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Back again with a problem with Dates and Entries

Travel Forums System Talk Back again with a problem with Dates and Entries

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1. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 2 May '08 01:06

Hi Guys,

Some time back I posted a question about how to put a new entry in now, and have it show up in the blog in the past. Useful if you want to add an entry in after travel that you did not have time before. Or if you run out of space on one page.

The question was answered (i think by sander, or Sam). One edits the entry date. And the entry will appear in the blog where ever you want it.

But in your settings (manage) area it will be noted as the latest entry.

Ok, I hope that all made sense. At the moment I am updating things and need to but entries into the past, and am using the above method.

But I am coming into a headache. While traveling there were times, I could not get access to internet, and if I did it was too slow to access TP. And I am Crap at keeping exact dates. Yes this is the problem.

It is proving to be a massive pain to enter in entries in the past based on dates. I wrote a lot of the same date in Iran and did not make an entry, just a heading to avoid all this new entry stuff. Unfortunately its coming back to haunt me as I put every thing in on the same date 9-11-07. Now everything seems to be jumbled up when I edit them and add to them. I thought it might be the time stamp, as in hours minutes. So I put new entries that I want before another time, back in the clock. But still they are mixed.

I know and see the logic with date entries. But for me I do not blog every day, and so do not keep a daily account. I write about a period of days, sometimes a week or so after the event. And sometimes if I remember I manually type them in to the actual blog content.

All of this means I am having a hell of a time keeping any order. I usually go by the titles.

Is there any chance, or in the future is it ever deemed that a drag and drop system will be created/used? So that one can manually move things around one's blog with ease? This may also satisfy the reverse entry blog people too (the ones who want there last entry to appear first)

It took me ages to get the map sorted, and again I cheated by using false dates thanks to tips from Sanders and Sam. Now I have this date issue with entries. Any ideas? This is my main bone of contention with TP, dates. I am very bad with them I know, but I never thought it would make me cringe like this!!

OC

Update: Ok half the problem solved, it takes longer than 1 minute for the page to refresh properly. Still, I have to manually change all entries again to reorder them. Drag and Drop in the manage section?

Update 2: Grah, also the dating is displayed like 2007-11-10 11:25:37 which confused the heck out of me. Why not dd-mm-yyyy?? (in page update area, yet in the published blog it is dd-mm-yyyy????

[ Edit: Edited on May 2, 2008, at 1:59 AM by outcast ]

2. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5465 posts) 2 May '08 07:07

When I read this, I thought I'd answer and tell you to use the "travel dates" and that would order them, but turns out that's not right. Probably because we didn't add the travel dates till later. To me, the easiest fix seems to be for us to make the ordering by travel dates first, and entry date second. The entry date really should never need to be touched - the only reason it is there is as a timestamp of when things happened. So, having the ordering based on that is really the wrong way around.

A drag-and-drop ordering would be interesting. Not necessarily the easiest feat to achieve, but it can be done. Only thing - it couldn't change the dates on your behalf, it could only change the order. So you might end up with mis-dated entries that are in the correct order. Could be strange.

Now, regarding the display of the dates - you can set how dates are formatted (on your blog) in your settings area. In the management area, we just stuck to a standard. I can see how it would be better to also use the user preference there though. Or at least use a standard that isn't ambiguous about what's the month and what's the day.. ie maybe "10 Nov 2007" etc..

Thanks for your feedback on this. It's good for us to know where we should prioritise our efforts and what things are irritating people. We've tried to improve the way dates are handled, but there is still plenty to be done clearly.

3. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 3 May '08 06:29

Thanks for the reply. Entry by travel dates would surely be better! At least then I really could only blame myself for terrible date keeping. And I think would be a better solution to drag and drop.

I see a lot of travellers point is based on dates, e.g. Map by dates, and entries etc. Which is a good system if one is a perfectionist, and or has the time to do this. Put I wonder how many people who are legitimately on the road, and not carrying a laptop or PDA with them have the time to remember what day they were where?

I thought one of the things that might help would be the timestamp on people's photos? I know some people edit their photos and can change the EXIF info but it might help somewhere, not sure if my non mathematical brain can firgure out if it can help, but maybe.

Either way I think Entries by Travel Dates would be better, but to have a record kept somewhere of when it was entered is good too, for reference etc.

