Taking my own advice

Midway through a pass of the whole bloody liblog list, to make sure I didn’t screw up one metric (when I ran into a sorting problem with Excel and hidden columns) and add one probably-irrelevant metric, I found myself grumping internally about the way some blogs do or don’t handle archives and older posts.

Worst, of course, are the many Blogger templates that omit any form of older-post function and have either monthly (or weekly!) archive links with no counts, or no archive links at all. These are essentially unknowable for older posts. (Not much better: the Blogger templates that have older-post functions but, instead of numbering older pages, attach some strange chunk of text to the URL.)

Best, in a number of ways, are the templates–both Blogger and WordPress–with collapsible monthly/yearly links, with counts. They’re reasonably compact (even if the blog’s been around a decade, that’s only 10 lines collapsed), they’re really easy to deal with, and you can see how much activity a blog has had at a glance.

So what about Walt at Random?

This blog used to have WordPress’ default archive function, which adds one link for each month in which there are posts. After a year or two, that makes the sidebar awfully long…and it doesn’t provide counts.

I’d switched to a Compact Archive plugin that shows two lines per year, with one-character abbreviations for each month, live links if there are any posts. Much more compact, but not much more informative.

Since I admire collapsible-and-numbered archive sidebars so much, shouldn’t I have one?

Yes indeedy. So, just after passing the halfway point in the interminable scan, I went hunting. And found Robert Felty’s “Collapsing Archive.” Which doesn’t even require me to get fancy and upgrade the sidebar to support Widgets.

Thanks, Robert. Works first time. You can see the results on the right sidebar, if you’ve actually visited the blog.

2 Responses to “Taking my own advice”

  1. Diane Says:

    Your last paragraph piqued my interest enough to look at the sidebar (you’re right, I don’t read many posts on the originating blog when they are in my feed reader). The sidebar archive looks good :-)

  2. walt Says:

    I don’t click through to blogs from Bloglines all that often either. The project I’m working on requires it–and it made me aware that, for the few people who can use it, the archive function wasn’t as good as it should be. Live and learn. (Now, about the handful of blogs that have the archive list in dark purple on a black background…)

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