Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Look, Sort Of

This blog has a new look, sort of...

  • A "Search This Blog" button has been added. It uses the wonderful Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) with the following "Included Site" URL patterns:*/0*/**/1*/*
    Those patterns cut down duplication by excluding multi-article archive pages. For example, .../2008/06/automating-drop-table.html is included but not .../2008_06_01_archive.html.

    Justification: The builtin "SEARCH BLOG" button on the toolbar is almost useless because it shows the full text of all matching articles, and if you use Google itself to search you'll see those duplicate archive pages.

    Future: More buttons might be added, like "Search all the sites in the Blog List", "Search all the SQL Anywhere forums", "Search Sybase" and so on.

    I wish EVERY site used Google CSE. Instead, many companies try to build their own search engines and end up instead with a big load of pelosi.

  • The Blog List is now sorted by "Most recently updated". The display is limited to 10 blogs by default, with a "see all" button that will appear when I get around to adding more than 10 blogs to the list.

    Future: If the list grows very long and very active, 25 blogs might show by default... but I doubt it. It might even get cut down to 5.

  • The blog list has been un-culled; i.e., I have restored Biff's Rows and Columns, and not just because he came in from the barn.

    Future: Blogs will be culled for (my) lack of interest. Right now, Jessica Hagy's Indexed is in danger because it hasn't made me laugh in quite a while.

    On the other hand, Randall Munroe's xkcd reminds me of Gary Larson's The Far Side... sometimes lame (or unfathomable?), but more often than not it's LOL good.

    The daily grind kills cartoonists, I wish them both well.

  • The keyword label list has been replaced by a much shorter list of "Categories", and each article has been tagged with one single category:

    • announcement

    • database migration

    • housekeeping

    • off topic

    • performance and tuning

    • server setup and admin

    • SQL code

    • testimonial

    "Housekeeping" articles (like this one) talk about this blog, "off topic" articles include attempts at humor, and "testimonials" are heavy on the hyperbole and light on the details. The rest should be self-explanatory.

    Justification: The manually-maintained keyword list was both hard to maintain and not very good. "Search This Blog" is way better.

    Future: The "Categories" list might be dropped altogether. It's be more useful than the old keyword label list, but that's not saying much.

    On the other hand, if "Search This Blog" could be limited by category... hmmm.

    In the meantime, the categories list is complete and consistent and easy to maintain, and it doesn't take up much room on the page.

  • Oh, I almost forgot... the "Minima Stretch" template now gives YOU control over the display width.


Anonymous said...

One advantage SEARCH BLOG has over Search This Blog is that the former produces up to date search results whereas the latter button doesn't find recent posts.

More up to date search results is an argument sometimes made for homegrown search engines, but IMO they're still pelosi... and so is SEARCH BLOG.

Anonymous said...


Breck Carter said...

Google "load of pelosi"

On the other hand, 19% believe Congress is doing a GOOD job, which is slightly more than the number who think Elvis is still alive.