No www, yes comments, no categories

2008-02-10, Comments

I mentioned a while ago that I’d decided to roll my own website, and I’m generally pleased with the results. The up-time and response times have been fine, and I’ve been able to change things easily.

No www

No WWW class B png

Inspired by this article, I’ve chopped the www from this site’s address. is four characters fewer to type and a whole seven syllables (!) fewer to say than From now on anyone visiting will be redirected to

$ curl -I
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:58:15 GMT
Server: lighttpd | Word Aligned

(For what it’s worth, the bare host name worked fine before the reconfiguration and was the one I generally chose to use myself.)

The change itself was trivial — a single string in a configuration file and a simple lighttpd redirect. I guess this is an example of why I can’t agree with the analogy on which Steve McConnell builds his book, “Code Complete”, that software development is like construction. Software is soft: there’s no problem moving a load-bearing wall.

In fact, the only place the host name appears explicitly is in the site feed, a feed which, thanks to the indirection offered by Feedburner, hasn’t itself moved. Links-to-self in the various pages appearing on this site are all relative. Despite this, I’ve had to break backwards compatability, to a degree. I can’t visit Word Aligned bookmarks on and reddit etc. and change them to suit my new preferences; all I can do is leave a suitable chain of redirects. Cool URIs aren’t supposed to change, but I reckon the internet can handle some gentle tweaking.

Yes comments

I’ve found a way to enable comments. I ran into problems with the comment system on my old blog and I’m hoping that outsourcing comments to Haloscan will solve these. My life has already been improved thanks to a comment from James Slaughter pointing me at a decent monospaced font for Windows. You’ll need Javascript enabled to enter comments, I think. The feed is at

On the subject of comments, I’ve finally got round to importing feedback posted to my old site. I do value this feedback — I’ve learned from it and I’m sure others have too — so I apologise for the time it’s taken me to post it here. I also appreciate feedback I’ve had by email, and if I haven’t adjusted articles to take account of your suggestions etc. it’s probably because the task remains stacked on my todo list.

No Categories

I’ve decided to simplify things and remove the distinction between categories and tags; everything’s a tag here now. When I designed this site (OK, so I stole the design from just about every other blog out there!) I spent a while trying to figure out the distinction between categories and tags. I think I get it — an article posted in the “Blub” category should largely be about Blub, whereas an article tagged “Blub” just has to mention Blub — I get it but don’t really find the distinction worth making.


As ever, please let me know if any of this causes problems or isn’t working properly. I’d like to know if the site isn’t loading or rendering properly, and will do my best to sort it out.

My next challenge for this site is that ultimate in constrained software development: designing a graphic to fit in 16x16 pixels which will somehow embody everything this site is about.