cn_ubb_enhance - Enhance your Cloudy Nights user experience

The Cloudy Nights forum is one of the most popular astronomy forums on the Internet. This page presents a way to enhance your user experience when participating on Cloudy Nights when browsing with Firefox (sorry, no other browser can be supported):

  • Add quick context links to single posts when browsing the live forums and the forum archives in ‘flat’ mode (a list of posts on one page).
  • Create the forum-specific UBB code for inserting a link to a post in a message for displaying in ‘flat’ mode (a list of posts on one page) or in ‘threaded’ mode (one post per page, with a message tree below it). You can copy the text from the popup and paste it to any post, easing the addition of links.
  • Highlight NGC, IC and Messier objects in posts, and create links to those objects on the NGC-IC project website.
  • Large images (attached to posts or hotlinked) can be clicked to open them in a separate window. When the mouse pointer hovers above such images, an informative tooltip will show up.

To add this functionality to your Cloudy Nights browsing experience, just install this FireFox addon! The current version is 1.0.2. Version 1.0.0 was the first feature complete public release. It has already been tested by some users for a while now. It can be downloaded from http://shutterfreak.net/xtra/firefox/cn_ubb_enhance/cnubbenhance-1.0.2.xpi

Important Remark: If you previously installed the cn_ubb_enhance GreaseMonkey script, please uninstall that version from your browser first, and only then install the Firefox plugin. Otherwise both may interfere with weird results :grin:

History of this FireFox extension

The Firefox addon originated as a GreaseMonkey script which eventually transformed into a FireFox extension through a web service. Development of the Greasemonkey script stopped at version 0.5. Since installing a Firefox extension is more straightforward to most than managing a Greasemonkey script, I decided to abandon the Greasemonkey track altogether and rewrote most portions of cn_ubb_enhance from scratch as a proper Firefox addon. The first code released as a plain Firefox extension were both 0.9.0 beta releases.

Archived versions:

Revision History

VersionDateNotes
1.0.2 2012-02-16

Supports FireFox versions from 2 up to 11. No other functional changes with respect to version 1.0.1.

1.0.1 2011-11-03

Supports FireFox versions from 2 up to 8. No other functional changes with respect to version 1.0.0.

.0.0 2010-06-11

Complete rewrite as a native FireFox addon. No more GreaseMonkey meddling and related potential security issues. This version contains the following fixes and changes:

  • Support for FireFox 3.6
  • Better integration into FireFox (remove GreaseMonkey dependency)
  • Image and link popups are native browser popups and provide basic information about the displayed information
  • Rewritten About popup is now a native FireFox addon popup
  • Added user preferences to toggle certain features
    • When preferences have been changed, a popup tells when the changes will take effect
    • The image preferences are instantly adjusted thanks to the implementation of event listeners on the images
    • TODO: implement the post links and DSO code with event listeners and/or with DHTML features
  • Added a menu under the FireFox ‘Tools’ menu (CN Forums Enhanced) providing quick access to the preferences and the about dialog
  • Basic localization (l10n) support, although the Cloudy Nights forums are English only. This is a browser-only feature.
0.5 2010-01-17

Last version for Greasemonkey!

First version with mature functionality.

Completely rewrote the Messier/NGC/IC matching code to correctly handle the DOM tree instead of a crude yet smart innerHTML search and replace.

0.4.5 2010-01-16

Leave nonexistent Messiers (e.g. M111) untouched. All versions since 0.4 are affected and show 'undefined' instead of the original label.

TODO: currently the search/replace algorithm that hunts for NGC/IC/M patterns does this without checking whether the match is part of a hyperlink or an image link. As a result, sometimes the pattern substitution happens where it shouldn't, resulting in a broken link and HTML code appearing in affected posts. Disabling GreaseMonkey and reloading the page entirely cures this. But that's probably not why you want to run this script Wink

0.4.4 2010-01-16

The script may run before the images have been loaded, resulting in reported image dimensions of 0x0 or 70x16 (sigh), or in the image not being reported yet. Fixes and changes (Greg K.):

