Fiddling with the site layout has been just a maddening experience. I really don’t know how designers do it. I find myself constantly wanting to pixel tweak the layout. I’m learning that just like in code, keep it simple. Part of the reason I’ve been spending so much time on this aspect is that I need to learn what it missing from Bloget in terms of ease of integration. Like most freeware developers, I eat my own dog food in that I use Bloget much like I think a user would use it (notice the word “think”). That’s because until I get more feedback from the field, I really don’t a know where user’s pain points are occurring. This is true of almost any software one writes.
One of the things I’ve tried to do is use Bloget in it’s “plain vanilla form” without customizations. I’ve (mostly) limited myself to using CSS to build this blog. It’s an enlightening experience indeed. But doing so has made me focus on content and leaving just a enough bread crumbs so that the site can be styled using only CSS. It’s working but it’s a tedious job. Still I have managed to add a few new tidbits to Bloget along the way. I’m aiming for another alpha release this weekend but be forewarned, the weather forecast this weekend looks like sunny and 70’s so my plans my change.
I’ve added two new controls or “widgets” as some have called them. The blog roll, which you see on this site is one of those new controls. Not content with just a read it from a file approach, Bloget’s blog roll can pull blog rolls in real-time from readers of your choice, be they online services like Bloglines or offline tools. It also has a nifty feature of showing you a random selection which I think is more useful than listing every link (My full blog roll is over 100 items). I’m thinking of adding a feature to display recent posts. Mads Kristensen’s written a blog engine that has some really fun features. He’s taken the more traditional approach of writing a Web application instead of a control Still he has some great ideas including the recent posts in blog roll idea.
I’ve also added an archive list which is more in line with the “traditional” list you see in blogs. I still maintain the Bloget’s index view (click the “more… link at the bottom of the archive list) is more useful but sometimes you have to go with the status quo.
Then there’s the documentation updates, and a rework of the examples to adapt to the recent changes. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun. If I could turn it into something I could make a living at I would but alas, like most things, it will likely remain something I do on the side. Like I said earlier, I’m hoping to put out the next alpha release this weekend.
On a personal note, I spent most of the week in Southern Germany on business. Spring is in full force there and it is just lovely. It really is a beautiful place. If you ever get a chance to visit, don’t hesitate.