20/06/2017

Blogging in 2017

Having read a number of posts recently about people's experiences rediscovering blogging, and others questioning whether blogging was still a valid exercise in 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to re-examine why I do this.

My own rediscovery period was last year. I was still writing but not truly blogging - it was elsewhere, not here on my own site, and I realised that needed to change.

I blog now, just as I have always done, to get thoughts and ideas from my head to the page. Ideas are special, ideas are the lifeblood of our existence and need to be shared.

Even if no one reads them, putting them on the page gives them a validity that just having them in your head can't match. They are shared for the record and for posterity rather than being ignored and forgotten.

Accountable

When I started the Write365 project on Google+ in 2014 I said that just writing every day wasn't enough, it had to be done in public to hold me accountable.

It's the same now.

Sharing ideas with a prospective audience opens them up to examination, makes you question them in your own mind and establish a degree of clarity before committing them to the page.

Writing something publicly means (at least should mean) that you are willing to stand behind it, willing to explain or defend it, and even willing to be challenged on it and review your position should that challenge be persuasive.

Blogging is absolutely still valid, probably even more so, now that so much of what is published to the web is to social properties where it is gone in seconds - if we ever see it at all.

Does it matter what you post or how long it is? No.

Does it matter that 'social' has fundamentally altered blogging? Definitely not.

What matters is that ideas get posted, regardless of length or format, so that they can be shared, explored and built upon.

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# After some more successful testing the method of getting the remote page title in the 'Likes and Replies' plugin has been updated.

While the previous preg_replace() method worked it could be a little unreliable if there was any issues with the code or the title contained certain special characters.

Now, the code to get the page title is just the following:

$dom = new DOMDocument(); 
$dom->loadHTMLFile($liked_url); 
$liked_title = $dom->getElementsByTagName('title')->item('0')->nodeValue;

Much cleaner and more reliable.

All examples I had seen to do this used @$dom->... where the @ operator is added to PHP expressions to ignore any errors generated. If you have a custom error handler that still gets called.

As I don't have a custom error handler and, frankly, would like to see any errors that are generated, I've removed the @ so as not to suppress them.

As always, the changes have been pushed to the GitHub repository.

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# While making notes and planning for tomorrow's microcast I just made some fundamental decisions about what is on my phone and how I'll use it going forward.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog