A few months ago, London’s Met police upgraded their website, and from my perspective, broke it spectacularly.

I fired off a woeful email to them and got a “yeah, ok” reply, but one that did suggest they would be making more changes shortly – and to my considerable surprise, the changes have not only been made, but offer exactly what I asked for.

To explain, I track each of London’s local boroughs for news as it is the only way to know if they are holding any of their police station open days, or other interesting events.

You thought I was able to put these events in the listings guide because they told me? I wish!

The way I kept an eye on the websites was to use a piece of software that automatically scans the news pages and alerts me if the page has changed since it was last looked at.

Worked fine – until the new website was launched.

The new website chooses for reasons which I still feel are a bit odd, to put London-wide news into the drop-down menu. So, my software would show a change in the page for Barking, even though actually nothing had changed as far as Barking was concerned.

Now multiply that for every single borough across London.

Disaster!

Weirdly though, they had added an RSS feed for the public events page – and I suggested that facility should be expanded to the Borough news and events pages. Indeed, it is very odd that it wasn’t added on day one.

Having an RSS feed means my prefered tool is automatically updated with new events – and no need to see my alerts software flag up every single borough news page as “changed” simply because of a London-wide news story.

Today they switched that on – and I can finally stop having to click through 33 borough website pages to see if anything new is happening.

So for once, hurrah.

(Their new website also changed all the previously saved URLs, but at least they kept a 301 redirect for them – unlike the Royal Navy website redesign earlier this year which broke everything I had set up)

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1 Comment

  1. Gah. Websites get “upgraded” all the time, and this invariably means changing all the URLs, and only once in a blue moon does anybody bother to program redirects from the old ones. Even major websites, with multitudes of existing deep links scattered all across the web, quite cheerfully break every single one of them at once.

    The only other exception I’m aware of is the BBC, which will still serve content for pages last updated fifteen years and several URL rearrangements ago – usually in a time-warp of whatever page design was current at the time. (The earliest ones, I have noted, are much, much less pointlessly frilly and bandwidth-intensive than the newest ones. But that’s another matter entirely…)

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