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2 tiny features and 2000 blogs

It’s been a while, so a quick update, leading with the fact we’ve just passed 2,000 blogs in the directory!

Progress has been slower than usual – what with, you know, life – but it’s good to pass another milestone and to know there are still so many, many interesting blogs out there yet to add.

Since last time, there have been two small new features (plus some work in the background for future things).

First… sometimes we have problems fetching the feeds of blogs. We keep trying, ten times, over the course of a few days, but eventually have to give up. Occasionally a feed disappears or is broken in some way, and we try to get in touch with the site’s owner via email, Twitter, Mastodon, or a contact form, to let them know. This is your own free, bespoke feed-watching service! Often this results in the feed working again. Other times, nothing changes, we hear nothing back, and we remove the blog from the site due to our strict “only blogs with feeds” rule.

But there are some feeds that continue to exist, and to work, but which’s crawler can’t fetch. We want to keep these feeds on the site, even if we can’t automatically fetch new posts – their feeds work! But it looks broken to make it look like the blogs haven’t updated in ages, when it’s just that we can’t fetch the feed.

So now, any blog that we’ve given up trying to fetch the feed of will be highlighted with a little ⚠️ and a message describing roughly what the problem is, so that you know it’s our problem, not the blog’s. If you notice that your blog is like this, and want to help resolve it, feel free to get in touch. Maybe these “403” and “Can’t connect to domain” errors are anti-robot security features that one day we can figure a way to get around.

Second… the Recently updated blogs feed indicates how long ago it was that we added each post. But, until recently, if you left the page there in your browser and came back to it later, those times would stay the same. It might say “4 minutes ago” but it could be hours or days, depending on how long it takes you to find that tab in the hundreds you have open.

But as of three weeks ago, those times now update automatically, which makes it clearer that perhaps you should refresh the page to get the new stuff.

Even better, Jeremy Keith noticed we’d done this, looked at how we did it, and improved upon the code, removing the need for a third-party JavaScript library in the process. We’ve now, in turn, adopted his code for our site. The power of blogging. Thanks Jeremy!

That’s it for now. We still have many Suggestions waiting in the pool to be added, but don’t let that stop you suggesting more. Given 90% of the Suggestions are currently tech-related, we’re particularly keen to find more, good, blogs focused on any other topic. The more niche the better!