the blog eclectic

All the world's a blog
And all the men and women merely bloggers.....
--As You Like It, Act II Scene 7


Saturday, September 27, 2003

Walk Through the Blogs

I've been taking the same route through the sites I read. Up till now, I open the next one through the control-O dialog box, and let IE fill in the URL from the first few characters.

Recently, it seemed that there ought to be a better way, especially since I missed a few of Chris Muir's Day by Day. Not that catching up isn't all that bad.

I put together a small HTML file with a bit of JavaScript, to make the process easier. It shows a window with one button, labelled "Next", along with the URL it links to. In the script, there's a list of a dozen or so blogs and other pages I like to run through. Each time you press the button, the next web page shows up in a separate window. Each new one overlays the last one, so you won't end up with a screen full of windows. When you've seen the last one, "Next" takes you back to the first, and you get to start all over again.

One nice feature is that you can follow a trail from any of the sites, as far as you like, then go back to the Walkthrough window and pick up where you left off.

The way I run it is to move the Walkthrough window towards the bottom of the screen, so that the button is visible, and have the new window open up at the top. With a 17" screen, there's plenty of room.

There's a link to a demo page at the bottom of this one.

I keep the HTML file on my local drive - it's a lot easier to make changes, such as adding new URLs, or changing the order of the list. If you're going to be on the road, just upload it to your site.

When you get to the demo page, you can do a "View Source", save the file on your disk, and make whatever changes you want. The demo page includes a complete explanation of the script. Because it's so simple, I put it in the public domain, for anyone to use any way they want. Needless to say, fortune will smile upon you and your descendants if you leave in the "written by" line.

There's an almost irresistable temptation to programmers to add "just one more thing" to a project. I've allowed only one thing past the original concept: showing the list of URLs. When you click one of them, it opens up in the new window. The script doesn't know about that, so pressing "Next" takes you to either the first URL, or picks up where you left off. A natural expansion would be to turn it into a Java applet, so you could add new URLs with a click, or maybe rearrange the list on-screen. I'm resisting, though. So many blogs, so little time.

Here's the demo page. It will open in a new window.

posted by Mike 17:00