Blogging

Drupal wish list

A couple of quickwish list items for Drupal.

  1. 5.x upgrade for the SPAM module. I've poked at it a little but so far haven't had time to really dig into it.
  2. Some awesome new themes. Garland is great but a few more will only help.
  3. An Atom module upgraded for 5.x
  4. A nice build script for automating the install. This is a bit trickier to do well and securely. I've got some code I'm playing with but I don't know that I'll release it becuase it presents the chance for abuse if people don't know what they're doing. If they do know what they're doing the shell scripts I've cobbled together may not be much help.

Recent Reads block for Drupal

Linkblog pictureLinklogs or linkblogs give bloggers a way to share links with readers without feeling like a full post is necessary. Earlier this week there was a post over at Scripting News about the flexibility in the RSS spec to allow posts without titles. This flexibility is good as it allows for several different styles of blogging. I have shied away from one-sentence posts or shorter posts but still desire a way to let readers know about some interesting things that have crossed my path.

About a month ago I added the Recent Reads block on the left of this blog that is now called Points of Interest. The first version of the block was pretty straight forward. Using Drupal's aggregrator it is simple to point it towards the sharing feature of Google Reader. With that system in place once I came across an interesting post in my daily RSS reading I simply hit "Shift-S" and the next time the site updates the newest items are added to the recent reads block. This works great for things that come across in RSS but sometimes I would find things from emails or other sources that I wanted to include in the feed.

A couple of easy changes later Del.icio.us now feeds the Points of Interest block in addition to Google Reader. I simply setup a tag in Del.icio.us for each blog that I want a recent reads page on. This can be done in Google Reader as well. Instead of using the general "shared" feed it would be possible to hit the "t" key to tag a post and tag posts with the blog or blogs that I want the post to show up on. Maybe I'll do this later. To get the Drupal aggregrator to work as desired there are a couple of settings changes necessary. Now that the aggregrator is subscribed to both the Google Reader feed and Del.icio.us feed it is necessary to create a category, in this case called Recent Reads, which will be automatically assigned to every post in the feed.

Another great benefit is that because of Drupal's built in RSS capabilities the block is not only a point of interest on the blog page but readers can subscribe to it independently or in conjunction with the blog.

The value of full text feeds

Steve Rubel weighs in on the value of full text feeds. He notes that a lot of Technorati Top 100 are full text feeds and that if a blog wants to grow readership full text feeds are the way to do it.

Home page maturity

TechSoup has a good (and short) post about judging the maturity of  your home page and some simple steps for making it better.

Drupal Scheduler Module

Blogs that are consistently updated get more readers than those that go in the fits and starts that so many do. Recently a couple of suggestions have been posted around to do two things. One suggestion, the good one, is to use a feature of your blogging software to schedule posts in advance. This is just the purpose of the Drupal Scheduler module. By enabling the module and then going to Administer >> Content Types you can choose which types of content can be scheduled.

When I was installing it did not go well because of an older (much older) version of the module still hanging around. Actually the module was gone but the tables were still in the database. Deleting the tables and then re-activating the module solved the problem quickly.

As for the bad idea it involved a WordPress plug in to automatically run old posts on the front of your site. There are many reasons this isn't a good idea. Having even time insensitive posts reappear on your site is worse than reruns on TV. At least the TV guide tells you they are re-runs and the TIVO knows not to bother. Running old content as new is one sure-fire way to cut down on the number of readers to any blog. 

Placeblogger takes off with Drupal

Placeblogger kicks off the new year with a site to aggregate blogs by location. The site runs a version of Drupal that has been put together by Boris Mann and the Bryght team. It is a great site and looks to be gaining traction.

Perhaps this will be the impetus to convince Las Vegas publishers that they need to jump on the RSS bandwagon.

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