Latest version of Kottu
Kottu has been in dire need of an upgrade and I did something. It’s now cleaner, if anything. The functionality isn’t improved as much as I like, but hopefully the focus is on the core functions now. The noticeable changes are a new theme, visible stats, and a few new plugins. Underneath the admin interface is more powerful and there’s a feature that serves a light version to mobile phones and PDAs. There are a few additions I’d like to make that I’m stuck on, so I’ll post my problems here. All in all I think it looks better, or at least less messy, and that’s something. The main features I’d like to add are more robust Ratings and Tags, but those each have their own technical limitations. This is a sort of scattered changelog, but I’d be more interested in comments people have.
I basically check Kottu and read the first few posts and that’s about it. That is its core business and I tried not to mess with it that much. The main value is that Kottu should load fast and process new posts cleanly, and I think it still does that. The Drunkey Love theme is clean (er) code cause I haven’t messed with it as much and the FeedWordpress plugin is still chugging along, polling sites and gathering new posts. I actually archived the old posts and then dumped them, so instead of a couple 1000 posts there should be more like 100. That may translate into some speed gains, but dunno.
There is a lot of stuff on Kottu and it’d be cool to see what is most popular, but I’ve had some problems converting that function into code. More specifically, finding plugins to do it for me cause I can’t code for crap. The main sticking point is a human one, simply that people don’t vote. It’s hard to get web users to do the simplest thing and I’ve given up on it long ago. However, I have implemented a voting system per Civil Unrest’s suggestion to see how it goes.
What I’d prefer is a click counter. That would count the number of times people click an article and make that the defacto vote. There are a few WordPress plugins (One from Ozh) but I can’t get them to work properly and they’re very hacky.
When Kottu began it had tags and a tagmap, however, I was categorizing all the posts by hand. That worked for a while, but it got to be a pain in the ass. If I went on a holiday or something there was a huge backlog and it got unmanageable. I’d like to implement community tagging for this but, again, the plugins in this field are immature.
I’ve tenatively included a bar graph showing the number of daily posts at top right. I’d also like to add a display of how many visitors there are, cause it interests me at least.
This is a must, the about page is hacky and the policy needs to be fleshed out. Also might be interesting to post how Kottu is built in case anyone wants to replicate it.
Kottu can incorporate a feedreader to pull in news sources (papers, Google News, LBO, TamilNet), but I’m still not sure whether that’s a feature or bloat.
It’d be cool to have a more general even calendar than echo.lk but again, I’m not sure the environment is ready. Kottu requires no content upkeep, and there is no staff to gather events or whatever. I don’t even know if this is a useful feature and the soup of phone calls and code to make it happen hasn’t congealed into anything coherent yet.
I’m still working on it as the plugin ecosystem evolves, but any suggestions or code help would be appreciated.