January 11, 2008

New release

We've released a new version of BlogBuilder today with a few new features.

New Aggregation Views 

Recent Entries (final design)Firstly (and most visibly to most users), we've created a new design for our aggregation pages, as we thought the old design was now getting more than a little dated. Hopefully, this should make entries easier to read. We've also added some new ways to see different kinds of entries:

  • Entries by students
  • Entries by staff members
  • Entries by alumni
  • Entries in "personal" blogs
  • Entries in "academic" blogs

For the moment we are adding blogs to the list of "personal" or "academic" blogs as we go along - if you think that your blog fits this category, please email blogs@warwick.ac.uk.

Comment Moderation

You can now choose to moderate comments on your blog entries, if you wish, from the Settings screen in the "Admin" section of your blog. Moderating comments means that they won't actually appear on your blog until you've approved them.  You can choose to moderate the comments of all users, or just users who are not logged in.

More information can be found here.

Skipping over entries

On the "Recent entries" page, there's now a little box at the top of each entry showing the date and time of the entry.  These boxes have an extra, very handy function; if you don't think you'll want to read a particular entry, clicking on its date/time box will skip you straight to the next entry, and leave your mouse cursor perfectly positioned to do the same thing again should that be what you want.  This makes skipping through "All recent entries" looking for things which might interest you much easier.

As always, we welcome any comments or suggestions about these new features; please feel free to comment on this entry. 


- 12 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Can’t believe you sneaked this out whilst I was on my way home from work. :(

    I quite like the number saying how many entries there have been in a time period, but it’s a bit sad to see output drop by almost 2/3 in two years.

    As well as “academic” and “personal” categories, do I get a category for “we can’t believe we let these people in here either”?

    11 Jan 2008, 19:38

  2. Mathew Mannion

    Oh yes, one thing I forgot – the Blog Archive widget on the /showall pages also works on your blog :)

    11 Jan 2008, 21:02

  3. John Dale

    In fact, it’s better on your blog, because there it displays not just a count of the entries for each month, but all their titles.

    11 Jan 2008, 22:10

  4. John Dale

    And it’s worth mentioning that we’re open as to what other categories might be desirable as well as “Personal” and “Academic”. Is there perhaps enough poetry and fiction to justify a “Creative” category for blogs?

    11 Jan 2008, 22:12

  5. The new aggregation views are pretty cool. Would we be able to imitate (read: more-or-less copy) the design for purposes of editing the appearence/CSS for personal (warwick) blogs?

    12 Jan 2008, 23:08

  6. Mathew Mannion

    The new design is based on the design for standard blogs, so it should be fairly simple to transfer this to a normal blog using this as a reference:

    http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/media/styles/system-new/style.css

    Some things to note though is that a few subtle differences in the page markup had to be made for the new design to be feasible, and these have not (as yet) been transferred over to individual blogs. This includes the date “box” to the top left of each entry (which also acts as a “skip to next entry” button), and possibly some of the markup in the banner and utility bar – so I’m not sure how well it will transfer to an individual’s blog as it stands, particularly when it comes to rounded corners.

    13 Jan 2008, 00:23

  7. Mathew Mannion

    Further to the above, there’s also some markup missing in the sidebar which makes it difficult… it may be worth waiting until these changes have been ported to all blogs :)

    13 Jan 2008, 08:12

  8. I really like the links to all entries from particular periods. I have just kept myself amused for the last 20 mins by reading some of the pre-blogs-as-we-know-it entires from Keiran and co. It’s really interesting to see what was going through your minds as you developed WB.
    I’m now going to attempt to go back to a particular week and laugh at my youthful nievity!

    13 Jan 2008, 21:15

  9. hey there, I have maintained a blog for almost four years now so i guess that makes me a bit of a veteran user. As a computer scientist i am experienced in the art of human computer interaction and so hopefully this comment is a little qualified! One of the features i used to enjoy was browsing all of the latest entries but since the style was changed i hardly ever use it anymore. I simply find it difficult to read ‘italic text’ and i cannot help but wonder if others feel the same. Consistency is important but is it not worth experimenting with allowing the styles used on individual posts to be retained when they are displayed in the list of recent entries? I find the default font used on my blog to be much easier to read than the one currently used on the all entries view. Another possibility is to allow visitors to set their own font which can simply be stored in a cookie :-)

    11 Mar 2008, 00:53

  10. Mathew Mannion

    Hi Lee, thanks for the feedback.

    I’m not entirely sure where you’re coming from when you say that you find it difficult to read ‘italic text’ – the only italic text on the new design is in blockquotes, which allows them to be differentiated from the standard blocks of text.

    Unfortunately it is simply not possible to retain the styles used on individual block entries as this would break the “flow” of the recent entries page – however to me, at least, the font on your blog looks pretty much identical to the font used on the recent entries page. It is possible that through some combination of browser and OS we’ve defaulted to a pretty terrible font; any chance you could send us a screenshot?

    Since the feedback we’ve got from the redesign has been overwhelmingly positive, I don’t think we’re going to consider allowing users to change their font – you seem to be in a minority there. However there are a wealth of tools on the Internet (particularly for Firefox and Opera) that allow you to set your own styles on web pages, http://userstyles.org/ comes to mind as well as Greasemonkey.

    11 Mar 2008, 09:46

  11. hi matthew, i just looked at the picture at the top of this page, yeah the pictures is def not what users of Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12 are seeing! EVERYTHING including comments is in weird italic for me and its is wholly unreadable! thx

    15 Mar 2008, 01:37

  12. Mathew Mannion

    Hi Lee,

    That sounds pretty much identical to my home computer (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12 is from my about page – so I guess exactly the same) which is a brand new install of Windows XP without Office or any extra fonts. Have you uninstalled fonts? I guess it may be the only solution to disable all the fonts we currently use until we find one that is causing the problem!

    The new design fonts are: (with fallback to the next if it doesn’t exist)

    As you can see, none of the actual fonts will render in italic by default. “sans-serif” is a directive that causes the computer to fall back to a default sans-serif font on the computer – if you go to Tools -> Options in Firefox and choose the Content tab, you should be able to click the Advanced button in the Fonts and Colours section, which will give you the default fonts.

    Mine looks like this, which shows that it will default to Arial (although since Lucida Sans Regular/Unicode and Verdana come with Windows XP by default I see Lucida Sans). My windows is shown below:

    15 Mar 2008, 10:03


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