Portal Guard 4.0 is now online!
Just as NGLogs had to evolve, so did Portal Guard. Originally, it was a neat little Windows program that could run on your PC or laptop, monitoring NewGrounds and letting you know when new entries arrived. But over time, as operating systems evolved and PC security was tightened, it was harder to get a program to work correctly. But now, with all of the procesing performed on a server and accessed through a browser, it can be run on just about any device and any O/S - including tablets and cell phones!
There are many new improvements:
+ Scans for ALL types of submissions (audio,art,games,movies)
+ Toggle buttons let you view/hide types
+ Clicking the [V] button lets you go to that entry and vote on it
+ Your visible list is dynamic - voted entries will be suppressed from view
+ Your preferences are remembered from session to session
+ Will run in a minimized browser window
Portal Guard is available under the [Tools] menu.
There will be questions:
Q) I'm not interested in audio or art - how do I hide them?
A) The 4 green buttons labelled AUDIO, ART, GAMES, MOVIES control visibility. Click on a toggle to turn it red - and hide the associate type
Q) Why is there a pause button?
A) The page scans about once a minute. But if you don't want to be interrupted while you are voting on a lot of entries, you can pause the cycle and give yourself all the time you need to vote and/or catch up on your statuses
Q) What about the [MUTE] button?
A) Soon, there will be a sound / flash option built in to announce new arrivals. I had coded something for the detection, but I had timing issues. Also, there was only one sound effect. I disabled the annoucement code for now, so the button really doesn't do anything at this time. But it will eventually.
Q) I don't see the Portal Guard option under [Tools] menu - where is it?
A) You need to be jacked in with your NewGrounds user name for Portal Guard to work. It's how we keep track of preferences and polling history by user.
Q) I'm logged into NGLOGS from multiple devices - and Portal Guard is acting weird!
A) Portal guard will only run properly on one device at a time per user. You could open up multiple browser windows and jack into NGLogs under different accounts, and Portal Guard would be fine.
Q) Why is there a lag on the loading screen and between polls?
A) In order to gather all of the current Under Judgment entries, Portal Guard needs to first load up six pages of data from NewGrounds, then parse them, clean up the results and then display it all for you. Depending on the server load, your ISP speed and your device type, this process could take anywhere from 3 to 20 seconds
Q) I'm still confused, or I have some questions. How do I get help?
A) You can PM me (byteslinger) at Newgrounds, or use the Contact Us page to send me a message
History, hints and tips
Originally, Portal Guard was to be 100% server driven, and users would just access the site and see the cleaned up result of all of the under judgment pages in one spot. But there were some issues that were encounted that made it unworkable. First, I could only run a Cron Job every 5 minutes, and the maximum run time was 2 minutes, so there would be more time waiting than polling. Then there was the matter of keeping track of each user's voted-upon entries, what they hid, what they wanted to see. I realized that I needed to duplicate all the records for each user. It became a bit tangled, and with the limited polling time, this wasn't going to work.
So I shifted the polling back to the client. By using jQuery Ajax calls in an interval loop, every 60 seconds the loop is paused, and the polling program is called for the currently jacked-in user. That program confirms the user link and security token, polls all the pages, and then converts it to be presented on the current screen. I had to make adjustments so it would work on mobile devices and non-standard browsers.
There are 4 general types of submissions: movie, game, art and audio. They are all represented by a different color for easy recognition. Art and Audio submissions are broken down by Scouted and Unscouted as well. Every submission line has two buttons: The green [V] , which is the VOTE button, and the red [X], which just dismisses that entry (hides it). This is used when you've already voted on an entry, and don't need to vote on it again.
On mobile phones, where the line width is limited, you will see a yellow [+], which shows you more details about that entry
When you vote on an entry, a new browser window will open up with that entry ready to be viewed, reviewed and voted upon. When you're done, just close that browser window to return back to Portal Guard. The text for that entry will turn black as a reminder that you voted on it; after the next cycle, it will be hidden from view.
As with everything else on this site, this program will evolve as needed. Let me know if you encounter any bugs, weird behavior, or have an idea that could improve the user experience.
As a final aside, this is NOT an automatic voting tool, nor will it ever be. It is designed to notify the user when new submissions arrive in the portal in a timely manner. How you vote, and what you vote on, is always your choice.