For a long time the oldest unresolved issue in the tracker was # 8369 "Issues with Page Title and Menu Item Layouts." It went into the tracker on December 12, 2007 and and was actually based on a forum report from June 2007. I look at the oldest issues in the tracker pretty regularly and this one was really bothering me. Leandro Bergantiños had done a tremendous amount of work just to write the report which makes it just the kind of report that is usually easy to deal with. In the forum Johan said it was important for it to be dealt with before RC2 and then according the the tracker Louis was going to deal with it in January, so plenty of coding power there. Why wasn't it fixed?
So, I decided to really try to understand what Leandro was showing with his spreadsheet. It took me a while to understand what he had discovered. It turned out that there was a tremendous amount of inconsistency in how the menu title parameters were being handled. In some cases they were being completely ignored.
So then I thought that maybe the issue had been fixed piecemeal, and it was the case that there were a number of reports about issues relating to titles and specific types of menu links. So I recreated Leandro's spreadsheet by looking at each core menu link type. Wow did that give me an appreciation for the work Leandro had done. There are 25 core views and each one had to tested with the 4 possible combinations of "Show Title" (yes or no) and Page Title (blank or not blank). And you had to look two places, at the page title and at the browser or blue bar title. Strangely enough, not that many people volunteered to help me with this.
Once that was done, I realized that before any code was changed what was actually needed was to decide what the intended behavior was. This is an issue that is really important to people like me who are webmasters, but maybe not so very interesting to others, so for a while I felt like I was waving my hands and no one was paying attention. Except, Ian was, so finally I had someone to discuss it with. We looked the spreadsheet over together and came up with some proposed rules. For example, when Show Page Title is set to no, no title should show on the actual page. Also, when text is entered in the Page Title field and Show Page Title is set to yes, that text should be used. When the page title is shown, the browser title and the page title should be the same.
Then Ian began to look at the code. Well to make a very long story short, the final patch file has 1199 lines in it. Creating that was a huge job and Ian should get at least an extra week's pay as a bonus for doing it. :) Third party developers will want to look at that file to see how to make changes so their components behave in the same way as the core components.
Then JBS started testing like crazy. Again, this was really time consuming because of the 100 possible combinations of links and parameters. Thanks especially to Amy for helping with this multiple times as fixes were made to the patch.
Then, we thought we were done, but we realized that because some of the layout over rides in Beez and JA Purity used the old code, we had to decide whether to make changes in those. The whole point of a layout over ride is that a designer can change how the parameters (among other things) work. After some consultation with Jennifer who besides bug squading spends a tremendous amount of time moderating and helping people in the template forums, we decided that they should behave in the same way on this as the core. So, off to make two more patch files, test them, and we were finally done.
Never was I so happy to see an issue marked "Fixed in SVN."
Amazingly, the next oldest open issue (9701) was submitted February 10, more than two months after 8369. Wow.
Thanks to everyone who helped to put this one to bed.