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An All New BendBlogs.com

Nearly a year ago when I started BendBlogs, I had grandiose dreams of a great site with timely information, great speed, searchable, RSS feeds, etc.... Unfortunately, that never became much of a reality because of the limitations of working with the software I chose, and really not able to find time to replace it or hack it to make it work how I wanted it to. The site has grown to over 130 blogs from around Central Oregon, and with its growth the limits of the previous software were starting to show.

Then yesterday after thinking about the site, I decided to search around again for solutions, and found a great one. So it gave me a chance to clean up totally dead feeds and rebuild the thing. Obviously it still needs a bit of work (as it's mostly the stock template with some hacks, and I need to implement a few other features), but here's the all new Bend Blogs. Among the new features:

  • AJAX-Powered so things load quickly and intuitively.
  • Full text search (soon -- fixing something with that, but look for the form on the top of the page soon).
  • RSS feed for not only the entire directory but for every page on the site (click on the "RSS" link on the bottom of the page for the URL).
  • Cached archive of local blog posts.
  • Ability to tag entries (with RSS feeds for those tags). For example, I just tagged Shannon's latest post, and it's instantaneous (and you guys can submit tags, too).
  • Nice, clean URLs that Google will love.
  • Clean code that is standards compliant.
  • Updates cleanly every hour (with a much better caching system).
  • Totally MySQL powered, giving me the ability to manipulate the data if need be.
  • And a large community of developers and resources.
Obviously, I still need to do some work on the site, and many features on there are totally messed up in Internet Explorer 6.x (I haven't tried the 7.x beta, but I know it works fine on a real browser). On my to-do list:
  • Get the search bar on there.
  • Get navigation figured out and added (as I just temporarily commented out the system that came with it, as it gave the general public a bit more power than I wanted).
  • Shrink down things just a tad, especially in the feeds source list and the main header <H1> text, so it's not so big.
  • Adjust the color scheme so it's a bit easier on the eyes.
  • Get Google adsense ads on there (gotta pay for hosting somehow, folks).
  • Get some photography as the background of the header area (similar to ORblogs.com's city page for Bend). I'll be e-mailing a few of you for submissions, and credit will be given, of course.
  • Edit the template and stylesheets to pieces to fit future needs.
  • Fix the time so it reads in non-24-hour time (I prefer AM/PM, thank you).
  • Re-implement some trimming code so that long titles such as this don't screw up the page.
  • Figure out why some URLs are using mod_rewrite, and some aren't (see the links on this page).
  • Sort feeds list by latest updated.
  • Add a "Submit" and a "Removal" request forms, as well as FAQ, About, Contact, etc.... (which was on my previous to-do list for the site).
  • More to come, I'm sure....but it's late, and I'm braindead...
So go check it out, and comment here if you notice anything or have a feature/bug that should be added to my to-do list (or notice any blogs that I'm missing).

Posted by Jake on 02/13/06 @ 11:42 PM
Posted in Cool, Jake, Local, Site Info | Permalink

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