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The Dinqi blog - A little blog about little blogs

Has it really been a year?

Posted in new features on July 5th, 2010 by Mat – Be the first to comment

Yes. Yes it has. The last post here, and therefore the last update to Dinqi was in May ‘09. Oops.

Well, after what was probably the busiest and toughest year of my career I’ve now emigrated, and left the BBC. As a result I have a bit of spare time, and more importantly inclination to work on my pet project - so Dinqi is going to get some much needed love.

This morning I’ve added simple ‘next’ and ‘previous’ pagination to the main view events page, meaning you can finally go back and view beyond 20 events.

The pagination is available to both the HTML and RSS views and works for any set of data (e.g. just films, films and books, everything etc.).

There’s also a shortcut value of “all” for the “numofitems” value (and a corresponding button in the HTML view), in case anyone wants to do away with pagination completely. Thus if a user wanted to get an XML copy of all the event data they’ve put into Dinqi for example, just add “?numofitems=all” to the all entries RSS view.

A note about the URLs - this pagination is the first time I’ve used query strings to Dinqi. Up to now everything has been done via the directory structure (well, at least as far as the user sees - thank you .htaccess). However there’s a good reason for this:

I spent a while thinking about how I could convey what was being shown in an elegant way alongside the username(s), event type(s) etc. that were already in use in the URL. Eventually I realised I was having difficulty because up to now all the cuts I’d enabled had been based on the attributes of the data itself - event type, user name, qualifiers etc. Pagination is more arbitrary, just showing whatever part of that full data set the user / view has chosen - thus it makes sense not to mix the two things together, and to leave pagination to the query string to deal with.

Hmm - I could probably explain that better, but I think it already might have taken me longer to write this post than it did to write the code. There’s a lesson in there somewhere…

F**k it, let’s go beta!

Posted in admin on May 8th, 2009 by Mat – 1 Comment

So, inspired by an interesting article about “lifetracking” (which is apparently a new fancy name for what we’re doing here) in the new UK Wired I’ve finally got round to finishing off the default event types (after about 4 months of faffing), which I think means Dinqi’s ready for Beta (insert wild cheering here).

My main reason for doing this is to draw a little bit more attention to the site and, while I’m not really looking for feature requests right now (I have a massive list of things I want to do already) I’d love to draw in a few bug reports (emails, comments, tweets, however suits you) to embarrass me into working on it so… Off you go!

Back to work

Posted in future plans, new features on February 21st, 2009 by Mat – Be the first to comment

I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks in the sun, and what better way to celebrate than working on Dinqi? Yes, well, I’m jetlagged: Give me a break…

A few minor new things of note:

  • URL validation added
  • Favicon and iPhone icon added
  • Major bug with the event timing defaulting to US time fixed
  • Filters moved to top of secondary column for easier access
  • Quick add moved to /add rather than showing it everywhere (it’s been there months and I’ve never used it)

Next step is to finish setting up the default entry types then I think it’ll be ready for beta - hooray!

Next steps

Posted in future plans on January 31st, 2009 by Mat – Be the first to comment

Here’s what’s coming, in rough order of priority:

  1. Add the remaining default event types into the database
  2. Complete security testing
  3. Go Beta!
  4. Allow Dinqi to collect entries from Twitter
  5. Filter by date
  6. Allow events to be marked as private
  7. Add XML view

The last 4 months

Posted in new features on January 31st, 2009 by Mat – Be the first to comment

This should give you an idea of the pace of development. I.e. slow - but give me a break: I do have a job after all! :-)

  • 6th Dec: Added the quick add mechanism
  • 30th Nov: Setup about pages and added info on sharing to Twitter and Facebook
  • 12th Nov: Bug fixes and homepage rewrite
  • 12th Oct: Amended view URL to use user name not id.
  • 5th Oct: Added an RSS feed for event views
  • 29th Sept: Added event description. Can now search by partial terms.
  • 22nd Sept: Users now able to create custom events
  • 20th Sept: URLs converted to be human readable
  • 14th Sept: A nice front end design
  • 10th Sept: Rate events once they’ve happened
  • 10th Sept: Link to more information about events

Welcome to the Dinqi blog

Posted in admin on January 31st, 2009 by Mat – Be the first to comment

Hello everyone, glad you popped by.

This is the Dinqi blog, where I’ll be posting news about updates made to the site.

The big news for the opening post is the obvious: I’ve picked a name at last - welcome to Dinqi! Not much of a rationale there, maybe dinky / microblogging, but mainly it’s 5 letters and easy to remember. As Nik said: “It’s no more stupid than some”. :-)

Having a name also allowed me to sort out the hosting. Richard recommended Dreamhost who so far seem excellent: Sub-domains, SVN and a blog all set up relatively painlessly via a web interface. Very nice.