One Step Closer

Earlier today I had a completely different blog post lined up to write for today about toenails but, after releasing 10C v5 build 19C124 , I figured that something a bit less icky1 would be better.

The 5th major version of the 10Centuries platform is inching closer to being ready with today's release of support for RSS and JSON feeds. These two elements are central to how blogs work and could have been released sooner, however, there are some distinct differences with how a v5 site will offer syndication feeds to subscribers. With a typical blogging engine there is just one syndication feed that people can subscribe to. 10Cv4 had a maximum of three if you configured a site for podcasts as well as a stream of social posts that could be fed into or some other system. Neither of these options are complete solutions that reflect how people might actually want to subscribe to a site, so this next version of the platform needed to be a little smarter and allow for dynamic subscription links.

Understanding the Problem

Many months ago, I would subscribe to a number of blogs run by prominent members of the IndieWeb community. The problem that I had was the "spam" that quickly accumulated in the RSS reader. Every post type would appear in the syndication feeds from some of these sites. Blog posts, links, books read, geo-tags, orders on Amazon, scads of social posts, and more. A person who was a dedicated IndieWeb proponent could easily have 100+ items sent out per day, which buries the things I might actually want to read from a person. There are plugins available for many blogging engines that allow people to configure separate syndication feeds to work around this problem, but this doesn't seem too common just yet. Given that I am more guilty than most of spamming timelines, the last thing I would want to do is force anyone to unsubscribe from my syndication feeds simply because everything was too much to parse. To this end, I decided to make it possible for 10Cv5 to have what is essentially a limitless number of syndication feeds available for people to subscribe to, each offering something different.

The problem with a limitless number of anything is that finding what you want can be quite the challenge. To this end, an update later this week will see the v5 themes given a special page just for syndication feeds where a person can choose what types of post they want to see in their reader. If a person wants just blog posts, there's a link for that. If a person wants blog posts and quotations, there's a link for that, too. Blog posts, quotations, bookmarks, and social posts? Yep, v5 has you covered. A simple page will be set up with toggles to let people choose what they would like to subscribe to, and a single link will be shown for people to copy and paste into their syndication client/service of choice. By default, the site's primary syndication feeds will show the same types of posts as the site owner decided to have on their landing page. The customization is really just for people who want more control.

What's great about doing this is that it will also be possible for sites to have special syndication links available for a limited group of approved readers, or unique syndication links for paid access to content, or randomly generated links that can be used in an effort to have just one reader per link so that a more complete picture of how many subscribers a site might have becomes possible2. To the best of my knowledge, no other blogging engine offers this level of syndication flexibility out of the box, so I hope it scratches an itch that others have had.

Almost Time to Move

Later this week I hope to move this website over to the v5 Beta server so that the system can get a semi-decent workout from a larger amount of traffic. There are about a dozen websites that are currently on the beta, but none are heavily trafficked. This site will add a few thousand hits per day, which will give me a much larger collection of performance metrics to know what SQL queries could stand to be tweaked, and what areas may need some attention. Before this can happen, though, there are a few items that need to be completed on the Anri theme:

  • the Operations Bar
  • post & page editing
  • file uploads
  • podcast integrations
  • viewing comments on a post page

None of these are particularly difficult, and two of these could be delayed slightly and not interfere with my ability to publish posts on v53. That said, the sooner these five items are complete, the sooner I can ask others to kick the tires and poke holes in my code. 10Cv5 has been in development for far too long and it really must be released sooner rather than later. People will complain about the lack of themes and the lack of site controls at first, but regular updates and the honest feedback I've come to expect from the community will allow the system to evolve into something that people might enjoy using in the near future.

Silly as it may sound, I'm starting to feel a little excited about bringing v5 out of beta and into a live setting.

  1. The post wouldn't have been too bad. I'm just really impressed with how often our bodies can fix themselves without any direct, conscious interventions.

  2. My hosted version of 10C will not do this, because it would constitute too high a degree of person tracking, but there are no limits to what a person running their own instance of 10Cv5 could do.

  3. Blog posts can be written and edited via the Social site, after all.