24 January 2005
Matters Arising

Jackie e-mails me to tick me off for using the date (see end of post) for the permalink.  She says it’s not user-friendly and I have to say I agree with her.  I think the permalink should say “permalink” and it’s not that long ago that that is precisely what it said.  The word “permalink” was a casualty of the addition of the In Brief columnExpression Engine is a many-splendoured thing but there are some things that even it can’t do.  Well, it could if…  Hmm, let’s see if I can explain this…

When I sat down to design the In Brief column the key question was: “How do I get post A to appear on the main column and post B to appear on the In Brief column?”  In other words: “How do I switch between the two?”  The two basic options are to have a separate blog or a separate category.

Now the idea of a separate blog may seem a bit odd but it is in fact perfectly possible to have one blog display on another.  Perhaps this indicates a confusion with nomenclature.  The problem arises when you want to move a posting from column to column.  Now, this may seem like an odd thing to do and (as yet I haven’t actually needed to do it) but I can see situations where I flag up a post in IB only to find out that someone else has written something pertinent.  What I want to do there is to add an update to the original post and then move it to the main column. But if I have two blogs I can’t.

The alternative is to have a separate category.  The problem there is that funny things happen on the category pages (hope that makes sense).

The solution I arrived at was to have neither and instead to have a switch using a custom field (one of EE’s real strengths).  But that also has a drawback.  Up to then I had been using date headers.  A date header gives you the date only once no matter how many posts were posted that day.  I like them a lot.  Unfortunately, they don’t work well with my switch - date headers either appear on the main column or the IB column but never both.  Not good.

I regard dates on posts as essential so the only real answer was to separately date each individual post.  At the time (and without giving the matter much thought) I chose to replace the word “permalink” with the date.  I suppose my reasoning (such as it was) was that the bottom row of links would start to get a little crowded.  But maybe not.  It’s easy enough to change and I am quite happy to try a little experiment to see what readers prefer.

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  1. What I want to do there is to add an update to the original post and then move it to the main column. But if I have two blogs I can’t.

    Why not? Can’t you just update the post, copy it to the main blog and delete it from the IB blog?

    Posted by Jackie on 25 January 2005 at 05:06am

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