Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine

Sidebar follies

I've once again fallen prey to the tinkering bug, seduced by the prospect of making Donut Age more 'dynamic.' I've finally switched my bookmark list to their javascript 'linkroll' method, which I'd been putting off for quite a while. Up till now. I've used Tinderbox's AutoFetch feature to grab a formatted HTML feed from, which worked fine except that it only updated when I made a new post and synched the site, that is to say, erratically at best.

In addition, I replaced my old 'Reading List' feature with a LibraryThing blog widget (another javascript). In this case, the hold-up was not my slow rate of posting, but my even slower (and equally erratic) rate of reading. So instead of embarrassing myself with having the same comic book collection sitting atop the reading list for weeks at a time, I'm now sporting a random selection of my LT items.

The biggest hangup with both of these was tweaking my stylesheet to accommodate the script-generated content. Both sites provide plenty of handles for CSS-styling (as well as some pre-formatted options), but it's still different-enough code (both from my own templates and from each other) that I had to do a lot of trial-and-error testing to iron out the bugs. I'm still unhappy about a couple things. There's some consistency issues to iron out, and the script outputs an H2 that doesn't fit into my heading hierarchy. I can disguise it with CSS, but it still offends my sensibilities. I could probably fix the latter by employing a customized JSON feed, but it will be a while before I screw up my courage to tackle the necessary scripting for that one.

This adventure also spurred me to do an overdue tidying of my export template folder, which had become cluttered with various defunct and semi-finished templates. I forced myself to actually figure out which templates are used when and purged the completely useless ones. I've wanted to convert all my pages to tableless XHTML, but the general template chaos was holding me back. Now that I don't have that excuse, perhaps I will actually make some headway.