Posted by on 2022-01-11
  • Web Services
Introduction

Hey everyone, this is Loren from Donut Team and welcome to another Tuesday Topics blog post!

This week, I'd like to talk about the new Donut Team Safety Tunnel.

Wait, what is the Safety Tunnel?

In case you haven't clicked a link on the forum in recent times, this is something our old lead developer, Jake, had implemented to help protect our users from going to potentially dangerous or malicious links in forum posts and other user-generated content.

Basically, when clicking a link in such a place, you'd typically be greeted with a page cautioning you to be careful or, in certain cases, you would be blocked from continuing altogether.

So, what's new then?

The old Safety Tunnel was a good implementation but there were a few issues I personally had with it:

  • It could be circumvented with redirect URLs such as a shortened link to a website that would otherwise be blocked.
  • It was built as part of the forum, meaning it could only really be used on forum posts and profiles.
  • It read all of its filters hardcoded files in the forum's code, meaning we had to pull updates to the site to update the filters.
  • A given site's root domain (such as donutteam.com) and any subdomains (such as forum.donutteam.com and api.donutteam.com) each had to be filtered separately.

Given these issues, I spent the better part of the last week and a half creating the new Safety Tunnel which aims to rectify all of them:

  • It follows redirects when determining how to handle a URL.
  • It is a standalone site that can be comfortably used to handle user-geneated links across all of our web services, such as Mod Bakery in the future.
  • Its filters are stored in our database and I plan to make them something we can manage online via a moderation panel in the future.
    • @Borb has expressed a great deal of excitement at the prospect of being able to block the Docs site using this feature.
    • I assume this will lead to future conflict between us that will result in an epic holy war in the staff Discord...
  • An entire domain and all of its subdomains can be handled with a single filter.

This new safety tunnel launches today and the forum is being updated alongside it to use it as well.

On that note...

Forum Update v22.0

Today, we're launching the first update of the year to the forum.

This is a relatively small update that makes the following changes:

  • The footer has been reduced in size a little bit.
  • All user-generated links will now be routed through the new safety tunnel.
  • The Discord page has been overhauled to make it easier to understand how to join our Discord server.
Conclusion

Thanks for reading another one of our Tuesday Topics posts! See you again next week.

- Loren from Donut Team

P.S.: @Borb thinks you should listen to this.