Today we’re pleased to introduce a new technology to Sitebeam which will ultimately affect everything we do: real browsing.
Until now, we’ve downloaded pages like a traditional ‘bot’, which means all Sitebeam can do is see your code. The problem with this is there’s now a lot of clever things that code can do – like AJAX – which are too complex to simulate. We used clever ways of ‘guessing’ these exceptions, but they were always potentially imperfect.
Today we’re rolling out real browsing for the Cookie Law test, which has been completely rewritten. We’ll be introducing it into other tests in the future.
Cookie Law test
Note that scoring for this test now ranges from 0 to 10 (previously it was 5 to 10). This reflects the law coming into effect as of May 26th 2012 in the UK.
Today we’re also disabling two existing tests by default: Design variations and URL chopping. You can still run these tests, but if you run a report they won’t include them by default – you have to enable them manually (under Account > Tests).
The Design variations test is one of the least used tests, and has no effect on any Summary scores. It’s also one of the slowest to run. We therefore decided that removing it would speed up reports (which most people want) at the cost of removing a test they probably wouldn’t use.
The URL chopping test was introduced about 5 years ago and is now essentially redundant. It’s also one of the least used and least influential tests.
We fixed an extremely annoying bug that could cause a report to randomly fail instantly (you would request a report and it would fail right away – it never even started).
We’ve also made improvements in how we test sites that struggle/refuse to handle lots of incoming connections – you can now control exactly how many connections Sitebeam keeps open at one time (Site settings > Pages to test > Max connections).
What’s coming next
Our number #1 most requested improvement is to the PDFs we create. A future version will create PDFs natively (i.e. without a plugin) and to a much higher standard than we do currently. We’ve been working on this for some time.
We hope you find these changes useful – if you’ve questions or suggestions please leave a comment below.