The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

The methodology of writing hypertext

I'm not happy with the previous post, and I'm not happy with this one either but looking over this now, I'm pretty happy with this entry.

As it usually happens, I compose these great entries in my head with exquisite phrasing yet I have no way of recording these thoughts except in my rather unexquisite memory of mine.

For instance, I had intended to chart two trends in the computer industry; the one dovetailing smoothly into the other yet all I could remember is the decent into centralization. I have no idea what the other trend was or even if I'm just misremembering it.

It also didn't help that I thought of that entry as I was falling alseep yesterday. If this keeps up, I may have to keep a tape recorder on me.

On second thought, my Newton 2100 can record messages. Maybe I should try that.

The other problem I have is methodology.

When I write the entries, I compose them, inserting HTML as I go along, adding <P> tags here and <EM> tags there and when it comes time for links, I stop and locate the link. While most times the actual URL is a simple cut-n-paste operation, I still type

<A CLASS="external" HREF="[then paste URLhere]">

by hand. And if I mention someone, say, Spring, I don't type “<shift>-s p r i n g” but

<A CLASS="external" HREF="">Spring</A>

I spent nearly two years writing software to make posting entries easy and I still type out common stuff like this by hand.

Needless to say, such mucking about stop the thoughts cold. Looking back at past entries the ones I like the best are typically the ones with the fewest links in them. If I have to hit Google for an entry, forget it. That's maybe a minute or two lost right there looking for the right page.

But old habits die hard. I tried, in the previous entry, to write first, then link later, but I'm having to retrain myself. Just like I am for this entry—I've had to stop myself several times to keep me from embedding HTML before I've finished writing, yet I'm still marking the areas that I feel need links (only I hope I remember what I want to link to).

Perhaps if I type something like:

In //official site/Cerebus//, creator //find link/Dave Sim// had //link to character/Cerebus// run as //link to issue/Prime minister// against //link to character/goat//.

I guess he'll make peeing on hydrants legal …

That will let me keep the flow going and provide enough context when I go back over the entry to fill in the links (and make any editorial changes that might arise as you can see if you check the final result). Oh, and remember to change text like




Well, off convert this to HTML.

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[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

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You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

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