Feature requests

I’ve been ruminating (there’s your SAT word for the day) on this for some time, and there are a couple of things that I’d like to see happen to blogs.

  • Threaded Posts/Archives
    I started thinking about this when Kottke redesigned and pointed out why he was unhappy with the archive pages. Date sorting is nice for posterity, but it doesn’t help me find things later. Categories are a step, but that’s only a filter on the date sort – the same problem exists.
    What I’d like to see is a sort of threading model between posts. That way, I can follow individual conversations through the archives and find specific topics more readily than with categories. Also, it would enable interesting analysis, like seeing thread convergence and visually mapping the content of a blog.
    There are a few ways that this could be implemented; specifying the parent post(s), incestuous trackbacks, and the like. It needs to be explicit parent-child relationship, though, and not just a “related post” thing in order to maintain the structure.
  • Variable-length RSS(/ATOM/whatever) feeds
    I admit it, I’m lazy and use an aggregator at work. You’re all wonderful designers with beautiful sites, but I couldn’t keep up with everything if I had to run through a list of bookmarks every day. Unfortunately for me, my aggregator can only pick up whatever is published in the latest feed file, usually a set number of items (say, 20). That’s great, but what about when I’m away from my work computer for a day or two? I’ll pick up the last 20 posts and then lose whatever was in the middle.
    What I’d like is some way (query string? SOAP service?) to pass along the last item I received and get a feed file for everything since then. What makes this better?
    • I can change the update frequency to whatever I want. If I only want a daily or weekly digest of a site, I can get that without losing information.
    • Reduction in traffic and bandwidth usage. If nothing has changed, I’m not re-downloading the same file, and if I choose to only update once a week, that’s many fewer requests than every hour.