Re: Favourite features

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From: Adrian Holovaty (
Date: Thu Sep 05 2002 - 14:15:29 BST

Stuart wrote:
>What's your favourite technical feature of your weblog? And your
>favourite design feature?

Oooh, finally a non-XML-RPC question that I have a chance of contributing
to. :)

On, I have a coupla neat features. As Stuart pointed out,
there's search-word highlighting. You can also highlight a word or phrase on
any blog page by appending /?highlight=word to the URL.

Also, there's custom RSS feed capability [],
which basically combines the RSS feed with a search engine to syndicate only
the content that matches search terms. It's all URL-based. For example, returns a feed of the latest 5 entries that have
the word "washington" in them. returns the
entries with "site review". At the moment it searches for the exact phrase
(i.e., it doesn't "and" the words), but I hope to change that one of these

I also like having a link to "New comments", which displays the 15 latest
comments. I set this up because I found that some people were commenting on
really old entries, and I had no way of knowing about those comments without
rereading every entry every day. Bah. (Simon Willison has this feature,

A few things I haven't implemented yet but have jotted down on my pile o'
note cards:

--"E-mail me when this blog is updated". Worth it? I dunno. Definitely not
appropriate for bloggers who post ten or twenty entries a day, but I update
maybe once or twice a day, so this might be a useful service to provide.

--"E-mail me when a blog entry is posted that contains the word or phrase
'xxxxxxxx'". Somewhat like the's "News Tracker" (which does the
same thing with news stories), this is more useful than the previous idea.
It would be easy to do, but sometimes I change blog entries to add more
information or fix typos. So when do I send the e-mail? When an entry is
initially posted? When it's changed? Or do I set up a crontab job that does
it every day at midnight?

--Permalinks to comments. I want to give each comment a standalone permalink
page, but I haven't gotten around to doing this yet because I can't decide
on a proper URL structure. I'm thinking a possible scheme could be
[] or
[] (where Joe Schmoe is
the commenter's name). The problem with the first URL scheme is that I
would have to set up a /commentarchive page and a /commentarchive/2002-09-05
page, which wouldn't necessarily be that useful. (I'm a firm believer in
making URLs hackable, so I make myself account for every subdirectory.)

--Permalinks to parts of blog entries. Some of my entries get really long,
and I think it would be a good feature to be able to link to a part of it.
(I had a discussion about this with Stuart, et al, before this nifty e-mail
list.) I'm still undecided on how this would happen.

--Change the time zone. I've noticed a lot of blogs don't specify which time
zone they're in, which pretty much makes the timestamp meaningless. I put
"EST" on mine, and my about page explains my time zone further, but I think
it would be convenient for the users to convert the times to their own
zones. I did this in JavaScript on one of my old sites, but I'd rather do it
on the server side for accessibility's sake.


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