Holy Revamp Batman!

Posted: Sunday November 29 2009 @ 5:34pm

Category: Main

I just finished migrating the Secular Xmas site to PolkaDot, a half-assed blogging system I wrote long ago. Since the site was organized as a blog, I figured it might as well be one, instead of being a set of static pages.

That does mean that, suddenly, every post over there is dated today, in the order they were copied up to the server. So some newer things are buried and some older things show up right away.

That makes this a good time to explore the site! Whee!!!

Putting this on PolkaDot also allows for commenting, which works exactly as it does here, with the same limitations.

An additional feature common to this site is that the posts show Mountain Standard Time, reflecting the time zone of the server. I really should put something into the software to let you shift the time zone to your local time. But I know perfectly well that I'll never get to it.

PolkaDot 1.5 Released

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

Finally! A new release of PolkaDot. Here are the latest changes:

XHTML Compliance
PolkaDot output is now XHTML compliant. Of course, your posts may wreck it. (Mine do.) Future versions will try to protect against that better.

Changed vs. Updated Date Toggle
PolkaDot sorts posts by date. You can now choose whether to use "changed" date or "updated" date as the "posted on" date. The former is the date the file's content was last changed. The latter is the date any of the file's metadata was changed. I was trying allow a sort of file creation date, so you could fix older posts without moving them to the top of the posts. But, on my server, FTPing a file up appears to change the metadata, so it makes no difference.

Language Localization
All static strings in PolkaDot are now defined in config.php for easy customization and language localization. If you translate PolkaDot into another language, feel free to send me your config.php file and I'll make it available on the PolkaDot site.

I also have some documentation additions, specifically, how to add PolkaDot Search as a Search Engine on your Firefox Search Bar!

PolkaDot 1.4.2 Released

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

Yep, another tiny little minor release. Some of the new code added a variable that wasn't being initialized. So now it's initialized.

Coding is hard!


Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

After a few hours of futzing around, I've added comments to PolkaDot.

Now my readers, both of them, can comment on my insightful posts.

Let's see how long it takes for this to complete blow up in my face. Ah, hell, they're just text files. There's only so much that can go wrong.

PolkaDot 1.3 Released

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

PolkaDot 1.3 refines the paging mechanism and adds the ability to put posts into multiple categories, via symlinks. This multiple category feature is intended for advanced users:

(Special thanks to the vast PolkaDot Developer Community for pretty much everything in version 1.3.)

PolkaDot 1.4.1 Released

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

PolkaDot 1.4.1 is officially released!

The major feature in 1.4.1 is the new full-text searching capability, compliments of the vast PolkaDot Developer Community. It works great.

The search feature also lets you select posts by month by searching for an appropriate regular expression.

Check both features out on the demo site.

Additionally, there are a number of code tweaks, primarily regarding initializing variables and checking that data structures exist before accessing them. Many PHP installations don't really care. But some are configured a little more stringently and throw warnings if things aren't done correctly. Many thanks to Petri in Finland, and John with the Spamex Disposable Email Address, for their help in finding and fixing these bugs.

So, why 1.4.1 instead of 1.4? Well, I was changing the version number in the RSS feed generator tag. And I mistakenly deleted an angle bracket. Ouch. Kills the feed. And, of course, I didn't test the feed before releasing it on Freshmeat as 1.4. So I did a quickie 1.4.1 release, with the angle bracket restored. (However, I forgot to then change the generator version number from 1.4 to 1.4.1, Oh well. I am not doing a 1.4.2 release just to fix that.)

Fun With PolkaDot

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

Here's a fun trick that just came to me. By installing PolkaDot into one of its own subdirectories, you can have a standalone blog whose posts also get incorporated into the main blog. Here's an example. This blog has a category for Tea. By placing the PolkaDot installation files into the "Tea" directory, I can also have a separate Tea Blog.

The posts that show up on the standalone "Tea Blog" are exactly the same ones as show up in the "Tea" category for the main blog. Note that if you make sub-directories under Tea, those will show up on the Tea Blog in a category with the same name as the sub-directory, but not in the main blog. PolkaDot only goes down one level when building categories.

So I could make "Green Tea" and "Black Tea" categories, but posts in those categories would only show up in the Tea Blog. Only posts to the "Main" category on the Tea Blog would also show up on the main blog.

I'm not sure, off-hand, of a good application for this feature. But it is a way to have multiple blogs, each with their own look and feel, while still being able to aggregate them together into one single blog.

Initial Release of PolkaDot

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

PolkaDot is really cheap and easy blogging software. You just dump a couple files in a directory and then dump text files along with them. The software turns them into posts. You can add categories by making sub-directories.

The main info page for PolkaDot contains FAQs and the source code.

Posting From a PDA

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

PolkaDot's use of simple text files means you can post from anything with an FTP client, like your PDA.

(I'm posting this from my PDA.)

PolkaDot Philosophy

Posted: Friday August 15 2008 @ 7:46am

Category: Main

Since I mentioned the PolkaDot Philosophy in the previous post, I should expound on what that is:

  1. Installation means dumping the files on a PHP server. Nothing else. Dump 'em and the blog should work.
  2. Configuration is all in config.php. This lets folks upgrade to later versions without having to redo their config file.
  3. Configuration is optional. (People will, of course, at least change things like the blog name. But it needs to work right out of the box. So none of the configuration defaults should prevent an installation from working.)

That's it. That's the PolkaDot Philosophy!

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