New “Recent Comments” box

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Blogging
October 28th, 2003 • 6:46 pm

As you must have noticed if you read this blog on the web, the Betalogue home page now features a new “Recent Comments” box on the right-hand side of your web browser window. It automatically lists compact excerpts of the 5 most recent comments posted anywhere by anyone on the blog. Each excerpt is followed by the date and time information for the corresponding comment, which also acts as a link to the actual page where the comment appears. If you hover over the link with your mouse, you will also get a tooltip with the title of the corresponding blog item.

The main purpose of this “Recent Comments” box is to remedy one of the limitations of the current format for the Betalogue home page: new comments are only noticed by readers if they appear on the most recently posted blog items (each of which has a footer with the number of comments and a link to the corresponding page with the comments).

If someone adds a new comment to a older blog item, the only people who are notified are those who have specifically asked to be notified when new comments are added to that particular blog item. (I am notified too, as the author of the blog.)

Now everyone can see when new comments are added to older blog items.

I’ve tried to minimize the impact of this additional box on the readability of the home page, by making it a narrow (200 pixels) column on the right-hand side of the window, with the main blog text wrapping around the box. I’ve tested the design on both Safari and Camino. If you are experiencing any problems with this design, please let me know by clicking on my name below.

This “Recent Comments” box is made possible not by a feature of pMachine itself — pMachine in its current incarnation doesn’t include such a feature — but by a third-party “hack” available here. It’s not perfect, and I might customize it further later on. But I need to learn more about PHP first :).

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