In BSV 1.8 there are a few changes which were driven by the site. By that I mean the way the site was being used was causing too much manual administration so I added code to stop it, more on this below. Oh, there is also a bit of pure creative input in the form on new content which is always a bit of fun. Here are the release notes:
Captchas and Robots
Not all internet robots are written for a good purpose like search engine bots. In fact I would dare say that the vast majority of them are malicious and by their very nature they will ignore the robots.txt file. And this can be problematic.
BSV had been targeted by one or more of these. Basically they would fill in the 'add a property' form with any old rubbish, probably in the hope that it would generate a listing automatically. If the listing contained links back to their sites, these may enjoy an increased page rank. It was never going to work though since BSV requires email validation and all posted content are verified for legitimacy. However it did cause quite a bit of manual work for me and it did leave some rubbish in the database.
One solution to this kind of problem is to put in a captcha image which effectively forces human interaction when a form is filled in. Some clever robots are able to deal with some captcha images but fortunately that was not the case with the ones targeting BSV.
In case you are wondering I looked into using an open source captcha library but I could find a single decent one. Most didn't consider what may happen with a high transaction count nor did they have any kind of session management, so I knocked one up myself with the help of image magick.
Writing content, the blood of the internet, is never dull. It's fun because it means I get to browse the web doing research, take photos and/or use appropriately licensed photos from other sources.
Once I have collated the info I need, I get to put it down in a coherent and hopefully easy to read format before getting it validated by people who know the real truth. The process does take quite a bit of time but it's worth it. In this release I added a guide to Bansko, which is a ski resort. Then, I got my property page translated into Bulgarian since we have been getting a few Bulgarian clients recently.
It's all good.