Monday, March 31, 2008

What's in beta

You may have noticed a separate widget on the bottom left of the screen, which changes periodically. And sometimes doesn't show up at all!

We're experimenting with two new features at the moment.

First is the continuous scrolling widget. Before, you had to wait for the whole list to go past, before you could see the rest of the list, which is a bit of a pain, frankly. The continuous scrolling part we seem to have cracked, in part. The problem is getting the expanding boxes right.

The second element is to cut out the AJAX call. Because of latency issues, the existing widget scans the page, and throws up an initial list of topics. It then goes off to wikipedia, and looks to see if there are any matches, and then throws the results back. Technically interesting, but ultimately, not ideal. Fortunately, wikipedia has vast dump files that you can play around with. So over the weekend, we stripped out all the information we (think we) need, so that it will be a one step process of putting the widget out. It just sounds so easy. Right

Finally, there is the bizarre label thing in the posts, which currently say "Beatles1". This is an experiment is matching labels to posts using Feedburner. In time, we'll be able to do it. The biggest issues is that they are produced using Javascript, and so aren't picked up by Technorati. Yet.

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