Friday, August 31, 2007

Contact System is Now Live

I guess it is time to come out of hiding.

So, I just added a contact system to the Community Color family of sites. I intend to use the same contact program for more than one site. For that matter, I am considering opening the program up to the community at large.

The program took a embarrassingly long time to write as I just haven't figured out what to do about spam. Spammers will hit any open form on web site with hundreds of thousands of fake hits.

Right now anonymous readers can leave message. If I get hit by spam, I will restrict it to registered users.

The program is in beta. Comments about the comments section are welcome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Location, Location, Location

I've been working on the Location view. I think that I will make reports on venues a primary focus of the community directories. Here are a few of the changes:

The first change is that I show the location summary and event list side by side. You can view the page for Red Butte Gardens. This was somewhat of a fundamental change. I had designed all of the pages to be long and skinny. That way the directory could exist in a frame of other sites, or as a small box. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get a good scalable CSS design for the calendar. So, I've decided to go fixed width. Both the calendar and location pages will be 840 pixels wide.

I've also just started to play with Google Maps. That way I can include a handy link to a Location Map.

What I am doing at this point in time is just indexing events that take place at major venues in the community. My long term hope is that some venues actually decide to use this system as their event calendar.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Site Maps

FWIW, I added XML site maps to the community directories.

The maps are neither pretty, nor are they useful for humans. The maps are supposed to be useful by search engines. This is an example. This is the Index to the site maps.

The only useful information that the maps contain is an update time stamp. It took me a whole day of programming to figure out how to get the correct information into that timestamp.

The main advantage of the sitemap protocol is for dynamic web sites where the data changes randomly on a regular basis.

It will be interesting to see if the maps have any positive effects on visitors to the site.

BTW, the directory structure has had over 4 million hits. There's about 17,000 listings in the directory. That is about 235 hits per listing. When I put the directories together. The totals are lower than I was hoping to see.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fixed Location View

I fixed the location view. The add event program lets you select from a list of common public locations in a town. The location view lets you view events for that location.

I thought about letting the community at large add new locations. The problem with that idea is that I would risk getting duplicate locations (we often have different names for the same things). I also have problems with spammers. A spammer might add a thousand locations in whatever spiteful logic drives spammers.

If you there is a location that you think should be in the program, you can drop a reply on this post. The Location Summary page on community color shows the number of defined locations by community.

The location field is part of the calendar program. I create new locations as part of the addEvents program.

The next step in this upgrade process is to fix the addEvents program. I will add a field that lets the event adder suggest a location.

Comments on the program are always appreciate. For that matter, one of the reasons that this upgrade process has taken so long is that I don't get sufficient feedback.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Deleting Old Links

I just completed a link deletion frenzy. I checked 1650 links and deleted 285 of the beasties. If your site was down in this last week; it is possible that I deleted it. So you would have to re-add it. NOTE, this directory only serves the Mountain West at the moment. The old link page shows were I am on this project.

Link deletion is an ongoing project. My goal is to check all links in the system at least once a year. The chart below shows the number of link additions to deletions:

Deleted Links

Yes, at this point in time, I am deleting things faster than I am adding 'em.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Site of the Day

The site of the day program is now back on line. I made the Site of the Day program to highlight interesting sites. I would appreciate any comments on the program. Right now, I pretty much just take sites at random and call them a SoD. I thought about making the nomination process driven by the ratings engine. I also thought about allowing the public at large write the reviews, or adding comments to the review page.

Comments on the feature are appreciated.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Link Rot

The link rot in the community color family of directories had gotten out of hand. I've performed several link purges of the populare pages on the sites. I decided, however, that I needed to do a systematic purge of the site.

So, for my weekend project, I wrote a program that allows me to look through every link in the directory and delete the rot. This project will take several days. The Old Links page summarizes where I am on this project.

Currently there are 17,044 active links in the directory. My records show that I have deleted 2,731 links. It looks like 13% of the sites listed in the directory have met their untimely (in may cases timely) end.

My records are very inaccurate. I deleted several thousand links before it dawned on me that I should keep a record of link deletions. The program I use to add and remove affiliate links deletes things with recording the event.

My goal in this project is to check every link in the directory that is more than a year old. I am checking from oldest to newest. So far, I have checked 802 links. I've deleted 124 of the checked links. Ouch, 15% of the links checked were in need of deletion.

I suspect that this percentage will drop as I move along with the project. Regardless. There were far too many broken links in the directory for my taste.

BTW, if your site was inaccessible at the time I checked it. There is a good chance that I would have deleted it. You can go to the add link page. Enter your domain in the "Check Domain Box" and press the "Check Domain" box. This will show if your site is still in the directory. If I deleted it, you can always re-add it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Adding Links

Sorry about taking so long on getting Community Color fully functional on the new server. I had decided to update the program from a procedural to object model. The new model is substantially slower than the original design; So, I've been trying to figure out how to recover.

Gradually, programs are coming back on line.

The Add Link program is functioning. The program begins by checking to see if the domain you want to add is already in the directory. I've had serious spam problems; so all changes go into a queue. I approve the things that go into the queue. I check the queue every other day, and approve links that go to quality, relevant sites. Dealing with spam is a big hassle.

The program used to let you modify the links that you owned. Unfortunately, what started to happen is that someone would add a legitimate link, then repoint the link to a porn or gambling site after approval. The editing feature will only let you change the name and description of the link. You can still delete the links you own. If you want to change the URL, you have to delete the link and readd it.

I really wanted the program to use group editing techniques (where the public could change and delete links). A group edited site needs to have a sizeable population that is dedicated to making a quality site.

There is not enough interest in this project to make group editing work.

Comments on the site are always appreciated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Moved to a New Domain

Community Color has changed web hosts. It is now hosted at located in Logan (West Host Ad).

My initial thoughts on this project was to pound out a prototype site in PHP to test the market. If the market proved fertile, I would rewrite in Java Servlets and host the site on dedicated servers. I have yet to find that lucrative market that can fund the site. However, with new high quality shared hosting facilities like WestHost in place, I feel confident that a shared faciliate could handle the site for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, during this move, there are a substantial number of broken links. That is the fault of me, the owner. I decided to rewrite the project using an OO design, and failed to give myself sufficient time to develop and test the new code. (My fear of having untested code on the server is greater than my fear of broken links.)

I apologize for all of the inconveniences related to this move. Of course, when you don't have any resources, you just muddle through.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Forum Function Disabled

In the upcoming days, I will remove the forum function from the Community Color family of sites. The basic idea was to put a forum up and see if people would use it. That did not happen. I am thinking of replacing the forum with either a local news feed or perhaps a blog/podcast indexer.

Feel free to drop comments on what you would like to see in a community directory