Category: "b2evolution"

About Apple Design

"Apple's design is supposed to be the ultimate perfection in 21st century computing. We should all learn from them."

I get that a lot when discussing b2evolution's user interface (which, btw, I like to think has improved significantly in version 2.0...)

While I do like what Apple does; while I do think Jonathan Ive is one of the greatest designers of our time; I still need to rant a little before I dive into the present day :>

So here's the top 5 user interaction design "mistakes" I would never have made if I has the final word at Apple's:

  1. A mouse where you never really know when you're going to left or right click, unless you really pay attention;
  2. An iPod that requires up to ten keypresses to exit shuffle mode while listening to a playlist;
  3. A mouse that gives Windows switchers a hard time with no control over acceleration, not even in the most obscure hidden place of the control panel. (Not even from the command line actually);
  4. A wireless keyboard with no numpad (not even an option);
  5. A battery you cannot replace, not even by turning one single screw. (How comes they got that right on the iMacs?)

And I won't even start with the marketing decisions (leaving a lot of features out of the iPod touch, etc.)

Of course, I'd make a lot more other mistakes, but still... Besides what's the use of a personal blog if not for pointless rants... :P

Sitemaps priority is confusing

When looking at the sitemaps protocol which is now endorsed by Google, Yahoo and MSN, I can't help but crying about how obscure the documentation is, especially for the <priority> element.

Please note that the priority you assign to a page is not likely to influence the position of your URLs in a search engine's result pages.

Okay, so what's the point?

Granted that setting all priorities to 1.0 will not make the urls rank higher than urls from other sites. But we're talking about position of URLs here, not sites.

Sometimes, the same site appears multiple times in search results, with different pages/urls. In that case, if priority doesn't influence which URL comes first, compared to which other comes second, then what's the use?

For example, on a blog, the same info can be found on a post's permanent url, on the homepage, on the category page, on the archives pages, the RSS feed, etc.

Sometimes the search will return several of these locations. If the priority can't be used to tell that the permanent url would be the best choice to put first, then... I don't get it! |-|

Does it mean that priorities are only used to determine what gets crawled first? If it does, then it means that maybe the 100 top priorities will be indexed and the others won't! So the top 100 may appear in search results and the other may not!

Present vs. not present! That's what they call "not influencing the position'?

Again, if it doesn't do that, then what does it do?

All I can think of at that point is the priority being an alternative to <changefreq> : a site gets a certain number of reindexes a day, and high priorities pages will be refreshed more often that low priority pages.

That would comply with the definition of that <priority> does NOT do...

But then... it doesn't make sense with what it is *supposed* to do:

it only lets the search engines know which pages you deem most important for the crawlers.

Or by "most important", are we supposed to understand "most frequently updated"?

I really wonder who it helps to have that spec being so obscure... :>>

Redirecting old posts

One of the cool things you can do with b2evolution 2.0 is redirect older posts to a new URL.

I've put this to use by redirecting some of my first English posts on fplanque.net to fplanque.com.

Here's an example: http://fplanque.net/Blog/devblog/2003/01/21/quote_of_the_day_computers_and_programme

If you click on that link you go straight to France and bounce back immediately to:
http://fplanque.com/dev/dev/computers-programmers-dangerous-match

All that automagically with a nice 301 Permanent redirect! ;)

I have already observed in the past that Page Rank would follow 301 redirects when moving pages on the same site. I'm quite curious to see how moving posts to a different server, heck a different country, will affect the PageRank.

If all goes well, PR should follow... someday ;)

Looking for a new hosting company?

As part of the b2evolution project, we spend a lot of time evaluating hosts for our users. We think we have finally reached a decent shortlist of companies providing the best service for a reasonable price.

If you're currently looking for a host, you may want to check out our top rated hosts in the following categories: cheap web hosting, shared web hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers and also: green web hosting!

As of today, our prefered choice is AN Hosting.

Rasmus on templating engines

At PHP Forum, Rasmus said this about the "templating engine question coming back every year":

PHP *is* a templating engine by itself. Adding another templating engine on top of it just doesn't make sense. The only situation where it makes sense, is when you don't trust the template to contain nice behaving code.

I so much agree...

Of course, in b2evo, you can't always trust the template/skin... so we'll need to implement some kind of templating... but we're really gonna make it lightweight!