Friday, March 17, 2006

The Pencil Revolution moves forward

A quick update on the progress of the Pencil Revolution following my post yesterday.

I commented on the difficulties of navigation and the problem now seems to have been partially resolved. More of the existing posts have been categorised - although the odd one still seems to have escaped correct categorisation - and information can now be accessed using the categories function.

This makes the site much more useful in the short term - and accessing the categories this morning was a much more helpful and informative experience. As a result, I'm now happy to add this blog into the right hand column - but I'm including it within the Pencils section rather the blogs as it's not really generating art per se. (But nice effort for St Patrick's Day!)

However as reviews accumulate over time, the existing arrangements for navigation are going to become very cumbersome. Access within categories is on a chronological basis only and there are no sub-categories within the pencils category. I'd very much like to see some consideration given to whether the development of a more conventional website based database solution for storing review data might be a better solution if the information generated by this new resource is going to be easily accessible. The blog might then continue to provide a a very useful and helpful "front end" for communicating new developments and news and communicating with reviewers and those interested in pencils. I look forward to hearing about further developments.....



  1. (Sorry if this got submitted already. I think I messed it up when I tried 12 hours ago.)

    Pencil Revolution was started as a blog more to foster interest in pencils and to obtain the pencil's proper place than to disseminate information per se. I don't think of Pencil Revolution as a reference site, but as a blog devoted to getting people excited about pencils, and I think we have been making some headway. My purpose in posting reviews is to show folks that there are nice pencils (or not nice ones, lol) out there that are better than the ones we used in grade school and that no one says we can't write or draw with whatever we want to. I imagine it might be different in Europe, but in the US, people look at you like you are crazy for being an adult and pulling out a yellow pencil at a meeting.

    I have thought about having the blog as a portal to a larger site, with galleries and forums, but I simply don't have the time to maintain that kind of database. I believe that Doug Martin's site is so comprehensive that attempts to mimic it would be disrespectful to Doug (who has always been nothing but helpful to me or anyone who loves pencils), probably unsuccessful and definitely redundant. Pencil Industry information is, of course, extremely well represented on Timberlines, a blog I enjoy very very much. Both Doug and Woodchuck are always infinitely nice and patient when I have a question they can answer.

    I'm sorry you feel that my site is difficult to navigate. I've fixed separate categories for the different kinds of reviews, etc., but other than narrowing them down by type or manufacturer (which I do not think is warranted yet but can always be done later), I'm not sure how much more organized they can get in a blog format. Wordpress is fluid enough that I can change the categories around, add sub-categories, etc. (For instance, I could add “Graphite,” “Color,” or “Aquarelle” as subcategories of “Artwork,” if we were get enough posts in that category to warrant it.) If things get more cumbersome, I can add pages that list reviews and such, but there are not that many now that it's hard to get through them, even all of them on one page.

    There was an issue with the code of the drop-down menu for the categories whereby it would only search for posts: 1) In the post-page/permalink a reader was on; 2) In the archive month the reader was on; or 3) The whole site, but only from the homepage. If one wanted the “Mailbox” catgegory but was in the October archive, it would only return results from October. I didn't realize this was happening until someone pointed it out, and I fixed it a day or two ago and coded the arcthishives and categories to be listed in the sidebar. I am looking into “Recent Posts” plugins and especially “Recent Comments” plugins, but I haven't found any that I particularly like. And I haven't had the time to implement any yet with some other work I've had to get finished.

    Thank you for your comments and for keeping the Revolution alive.

  2. Wow, that was full of typos. Sorry about that;)


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