Sunday, September 30, 2007

Top Page

So, when I got up this morning, the top page wasn't showing any results. It takes 2+ votes (right now) to show up on the top page. As I hadn't voted (and Todd hadn't), the page was empty. So I put some logic in to increase the hours shown (up to 4 days) if the "top" page doesn't end up with info.

I hope, as I get more users on the site, this won't be a issue - but if *I* am driving things, this needs to be in place.

And, as I get more users, the min vote # to get on the top page will, of course, increase from 2....

Comment Sysytem

B wasn't feeling good, so I decided to do some more work tonight.

I've done the basic comment system. Looks much better now, and it allows a one-level response. While the database and underlying business layer allow a infinite level of comment-response, I've chosen to limit to ONE level of responses.

I'm using Digg as the model of a social news site.. and in my opinion, their comment system has been out of control for some time now. I want Nozzl to be SIMPLE, easy to use, fast, etc. I may looking at allowing to go two levels down, but for now, one is going to be it.

The only thing I need to do now is voting. Got some of that in, in the DB and such, but need to get the page using it. Figure I should be able to do that by Sunday night, if Halo 3 doesn't DISTRACT me too much! :) (Not to mention BioShock).

I went ahead and cleaned the loader up. It's now threaded, and show some useful info:

And yes, if you are interested, the ENTIRE friggin site is dependent on that loader running on my laptop 24x7. I will eventually convert it to a a service - which should be easy, as both the web site and the loader use a class library to do everything - just need to write the service, set a timer, and make 2 calls every x mins (2, right now).

I was going to get voting in, but I'm past my programming/Guinness limit right now, so I guess it's time for some Halo!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Bunch more work tonight. A lot of cleanup, did password recovery, improved voting (now shows "thanks" if you vote, and when you re-load, will not show anything on those stories you've voted for), don't allow dup comments on refresh, really got the pager smoking, and a few other things.

I'm really happy with it. Big dev work to go is the comment system.

I also want to look around again and see if I can find some more sites to add. I'll probably remove slashdot - it's NOT user driven, as far as voting and such, and they seem to be updating their RSS all at once - so it FLOODS the front page when it goes. Not good.


Beta site is up. Or is is Alpha? Whichever, I'm only going to be using it to start.

Worked on the look and feel, got cats fully in, did more on the loader (now link back to the original comments from the loaded site, plus some extra cleanup), along with a bunch of other stuff (LATE Night tonight!)

Got the DB up on the domain, and upload the site. Went fairly smoothly, which is nice.

As I said, I'll be using the site for a while, then get some others on it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Site names, Loader... Done!

So B had a idea for the site name - NewzNozzl. Kinda funky, catchy.. I like it. So I've got it (newznozzl, newsnozzl, newznozzle, and newznoz). Already created, DNS pointing to the correct server, and a placeholder up. So I can go live at any time (well, have to set the DB up and move the site, etc.)

Made some VERY good progress tonight. I moved off of Racoom.Xml RDF reader (it kept getting in a infinite loop. What fun). And I'm using the Digg API. Category selection, authorname, and authorlink are working.

Just ran a clean load (@ around 12:05 AM EST), and it looks good.

I just need to hook cats cats up on the web site now - most of the plumbing for that is done. And then do the logo's and clean up work, then should be GTG.

I think the biggest hole I'm going to have is the comment system - while it will WORK, it's not great. Well, ok, it stinks.

I'm going to be using it for a few days myself (keep the loader running, then use the main site for my daily news), and see how it goes. If everything is good, I'll try to get a few friends on it. See how THAT goes, to figure out if I want to invest more time in.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Started late tonight, around midnight. Made some real progress on Categories. I have come up with a Generic MetaSites category list. I've mapped digg, slashdot, and propeller to those cats (The others don't have static categories).

And then I've got the main page using those cats, with the full interface in. Woot! :)

I now need to get the loader parsing that out and saving each stories cat. And then I can hook up what the user has selected.

