Thursday, September 26, 2002

Moving on?

I've been thinking about moving away from Blogger. Blogger makes it very easy to start a blog, but I want a bit more freedom, and nicer evironment to write in.

I can't really afford a web hosting solution at the moment, so that limits my choices considerably. I have an account the University of Helsinki, but they don't allow anything but static pages. For dynamic pages, Blosxom seems attractive. It does have it's shortcomings, but the basic concept sounds like something I want.

So what to do? I hacked up pyblosxom, the Python version of Blosxom, a bit, to support the features I need and to allow for easier static mirroring of the pages. The end result? My static blosxom blog!

I dunno if that will be the final solution, I'll have to play with it a bit. If it works out, I'll release the stuff and write a small howto.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Brokenness in next/prev behaviour of Straw

I've been noticing that Straw's next/prev behaviour is a bit, um, erratic. I've blamed it on the fact that my local Straw DB is probably somewhat broken, due to me hacking on it all the time. It just reached new heights, and I decided it was time to investigate. Sure enough, a few minutes of digging uncovered some stupid mistakes, caused by changing some abstractions slightly and not moving everything that depended on them along.

This is now fixed, expect a 0.10.2 release this evening (UTC+3) or

Subscription placement

Brent Simmons thinks out loud about charging for default subscription places. If I were Brent, I'd go for it. No reason not to, as long as you retain your independence. I've been thinking about adding default subscriptions too; though I haven't come up with anything I'd put there besides Straw news and FootNotes (which would be a whole lot better if they put the complete articles in the feed :-)

I can't really do charging for the placement; Straw's popularity (and probably maturity, too) is far from NetNewsWire's, and doing that sort of thing in an open development environment where there will potentially be other people working on it too, people I don't really know, is rather dubious. I'd rather make a policy of not adding any extraneous feeds than wonder about every change if it was paid for by someone or not.

But NNW's development is more closed and it's a popular piece of software. It'd be no problem keeping track of them and there would be no questions of trust. I'd probably do something like mark them as sponsored feeds (think Google), keep a limited number of them at a time, and keep a clear policy about how long to keep them there and what you allow as content. And don't do anything silly like not allowing the user to remove the feeds. Keep things honest.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


Released Straw 0.10.1 last night.

Search is now a bit better. I didn't do hysteresis, but instead just made pressing keys in the find text field stop the rendering of the search results and start with the new results. At least with the systems I use, searching is quick enought, but rendering a list of few hundred items takes time. I also fixed some bugs in the search: it uses a pseudo-smart system of storing search arguments and results in a stack and checking on new search terms if they are a subset of some previous search, but the is_subset function wasn't working really very well in 0.10. It should be better now. Oh yeah, and search got a toolbar button too :-)

Mark Pilgrim has started to use content:encoded elements (RSS 1.0 land) in his channel items, so that the description contained only a short synopsis and the beef was in content:encoded. So now I support that. The current system is that content:encoded overrides description. I don't know if this is the "correct" way, I didn't really find out when reading the RSS 1.0 home page how they should be treated.

Straw also now reads the stuff in the blogChannel module of RSS 2.0. We don't do anything with it yet, though, I'll have to figure out what kind of UI I want around it first. And implement OPML reading and writing too, I guess.

The final thing is that the DB problems (which I hope I fixed in the 0.9 series) have occasionally caused empty items to be stored in the database. Straw doesn't break anymore when encountering those.