Recently I’ve been doing a heap of work improving the lovely Lizzy C’s business website. She is a melbourne photographer specialising in portraits, commercial and wedding photography. A lot of the improvements have been focused on restructuring the website to improve the user experience but also to improve the ability for us to see what visitors are looking at and what their intentions were.
The other thing I’ve done for her is a integrating her ShootQ CRM with her website. This takes the form of a WordPress plugin which you can download at WordPress.org.
I wrote this the other day and forgot to post it:
I absolutely love the WordPress.com Stats plugin, for keeping an obsessive track of all the clicks and searches through to my posts. What it’s missing however, is an API.
When is Automattic going to give this package some loving? It has heaps of places it could be improved (the graph is horrible how it changes scale all the time) if only we had some access to the data feed.
Seems that Automattic has updated the stats display at the very least with a brand new stats interface. Now for the API guys!
In the very Macaron flavoured world of the Melbourne Food Blogosphere everyone seems to use blogspot. I donâ€™t usually have much to say about Blogger but more out of pure ignorance than any steadfast knowledge of its technical merits. I wouldnâ€™t recommend anyone to use it, probably opting for the more independent, open-source based WordPress.com for a hosted blogging solution. However one thing I have noticed is the prominence of Google Connect paraphenalia in the sidebar of many of these blogs. These widgets allow me to â€œfollowâ€ each blog, what this means I have no idea as I thought I already was â€œfollowingâ€ them in my Google Reader account. Surely this has some other functionality other than me giving the blog owner nothing more than a vote of confidence that someone else likes their website.
The other thing that I have noticed recently is the growing prominence of Facebook Connect logins on a number of websites. Each of these things growing is a sign of things to come and Iâ€™m sorry FriendFeed but you arenâ€™t involved. The minute one of these 2 systems starts providing me, and my friends (my real not geeky internet type friends) some real value they will go ballistic.
Already Iâ€™m liking the Twitter/FriendFeed style flow that has been brought to my Facebook page, not the AJAX fueled â€œLive Statusâ€ updates that was there before, but the I refresh the page and there is something new there every time style updates. Old friends I havenâ€™t spoken to in a while have sent me messages, Iâ€™ve seen photos I wouldnâ€™t have seen and Iâ€™m feeling the love for Facebook again. Itâ€™s just a matter of time until I start seeing every website that anyone has performed an action on showing up in there and being able to comment on it.
Likewise I think that is what is missing from Googleâ€™s network, a home page, a public profile page, a place where people can come and see that Iâ€™ve found a heap of cool new blogs today, found a love of commenting on blogs and generally learnt how to truly waste time in the blogosphere and that doesnâ€™t include the hour I spent on Google Reader this morning.
There is a heap of different technologies at play here, Jabber/XMPP, RSS/Readers, Social Networking, Blogs, Comments, Forums and Status. Saying that tying them together is the next big thing is like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, but I canâ€™t wait until one of these massive companies can tie them all together.
I’ve just downloaded the WordPress Increase Sociability plugin, and it didn’t do quite exactly what I wanted it to. So I changed it a bit, I just added links into the text it includes at the top, and removed the inline styles and replaced them with a class.
There are a few other changes it could do with, such as being able to add more than just StumbleUpon, Digg and one other site. Anyway, I’m linking to the modified source file and if there is interest I may clean up the plugin somewhat.
Writing a piece of software is never an easy process and the seemingly simple of strapping together a textarea, a mysql database and a HTML page to display your writing is no exception. It isn’t that hard to do the basics – I mean, displaying what you write on the page and producing RSS feeds and categories isn’t a particularly complicated process in itself but the sum of the parts is more effort than one might think. For example, writing in a clean, well designed environment is a pleasure where, writing in a poorly sized textarea with no extra features is not nearly as pleasant.
Obviously the solution to this myriad of problems, which I brought upon myself is easy. Use something else. I’ve been considering doing exactly that for quite some time. I have been following, even contributing, to the development of WordPress for quite some time and not only that, but I’ve been reccomending it to people to use for their own blogs. So I dove in and created an exporter using the WordPress Extended RSS format, (which might I add has absolutely no documentation) for my old software, hacked the importer to support tags for the Ultimate Tag Warrior and then took the plunge.
I certainly have to change the layout of this, considering just about every man and his dog has the Kubrick theme, as nice as it looks. The other thing that this change rang home, is just how long I’ve been writing on this blog, since September 2004, and I think I also had some posts on an old Movable type installation before that. That’s a long time for someone who usually has the attention span of a 4 year old.
Hopefully, I can use this change of scenery to actually start producing something meaningful on this piece of the Internet, rather than the drivel I’ve become accustomed to creating.
So, Jeffrey Zeldman has moved his blog from hand-coding everything on the site every day, over to WordPress. This shows that the WordPress community is really moving in the right direction with the development. The other news here, that may be overshadowed is that he has also changed from summaries in his RSS feed, to full text. I bet Scoble will be happy.
I’ve moved my subscription for the scoble over to his new home. There’s a couple of things I want to point out.
- His writing has gone from alot of links and short comments to longer more comprehensive pieces. This isn’t good or bad, but it seems to me that the change to WordPress has something to do with it.
- His feed has changed and it doesn’t appear to be a fulltext feed in Thunderbird I’ve looked at the feed and I know the data is there, but I can’t see it. I wonder how many other people this is happening to.