A few months back, I built and launched onepolitics: an automated website which pulled together the latest blog postings from the ‘proper’ political commentators. It wasn’t ever meant to be a mass-audience website: I built it for myself, but if anyone else wanted to use it, they were welcome. As I wrote at the time:
I’m finding myself looking at onepolitics during quiet moments through the day, purely to see what’s popping up. I’m kind of interested in this sort of content generally, but not enough to want to be disturbed by every new item popping up in my RSS reader.
I’ve found it really useful, so much so that I wanted it to give me more than the fairly restrictive content it offered. I was also noticing the limitations of the initial build, based on WordPress and the FeedWordPress plugin; and at the same time, realising the awesome power of pure RSS. Plus, with more political content going into YouTube, I wanted to add a video element.
So in the last day or two, I’ve rebuilt onepolitics, dropping WordPress – see? it isn’t the answer to everything! – and driving everything through RSS feeds aggregated using shared labels in Google Reader. It now includes full representation of MainStreamMedia and ‘true’ bloggers. It should be faster to update, with the latest items appearing within five minutes of publication. It also includes an Ajax-style ‘video player’, showing the latest video clips from the parties’ official YouTube accounts. There are a few cute new design touches. The only flipside is, I’ve dropped the archive aspects… but looking at the usage stats, nobody was using anything other than the ‘latest’ list anyway.
The code is almost embarrassingly straightforward: it even relies on an old-school FRAMESET, for goodness sake. But it made things much easier to put together, particularly from a cross-browser perspective, and I’ve used a few presentational tricks to smooth the usability.
As before, it’s there if you want it. It helps me keep on top of what’s happening on the political blogs, and if it helps you too… great.