Wednesday, January 26, 2005

State of the Sidebar

So, what goes in the sidebar? Among the things that the Blogger-supplied template gives me by default are Recent Posts and Archive, each of which makes sense to keep. I think that a archiving by month (the default) will be appropriate, since I doubt that I'll be blogging here frequently enough to merit weekly archiving.

I've replaced the Blogger profile with a link to my home page at my place of work, since the profile is oriented toward a different and less work-related blog. What about other links?

I decided to manage most of the links through del.icio.us. There are two benefits to this. First, it directs my readers to del.icio.us, which they will probably find interesting. Second, it makes it easy for me to maintain the links for this blog, since it's just a matter of setting up links and tags at del.icio.us, which is less cumbersome than editing the template for the blog. On the other hand, it means that readers interested in the links have an extra site to navigate through, and I have less control over the way the links look at del.icio.us than I do over the Blogger template.

The only other initial link, besides the home page and del.icio.us, is to the Atom feed, which Blogger automatically sets up. I'm not sure that this link is necessary, since most people who want to subscribe to a blog do so using a tool that handles the feed url for them (e.g., Bloglines or Firefox).

Then there are the Cool Buttons, each of which is really a link to a site that happens to provide buttons. First is the Blogger button, which arrived with the template. I don't feel inclined to remove it, since Blogger is kind enough to provide both publishing tools and hosting at no charge. Then there's Haloscan, which I use to add trackback to Blogger, which doesn't currently provide it. (If you're wondering what this is, check out Haloscan's trackback FAQ.)

Creative Commons is a fine organization which provides and explains the license under which I publish this blog. Clicking on the CC button will take you to the human-readable summary of the license. The Firefox button is there for a few reasons. It's my browser of choice. It's free/open source software (much more about this in future posts to this blog). Among the fine features of Firefox I used is tabbed browsing. Among the fine features I don't use is Live Bookmarks, which makes it particularly easy to follow blogs in Firefox.

I use Bloglines to read blogs. It's browser-independent, free of charge (although it is not free/open source), and easy to use. The button inviting you to subscribe to this blog through Bloglines is the last thing on the sidebar.

Update, the following morning: a few edits to the above, and two things to add. First, if you're reading this blog through an aggregator such as Bloglines, you won't see the sidebar discussed in this post. Second, this does seem a little like gazing at the navel of one's blog, but this is one of the many blogs that is to some extent about blogging.