Holovaty.com site improvements

Written by Adrian Holovaty on September 23, 2002

Today I've made a few changes under the hood of my content-management system, with the intention of making this site faster and easier to use:

  • All pages are now automatically compressed using gzip. That means my server compresses the content and your browser decompresses it behind the scenes, leading to faster download times for you and less bandwidth use on my end. Most modern browsers support this type of compression; of course, the ones that don't can still access this site. (Evidently gzip can reduce download time by up to 50 percent, although I'm on a broadband connection and honestly can't tell, because it was fast already. Anyone out there feel a difference?)
  • I've implemented what I call smart anchoring, which is basically an artificially intelligent means of linking blog entries to one another. It works like this: If a blog entry links to a previous entry that happens to be on the same page (e.g. if both entries are on the current home page), the link will be a simple in-page link that jumps you down to the linked entry automatically, instead of reloading the entry in a new page. Otherwise, the link will take you to a new page. For example, this link points to the previous blog entry. If you're viewing this entry from my home page or the September 2002 archive page and both entries are on that page together, it'll jump you down the page. Otherwise, it'll take you to the permalinked version of that page. I've never seen this feature on any other site, so I'm quite pleased with it.
  • You now have the option to toggle search-term highlighting. I've had search-term highlighting in place here for a while, but I've added a checkbox on the search results page that lets you toggle it. It uses client-side scripting, so it won't appear if your browser doesn't support the JavaScript functionality it uses. (I'm a firm believer in showing users only what their browser can support; it's annoying to click something only to be insulted with a "Your browser doesn't support this" pop-up.)
  • Finally, the search engine accepts quoted strings. So now you can search for "user registration" instead of just user registration. (The former would find only blog entries with the words "user registration" next to each other in that order, while the latter would find any blog entry with both those words, regardless of order.)

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