It may bug the heck out of me, but one of the things I do like about travellers point is the feedback the admin types here give back. It's always positive, and well written. I think many of us have online customer support issues, but here it is a pleasure to ask for help. Well Done, and thanks.

OC

4. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5465 posts) 3 May '08 07:13

You're quite right that most people wouldn't remember dates. In the blogs I guess the main mistake we made was assuming that people would blog as they were travelling. In truth, people often (myself included) will save up their entries till they get a chance to post them. It does often take some thinking to work out what dates were what at that point.

Funny you should mention the photos - in actual fact, we are taking advantage of EXIF data in the new bulk-uploader. If the uploaded photo has the information, we will use it as a default (allowing editing if you really want to of course). If you have resized the images before uploading, this could of course not quite work though, because during the resizing / optimising, it is quite possible that the EXIF data was also lost in order to save on file size. Still, I have noticed many more (seemingly) accurately dated photos being uploaded since that feature was included.

Either way I think Entries by Travel Dates would be better, but to have a record kept somewhere of when it was entered is good too, for reference etc.

Good, that's more or less a philosophy I can agree with. I'll slate it in to be done. I can't give any promises when, but it's not a huge job, so hopefully before too long. The only concern of course is how that might affect existing blogs - it could of course stuff up some carefully sorted blogs if we don't do it carefully.

It may bug the heck out of me, but one of the things I do like about travellers point is the feedback the admin types here give back. It's always positive, and well written. I think many of us have online customer support issues, but here it is a pleasure to ask for help. Well Done, and thanks.

You're more than welcome. We're just happy to get the feedback. Being told what's not working gives us a good opportunity to fix it ! :)

5. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5579 posts) 24 May '08 04:15

Okay, circling back to this as I've been doing some work on it the past day.

OC, re-reading your first post I couldn't help but wonder if the main problem was how the entries were/are ordered in the blog management area? As you've probably noticed, this does NOT match how they are ordered on the blog. In fact, they're totally not ordered by anything similar (they're ordered by the date they were entered -not always the same as the publish date-, but that's not displayed anywhere).

Just to make matters even more confusing, on the OVERVIEW page the 5 entries listed there are sorted by publish date, so that doesn't match the MANAGE > Entries page. It does match the blog though.

What I'm thinking is that by default the blog is sorted by 'date to', ie. the second of the travel dates that are filled in. If that isn't filled in, use 'date from' and if neither is filled in use the publish date. I am pretty sure that's what you were referring to above as well.

Then on the blog management area I think the order should match the blog however allow for sorting on the MANAGE > Entries page. I've whipped up a solution which allows you to sort by everything (title/publish date/author etc.) so if you weren't able to find an entry, a quick sort by publish date should help.

What do both of you think about this as a solution?

6. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 24 May '08 11:29

Thanks for getting back about this.

Manage area is what I was talking about alright: date to and date from as default would make sense. But to me I would be tempted to put a date into from first, mainly because it is listed first. And when sitting at a cyber cafe one might not get a chance to finishing typing and decide to come back to it later. But like you said the default would take care of that. What of the people who do not fill it in? And those that fill in more than one blog per day?

"I've whipped up a solution which allows you to sort by everything (title/publish date/author etc.)"

If the management area looks like the blog, then I am happy!

The most confusing element I was getting to is that if you write a new entry based on an event in the past, lets say 3 months ago. And were keeping a daily blog. The new entry you just published (even with a date in the past) would appear in the blog at what ever date you set the Posting Time to, yet in the Manage list it would be at the top of the list. Thus making it confusing to the date inept like me! Or rather those who look at titles more than dates (confuses the creative brain!)

So if your sort option takes care of that then that's what I was getting to.

How would the Posting Time be effected by this? As in the one displayed on the site itself? Also is there a way to hide/disable that from showing?

I never use the overview area so I don't pay it much attention, though I guess it should match the blog and the rest.

Just a last point which might help:

Does anyone fill in date to or date from?

I know some perfectionists/skilled typists must. But to me the dates are a bit scary down there in that section of the blog. Ok in the last few weeks I have been with internet and have had time to look at it properly and it all makes sense. But in a rush on the go, it's got that "don't want to mess with it" appeal.

It's all very 'real time'. Even sitting here I see the "(Connects the blog entry with your travel map)" text and I am terrified of it as I don't want it to mess up my map.

Maybe some simple text (context text) to explain in brief what it means in layman's terms?

