Quality of Life Improvements

One of the things I love about WordPress is its flexibility. Since moving akaIronDragon.ca off Joomla in October of 2015 I’ve continued to tweak the site here and there as the need arose, and in the meantime have been able to add new content on a fairly regular (for me) basis. The other thing I really love about WordPress over Joomla is its built-in RSS functionality: whereas Joomla very annoyingly did not have a combined RSS feed for all content regardless of its category, WordPress provides that by default (along with the ability to follow only specific categories or tags if a person so desires), making it very easy for readers to subscribe to the site. WordPress also makes it easy to update existing content and “republish” it simply by updating the published date of the article. I’ve done this a few times since posting the various Heart of the Empire compendium articles, as the creative process is ongoing and several updates have been made to them—and what better way to let readers know there is new content than to simply republish it?

One of the things I hate about RSS reader apps is, depending on the app in question, the updated article isn’t always fetched. Said article appears at the top of the RSS feed on the site based on its updated publish date, but some reader apps remain blind to that change…meaning certain people who follow my content will never know it’s been changed no matter how many times they check their app, unless they come to the site itself and see those updated articles on the landing page. This was aggravating to discover: I tried a few so-called “popular” RSS apps and a few of the highest-recommended ones didn’t show my republished content even after clearing the app cache or deleting and re-adding the feed. Other apps had no issues but weren’t as widely used, probably because they are poorly designed or don’t have as many features. Rawr.

One of the few things I miss about Joomla is its built-in ability to display the date an article was last modified. WordPress has the function but doesn’t seem to integrate it by default and none of the WordPress themes I’ve ever considered bothered to use it either. Bummer. Originally I didn’t care so much because I could just republish…until I discovered that some RSS apps are stupid about that. Full circle arg. What to do?

I asked Iceable, the very very excellent designer of the site’s current theme, to help me out with a solution that would blend seamlessly into my site. (Iceable deserves so many kudos for the work he does and the support he provides. If you’re looking for a new theme for your site, he should be your first stop!) As always, he delivered: various articles on akaIronDragon.ca now display the published date and the last modified date, if the article has been modified after publishing, like this:

Published date on the left, last modified on the right. The little "refresh" icon is cute. :)

Published date on the left, last modified on the right. The little “refresh” icon is cute. :)

With this in place, I can now update an article without republishing it, which nicely preserves the original publication date (which I have reasons for wanting to preserve, regardless of SEO considerations). Big quality of life improvement from my perspective!

So, because some readers will have missed them, here’s a list of articles that have been updated recently:

  • The Myst Series articles now have links at the end to take readers directly to the next post in the series. Soon™ I will start playing Exile!
  • HOTE – All chapters: They’re outdated (and marked as such), but I was asked by a reader to restore the old copies to the site. Ask and ye shall receive! They also now have links at the end that will take readers directly to the next chapter.
  • HOTE – Ardrakin Character Profiles: I’m considering combining (and renaming) a few characters, so several profiles have been updated. This article is still extremely spoiler-y.
  • HOTE – Ardrakin History: This article has been completely rewritten and is spoiler-free. It chronicles the development of the ardrakin from their earliest origins four million years ago right through to the years just prior to the beginning of the story. I wrote this article to help wrap my head around where this society has been in order to help inform where they are going to go as I rewrite Heart of the Empire.
  • HOTE – Ardrakin Society: updated with additional notes about clan organization, the lunar calendar, and the Dragon Mother faith. This article still contains several spoilers.
  • HOTE – Ardrakin Race, Ardrakin Science & Technology, and Berwen (Planet): Miscellaneous updates due to changes in other articles. The Race article also has some new details about altitudes that ardrakin can comfortably fly at.
  • HOTE – Artwork: A few old pieces of artwork (mostly gift art) has been recovered and posted.

That’s all for now! Enjoy!