Monthly Archives: February 2005

Hopefully being crawled soon

I’ve updated the meta information in my dynamically produced HTML (i.e. via PHP) to be as rich as my previous XHTML site’s meta information was. I also submitted my site with Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search (beta). While I have no aspirations of anything close to a top 10 finish for a search on my name, I do hope to see it at least appear conveniently for those who want to find me. Next up, is the enrichment of my dynamically produced feeds…

Sampling of recent inspirations

One of the reasons I read so much is to be inspired by the written word.

  • Inspiration to blog: “Don’t Lose Your Voice” (and I don’t want to)
  • Inspiration to develop: “Radical simplicity” (i.e. the crux of Adam Bosworth’s ICSOC04 talk, which he posted here); key point: “When developers fall in love with the technical mechanics of solving a problem, they risk forgetting the problem itself, and by extension, the people they are ostensibly serving by solving the problem.” (and I don’t want to)
  • Inspiration to design: “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away” -Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • Inspiration to engage: “I would much rather do battle with a sworn enemy than with an enemy who finds expediency in posing as a friend.” -Ari Shamron to Gabriel Allon in The Kill Artist
  • Inspiration to perceive: “Where some see stasis, those of us of a certain age tend to see slow-swinging pendulums. Where some perceive exciting ideas as brand new, others perceive in them shades of the past.” -Tom Yager (reminds me of listening to Pat Helland speak)
  • Inspiration to act: “If It’s Urgent, Ignore It

In this last reference, Seth Godin offers several nuggets as follows: (a) “If you focus on the important stuff, the urgent will take care of itself.” (b) “Urgent is not an excuse. In fact, urgent is often an indictment – a sure sign that you’ve been putting off the important stuff until it mushrooms out of control.” (c) “You will succeed in the face of change when you make the difficult [important] decisions first.”

This last quote reminds me of a gift my wife received from a past friend. It was a tall glass container with a cork plug top that contained walnuts-in-the-shell and unpopped popcorn kernels. It’s purpose certainly wasn’t to raise the level of kitchen decor, but rather to make a profound point visually: focus on the big things first and the little things will essentially take care of themselves. You see, you could only fit all the shells and kernels if you dealt with the shells first. If you were to empty the container and then re-fill it first with kernels and then will shells, the cork wouldn’t fit.

Love that .htaccess file

After using the WP admin panel to create a new page (i.e. http://mysite.com/wp-admin/page-new.php for “mypage”) I saw the new link shown on my home page under Pages: http://mysite.com/mypage/. However, I received a 404 when I clicked on this link. I was forced to enter the following URL form instead: http://mysite.com/index.php?pagename=mypage. After fumbling around for a few minutes I realized that my .htaccess file wasn’t being automatically updated by WP (probably due to file access permissions). What triggered this thought was the fact that my posts and feeds both had “pretty permalinks” enabled, but my pages did not. (My posts/feeds solution was to manually create an initial .htaccess file whose contents were copied from the WP admin panel (i.e. http://mysite.com/wp-admin/options-permalink.php).

Update 2/27/2006: I became aware of this excellent .htaccess tweaking resource (via Digg).

Taking shape with help from one of the builders

So far, I’ve found the WordPress support forums (and Google) to be helpful in getting me up and running past a default WP installation. After my previous post, I discovered that the default URLs were not to my liking; so, I decided to email Ryan Boren directly with my questions. How a software’s major contributors respond to questions–newbie or advanced–tell me a great deal about the software itself (e.g. is there a pride and a passion underneath the bits and bytes). Ryan did not disappoint and even hung in there with a few follow-up replies. (Thanks, Ryan!) His timely and helpful replies cement my decision to join the WP family of users.

It turns out that I simply needed to turn on permalink support and define how I want my permalinks to behave.

Of course, I ran into a few gotchas, but Ryan pointed me in the right direction. I ended up having to create my own .htaccess file, copy and paste the permalink code from the WP admin console into this file and upload it to my site. Windows Explorer on Windows XP wouldn’t allow me to create a file with this name–complaining that my file must have a file name. So, I simpy created a new .txt file then used a Command Prompt window and the RENAME command to arrive at .htaccess.

Once the permalinks were working I ran into self-defeating index.htm files in my previous archives folder structure. So, to allow WP to process my permalinks effectively, I moved all my pre-WP content into my b4wp folder. Also, I still noticed a few odd “feed:” prefixes in my feed links so I modified the sidebar.php and footer.php theme pages to correct that.

Eventually I plan to create my own WP theme and post it for others to consider for their own use–give a bit back to the community. But I really appreciate how easy the transition to WP has been for me because it allows to return to the most important activity to me her: new posts and comments.