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Housekeeping (2): How to Succeed as a Dummy [EN]

Some days ago, I shared with you the risks of getting lost in translation (Site management: How to succeed as a Dummy [EN+All] (1). This time, I will tell you how I learnt many useful tricks while coping with the problems that arise, when you have the intention to make the site accessible for readers in their own language.

I had to separate and filter, yet keeping together, the site content, and to avoid, at the same time, that looking up becomes too complicated. Many visitors master two or more languages of the site. As most posts and articles do not (yet) exist in all 4 site languages, the polyglots should be enabled to access directly all posts, without having to browse through four versions of the site presentation.

  • "Every page is a homepage" 
Well, I think I managed to do this with the four language-filtered overview-pages that will soon be showing up to the visitor who accesses the site by the main entrance. But, at the same time, the principle "every page on the site is a homepage" is maintained. There are many side- and backdoors. They all give an easy access to the other rooms in the house.

Moreover - the use of filtered feeds (some by squarespace, but mostly by Feedburner) on the overview-pages, turns those pages dynamic: in real-time the most recent additions appear. The pages are automatically, I had to develop some skills that belong to the "haute cuisine"permanently and promptly updated. The content becomes even richer, by way of splicing. Content from other sources (for instance: photos uploaded to the e-urban set on flickr!, or clips from Bloglines) are integrated in some feeds.

Matrix.I had to get into a number of skills, that belong to the "haute cuisine" of programming. Squarespace is a favourable environment for an amateur tinker likeI I am. The robust core programming of the provider acts as a "garde-fou" (a fools' containment), so that my multiple errors did not turn into dramatic events.

  • Programmers' Poetry

A starters' error that I didn't avoid, is overcrowding of the sidebar. That slows down the loading of pages. Many features had (and have still) to be transported to inner pages, leaving behind them a simple link in the always-present sidebar.
Anyhow, all that tinkering gave me an opportunity to discover many useful built-in features of squarespace and also of the wonderful commanding languages of javascript, php and what else magic poetry rules invisibly over what appears on your screen.

Ido not remember where on the Net I found that word of a satisfied nerd:"Programming is Poetry". And it is:


Programming is easier than writing poems, for repetition is the rule (frequent copy-paste helps enormously). However, errors in rhythm, order or orthography are severely punished: forget a dumb "<", an innocent "/" or misspell an "&amp;", and, believe me,suddenly nothing goes any more.

But how joyful, what a pleasure and what a powerful feeling it is, when a simple </br> provokes an obedient start of a new line, except if it should have been <br>, when writing in another dialect. Between <script> and </noscript>, worldwide dialogues are born between machines on far-away continents and which, through magic, renew every time, infatigably, texts and images on my pages...  

It has to rime.
Lines in html, php, css, java,
should respect an utter economy
- like the best of poetry. Fun pushing.

  • Sneak Preview of the dynamic Overview Page under construction

I am sure that I will terribly miss these excursions into the soft world of strict commanding by speech, once the infrastructure of e-urban will stand. So much content is waiting for publication. Meanwhile, I am proud to invite you to a  "sneak-preview" of the English language Overview page, under construction (October 2006), that is a matrix for the three other ones. [... some parts omitted]

Thanx for your comments and suggestions: Nothing is ever perfect. So many poe-tricks are waiting to be discovered!

(This is a free translation in the translations-summaries blog of the original French post on Huibs UrbLog) 

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