About me
About me

Why I’ve replaced my Blogroll


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 13 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 13 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 13 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

For a long time, the Blogroll has been an important part of any blog – the place where writers link to other like-minded bloggers, or to sites they find interesting. But I’ve just done away with mine.

To have a pretty static list of sites I read is pretty pointless. It gives no idea of which ones I read every word of, it gives no idea of which particular posts I like, and no clue as to who I link to because I love them, and who I link to because I feel I should.

So I’ve replaced my traditional Blogroll with a new-fangled section called ‘Stuff I Read & Liked’. Basically, now I’ve permanently switched from Bloglines to Google Reader as my RSS reader of choice, I can mark posts I like with a single click – and then they appear on here. The most recent 15 items I’ve marked in this way appear in the sidebar, and the most recent 500 appear on a specially designed part of the site, here (always accessible from the ‘More stuff like this’ under the list in the sidebar). I’ve only just started doing this, so I’m not quite up to 500 yet!

I had previously been put off going doing this route because of the inflexibility of the ‘clip’ that Google provided, but with a little bit of lateral thinking and CSS coding, it was actually quite easy to style it and get it into a format I wanted. I think, overall, it provides a more logical and useful solution to crediting my influences.

I’d previously not been convinced by Google Reader, preferring Bloglines’ simplicity. But, finally, Google have won me over. Their product has improved immensely over the last few months, and there are now so many different ways of accessing your feeds that I hardly ever need to visit the main Google Reader interface. I’m definitely converted.

I hope that the new style Blogroll will encourage my readers to explore some of the other blogs I read, and allow you to get a better appreciation of my influences. I like it, and I hope that you do too.

This 1,168th post was filed under: Site Updates.

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This post has been referenced by another website:
University Update - Google - Why I’ve replaced my Blogroll

Comment from James O'Malley

    01.17, 03/07/2007

How did you go about customising the code Google give you? I’d, er, really like to rip-off your idea!

Did you take the RSS feed and parse that, or have you fiddled with the javascript somehow?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    01.36, 03/07/2007

Hi James!

If you go into Google Reader, and click Settings > Tags > Add a Clip to Your Site, then select whatever options you want but choose ‘Colour Scheme: None’ and whack it on your page, it’s all just styled using CSS – if you then highlight the stuff it inserts in Firefox, and choose “View Selection Source”, Firefox in it’s infinite cleverly-ness will show you the source of the stuff that Google’s Javascript actually inserts – so you can see the DIV classes it’s created and add things to your own CSS to style them.

That probably made little sense, this is probably a better explanation.

To get it to display 15 items in the sidebar and 500 on t’other page, I just modified the Javascript Google provides so that the second statement contains “n=15” or “n=500” accordingly.

Hope that helps!

Comment from James O'Malley

    01.44, 03/07/2007

Wow, that’s much easier than I thought. Thanks for your help!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    01.51, 03/07/2007

No problem! It was much easier than I thought, too!

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