The ‘Last Ever’ Issue

July 9, 2010 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When London Progressive Journal was conceived two and a half years ago the idea was to provide a single page, weekly on-line publication; a physical publication would have been favourite but far more ambitious and costly. There would be no ability for readers to sign up and comment on stories as with normal blogs, instead they would post comments in electronically so that these could be published, with any necessary responses, as a letters page for the site. With this format in mind I designed a fairly simple site, using a new language that was quick to set up and implement, and pretty quickly we had a design we liked that was easy for the editorial staff to use.

As time went on it became clear that all the content on a single page was off-putting for some readers and that it had few advantages. Most comments we got were either simple agreements, too brief to be published in a full letters page format, or spam comments courtesy of the World Wide Web. Changes were made to the way each issue was viewed to have a story on each page but the weekly publication form remained, as did the spam, in spite of my attempts to stem it. Eventually it became clear that a more complex site was needed but the nature of the language I used to create it meant I was hampered in my attempts to do this so I decided to build it again from scratch, something I’ve been doing in my spare time for the last three or four months.

The new site will lose the weekly publication routine and adopt a more familiar blog-like format, publishing articles throughout the week and allowing (registered) users to comment on them, with the email update of new stories likely to be sent out less frequently. I’m sad that the weekly publication idea didn’t work out since I liked the idea of being given a block of good stories to read over a set period of time, but it’s clear the convention is there because it’s what people prefer rather than because it’s what they’ve always had.

There will be improvements that should make the site easier to navigate and easier to find on Google and other search engines, one major advantage of presenting the site in a blog-like rather than a weekly format. Right now you’ll find the list of previous articles and of our writers hard to sift through; the new site will have a full search facility and a much more friendly list of writers. Articles will also be searched for the most used words, allowing us to provide links to related articles alongside and to let the user quickly search through articles by given keywords.

So this is the last ‘issue’ of LPJ, the last time it will be delivered in a weekly format but, after a week or two’s recess – during which I will be converting the database to the new site and setting everything up – it will return with new articles and a new way of reading through the old articles.

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This post was written by Theo Graham-Brown

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