⏱ Revision Tracker (en)

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[Version fran­çaise]

Revision Tracker is an exten­sion produ­cing a detai­led history of modi­fi­ca­tions of posts and/or pages on a WordPress website. You can check its opera­tion by clicking link (which will open a new tag).

Since the code is trilin­gual, instruc­tions appear in the browser’s default language (English/French/Spanish).

Revision Tracker does not only display the latest changes. If you find a button “«” at the top left of a compa­ri­son page, click it to search for earlier versions. Ultimately you may see all changes that have been stored in the database.

Only changes occur­ring in texts are taken into account. The engine ignores text format­ting, image contents and their captions, as well as forms and imbed­ded scripts.

The follo­wing default search para­me­ters are used :

  • Texts in progress for the past … days selects the period of checking modi­fi­ca­tions. The higher this value, the more posts or pages will be scree­ned, and compu­ta­tion time will also increase. Default value is 20 days.
  • Changes over … hours is the time reso­lu­tion for compa­ring versions. By default 12 hours. A lower value will display more steps of modi­fi­ca­tions. Steps occur when the editor clicks the “Save” button of the WordPress editor.
  • Minimum mismatch between versions … chars discards versions in which the chan­ged length versus the current version is less than this value. Setting this para­me­ter and the prece­ding one to zero makes it possible to screen all versions. Default value is 50 characters.
  • Percentage of simi­la­rity between para­graphs is a para­me­ter for the align­ment of para­graphs on compa­ri­son pages. Default value of 70% looks fair.
  • Display all para­graph headers makes it possible to opt for a full display of para­graph headers (thereby high­ligh­ting the loca­tion of a change) or for a compact display (the one by default).

You can assign different values to all these search para­me­ters. Fill the form at the bottom of the Modifications page and click button “SEARCH AGAIN WITH THESE SETTINGS”.

By default, WordPress stores all versions of posts and pages in its data­base which ends up over­si­zed ! To avoid this disas­ter, I instal­led the wonder­ful “Optimize Database” plugin allo­wing to fix the maxi­mum number of versions or/and the time during which these shall be preser­ved in the data­base. On this site the 30-day option is used.

Excerpt of the compa­ri­son page of two versions (post “CoVID-19 : immu­nité, style de vie”)
Modified or moved para­graphs are displayed on a yellow back­ground.
Only modi­fied para­graphs and their neigh­bours are displayed.

History of a single page/post

On the right of each page/post a button “Historique de cette page” produces a compa­ra­tive display of all versions of the page/post. You will be promp­ted to solve a small arith­me­tic problem to get permis­sion… This is meant to discou­rage robots from satu­ra­ting the site !

Try it :

In this process, versions are compa­red over 12-hour ranges. By default, para­graph headers are not displayed unless they contain changes. To get a full display click the ‘▼’ on top of the page. Clicking the ‘▲’ button will return to the mini­mum display.

If you are an admin of the website, Revision Tracker will offer you the option of dele­ting revi­sions so that silly mistakes will no longer appear in the history.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

Revision Tracker has an option to create/update the RSS feedN1 of its host website. This option is active on LeBonheurEstPossible.org. The address of the feed is https://​lebon​heu​rest​pos​sible​.org/​f​eed.

RSS feed produc­tion is laun­ched while produ­cing the detai­led history of modi­fi­ca­tions of posts and/or pages if the current field is older than 6 hours. Therefore, the items it contains are all posts displayed on page “Modifications récentes”, in the same order.

The feed is in RSS version 2.0 format. Currently, no styling page (XSL) is atta­ched and no speci­fic names­pace is invo­ked. Therefore, a few brow­sers will display it as a raw XML file.

Each item contains the title, link, descrip­tion and guid fields of a post. The pubDate field contains the date of its latest change : the feed is expec­ted to notify signi­fi­cantly modi­fied posts rather than just newly crea­ted ones. The enclo­sure field contains a link to the feature image of the post, if any. Fields label­led cate­gory are used to list cate­go­ries and tags of the descri­bed post, except the ones mentio­ned in a rejec­tion list.

More about this extension…

A few pages and posts are denied access to history in order to meet privacy issues.

Revision Tracker does not alter the content of the WordPress data­base excepts when it updates the content of page “Modifications récentes”. It stores its compa­ri­son files in a tempo­rary folder that may be auto­ma­ti­cally dele­ted after 30 minutes of idling. In prac­tice you should click again after 30 minutes !

I desi­gned this exten­sion in April 2020 after unsuc­cess­fully looking for a plugin or a WordPress feature that would high­light recent modi­fi­ca­tions and construct histo­ries of versions — much like Wikipedia. Sadly, most devices I have seen were only signa­ling recent post creations. 🙁

Comparisons between texts are based on tricky string algo­rithms — my favo­rite play­ground during the past century ! 😀

▷ Liens

🔵 Notes pour la version papier :
- Les iden­ti­fiants de liens permettent d’atteindre faci­le­ment les pages web auxquelles ils font réfé­rence.
- Pour visi­ter « 0bim », entrer dans un navi­ga­teur l’adresse « https://​leti​.lt/0bim ».
- On peut aussi consul­ter le serveur de liens https://​leti​.lt/​l​i​ens et la liste des pages cibles https://​leti​.lt/​l​i​ste.

  • N1 · sx5w · Really Simple Syndication (RSS) – Wikipedia