Weekly update for January 17, 2016

Jan 17, 2016 — I started the week by doodling on a neon-green sticky-note a list of things I wanted to do this week. I accomplished half of them. This is that half:

RSS goes back to the future

Three years ago, Day of the Shirt added a RSS feed that simply listed the day’s t-shirt sales with a thumbnail of the design. It was simple but required a lot of scrolling to see all the designs. A year ago, I spent a lot of time creating a grid of thumbnails that could be embedded in the RSS feed to require a lot less scrolling to see all the designs. Each thumbnail in the grid had a small number in the corner and below the grid was a numbered list of links to buy the design. It was clever, but after using it for a while many subscribers pointed out that it still required scrolling up and down to cross-reference the designs. So I undid it. This week, Day of the Shirt’s RSS feed returns to a simple list of clickable thumbnails.

Facebook sharing gets better

When you share a Day of the Shirt page on Facebook, they scan the page for the page’s title, description and thumbnail. Facebook does this so they can show a preview of the link you’re sharing. We can hint certain parts of the page to make it easier for Facebook to find what it’s looking for. We’ve always had the hinting, but it turns out we could hint even more. So we did.

Naming things is hard

There is a saying that “naming things” is one of the only two hard problems in Computer Science. I’ve struggled to find a good word that can cover the various grammatical forms of “on sale” for our internal database columns and functions. For the past 5 years, I’ve used “today”, but “today” can get confusing when you need a past participle (“todayed”?) or negation (“untoday”?). So this week I chose a new word: “promoted”. It has plenty of forms like “promote”, “unpromote”, “promotes”, etc. It probably won’t ever appear on the front-end of Day of the Shirt, but adopting a more flexible word has helped clean up a lot of oddly named code.

What do you think of the old-is-new RSS Feed? Do you know a better word than “promoted”? Send us your suggestions at [email protected] or by tweeting us at @dayoftheshirt. And definitely share Day of the Shirt with your friends on Facebook.