Plans and updates

I’m still noodling around with ideas for changing the format of my home page. The main change I want to make is to raise the profile of my “quick reviews”. Right now they’re in the sidebar, but a few sections down from the top. If you’re viewing my page in a small window, they end up “below the fold”. Even if they are immediately visible, it’s not obvious when I’ve done a new review. Also, if you’re reading this in an RSS aggregator, you won’t see the quick reviews at all, because they’re not included in my feed.

My current thinking is that I’d like to include these quick reviews in the main body of the page. They would be interspersed with normal blog entries, but reviews (both the quick and the full kind) would show up with different formatting to show what they are.

This is a wee bit difficult in Movable Type, because my quick reviews, full reviews, and main diary entries all reside in different blogs. All of the blogs are part of the same Movable Type installation, though, and so are held in the same database. I had thought I might be able to use David Raynes’ OtherBlog plugin, which allows you to extract content from other blogs into your own, but it doesn’t sort the combined entries the way I’d like.

I think the proper solution is going to involve Brad Choate’s SQL plugin. With this in place, I can write SQL queries to extract exactly the entries I want, and sort them however I please. (It helps that I speak fluent SQL.) The downside of this is that this only works if you’re running Movable Type with a SQL back-end database, rather than the default Berkeley DB. And I haven’t made that move yet.

It may not be that big an upgrade, but I’m just a bit nervous about it. I’ll do a full backup, export all my entries, etc., but I still worry about irretrievably shagging the whole system, and having to spend days getting it back up and running. Especially when it’s working fine right now, and all I really want to do is make a few cosmetic changes.

If it ain’t broke…you haven’t been messing with it for long enough.

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