Anyways there are my thoughts. Having the management area look like the blog in terms of dates, entries, etc is excellent news though, looking forward to it.

7. Posted by jtlande (Full Member, 4 posts) 25 May '08 18:06

I came to the forum just now to look for answers to this blog entry sort problem, fully expecting to have to pose a new question...I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's run into this!

The thing that frustrates the heck out of me is the inability to have my blog entries listed by order of travel date. In fact one of my good friends recently chose to use blogger.com to set up his travel blog, rather than use Travellerspoint, because of this exact problem.

This is especially relevant for me now because I'm about to send out a mass email to many of my friends pointing them to my travel blog. For those friends who followed the blog while I was on the move, it was useful to be able to go to the web site and see the newest entries at the very top. But now I've completed my trip. For those friends who will be viewing the blog in its entirety for the first time, having the entries sorted in any sequence other than by travel date is bound to be rather confusing, even nonsensical.

Now, I don't even want to think about "from" and "to" dates, that's a bit more complicated.

Thanks,
Jason

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5579 posts) 26 May '08 16:37

Quoting outcast

Manage area is what I was talking about alright: date to and date from as default would make sense. But to me I would be tempted to put a date into from first, mainly because it is listed first. And when sitting at a cyber cafe one might not get a chance to finishing typing and decide to come back to it later. But like you said the default would take care of that. What of the people who do not fill it in? And those that fill in more than one blog per day?

Basically the default should take care of those cases where no travel dates have been filled in (like in your case you haven't filled in travel from or travel to dates). There's always a publish date filled in, which by default is the time you are writing the entry, though this is the one that can be adjusted. For travel dates you don't fill in hours or minutes or seconds, so if you have multiple on the same day, it would go down the list and sort it by publish date (which is sorted down to the second). That's the idea in any case ;)

Quoting outcast

If the management area looks like the blog, then I am happy!

The most confusing element I was getting to is that if you write a new entry based on an event in the past, lets say 3 months ago. And were keeping a daily blog. The new entry you just published (even with a date in the past) would appear in the blog at what ever date you set the Posting Time to, yet in the Manage list it would be at the top of the list. Thus making it confusing to the date inept like me! Or rather those who look at titles more than dates (confuses the creative brain!)

So if your sort option takes care of that then that's what I was getting to.

Okay, I've gone ahead and put this live. Check the Blog entries page and let me know what you think. You'll see that the blog posts are now automatically sorted by publish date, which matches the blogs. There's a little icon there to indicate it's sorted by that as well. Hovering over it will tell you a bit more about it and show you that you can click on it (both via a changing mouse icon and in the text that comes up). So using that you could easily sort by title or author or draft etc. Also useful for back-to-front viewing in the management area.

Quoting outcast

How would the Posting Time be effected by this? As in the one displayed on the site itself? Also is there a way to hide/disable that from showing?

In the management area it doesn't display and this sorting doesn't really do anything with the time.

On the actual blogs it would still display (it's pulled in from the publishing date). The main benefit is to make sure that you could post 6 blogs in a day and they'd still be in the right order. You could probably pull off hiding it by customizing your template, but it's not really the easiest bit to hide :( Is there a problem with it showing or do you think a lot of people would like to not show it?

Quoting outcast

I never use the overview area so I don't pay it much attention, though I guess it should match the blog and the rest.

This matches both the others now too, just to be consistent :)

Quoting outcast

Just a last point which might help:

Does anyone fill in date to or date from?

I know some perfectionists/skilled typists must. But to me the dates are a bit scary down there in that section of the blog. Ok in the last few weeks I have been with internet and have had time to look at it properly and it all makes sense. But in a rush on the go, it's got that "don't want to mess with it" appeal.

It's all very 'real time'. Even sitting here I see the "(Connects the blog entry with your travel map)" text and I am terrified of it as I don't want it to mess up my map.

Maybe some simple text (context text) to explain in brief what it means in layman's terms?

Yes, some people do, although admittedly it's not as many as would be nice to see. I am somewhat confused about your post above now though, because this is exactly the fields we're talking of sorting the blog by (or did you have other fields in mind?!). I know it's a bit of a pain to fill in, but it is really the only way to be able to clarify that a blog post spans a period of time.

Filling these in is really quite harmless, although I understand the term 'Connect' might not be the best here as it has some measure of seriousness to it. Would something like 'Automatically links your blog with your travel map' be better?

