Midweek update

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Either consider this a belated weekly update or a brand new midweek update, but there’s lots to talk about!

If you visited mathblogging.org in the last 12 hours you might have noticed that we finally launched the promised big update! Not everything we’ve planned is there yet (especially the uncluttered category view needs more patience, but we promise it’ll be worth the wait). So what’s changed? Well, you could look at Felix’s github since his repository is usually the reference for our code, but let me tell you right here 🙂

View by Stats

The most obvious update is our new view by statistics where you can finally see who posts how much and especially where discussions might be going on. The statistics are very basic — we’re only counting numbers of posts and comments per day, week and month. In particular, you cannot guess from the numbers whether the posts are short or long and we do not give the amount of comments per post or their content.

Right now we do not have the time for more complex statistics. This is mostly due to the practical complexity of having all sorts of different sources. Take for example the comment feeds. Some bloggers (and/or their blog engines) offer a comment feed per post, some don’t, sometimes that information is in the feed for the posts, sometimes it isn’t, sometimes it contains the actual comments, sometimes just “X commented on post Y”. In other words, there would be a lot of individual hacking necessary to extract more information from this “mess”. Maybe we’ll do it in the future, but right now it was not a realistic goal.

Another important complication can be seen from multiples of 5 occurring frequently in the stats. This is due to the fact that a lot of bloggers restrict the amount of entries in their feeds. So the numbers are often not reliable  — hence more complicated statistics made even less sense.

Twitter integration

On our front page you can now find a twitter widget that keeps you updated on our twitter list of math bloggers with a twitter account. With this at hand we decided to drop the microblog section from the category view — they never really fit because microblogging is much more dynamic. There’s only one problem: it meant loosing Terry Tao’s Buzz feed. We’re looking for a good way to re-integrate Terry Tao’s Buzz again at a later time — all suggestions welcome, of course.

New Feeds

We used to have two rather large RSS/Atom-feeds. We decided to offer more options — now you can decide to, e.g., only follow group blogs or only follow the institutional content. This hopefully makes it easier to find what you’re interested in. And of course you can still easily combine our feeds using your favorite feed reader.

The Database

As promised since virtually Day 1 we finally found a convenient solution to share our database. The problem was, of course, to keep things up to date. Hence we created a link where you’ll always get the latest online version of our collection right from the appengine. So if you feel like giving us some competition, it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to register a new app, upload our open sourced code and our database to get you going. Of course, we hope you’d rather join our team to make the site more useful 😉

The little things

Finally, there were some details that changed under the hood, e.g. the website finally caches, some bugs were resolved.

In any case, we’d like to  invite you to take a look around mathblogging.org.


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