Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

shaking hands with saddam hussein

Now this is interesting.

Categories: geopolitics
Posted by diego on February 27, 2003 at 11:51 PM

new design, new content, new name

Phew! Okay, where to begin?

I guess it started a few days ago when I was thinking about how I blogged and what about, and its consequences to the structure of my blog(s). I came to a few conclusions. The main ones:

  • I needed to integrate my blogs into one
  • I needed to start using categories
  • ...

But yesterday I was feeling terrible (flu, or something. Bones and muscles hurt. Throat hurts. Head hurts. That kind of thing). I thought, tomorrow. Today I was feeling terrible too, but I decided to ignore it (disregard for physical discomfort, now, that's the spirit!). So I dug in.

First in the list was a long-delayed update of MovableType, to version 2.63 (Which has many new cool features such as built-in support for RSD and Creative Commons Licences, which I haven't had time to configure yet). That went smoothly. Before that I exported all my entries from both blogs anyway.

The export actually came in handy when I had to re-create the blog and its entries with categories. To start with, I created two categories: Personal and Technology. MovableType allows to assign one category for imported entries, so I imported all the contents of "Abort, Retry, Fail?" into Technology and all the contents of "no comment" into Personal. I also created other categories (not used yet), including one for spaces. As time passes I'll assign categories to older posts. For the moment this will do.

Another task that is not done for the moment is creating multiple feeds for each category.

Once that was done I had to come up with a new design. This involved getting into CSS. Tables are much simpler to use for layout, but there are some strong arguments for why they shouldn't (be used for layout that is). I looked at manuals, references and howtos, but in the end what helped me the most were the CSS included in MovableType themselves, and these two articles (one, two) from W3C on using CSS for layouts. It's still not perfect (in particular, there is not a lot of entry text when the window is not wide enough) but it should do for now. The conclusion of this is just a resurfacing in my mind that the idea of CSS (of separating content from presentation) is good, but the implementation is awful.

Then there was the question of 'migration': how to deal with the links into the other blogs in a reasonable way, and in particular how to deal with the issue of RSS feeds. I thought: mod_rewrite could help. But I dread mod_rewrite. So I thought: maybe there's a better solution.

I remembered that a few months back Jon Udell had the same problem, but when I found this blog entry that referred to it, it didn't provide any solutions. Jon, however, was limited in what he could do on the server, since he apparently didn't have access to its configuration. For me it was back to mod_rewrite again (this brief howto was useful as a starter as well, btw). It took a couple of tries, but In the end the following three added lines into the virtual server conf in Apache did the trick:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule /~diego/weblogs/arf/(.*) /d2r/$1 [R=301]
RewriteRule /~diego/weblogs/nocomment/(.*) /d2r/$1 [R=301]
This seems to work both for servers and aggregators (although I have to say I only tested the RSS aggregator in spaces with it). I will probably make a few posts now and then to remind people to change their URL for the feeds anyway, since I assume that at some point the redirect won't be there anymore.

So all is well and good.

Ah, yes, the matter of the name. Since so many things were changing, why not change the name, too? d2r is something I've had in my head for a while and that I used years ago in my first homepage. It's supposed to read "detour" along with "d2" being "d d"... (yes, geekindex = off the charts!). I'll have to add this info into the 'About this blog" link (non existent for now) on the right. A couple of lines from Gone come to mind: You change your name but that's okay/It's necessary/and what you leave behind you don't miss anyway.

Finally, comments on the new design, problems with the redirect, etc, are welcome!! Just post a comment or send me an email.

Off to relax for a bit now... try to shake this flu off. On the upside, working on this has made me forgot that I felt awful. Tinkering with your blog (or programming, or writing, both of which are partially contained in 'tinkering with your blog) are better than aspirin. At least for a while :-)

Categories: personal, technology
Posted by diego on February 27, 2003 at 10:21 PM

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