June 19, 2006

Front Page News

Did you ever hear the one about the man who was too busy to save time? I think we all at some stages in our lives lose sight of what we are struggling to do, when perhaps a few quiet moments of contemplation would allow us to move forward.

For a while now I've wanted to finish the www.holdenweb.com front page news feature so I could get on to newer AJAX-based work. The solution, of course, was staring me in the face when I looked for it: instead of holding up AJAX to finish off a pre-AJAX project I could actually use AJAX to speed up its completion. This strategy has worked well.

The original news feed was based on a programmed search of O'Reilly's Meerkat stream aggregator, but Meerkat went away and anyway the mechanism was cumbersome and error prone. I was looking for something lightweight that the mythical "average web user" would be able to use in a fairly foolproof way. I am happy to say that the first prototype is working exceptionally well, and the holdenweb.com front page can now be as up to date as I am!

At the moment the holdenweb.org site is still being generated the old-fashioned way, but I predict the retrofit to this parallel site will be easy.

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