  • Added a exception for 0x0 (and 70x16 - sigh) images in the 'small image' check.
  • Added a 1px solid border for non-oversized images (sometimes no border was showing).
  • Moved image popup code into a separate function for readability.
  • Moved tooltip title code into a mouseover handler so it gets the sizes in real time.
  • Added 'cloudynights.com/stars' to the external image check, star contributor stars were showing as external.
0.4.3 2010-01-15 Do not show the popup for img tags if they are smaller than the minimal size (cn_img_minWidth x cn_img_minHeight).
0.4.2 2010-01-15 Added popups for img tags in posts (Greg K.). Highlight images that exceed the maximum CN image size by a dashed red border. Image dimensions and whether they're internal/external to CN is added to the image tooltip title.
0.4.1 2010-01-09 Regular expressions for NGC/IC/M objects were too greedy by nature. Add '\b' at start and end of each RE to stop at word boundaries. Rewrite cn_forum_base_url() and cn_forum_flat_mode() to use regular expressions instead of a plethora of string comparisons. After running javascript weblint: fix equality test that was written as an assignment in ubb_post_link().
0.4 2010-01-09 Added Messier links to the NGC/IC project. Changed the way posts were parsed to include parsing of quoted posts in messages. Also parse when on 'cloudynights.com' next to 'www.cloudynights.com'. Document the software code.
0.3.5 2010-01-03 Added links to the NGC/IC project for NGC and IC labels only.
0.3.3 2010-01-03 Added post links to flat mode.
0.2 2010-01-03 Fix some errors.
0.1 2010-01-02 First version: provide links to individual posts in threaded mode when in flat mode.
William's picture

Greasemoney problems

Is there a problem with the greasemonkey script? Ive tried installing but it seems to be a bit buggy

Olivier Biot's picture

Re: Greasemonkey problem

Which problem are you referring to? I am aware of the update popup which apparently shows random versions. I believe this is due to my web host's cache configuration.

I am considering releasing cn_ubb_enhance as a FireFox module only, since this removes the burden for checking for updates as well.

Best regards,

Olivier

Olivier Biot's picture

Version 1.0.0 has been released!

I hereby announce that the first public version of cn_ubb_enhance is a fact!
You can download it here: http://shutterfreak.net/xtra/firefox/cn_ubb_enhance/cnubbenhance-1.0.0.xpi
Version 1.0.0 is a complete rewrite since version 0.5 as a 100% native FireFox addon. No more GreaseMonkey meddling and related potential security issues. This version contains the following fixes and changes:

  • Support for FireFox 3.6
  • Better integration into FireFox (remove GreaseMonkey dependency)
  • Image and link popups are native browser popups and provide basic information about the displayed information
  • Rewritten About popup is now a native FireFox addon popup
  • Added user preferences to toggle certain features
    • When preferences have been changed, a popup tells when the changes will take effect
    • The image preferences are instantly adjusted thanks to the implementation of event listeners on the images
    • TODO: implement the post links and DSO code with event listeners and/or with DHTML features so you no longer need to reload a page when you changed certain preferences (e.g., the show/hide DSO links for Messier, NGC or IC objects).
  • Added a menu under the FireFox ‘Tools’ menu (CN Forums Enhanced) providing quick access to the preferences and the about dialog
  • Basic localization (l10n) support, although the Cloudy Nights forums are English only. This is a browser-only feature.

Have fun!
Olivier

Olivier Biot's picture

Version 1.0.1 supports Firefox versions up to and including 8!

No other modifications have been performed in this point release, apart ffrom providing support to newer FireFox releases.
Version 1.0.1 can be retrieved from http://shutterfreak.net/xtra/firefox/cn_ubb_enhance/cnubbenhance-1.0.1.xpi.
With FireFox 5 and upwards there's a small bug in which the post links appear twice. I'll have to fix this later.

Olivier Biot's picture

Version 1.0.2 supports Firefox versions up to and including 11!

No other modifications have been performed in this point release, apart from providing support to newer FireFox releases.
Version 1.0.2 can be retrieved from http://shutterfreak.net/xtra/firefox/cn_ubb_enhance/cnubbenhance-1.0.2.xpi.
The link duplication issue mentioned in version 1.0.1 was actually an error in the Cloudy Nights forum template file. This should have been fixed now.

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