Feature: Improved Handling of “Mark all notifications read”

Mark all notifications readAt 21:36 UTC on 2020-04-29 I put a new feature into production which changes the handling of the “Mark all notifications read” item in the drop-down menu from the notifications bubble at the top right of the screen.  Previously, this would clear unread notifications and display the Unread Notifications page, which was pretty silly since you’d just asked to mark them all read.  Today’s change uses the mechanism implemented to support the “catch-up” feature introduced on 2020-04-12 to mark the notifications read via a lightweight query request which doesn’t replace the page you’re currently viewing with the (useless) Unread Notifications page.  After marking the notifications read, the number and drop-down list of notifications are immediately updated.

Before, there was a potential race condition where notifications that had arrived since the last automatic update to the page would be marked read even though you’d never seen them in the drop-down list.  This has been corrected: no notification will be marked read unless it has been presented to you in the drop-down list.  This means that when you click “Mark all notifications read” you may immediately see new notifications which have just arrived: this is not a bug—it’s avoiding one which was present in the old code.

This feature is, in part, implemented in JavaScript, so it may not be fully functional for you until you clear your browser’s cache.  On most browsers, you can do with CTRL+SHIFT+Delete, check clear cache, and proceed, but the details vary from browser to browser and, of course, when Apple gets into the loop, especially with their mobile devices, all bets are off.

In addition, if you have no notifications and, nonetheless, mouse-over the notifications bubble, you’ll see a “No new notifications” item in the menu.  If you clicked this, you were inanely taken to the Unread Notifications page, which just told you what you already knew.  I changed this to display the Read Notifications page, where you can find notifications you’ve marked read, which is probably what you’re looking for after discovering you have no unread notifications.

This is the five thousandth post published on Ratburger.org since the site opened on 2017-12-10.

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Author: John Walker

Founder of Ratburger.org, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of www.fourmilab.ch.

10 thoughts on “Feature: Improved Handling of “Mark all notifications read””

  1. We are about 30 months in so we averaged more than 170 posts a month. There have been some great discussions and there have been Haakon’s posts.

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  2. At first when I saw this post I thought my browser was messing up in rendering the page correctly. “Why is the blue bubble in the wrong spot? “, I thought.

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  3. My only beef with the notifications is there is no date/time to tell you when someone liked or commented on your comment/post.

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  4. RB49:
    My only beef with the notifications is there is no date/time to tell you when someone liked or commented on your comment/post.

    How does it feel to have someone like your post or comment? I am asking for a “friend”.

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  5. RB49:
    My only beef with the notifications is there is no date/time to tell you when someone liked or commented on your comment/post.

    Not so.  There is limited space in the Notifications drop-down menu, so there’s no room to show the date and time there, but if you display the Notifications page from Avatar/Notifications/ Unread or Read, each notification is shown with when it was posted, in the WordPress demotic style of “54 minutes ago”, “16 hours, 49 minutes ago”, or “1 day, 9 hours ago”.  I would be receptive to a Wish List item requesting that these be changed to absolute dates and times in UTC.

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