Comment Highlighting

Published in Blogging on Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

Come and help test out a new comment hilighting function on our blog.

Sometime last week some very subtle changes were uploaded here, mostly affecting the comments area of the site.

Besides a little restyling, now when you visit and you have a cookie from this site, your comments get a little orange glow in the top left hand corner of the comment box (yes I know the hover for the comment permalink needs to be fixed).


The simple reason is that when I comment on a blog I usually go back to see if someone has replied and what others have to say etc. I usually look for my comment as a grounding or starting point, and this would make that easier for me. Hopefully it makes it easier for some of the readers of this site. I suppose we would need to have some longer discussion here to make this really worthwhile ;-]

Try it out

Nothing major, just a little tweaking on the way to a major clean-up and a new design. Try it out here and if it doesn't work for you, please let me know!

Comments and Feedback

Just testing. I should point out that this page isn't well-formed (at the time of commenting), so I'm having to post this with Internet Explorer!

Incidentally, the orange glow looks very nice. I feel warm and fuzzy, despite using having to use IE.

Way to battle thru it Simon! Ten full points for persistence and curiosity ;-]

<wants an orange glow too>

What shall we talk about then? Does it work for multiple comments made by an individual?

We can't have just one person testing this out, now, can we? Although, I will have to say this comment feels rather trivial. Oh, and I'm not sure what Simon's problem was. Everything seems fine to me in FF, unless you fixed it.

Hmm - looks like the effect you got when you slightly singed pieces of paper in the oven to make 'authentic' looking pirate maps... just me, then?

This is a really cool effect - Mike, will you be combining it with the Mezzoblue/Simplebits "author highlight" as well?

Jonathan Berckhalter Tue, 26th of October, 2004

What a great idea. I always end up doing type-ahead via Firefox searching for my own name. A visual cue would be great.

Ohhh, orange glow! And I like the effect with the diagonal lines. (For those not so adventerous as to test it out: they're like the background at the top of the page, only orange.)

Suggestion: How about adding the orange glow to the preview page, and number the Previous Comments on said page. That way, when refering to other comments, commenters could verify they are, in fact, referencing the correct comment, especially when they are moved to add more to there comment while on the preview page as I was here. Just a thought. Feel free to disregard if you see fit.

Oooh, ooh... I want to play too!

I love the idea, Mike... good stuff. I've also wished for this ability... especially on posts where the comments go on forever. Good work.

Oooh... nice! Works fine. Just one note, the comment number link, when hovered, seems to disappear (only because the text color is the same as the hover color.

Otherwise, I dig it! Good work.

I'm the same way as you Jonathan, it's just one of about a million things I love Firefox's "Find as you type" feature. I was disappointed when they turned it off by default in the 1.0PR.

Okay, let's see how this highlighting looks...

I have to try this, too :)

Thanks all for putting this to the test!

Matthew, I probably won't be adding the "author voice" to the comments. I'm not so sure I see the value in that, but perhaps I should think about it more.

Do you all see the value in having the site author's comments hilighted?

Waylman, nice idea. We meant to do that from the start but it sort of got lost in the details. That should be added in the future.

Just testing to see my glow ;)

Hmm, I see Alex's glow. That can't be right. A bug to sort out I suppose...

Testing, just like everyone else. But without having seen the output yet, I already like the idea.

Let's see that glow.. uhm, glow!

Its not that I like to leave meaningless comments, but in this case, I think it appropriate... wouldn't you say?

Glow? I wanna see! Nice website.

Hmm... I don't see it. I'm using Firefox .92.

Okay weird now I see it. The first time I posted I opted for it to not remember my info. The second time I did. Could that have anything to do with it?

Just testing...

And off topic, cool site, bravo!

Whoops, didn't allowed cookies, hope it works now

Man, now didn't remember info!

Third time should be lucky, no?

Nope, it wasn't. This is the last time.

Hey all, thanks for trying this out. You do need to take a cookie for this to work, you also need to give an url.

No cookie and no url = no glow. I could use a unique ID for everyone, maybe I'll move it to that.

Just testing my glow!

This might just be the thing for a little something I'm working on. Thanks.

Ahh, cookies....

Nutritional *AND* delicious!

Aww damn, that lil "remember your information" reverts to "no" on the preview page, so if you edit the post and forget to change that it doesn't remember you :(

Thanks Tim I'll sort that out.

What a good idea - i always look out for the authour's comments which usually get highlighted, but never even dreamed of highlighting my owns comments - now how am i going to live without it ;) hehe

Testing it out...

BTW, your site seems really slow - maybe it's just me?

Hmm, never mind, not slow anymore.

Does my comment glow in the dark too?

Tasty work Mike!

