The new News Blog seems to be working out well (i.e., no complaints), and it strikes me as perhaps the most significant development for the website since its debut over ten years ago. At last, the site is not constrained by my own personal schedule (which has in recent years been even more constrained by security restrictions at my dayjob, which prevent my ability to update the site during work hours, i.e. 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. or so, Pacific time), while the Locus Home Office has realized that posting a certain amount of breaking news on the web is necessary to compete with other news sources, and does not necessarily compromise its monopoly on insider news of the SF/F publishing field. (Of course, subscriptions are still down…) Correspondents who send me emails during the day about breaking news might well send such alerts to firstname.lastname@example.org as well.
And more changes are coming.
I’ve just posted the new index.php version of the Locus Online homepage, with links to a new News blog that can be updated weekdays from the Locus Magazine HQ building that towers over downtown Oakland CA. If you’re reading this and haven’t already checked the homepage, let me know if you see any problems viewing the posts.
This, in work for a couple weeks now, just as scifi.com has converted two of its sites in a single website — http://scifiwire.com/index.php — with a php extension.
I actually deleted the index.html version of the homepage, so that browsers will default to the next available ‘index’ file; but I added an explanation to the ‘page not found’ page in case anyone has bookmarked ‘www.locusmag.com/index.html’.
Hope it all works. More changes are in store.
Substantive posts to the website have been light over the past couple weeks not only because of the holidays, but because what time I’ve had to work the site has been devoted to developing new functionality — principally, to expand news coverage on the site so that the Locus Home Office staff can post breaking news, via a Blogger blog whose rss feed is automatically displayed on the Locus Online homepage, and whose labels will categorize such posts for easy access. Frankly, this is partly to remove me as the potential single-point-failure in updating the website; and partly, a reaction to competition elsewhere on the web. Locus is still the central focal point for news about the SF and fantasy publishing field, and we need to retain that position on the web.
I experimented with blogger feeds about three years ago and wasn’t satisfied with what I found. Moving to Movable Type or something similar was too much of an investment, and Blogger was not quite up to speed. Since then Blogger has improved, notably in its capability to archive posts via dynamic ‘labels’ that generate label-specific archive pages.
We hope to have the new News feed up sometime this next week, and if it works out I anticipate hosting most of the other website content on a series of parallel blogs — for reviews, interviews, monitor listings, and so on — with boxed rss feeds on the homepage. This will save me the manual labor of maintaining annual archive pages, and turn the homepage into a constellation of content boxes, rather like the alternative redesign of the homepage I suggested 6 or 8 months ago…