Matt Gemmell

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An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

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Getting the most from this blog

general 2 min read

This post outlines some advanced tips for getting the most relevant information from this blog, 
either via linking/bookmarking or RSS subscriptions. The information here also applies to all blogs 
powered by <a href="">Thistle</a>.

This blog, in common with all Thistle blogs, makes extensive use of <em>URL parameters</em>. For example, when 
you click the name of a category in the category-list on the right, you'll see that the URL you're taken 
to has a <code>cat</code> parameter, such as <code>cat=/dev/mac</code>. Similarly, permalink URLs have a <code>post</code> parameter, 
search results have a <code>search</code> parameter, and so on. The key to accessing this blog's content intelligently 
lies in the use of combinations of these parameters.


First, two quick pieces of Thistle terminology:
  • Categories - A category, as you might expect, is a group of posts on a certain topic, and in Thistle blogs, categories are in fact directories on the server. A category also contains all sub-directories within it; hence my Development category also shows posts from my AppleScript and Cocoa sub-categories, and so on. Categories use the cat (or category) parameter in URLs.
    It's worth noting that the display name for a category ("Cocoa") is different from the value required for a category URL parameter ("/dev/mac"). You can always find the appropriate parameter by simply visiting a category and looking at the URL of the page.
  • Types - A "type" can be thought of as a way of viewing information; a formatting style. The "printable" view for a post is a type, as is the "quote me" view. RSS feeds and archives are also types. Types use the type parameter in URLs.

When you think about it, this concept of types and categories actually gives you, the reader, considerably flexibility 
in determining what content you want to see via your links/bookmarks to this blog, or your subscriptions. The combination 
of appropriate parameters lets you filter-out information which isn't of interest to you. Below are some examples, which 
will open in a new window. For reasons of brevity, I've left out the unchanging part of each URL.

You can also add <code>type</code> parameters to control how the information is displayed, as the following examples show.

The use of <code>type</code> parameters becomes particularly useful when you remember that the RSS feeds are just another type:
And so on.


Hopefully this brief tutorial will help you tailor your Irate Scotsman links/bookmarks to suit your needs, and more 
importantly to keep your feeds free of material which doesn't interest you. As I said previously, also remember that 
this information applies to any other <a href="">Thistle</a>-powered 
blogs you might encounter.