The Joys Of Individual Archives

Warning… This is a “inside blogging” story that may not interest you.

Powerline will soon be unreadable (and unlinkable) for many on the internet. Want proof?

See their January archive, which weighs in at an impressive +4MB per page load. The only way to link to, or read an individual Powerline article is via the monthly archive page. Way back in the ancient history of Wizbang I used software which would not make individual pages for entries and ran into the same problem of page bloat as the month went on. I fixed my problem by changing blogging software to Movable Type. Powerline appears to have brought the problem on themselves by changing some settings in their blogging software – also Movable Type.

With time based archives (like monthly and weekly), each entry is not stored on a separate page, but as part of the whole archive page. In the case of Powerline you now have to load the whole monthly archive page to get to any single article. That’s not so bad early in the month, but as content and pictures are added eventually it doesn’t load very fast – even for high speed internet users. Dial-up users will get hourglasses instead of content.

Since the front page is set to show a limited number of entries (or days) it continues to load in respectable fashion, but if you try to link to an individual story you’re actually linking to the ever growing monthly archive page. I’m not sure what problem they were trying to solve at Powerline when they eliminated individual archive pages, but in the case of a high volume, high traffic site (like theirs) the cure is worse than the disease.

I made a little chart to show the progress of page bloat over the course of a typical month – [graph].

Note: I’m not picking on Powerline – which happens to be one of my favorite blogs – they just made for a fresh example

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17 Comments

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