New Design

Meta Wednesday 16th September 2009

A couple of weeks ago I uploaded the sixth iteration of this site. This time I’ve paired things down even more and gone for a “life-stream” style layout. I rarely write blog posts any more, but I do upload lots to flickr, spraff lots of nonsense to twitter and make various other ripples else where on the webs. I’m pointing the re-design out now as most people probably read the site via RSS and so won’t have seen the new styling. Come and have a look!

All of my various online activity is aggregated by those nice people at FriendFeed. I then use their API to pull this out and display it in a nice fashion. Currently I’m aggregating: flickr, twitter,, upcoming, dopplr, delicious and my google reader shared items. I also wanted the full content of blog posts to appear within the stream. Strangely, this doesn’t appear to be particularly easy to do. FriendFeed only caches the title of a post and none of the content. So, I let FriendFeed aggregate my blog posts but then when I come to display that entry in the stream I use the wordpress “stub” (which uniquely identifies a post) from the URL to lookup the post in my local database and display it from there. Slightly convoluted, but it works.

Of course, a day after I finished getting the stream stuff working, FriendFeed announced that they’d been acquired by Facebook. Great. I suspect that moving forward Facebook aren’t going to maintain the current feature list and API access that FriendFeed allow currently. In that regard I’ll probably look at rolling my own lifestream aggregating solution. Possibly using the SimplePie PHP RSS library and it’s very neat looking merge_items() function.

For the nice large image at the top I’m using the PHP Flickr library to grab all of the image from my Favourites set. I then cache the heck out of these images and display a randomly chosen one. I’m thinking I might add some subtle navigation to allow you to “refresh” the image to get a new one.

All comments and suggestions appreciated!



  1. Loving the minimalist look Olly, nice ;-)

  2. Looks nice mate, simple is always best! ;)

  3. Liking the new simple design but you need to do something about the unstyled links ;)