What it basically does is uses those dates to see if you have a travel map for the same dates. If you do, then it adds a link pointing to your travel map automatically on each blog entry at the top. If you were on a longer trip and your blog entry is only a short part of that trip, it will link directly to the stops that are most relevant; pretty nifty really! For example you can see on this post from the Cook Islands, there is a sentence at the top saying "View Australia 2006 on Sam I Am's travel map." (right under the dates that that entry covers, which are the travel from/travel to dates) with part of that being a link to my travel map for that trip. When you click on that link it will show you all photos I took nearby that stop and all the blog entries as well (in this case only one, but could have been more). So someone might find your blog via your map, or vice versa, find your map via your blog as the two essentially become interlinked.

This is all a little complex though it's hard to see a way of doing it otherwise that isn't just as complex (or even more so!).

Quoting outcast

Anyways there are my thoughts. Having the management area look like the blog in terms of dates, entries, etc is excellent news though, looking forward to it.

Well, the management area changes are live, so let me know what you think. Heading to bed now so fresh to tackle more in the morning :)

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5579 posts) 26 May '08 17:08

Quoting jtlande

I came to the forum just now to look for answers to this blog entry sort problem, fully expecting to have to pose a new question...I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's run into this!

The thing that frustrates the heck out of me is the inability to have my blog entries listed by order of travel date. In fact one of my good friends recently chose to use blogger.com to set up his travel blog, rather than use Travellerspoint, because of this exact problem.

Now when someone goes choosing that abandoned blogger system over ours, then I really know we have something to improve Can you choose different ways of sorting your blog on blogger then? I've always only seen it ever sorted like nearly all other blogs, ie. most recent entries first. That's not to say I don't understand what you mean, because I can see a travel blog needs a totally different way of looking at it.

First things first, just to avoid confusion. You're referring to the public display that visitors to your blog see right? I think outcast was mainly referring to the management area, so just trying to keep my mind straight here.

Quoting jtlande

This is especially relevant for me now because I'm about to send out a mass email to many of my friends pointing them to my travel blog. For those friends who followed the blog while I was on the move, it was useful to be able to go to the web site and see the newest entries at the very top. But now I've completed my trip. For those friends who will be viewing the blog in its entirety for the first time, having the entries sorted in any sequence other than by travel date is bound to be rather confusing, even nonsensical.

Hmm, yes, in that case it is certainly not ideal. Two ideas, although both aren't really the answer, I just thought I'd throw them out there.

The first being to point visitors to your blogs Table of Contents ordered in reverse. That is the right order of course, but not really ideal for reading unless you know how to use tabs handily.

The second, and perhaps better idea, is located under the MANAGE tab. There's a sub-tab there called Print. That allows you to set a few settings (font size/font type, a front page picture, sub heading etc.) and then generate either a PDF or a HTML copy of your blog. As this is more of a book than a blog, it's sorted from oldest entry to newest entry. There's a few problems with the PDF version based on the rendering engine that we just can't help at all until software catches up with the idea (think along the lines of photos/text sometimes being slightly cut off and no flash), but the HTML one should generate working videos and maps even. It's not designed in the same way your blog is though which is the only real downside I can think of, but it works really nicely for printing out (hardcover copy on the coffee table ) and of course if you save the HTML version to your computer you actually end up with an entire backup of your blog on your own computer. Also be aware with either format that they can generate some pretty large files. I just generated a 9MB PDF from my blog for example :)

I am open to other ideas on how to do the sorting though. Sorting front to back would make sense in this case, but other visitors to your blog would be left confused again, so I think either it needs to be up to the visitor to set the order or ...???

10. Posted by jtlande (Full Member, 4 posts) 26 May '08 19:30

Sam I am,

- I haven't used blogger myself so I couldn't tell you if my friend's choice to go there was the right one, nor do I know if it really behaves any differently.

- Yeah, outcast was talking about the 'manage' page and having it in sync with the ordering elsewhere...and I had the same struggles as (s)he did with the manage page. The solution you just implemented is, to me, a definite improvement! Now I can understand at a glance how the entries on the manage page is sequenced and can change that order by clicking on the header - I dig it!

- And yes, I was mainly talking about the public display that visitors see. I'll give one of your suggestions a whirl and let you know how they work for me, and if I come up with any other ideas I'll toss them your way.

Thanks so much for your responses!

/jason