New web content engine: Part 5

I’ve got a new version of Rm installed, mostly with behind-the-scenes tweaks to let me do more things with it. I already like being able to go to the site and edit a page like a wiki. Plus, The site didn’t die a nasty death when it started getting traffic.

I’m reaching the point where the scaffolding that’s already here is making everything else much easier to deal with.


So I have one big confession to make.

When I filled in the content, I didn’t actually use the interface all of the time. For the blog entries, I hacked things using phpPgAdmin, largely because I wanted to copy over the timestamps from the original entries that were in the old database table. And also because there was a bug in one of the classes that I didn’t discover.

Not to be repeated, of course. At the same time, I had to fix various ratty HTML that wasn’t quite XHTML compliant. It took a few hours to do that properly.

Now, how I handle the timestamps is interesting because, in theory, they are not supposed to be changed, so I just automatically manage them behind the scenes and don’t make them visible to the user interface. But I think I’m going to let you override them and provide some automatic actions. The primary one being a “run the clock forward” option. See, I’m going to switch over and post partial blog entries from the control panel instead of on my personal blog. And it makes sense to me that when I make an entry visible, the creation date should change.

I’m not totally sure if this is just my obsessive-compulsive nature at play here and if this is a feature that will confuse everybody else. But I find that it works well for me to write partial entries over time instead of trying to have a complete entry ready to go.

DIVs, POSH, and Microformats

I’ve been kind of following microformats lately because I figured that it was a lot more likely that people would be willing to semantically enable their pages with microformats than with RDF. And while I don’t necessarily believe in the big nearly-AI-related notion that we can one day reduce the web down to a massive inference engine, I do tend to think that the new way that websites are being built can benefit from microformats.

So I spent some time rolling out microformats. It’s rather easy in my case because most of the necessary information’s already in a structured format and I just need to change how I output it. I needed to overhaul the Atom-to-HTML code anyways because it’s producing output that was nearly identical how I was implementing things in 2000 and it still uses the font tag, so I ended up using the hAtom microformat as a guide for how to set up the CSS stylesheet.

I also hooked up rel-home and hCard. And I’ve been using hReveiew on for a while now.

At the same time, I realized that the site still used tables, which was the standard way to do web design in the nineties, but not now, and various other bad practices for the modern age. Which, if you consider that I got the concept of seperating presentation from content back in 1995 when I worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer on their website, makes me look bad.

I had been deliberately not changing anything so that I would concentrate on the code, not tweaking the formatting. But now I’m a lot farther along, so I also removed all of the tables from the layout and tweaked the CSS formatting a little more. There’s still stuff to do, but it’s better than it was before.