Weblog Graveyard

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I finally managed to get the For Poets sites up and running and have moved a couple of existing articles over, to Internet for Poets and Semantic Web for Poets. You can check the sites out following the links in the sidebar on the main page of Burningbird. Please let me know if the template I used for all the sites is causing breakage in your browser. I’ve tested in Mac OSX and Windows, with a variety of tools, but you know how it is.

All the new weblogs are using Movable Type. I did manage to install several other weblogging tools, but when it came time to try and skin them — I threw in the towel, and decided that what I’m writing is more important than what I’m using to publish it. Either I continued to fuss with the tools, or I started writing again.

Writing won.

In addition to moving the older articles over, I also published the first part of a multi-part series on Permalinks, Weblog links. Part 1, “The Impermanence of Permalinks”, discusses the problems of permalinks and moving weblogs or changing tools, something we all know all too well. The rest of the segments of the article are as follows:


Part 2: “Re-weaving the broken web”

What are some of the techniques you can use to point your old permalink addresses to your new page locations.

Part 3: “Architectural Changes for Friendly Permalinking”

What should tools provide, at a minimum, to prevent permalink problems.

Part 4: “Start fresh by sweeping out the old webs”

Sometimes you may want to break the permalinks, and sometimes you may want to deliberately throw out archive pages. This last section challenges the premise behind persistent archives, and the myth of the permalink.

Part 2 will cover techniques you can use to redirect from old pages to new locations, including using htaccess, ErrorDocument, Redirect, and so on.

Part 3 is going to focus on what weblogging tools should support to minimize the broken permalink problem. I plan on tying this back to the Pie/Echo/Atom effort, and see where the requirements outlined in the article would fit into the current work with the new initiative. In addition, I’ll write on how these same requirements will impact on existing weblogging tools, and what we can do to propagate changes more quickly through all the services we’re all so tied into now.

The last part is going to be the fun one. The scenario basically is this — throw out the rulebook, and break the permalinks, throw away the archives. Yes, violating the two strongest taboos of weblogging in order to make a move to a new site, or, more importantly, to redefine what your weblog is, and what you want it to say about you.

Sometimes you may find yourself caught up in weblogging patterns that you find, over time, don’t suit you. You may want to change what you write about, or change how you write, or even your subject matter. You look back through your old archives of what you wrote a year ago, two years ago, and it isn’t compatible with what you want to write now. So what do you do? Do you keep the old baggage — dusty old permalinks to dusty old writing? Or do you start fresh?

Somewhere along the way we built into Law that thou shalt not break permalinks, thou shalt not drop archives. We leave them lying, permanent reminders for all time and either just change direction in our writing (causing some confusion between the old and the new), or start a new weblog.

I envision a future Web, littered with the carcasses of old, old weblogs, long discarded, long forgotten, ghosts that haunt the threaded void. What exactly do you do with an old, old weblog that refuses to die? Can we take it out into the wilderness somewhere, and leave it by the side of the road? Will it manage to find its way back home? Can we pretend at some future time, that we don’t know it?

I think it’s time, and past, to put this law to the challenge. Part 4 talks about this, and also talks about how you can ‘break’ the laws with style, grace, and elegance.

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