Big-ish news today. You'll probably have noted that both the tech and the content on this site has evolved slightly over time: embedded audio and video, the comments tool, the emailer and subscribe tools adverts! (Bastards!)
Well, today I have completed what probably counts as the biggest one-shot refurb of the blog (following a compromise of principles that has led to a complete collapse) and can proudly announce the launch of Dispatch from the Razor's Edge 2.0! That's right, we've integrated tagging, popularity, social media, and search without question bringing the blog smartly up to 2006 standards.
New features include: (click "…more" if you want gorey details)
- Site search - That's right, in the upper right corner there […more] that's an actual site search box you see. (Provided by the nice folks at Google, actually.) Struggling to remember where in DftRE you saw some nugget of wisdom or priceless jape? Just enter your search term, and instantly dig it up. [hide]
- RSS - I'm told this syndication format is going to be […more]the next big thing (for 2006). You'll see the famous orange RSS icon, up there beside the email and subscribe tools; just stick that link in your RSS reader, and stay constantly up-to-date. [hide]
- Popular pages! - In the sidebar to the right there, […more]you'll see two boxes for '[Most] Popular this week' and '[Most] Popular all-time'. This should clue you into which Dispatches suck least! (Or are perceived to suck least. Or search index well.) You'll note that the two lists are remarkably similar at the moment. This I think is because:
- I only started keeping stats about two months ago (rather than 8 years ago, when I should have);
- For most of those two months I had a bug that only recorded stats for every page as being from the already most popular pages (oops), so maybe this will get better; or
- Maybe they really just are the same, and there's no need for both lists. We'll see.
- Tags! - This I think is most exciting. Not only have I […more]built a tag engine, allowing you to call up lists of dispatches on similar topics (for instance, ones you're interested in rather than the boring, crap ones in which you're not) but I've manually gone back through all 423 previous dispatches and tagged them by subject matter. My tagging may have been a bit promiscuous, and probably skewed toward what I thought were the major topics, rather than what were. (This is the same danger as an author creating his own index). But it's a hell of a lot better than before, and certainly provides a whole new way to explore the site. Hell, it's been an education for me, just flipping through it getting a relatively objective sense of what my concerns have been these last eight years. Have a play around with it, also in the right sidebar there.
Oh! you'll of course also see the tags for every dispatch in the footer, below. [hide]
- Social media tools! - Yes, down there at the bottom, […more]that's right, you're seeing Facebook and Twitter tools. In order, these:
- Allow you to share a particular Dispatch out to your Facebook wall.
- Allow you to Tweet a particular Dispatch out to your followers.
- Go to (and, subsequently, perhaps, 'like') an organisation page (previously called 'fan pages') for me on Facebook. This is basically a way for you to get alerts of new Dispatches in your Facebook news feed (instead of, say, subscribing by e-mail).
- Go to (and, subsequently, also perhaps, 'follow') my Twitter feed. This is basically a way for you to get Dispatch updates on Twitter.
That's it, I think except to note that: […more] 1) My QA and testing as will be attested by anyone who's ever employed me is a little on the casual side. So, if you find any bugs or breakages, I'm grateful if you shout 'em out. 2) If you have any suggestions at all about how these geegaws could work better (or new geegaws you'd like to see), those suggestions are gratefully received as well. [hide]