KildareStreet news

July 2009

15 July 2009

'Cockup' sidebar removed on a technicality

Despite our helpful hints and tips the Dáil record limped off the stage for this session with another week of complete failure. This one is still broken after a week at the time of writing.

So why has the Big Graphic of Fail been pulled?

The Seanad hasn't gone home yet, and yesterday's rendition of the Seanad debates XML file is without error. So despite the fact that at the present time it seems that the Dáil record will never be published correctly ever again, I'm pulling the day counter box from the home page.

Fans of the image in question can take heart - we're certain that it will return with a vengeance in September.

-- John Handelaar

Posted at 17:10:00 | Link to this

9 July 2009

A quick note to the Houses Commission and Cahill Printers

Hi there! Apparently keeping a running tab on how long it's been since you didn't screw up the Official Record has had no effect whatsoever on your motivation to do your job better. And you only have one day left to make the counter box go away before the recess starts and the number in it just keeps on rising until September.

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to do to make us stop taking the mickey indefinitely:

  1. The <MainHeading> containing the attribute "WA" (Written Answers) MUST be the last one in the file. All those times you keep adding extra ones inside answers because you think it looks nice on paper? Those are all errors. If you want a bold table headline, put it in a <P> tag and make it bold.
  2. Similarly, <Table> elements which are part of Answers, whether Oral or Written, are part of the answer. One of the consequences of that fact is that they must be spoken by someone, so must only appear inside a <Speaker> element. All those times you just chuck a Table in randomly in roughly the right place without paying attention to context? Those are all errors as well.
  3. Check your own work. Go to the version you're publishing at and click on 'Collapse All' on the left hand menu. If you see ANYTHING which is obviously not a major debate heading, or if there's anything AT ALL on the list after "Written Answers", you're doing it wrong.
  4. If Beverley Cooper Flynn cast her vote today for anything, it is Not OK for you to leave her person ID out of that <YesVote> or <NoVote> element because... Jesus, we don't know why you keep leaving her out of votes, just knock it off.

If anybody there has any questions you can contact us at team [at] or ask the Debates office for my phone number.

K? K.

-- John Handelaar

Posted at 20:10:00 | Link to this

1 July 2009

You won't get your email alert today because the Oireachtas debates production system is garbage operated by people who don't care about the quality of their work.

[June 26] You know what? I'm done being polite about this.

Every single day this week, the official report has been dripping with errors and stupidity. Just now they updated the file from yesterday and instead of simply adding the remaining debates, the new file destroys yesterday's written questions in the exact same way that we keep pointing out.

Tuesday's debate record was unparseably-broken until yesterday morning. Wednesday of this week is currently complete garbage (update: this was finally fixed on July 1st, a week after it was originally broken), and now Thursday's stuffed as well.

There are three sitting days each week. This week they screwed up with all of them.

Until they're done messing around I can't make the manual edits (which, by the way, takes about three minutes - not three bloody days), and until I've fixed their mistakes I can't send your email alerts. I'm sorry about that, but you know who to blame. Since about 20% of you work in the immediate area of Kildare Street I can only suggest that you take the matter up with local channels.

Finally, I'm sure readers will be thrilled to hear that the geniuses responsible for this rubbish are about to be re-awarded the contract.

Update, 2009-07-01: the two broken reports were finally fixed on July 1st, twenty minutes after each other, and five and six days late, respectively. Apparently the only thing which makes the official site work properly is having us shout at them loudly and in public. So be it.

-- JH

Posted at 19:25:00 | Link to this