October 1, 2014

After a long hiatus, I'm making another attempt at semi-regular blogging. Also, using Disqus I've added forums to Forth Haiku and the new blog.


My original intention with forthsalon was primarily to publish a blog. Forth Haikus were an afterthought. Ultimately, despite adding a good bit of plumbing to support a crude sort of article editor, only 2 posts ever materialized. Now, I'm giving it another go.

As the Forth Haikus have taken on a bit of a life of their own, I'm loath to conflate my rantings with the existing traffic. For now I'm putting the blog on a separate site, but will probably tie in to Forth Haiku (with an iframe GASP!) to see if anyone wants to hop over the gap. Since I now have a comment section, I might hear if this annoys people.

The new blog is titled: Flagxor's Bytes and Bobs. In the past, I've generally posted as BradN in various contexts. Unfortunately, that's a bit less that searchable uniquely, so I'm giving a crack at "owning" the flagxor handle. Bytes and Bobs seems an underused, though not strictly unique, play on the common phrase. The two combined are at least sure to be unique.

In starting blogging again, I decided to try a new process. The old approach of posting articles completely online via a crude web form fails to match up with my actual goals. I don't really want a blog that's completely stream of conciousness. And, at least for now, prefer the idea of being able to retro-actively fix things. To that end, for now I'm editing the blog as static html. I will probably end up scripting the process, or possibly giving something like Pelican a try.

In other news, I've added a comment / forum section to each Forth Haiku and to each article in the new blog. Eli Bendersky's recent switch from Wordpress to Pelican brought to my attention the existence of a new sort of service: an embeddable forum called Disqus. This service solves several substantial issues that have long blocked me from adding a forum to Forth Haiku.

What I wanted in a forum was the ability to moderate away spam, manage a per haiku comment section, and to require some sort of authentication to post. This substantial body of functionality was always at odds with my desire to keep the main Haiku site and code implemented in fairly standalone Javascript backed by an equally standalone and simple Python AppEngine app. Disqus solves this by allowing each page to emit a small blurb of Javascript to inject a per-topic discussion area and by providing a UI to let me nix spam if I decide its worth the bother. They support the option to download the raw discussion data in an XML format, so I can at least entertain the notion that I'm not stuck with them holding the forum data. Also, while I'd always had a login option for the Haiku site, this was mainly a way to allow me to authenticate for article entry. I don't really want to be in the business of asking for people's login info. Disqus supports handling authentication with a range of identity providers, which seems like more likely to convince someone to post comments.

Anyhow, time will tell if I keep up momentum. Wish me luck...

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