Briar Press v5.5: features and current problems explained

After five full days (and nights) of web site down time and problem solving, Briar Press version 5.5 is live today. The extraordinary complexity of the project gave us plenty of bugs to chase. Some are still waiting to be found.

I’d like to list the unresolved problems first, before moving on to new features.

1. The site is still running slowly. That’s a tough problem to solve, but it’s a priority. Is it slow for you, too?

2. Email subscriptions to discussion topics are not currently available due to some dramatic malfunctions. If you received a bunch of odd looking subscription notices over the weekend, my apologies.

3. The old Museum and Pin Marks departments are not running at this time, and have been only partially restored on the new site.

4. Images posted to discussion topics from previous weeks are displaying at full size, which may cause some of them to be cropped by the page boundaries.

You may notice other problems. If you do, please comment here or contact our technical line. I won’t be able to respond to all feedback, but I’m sure all of it will be helpful.

Here’s what we’re happy to release today:

1. The International Register of Private Press Names. Elizabeth and J. Ben Lieberman’s press name registration service is now online. You can register the name of your private press, and browse thousands of press names dating back a few hundred years.

2. The Museum at Briar Press. It’s not completely open, but now you can finally browse press photographs in full color.

3. RSS feeds in the Classifieds. By popular request. You can keep track of new ads using your favorite news reader.

4. Multiple images in classified ads, discussion posts and comments. You can now upload one or more photos to topics and replies, which should help you identify typefaces, troubleshoot presses, and share your work with others. You can also attach images to Yellow Pages listings, press names, and your own user profile.

5. A new look. Perhaps the most apparent addition to the web site interface is the full or partial typecase header at the top of every page. You can use it to explore the site in various ways, or as a reminder (in its full size) of where to keep your ps and qs.

As I mentioned in my previous post, site upgrades from here forward will arrive at more regular intervals and with far less drama. Attempts to resolve the issues listed at top will begin right now. (Or maybe tomorrow, after I catch up on sleep.)

Thanks for bearing with us while we were gone.

Log in to reply   5 replies so far

First, wonderful redesign! I like the nav bar and the new feel. You have done an amazing job.

Second: you asked for bugs:

I have run across the same bug while logged in and while using as a guest in:

Safari 1.3.2 and Firefox on Mac OS 10.3.9
Safari 3.0.4 and Firefox on Mac OS 10.4.11

The top bar isn’t rendering correctly on some pages. On the home page though, it renders correctly. The lower rows of typecase navigation are missing. I have included an image showing the problem.

I think part of the issue might be that the image at the upper left (bg-home.jpg) is 290 pixels high on the home page, but others (discussion.jpg and museum.jpg) are only 115 pixels high.

It is the only one I have found so far…I haven’t even come across a single bad database call. Please feel free to contact me if I haven’t given enough info.

image: briarnavbar.jpg



Thanks very much for your kind words about the site, and for your bug report. In this case, the bug happens to be a feature! Sorry it doesn’t appear that way.

The typecase occupies such a large amount of space in the page header that I decided to show it in a more abstract, partial form on most pages throughout the site. That way, people won’t have to scroll past so much header material to view page content.

It should appear only in its complete form (with characters always visible) on the home page, search pages, and those pages that link from the typecase itself (number and letter pages). So that picture you posted looks okay to me. (Although, in the image, there appear to be yellow backgrounds on the green links, which shouldn’t be happening. Or maybe this is just an artifact of image reduction.)

I hope that clears up my intentions a bit.



Wonderful new design; great functionality; and no bugs for me on first inspection. I am thrilled that you have built on your recent re-design and taken it to the next level.

I especially like your innovative nav bar at the top — and it fits the comment I made back in Nov 06 — something wholly letterpress that grabs the attention of the casual visitor.

I look forward to the new additions, and hope they will be less painful for you than this latest release.

Best regards


Ben Brundell

I now understand why the nav bar is shrunk. Sorry about the confusion.

Best of luck with the other parts, I’m looking forward to them.


I’ve noticed on several occasions now when I come to the site I click login, sign on an I’m taken to my profile. Then I click the discussion link which takes me to the list of forums. Once there I have to click “log in” again and go through the whole process a second time before it keeps me logged in. I’ll test it on other machines when I get a chance but it’s happened on this one several times. (iMac & Safari)