General admin notes
published: Fri, 27-May-2005 | updated: Thu, 27-Oct-2005
I've decided to make some changes to my blog here on boyet.com. The first one is that, starting 1-June, I'll be publishing entire blog posts on my RSS feed. The second one is that I'll be attempting to categorize (tag, in other words) my blog posts and then providing pages that list blog posts for a particular category. The last one is that I'll be posting updates about my articles in The Delphi Magazine.
RSS to contain entire blog posts
Although I've been thinking about doing this for a while, I've always held off on actually pulling the trigger. There are a couple of reasons why, I suppose. The first is related to the size of my posts. It is very rare that I write small articles, they all tend to be long- winded (maybe too long, sometimes). Having my RSS feed hold entire posts will increase the bandwidth I have to serve up because at the moment not everyone clicks through to read every article. So as soon as I enable this option, everyone will get the entire post whether they read it or not. To counter this effect to a certain extent, I'm going to reduce the number of posts in my RSS feed from the current 8 to 5. Note that good RSS readers only download the feed if it has changed, so it's not as if you'll be getting the full RSS feed once every three hours or so. (If that were the case, my bandwidth limit would surely be blown.)
The second reason is a use case from early last week: I went to get my car serviced. I usually wait for it to be done rather than drop it off (the service takes just over an hour), so I take along something to do. The dealership doesn't have wireless access, so I freshened all my feeds in FeedDemon before I left and took my tablet into the waiting room. I suddenly realized how annoying synopsis-only feeds were: I couldn't read the entire thing if the synopsis was interesting. My own RSS feed would have been equally annoying. The connected use case is fine: "This synopsis is interesting, let's click on it to get the full article," but the disconnected use case sucks the big moose: "Julian had this article on TDD last week, let's reread it. Oh, I can't, I'm disconnected."
The final reason is one I'm feeling very ambivalent about. The thing is, with a synopsis feed, I know which articles people read and therefore which articles or topics are more popular, because I can look at my web site logs. If I have a full RSS feed, I'll no longer have this information and so I won't know which articles are being read and which are being ignored. The article/topic popularity ranking will be harder to calculate.
Still that last reason is not going to stop me. Expect a big RSS feed update on June 1.
I've written quite a few posts in the past two years (at the time of writing, 108). At present they are a big bucket of articles. You can browse through the archives, sure, but finding all articles about TDD, on data structures, or regarding some algorithm or other, is difficult.
So, after this weekend is over, I'm going to go through all the articles and tag them. I'll then create a set of summary pages, one for each tag value, and these will show the summary for each article in reverse date order.
This will be done over several lunchtimes/evenings, so don't expect it all to happen magically next week. Stay tuned.
The Delphi Magazine
I've got into a bad habit of writing articles for The Delphi Magazine (TDM), dropping them into an email to the editor, and then forgetting about or ignoring them. Seems a bit daft, the articles take a while to write and they shouldn't be left hanging twisting in the wind. Sometimes I'll want to say more about a particular topic, sometimes I'll want to provide some links to other resources, sometimes readers write and point out errors or ask for more elucidation.
So I'm going to set up a separate section of my web site for my TDM articles. There will be a page per article where I'll add extra information, more code, better explanations and so on. I'll set up an RSS feed just for that section to report changes to the pages (this RSS feed won't be a full feed, I'm guessing that it'll just say something like "Comments added to or updated on page X", but we'll see).
Note that this does not mean that I'll be posting the actual articles on my web site. Sorry, but the copyrights to the articles in TDM are TDM's, not the authors'. People have asked me in the past for copies of the articles, for whatever reason (the mag is too expensive; they only want this particular article, not the rest; whatever). Sorry to be so blunt but Chris Frizelle, the editor, and his staff have been very good to me over the years and I value that relationship more than I do satisfying someone who's never written to me before but just must have my article on blahblah without buying the issue (heck, you can get the code for free anyway).
Anyway, I hope that adding a page per article for extra comments might help those readers who are stuck, or who need some extra help or ideas. Let me know what you think.