+Box product!
Our website updates tend to be in the same release cycle as our software updates, so we probably do fewer website updates than some other companies.
That’s because we use git for managing all the software assets: not just the code for the Kerika application, but also the website pages.
When we expect to do a lot of website updates, we put all those changes in a separate git branch, but that’s rare, since website updates are generally tied to software updates.
Updating the look-and-feel of this blog was much easier: we just switched from a custom WordPress template that we had built about a while ago — that was nice, but unfortunately not responsive — to the standard Twenty Fourteen template that comes with WordPress.
A few tweaks, and it works!