This category is a dopey idea

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POSTED: August 4, 2006

Until about fifteen minutes ago the interface contained a category under Blogging called entries by keyword. I have just removed it, and replaced it with entries by title.

This site is intended, in part, as an experiment in what can be done by combining a blog and a wiki – or more exactly, by incorporating the usual features of a blog inside a wiki. At the moment most of the blog aspects of the site are being maintained by hand with a view to automating them later. The theory is that I will not write any serious amounts of php until I am certain that I know what it is supposed to do and why. Maintaining the blog bits by hand is a way of finding out what is needed before attempting to code it.

I already understand how the recent entries category will be coded, both in principle and in terms of fitting it into the Wikkawiki structure.. In fact I can write down the logical steps right now. I understand how the entries by date category can be coded in principle, but I need to check how the Wikkawiki engine works in more detail before attempting to map this out in practice.

As a result of thinking about this, I also understand why entry by keyword is fundamentally dopey.

There are several reasons why. Firstly, upon reflection, I can see no way at all that this page could be automated without completely rewriting Wikkawiki, and maintaining it by hand is time-wasting and fiddly, and will simply ensure that I lose interest in posting to the blog.

Secondly, the whole point of the keywords system is to make links across categories and so, in terms of the overall purpose of the site, the page is fundamentally pointless.

Thirdly, If I do want to be able to search for blog entries containing keyword X, then I will probably also want to search for research papers containing keyword Y, and essays containing keyword Z. This means the real problem (if it actually exists) lies with the overall search function which could usefully be expanded so that it can find occurences of keyword X in category Y. This would at least have the benefit of being a global solution – and ironically one that would be easier to write in php, given the way Wikkawiki appears to work.

The moral of this, I suppose, is that the final version is never the final version.