We don’t have many sites on our network that run ads. On the whole, this fact contributes to the success of both our platform and our customers who use it. But in some cases, ads are an inescapable fact of internet life, and we have to deal with them properly.

One problem we have with ads is that they change a lot. Therefore they trigger false positives in our visual regression testing (VRT), and they do so in two ways:

  1. Their content changes very frequently, as different ads come and go within an ad slot, sometimes on every page load.
  2. The ad slots themselves come and go, because ad stakeholders tend to want to manage them closely and frequently.

This kind of false positive looks something like this:

The testing suite says, “Hey! Scott! Look! Something has regressed! But actually it’s just that a site admin has placed a new ad on the page and no one manually excluded it from VRT.

Point #1 is easy to resolve. We have developed a custom UI in WordPress admin for excluding a widget from QA testing:

The admin UI for manually excluding a widget from VRT.

Point #2 is harder because most customers, or even employees, are not in the habit of routinely thinking about excluding widgets from QA testing. So I’ve taken a different tact. I’ve started using some heuristics to determine if a widget seems like it contains an ad. If so, automatically exclude it from QA:

Improving our VRT’s is probably my favorite way of improving platform stability. Ads may have nearly destroyed a democratic society, but they won’t bother our VRT’s!

I’ve spent the majority of my time at LexBlog visiting attorney websites and reading their blogs. Just last Friday, I went through about 500 attorney websites that claimed to have a “blog”. This batch of url’s has been filled with wonderful blogs and others that were more than lacking. This morning I came across a farewell post to a great blog that I had not known existed. The post can be read here: The Legal Whiteboard Farewell Post. While I normally would quickly scan this kind of post and move on, I felt the need to stop and really read the wisdom from a well-seasoned professor/lawyer. It’s a good read and I highly suggest taking ten minutes to dive in and take something of value out.

Continue Reading Stale donuts: Understanding Dead blogs

Last week, I hosted a live webinar giving those interested a look into how the publishing team makes editorial decisions for our network of 22,000 bloggers (now 23,000). It was a joy to engage with bloggers who hoped to make their blogging more impactful, wanted to get more out of their relationship with LexBlog, or were simply interested in learning more about our legal publishing company. That webinar has led to many follow-up conversations with participants about blogging and their inclusion on LexBlog. If you missed it, you’re in luck–I will be doing it all over again on Wednesday June 26 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST, but this time with an expanded focus on information primarily relevant to platform members.  

Continue Reading How LexBlog Makes Editorial Decisions: Round Two

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged on the LexBlog. I wanted to post some general soft-knowledge lessons I’ve picked up with my time here about life at a small company. Many of these I’ve learned from others directly, but many of them are from my observations. They are also good little quips that seem to float around the office as a sense of daily culture.

Continue Reading Sprinkles on the donut: Advice I’ve received from LexBloggers

(It’s Tuesday morning in Japan so I’m speaking to you from the future!)

The LexBlog Seattle headquarters are located at the WeWork Holyoke building in downtown Seattle and as members of the WeWork community, we can “rent” a workspace at any WeWork location in the world. Pretty cool!

Continue Reading LexBlog in Tokyo

It has been six months now that our customer success and design teams at LexBlog have been upgrading and redesigning our legacy blogs to our latest software. Each member of our team will take responsibility for assigned legacy blogs each week to reach out to bloggers and editors and introduce our project and the benefits of upgrading. These benefits can range from the visual appeal of having a modern design and a blog responsive to a different desktop and mobile devices to the search engine optimization positives and ongoing software updates for security and new features.

Continue Reading Communication is Key

If you didn’t grow up hiking, you may have unappealing stereotypes associated to the activity. If you are one of those people (like I was), I encourage you to dip your toes into the water, and see if you can combat your own assumptions. Go on one hike and pay attention to how you feel afterward, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Continue Reading How Hiking Can Change Your Life For The Better