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A Bit of Rationale

Some rationales behind the code.

Ftrain, for all its faults, is a moderately successful use of XML for publishing Web content, and will transfer somewhere upwards of 100,000 page views this month to 15-20,000 unique visitors (up a bit because of the popularity of Operation Wild Badger).

It could easily scale to do that each day, and it could also easily make better use of XML technologies to allow teams to develop content, rather than just one rather lazy individual.

What would be nice is that these teams, working with their editors, would be building a big interlinked narrative rather than a disparate pile of editorial and content. The end result would be more like a book than a magazine, but it would keep the excitement of the periodical interval. But I'll save that discussion for now, I think, and try to keep on the technical target.

(It's late in the game for all this, the economy crashed and all, but I still love the Web. All those possibilities! It's unfathomable.)

While the link structure is confusing at first, I think it's a good solution to a thorny problem - if this was a 20-page site, or a chronological log, I would think all I've done was overkill. But my goal for Ftrain is to keep it going at least 10 years from now - I think 10 years is a good number for me to come to some solid conclusions about the nature of text on the screen, which is my major interest. So we're talking up to 5000 individual nodes with all said and done. It's a lot and having a good base is important.


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Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.

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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.

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