Manila 9.5 goes public beta

The new version of Manila, the software that powers this blog, entered public beta over the weekend. Congrats to Jake, Scott, and the rest of the Userland team.

Some of the changes in the software look really interesting for all levels of users, including nofollow support, enclosures, authenticated member signup, better management for comments and trackback (spam management), and a ton of performance fixes. Others, including version control and site access control, look squarely aimed at a specific set of customers—those inside the firewall. Very interesting.

Things I’d like to see fixed that I don’t see listed—I’m going to try to install the beta bits and check for the fixes, but haven’t gotten there yet:

  • Static rendering issues with news items: This is the biggest pain for me. Currently the news item department, comment, and trackback links are all broken on every news item on my static site (www is the static site; is the dynamic site). The static rendering code should be smart enough to link to the dynamic site for these items—or else we should have the option to do static rendering of comments, trackback, and news item department pages.
  • The calendar on static pages: Unless you go back and re-render a month manually, the navigation on the calendar of a static page does not link to any content published after that page was rendered. This makes paging chronologically forward through the content a real problem. It’s not just a problem for one month, either, since the “next month” link points to the last available content date. So basically you have to manually re-render a given month for a few months in a row to avoid losing the thread of the navigation in statically rendered pages. Manila should either do re-rendering automatically as part of a scheduled maintenance process, or should identify a different way to handle the calendar function.
  • Better archive handling: Now that this site has almost four years of content, the limited archive paging (month at a time) that the calendar control offers is frustrating. I’d like to see automated support for weekly, monthly, or yearly archive pages, even if they only offer titles and not full content. I’d also like to see more robust department archives. Currently they only manage a fixed number of news items (50?) per department, and then you have to use the calendar (or Google) to find older entries. I’d like to see Manila support paging, date-based archiving, or some other intelligent way of finding deeper content without taxing server resources on news item department pages.

I look forward to playing with the beta some more over the next few weeks in my shrinking spare time.