6blog - news about 6bot

Fixes, fixes, fixes

We've made a few changes over the last few days.

  • We've changed the search page to filter tracks by artist too. If you're looking for "Woman" by Karen O & Danger Mouse, then it'll no longer return John Lennon's track of the same name. If you still want to see all artists who've sang a track called "Woman", you can use the bespoke search feature and type it into the search box directly.

  • We've made the same change to the clickable track names on the search page, and home page. We've also made the same change to the clickable links on the top 10 charts on the home page, as well as filtering the chart track data by artist too. The 10 most popular tracks shown will no longer include other tracks of the same name by a different artist. As a result, you may have noticed that most of the top 10 track entries have recently changed.

  • An error meant that one of the top 10 track entries was blank. This has also been fixed.

  • The backfill process was incorrectly adding tracks that were already in place, because the artist or track data was being incorrectly imported. For example it was incorrectly importing "Woman" by Karen O & Danger Mouse just as "Woman" by Danger Mouse and was then failing to dedupe the tracks as it assumed that they were different artists. This import issue has been fixed, and the erroneous duplicate tracks have been removed. As a result, you may have noticed a reduction in overall track volume in the last couple of days, as duplicate tracks have been deleted.

  • We've cached the summary data at the top of the home page, which has improved loading time for the home page.

  • We've retired the BETA version of the search page.

  • We've made a behind the scenes change to how we log the number of searches performed. This should be less resource intensive and more accurate.

  • We've made a change to ensure that we're consistent in how we store artist names and song titles that contain an ampersand (&).

Update:

End of the line for BBC find-a-track

It's been a few months now since the BBC website removed it's find-a-track service. This has been a double-edged sword for 6bot. Whilst it increases the need to use 6bot, it's also removed the main source of the data 6bot used.

We've switched to an alternative source for the data: https://polling.bbc.co.uk/radio/nhppolling/bbc_6music?&callback=nhprealtimepolling

However, we've noticed that it can be a bit flakey: it sometimes can't make up it's mind whether to send the play time as GMT or BST, and although it's meant to contain the past hour's worth of tracks, songs are sometime missing.

As a result, the number of songs captured each day has reduced (for some days) after we switched to using this data.

Because of this, we've added more backfill routines to plug some of these gaps. The backfill process is automated, and will take a few days / weeks to insert the missing tracks.

Beta Explore

I'm trialing a new version of the search page with a single button to input any date and time ranges into your search.

It takes a bit of getting used to but I have to say that I prefer it to the existing functionality. 

Pros:

  • Can use the mouse wheel to scroll through the months
  • Easier to add times to the search
  • Can clear the date range part of a search with one click

Cons:

  • Doesn't look great / fiddly to use on devices with smaller screens.

I suppose one option would be to make the new search the default search, and redirect you to the existing search if you have a smaller screen?

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