I don't suppose you feel like sharing, do you? ;)

I also wan't to se the glow effect!

I don't understand what this is supposed to do, but I guess I'll figure out in a second if this works.


So it highlights the posts from me! Brilliant, and execellent job!

Only thinng I notice is the preview doesn't have it.

As you wish, here is a test

OK, it didn't work the first time.. checking to see if maybe I forgot to hit "remember my info"

I'm quite curious about this glow

One more meaningless comment.

Very cool idea, I gotta test this out!

It didn't work for me, my comment looks identical. I checked the HTTP headers and there is no cookie being sent or recieved, so it's not working.

Well, it's working for many other folks so lets see if we can fix this.

Perhaps you are behind a firewall or antivirus that doesn't allow cookies? Or maybe you have disallowed cookies from this site?

Oh, never mind. I figured it out. It requires JavaScript which had been temporarily disabled, so it the cookie was not set when I posted the first comment, but I had enabled for the second. So it's working. You should consider doing it with the Set-Cookie header and add the highlighting with on the server side by adding an appropriate class attribute to the markup.

Lachlan, that's exactly how I do it. Have a look at the html!

i'm just testing, too.

Proper xhtml please!

I had a better look at the source, and I see the "you" class in the markup that highlights the comments, but I can't find where the cookie is being set. It doesn't appear to be in the HTTP headers (at least the LiveHTTPHeaders extension isn't showing the Set-Cookie or Cookie headers), which is why I assumed it was done with JavaScript.

Strange. It should be in your cookie folder...

Great idea! Working on a WordPress plugin right now!

Cool David, I was wondering if someone would do that. I'm sure you know how it's done. Give a cookie, check for cookie, add class. I used the URL cookie, but now I may go with a simple unique ID so that those without URL's can get the glow too..

Interesting idea. Trying it out now.

Forgot to take the cookie. That's odd, because I normally love cookies. Do they have chocolate chips?

Okay. Tested on Firefox 0.9 PC, looks very smart. Good job.

Curiousity got the better of me.

I don't know what the cookie contains, but I recently cleared my cookies and now the highlighting is gone. It'd be nice if it were possible to just enter an e-mail address and get a new cookie set so that all previous comments from that address were then highlighted.

Wow! It actually does that (sort of). I got the same cookie back and all previous comments are highlighted again. However, it would be good to be able to get the cookie back without having to post another comment.

Thanks Jim!

Hey Lachlan. That may be feasible if I were to give everyone a unique ID as soon as they visit the site, however if they happen to clear their cookies then they would get a new unique ID on revisiting, and would lose the highliting on older comments.

I'm likley to stick with an URL for this, which would require you to take the cookie again. Fact is, most people who contribute here have urls if not blogs, so this should be fine for most of the site's users...

Proper xhtml please!

Interesting concept.

Don't know how feasable it would be but how about an anchor link at the top that will take me to my comment down in the list?

Hmm, it is supposed to advance you to your comment after you post. I may have changed the id when I put up some new stuff a while back. I'll be sure and fix that, thanks!

Okay, that can't be it, cause it worked for me. Do you mean present the link for return visits?

Just a quick test to see how it looks - the whole comments section on this site looks better now - the beveling no longer confuses my brain like it has done in the past. Btw - if it works as I suspect its a great idea! Cheers, Andy.

Thanks Andy. This design still needs some serious clean-up, and while it will still be available, I'm going the new route instead..soon.

Ah, you changed comment-wrap to commentwrap — you should update your "add your comment below" links!

I like the idea of highlighting the latest comment posted by a cookied person, really useful. Just testing it out right now... :)

Ah, and even design-wise it looks nice! Congrats!

Thanks Mathibus, and thanks for the catch too - I'll have to clean that up. Wow, so many bugs!

Just a test.

This is a very good way for people to give comments on your site :)

I know, I doubt it'll hit the century mark but rather impressive nonetheless!

** Okay, that can't be it, cause it worked for me. Do you mean present the link for return visits? **

Mike - Yes. You know, for when I come back at a later time I can click on the [jump to your comment] link to catch up on the conversation. That's the idea I was trying to convey.

Though I note when I came here today I was able to easily find my comment by scrolling due to the bright but stylish high-lighting! Very nice! This whole site is gorgeous.

Love the layout. Just breezing through but will grab your RSS feed for my bloglines.

Thanks mate.

Oh wow! That's just gorgeous man. The subtle detailed effect is definitely very appealing, from an Instructional Design pov.

Maybe a screenshot would be nice? I'm not one to use frivolous cookies...

Me want's an orange glow too!

Home » Blog » Blogging

Check out the blog categories for older content

The latest from my personal website,

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..