I've also go the time frame code in, and have cleaned up the site selection.

Here's a screen shot:
That's what it looks like when it comes up, with all sites and cats selected.

And that's with some of the sites and cats turned off. So for example, this will only show general, science, business, enterainment, and videos from, digg, and slashdot.

This works really well - the site/date restrictions are working (even though I may have some long term work on date vs vote vs submission), and the cat interface is there. And all the interface is there - still have cleanup, but I like how it works.

So I need to get the loader working - cats + better parsing + use the Digg API. Then some cleanup - and THEN I should be ready for beta.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What to release

So I've been thinking about what I really need to get done. I'm going to focus on what *I* really want in a site like this, and go from there.

While I'd like to get comment voting and sub-commenting, I think I'll wait on that for at least the beta, as it's going to take a fair amount of time to do that.

Probably the same for bury/spam reporting on both stories and commenting.

So on the site, that leaves the final look and feel (mostly the footer and header at this point, as the rest is ok).

The biggest piece beyond that is the loader. I WAS using the Digg RSS, but am going to move to the API (they give the direct link on that). Still need to clean up some of other feeds. And then there are categories.

I really want to get that in - without categories, it's going to be hard to find things. I mean, being able to filter by site is nice, but being able to do that AND cat's will be great. The problem is going to be normalizing them between site (and some of them won't have any cats at all, so will just have to go into some kind of generic bucket). It'll be interesting to see where I get with that :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


So I made some progress this evening. Story detail and commenting is in. I've continued to shape up the look and feel; I think I'm getting close, at least enough to get some alpha users on it.

The big thing I need to figure out here is how munch do I want to get into the site, before getting others on it.

Like - do I need to allow voting for comments? Flat comments or allow people to respond (subcomments). How about bury/spam reporting, etc?

Friday, September 14, 2007


My cat, Kotz, died this morning :(

She was 16 1/2 - I've essentially had her my entire adult life, so her loss is really tough. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer last Dec, so it's been a very stressful year. As she's so old, the Vet agreed to more focus on quality of life instead of trying to really treat the cancer. She DID give her some steriods, which shrunk the tumor, so she was been doing great, until a couple of weeks ago, when she started to show signs of liver failer. The vet thought it would still be a while, as was otherwise doing ok (eating well, active for her age, etc).

Still not sure what happened - she was doing fine until early morning, then just.. died. The vet thinks it might have been a heart attack. I'm not sure which was tougher for me - having to bring her in at some point to put her to sleep, or to watch her die over a hour period of time at home. While I have no doubt it was better for HER to be at home, watching her struggle like that is going to haunt me for a long time to come.

Anyway, way off topic for this blog, but wanted to say something. Going to be pretty... raw for a while, not sure how this is going to impact NewzNozzl - I figure I will either stop working on it for a while while I distract myself in some other way, or I'll work like a mad man on it in the evenings, using THAT as a distraction.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


So I've got the basic web site working - I used some of the AJAX voting and commenting I did for TZ - ended up leveraging a lot, which was nice. Then used some of the look and feel from TZ.

It actually is going to look a lot like Digg. I LIKE that site the best, and think it has the best look and feel of all of them. I've actually used bits and pieces of Digg over the last year, while I've been learning AJAX - will need to make sure none of that is still in the CSS (It's NOT in the Javascript, as I'm all .NET). Hard to tell what's what now, as I've been trying to find (and use) the best-of-the-best for a while now.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


I've got the basic loader working. It is actually a two stage process. It first loads all news stories from the various sites into a flat table. This stage is quick (just getting raw data).

Step two takes that info, processes it, and creates the new stories in the db (with 1 vote for each). It actually follows some of the links back to the social site, and gets the real story link. Which is a pain and will break, but it's all I've got for some sites.

This second step can take a while, as it's having to process a lot of info.