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Wed Aug 09 2023 -

Comment Menu Update

! This Article Contains Technical Jargon

What's New

Some FastComments tenant customize the comment widget. This creates a contract between your customizations and our implementation. We do our best not to break this contract, but as part of this announcement we have a small breaking change.

For Developers

A CSS selector for the comment menu has been changed.


.comment .menu .menu-content



Existing Tenants

If you're already using the "menu-content" selector - congratulations! We've gone through all our tenants using this selector and updated their widget configurations to prevent breakages.

Let us know if you have any issues.


Since the comment widget has been created the comment menu was purely a CSS-driven dropdown. This is a nice simple, fast way to implement a dropdown menu that also does not require much code - a design goal of FastComments.

However, over the years it has picked up problems.

For one, when the comment area has a specific height and is scrollable, like with Streaming Chat, accessing the menu toward the bottom is difficult as the menu will attempt to go beyond the scrollable content area. This makes part of the menu invisible and requires you to move your mouse and re-hover over the menu to do whatever work you were just trying to get done. We felt that it was frustrating to use.

Some workarounds were made, like flipping the menu direction up, but this also does not work if the widget height is not tall enough and there are many action items in the menu - like for administrators. In this case it would be ideal to drop the menu down past the scrollable content area.

Size Benefits

One benefit of this change is that we were able to abstract much code into an asynchronously-loading module. This will allow us to expand the actions you can take on comment data without making the initial load of the widget bloated. This introduces a network call the first time you hover over the edit menu, but the initial bundle is very tiny (< 1kb) so this should not be very noticeable.

It's very hard to continue to evolve software and also decrease its size over time. Usually software starts fast and gets slow. So, we're always happy to chip away at keeping FastComments fast:

Before: 28.76kb gzipped (108.02kb total)
After: 28.39kb gzipped (105.79kb total)

Less code is also less code for your browser to parse on page load. The impact of this will expand as more features are added.

Performance Benefits

The old menu rendered all menu items, and loaded all extensions to see if the extensions had items to add, and rendered those too - for every comment - so that the content was ready for your mouse.

There are only 30 - 100 objects usually so this tends to not be a big deal, but the impact was growing. The new system removes this concern as the menu is now only rendered on demand.

The trade-off is the new menu is positioned and rendered using JS to accomplish what we want. We will continue to optimize it as we can, however it currently performs well.

In Conclusion

Thanks to our customers with their patience rolling out these changes. We hope you continue to love FastComments.