The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Tag Archives: blogging

Tumblr Dislikes Firefox

Tumblr supports Chrome a lot better than it supports Firefox. When they introduce a new feature, or change something, it usually works in Chrome from the beginning, but may take quite some time till it works in Firefox. Such was the case, for example, with the new editor introduced earlier this year.

Now there’s something especially weird. The Esquire theme (I use it for Vivat Crescat Floreat, Thirteen to Fifty, and The Latin World) shows an ugly anthracite bar at the top of the page—in Firefox, but not in Chrome.


Categories on WordPress Pages

I didn’t know that there are more than 23,000 WordPress plugins. There are. New ones are added all the time. Between my first and second visit to the page the number increased by three. It’s kinda crazy. How are you supposed to find anything?

Anyway, there’s one I find especially interesting. It goes by the name Map Categories to Pages and allows you to put pages into categories just like blog items. I think that’s a very good idea, and it’s a pity that WordPress doesn’t support it by default.

Even as it is, WordPress should be a fairly good CMS for smallish sites, say, up to around a hundred pages. Some themes (Greyzed and Adventure Journal for example) support custom menus. Typically, you get a horizontal bar that might hold up to a dozen entries, with a drop-down menu for each. This system could probably support about a hundred pages before it becomes to unwieldy. With categories on pages, this number should increase significantly.

Of course the question is whether the WordPress developers want to move their product away from a mere blogging system. Maybe they don’t. But that would be a pity, because I see more and more blogs anyway that aren’t blogs in the traditional sense, but just use the software as an easy, accessible CMS.

Tumblr is something else

I’ve been on Tumblr now for about two weeks, with an average of ten posts per day. What I wrote in my earlier comparison mostly holds true, but on the whole Tumblr became a completely new experience.

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Post first, explain later

Before the web, the most common way of publishing was the book and the magazine article. Printed or written text is, by its nature, linear. The style of writing that developed under these conditions was linear as well. You start with the basics and move on to the more complex stuff.

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Themes and how the Web has changed

Writing on WordPress is in many ways similar to writing HTML 1.0. The amount of markup you use is about the same. Paragraph breaks, headers, lists, blockquotes are at your disposal. You have fewer types of lists than early HTML had, you don’t have the address tag, but you can add a caption to an image. Your options are slightly different, the amount of options is about the same. The rest—the actual layout—is done by the theme.

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What I’m really missing in WordPress

One feature I’m really missing in WordPress is the ability to give an introduction or description to categories and tags. Yes, I can add a short description, and some themes will display it as a tooltip on the link. What I would like is a sort of “about” page, either a page or post that is displayed on top of the post list, or a “sticky” function within a given category or tag, so that one post will always be on top of the list.

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Featured images in WordPress

The “featured image” that you can set in a WordPress post is a purely internal thing. Some themes use it, some don’t, and how they use it depends on the theme. Adventure Journal for example, the theme I’m now using on this blog, uses a featured image of the correct size as a custom header for the post. So far, I’ve made use of this here and here.

But if, for example, your posts are published automatically on Facebook, the featured image will not necessarily be chosen as thumbnail. So, if your theme isn’t using it, it’s pointless to set one at all, and it’s better not to. If you ever change your theme to one that does, you might not like the way it uses the featured image at all.

A short history of microblogging

Like most relevant things, microblogging was not thought out, it was just done. It is really the invention of Christian Neukirchen, who likes math, Unix, minimalism and the Internet. In March 2005 he started an experimental blog, Anarchaia:

Experimental, impressionistic sub-paragraph tumblin’ (think obstsalat)

The first link, or at least the bottom link of the first day, was transparent screens on flickr. A Ruby programmer who used the handle why the lucky stiff coined the word “tumblelog” when he sort of reviewed Anarchaia on his meanwhile defunct blog RedHanded.

Twitter was founded in March 2006. Tumblr in April 2007.

Comparing WordPress and Tumblr

I have been using WordPress for more than a year now, for three different blogs: This one, No Fanbois Allowed, and Vivat Crescat Floreat. Two days ago I registered a Tumblr account as well. It is a sort of sideshow to Vivat Crescat Floreat, uses the same theme, and I post the same stuff there, just faster and less thorough. The two platforms are technically different, but have a lot in common as well, so I thought it interesting to compare them.

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