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Andrew July 20, 1999 23:11

archieves of previous debates
A suggestion for the webmaster -

I enjoy browsing old entries from time to time and I wonder if it would be possible to archieve entries by month as ONE ascii (compressed) text file and have them available for downloading?

You could download a months worth of debate at once and then read the entries at your leisure with a simple text editor. You wouldn't have to be online and your mouse will probably appreciate an hours worth of rest.

This obviously sounds like an easy thing to do at my end and is probably a terribly difficult think to do at your end, but I thought I would ask. Thanks for all of your hard work.

Does anybody have any interest, or am I really the geek my wife says I am?


Jonas Larsson July 21, 1999 06:48

Re: archieves of previous debates
To do exactly what you want would take some re-writing of the scripts that run the forum. Everything you read here is processed by a perl script before it is delivered to you - the messages are not stored in the same format as you see them. IŽd have to write a script which creates a monthly full-text archive. Are there more people who want this "off-line, full-text, time-period" mode? I will soon split up the archive into years. I think that one month is a bit too short and it would destroy too many threads. With years you avoid that problem since there usually is very little discussion around new-year.

You can already today view all messages in one file - click on "Preferences" and select "Guestbook Style" (there are a few different alternatives which gives you different sort order). If you do this in the archive youŽll get a *very* long page though, with the full text of over 3000 messages... I guess you could cut and paste the time-period you are interested in from there. In the main forum you can also limit this full-text list to only cover the last few weeks or so.

Francisco Saldarriaga July 22, 1999 16:28

Re: archieves of previous debates
Certainly this is a good idea on having records that could be organized and have a library. I think that many repeated questions could be seached and analyzed. It will be great to have it. Is it affordable? As you all said, I think is a job. Who has funds for it?

Jonas Larsson July 22, 1999 16:55

Re: archieves of previous debates
Well, there is already a searchable archive which you can use to look for old answers. The question is in what form do you want the archive to be available? As it is today it is a full archive, containing all old messages. The archive can be searched for keyword (or for a specific author). I plan to soon split this archive into years. This will in the long term give each archive a more reasonable size and will also make it easier to find answers with a reasonable age. I think that one year is a suitable period - long enough not to "break threads" and to contain a significant amount of information (several thousands of messages), but yet short enough to be of a practical size and only have current information. Or what do you think?

As for financing, there is no need for anything extra. To do this is not that hard, and archiving text messages takes virtually no disk space. But before you do something you should know that it is both needed and wanted by many users. Anyone else have any suggestions about how to organize the archives of this forum?

John C. Chien July 22, 1999 18:11

Re: archieves of previous debates
(1). Online is to search, to search is to surf. (2). It is the only way to survive. (3). If we all sit back and wait for someone to create a series of story. It is the end of the online. (4). If someone is interested in the back issues of the discussion, he can easily visit it one by one and print it out.

Andrew July 24, 1999 23:54

Re: archieves of previous debates
I disagree with John - I was not advocating "waiting for someone to create a series of story", I was suggesting a way to help people to use their very limited time resource as efficiently as possible. Yes you can visit "back issues", but "easily" is a relative term. Some people pay for time while on line, sometimes people can't get online, and some people can read a single combined document offline more quickly than visiting each individual message.

John C. Chien July 25, 1999 00:13

Re: archieves of previous debates
(1). I understand that. I can tell you that my time is very expensive. There are two reasons for me to be here: one is, it was my son's idea, and the other is I try to get my busy CFD work balanced and also try to get this forum rolling. (2). I do have an idea for you. Since the forum is not going away ( I will try to keep it alive.), and since you are always interested in reading the back issues of the forum, I think it is a perfect match for you to work with the webmaster to work out this new system. It would be a very challenging project for cfd-online. What do you think? ( we all have to learn something new to stay alive. Especially, you are going to have the webmaster to guide you. By the way, I have not talk to the webmaster about this yet.)

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