Thursday 27th March 2008

I’m not really sure what to call this. Tool-tips? Hover help? Anyway, you should now notice something new if you hover your mouse cursor over any of the linked words in Diary entries. Here’s an example:

Screenshot

Most of these pop-up tips will only show the name of the person, place or thing mentioned, although even this is useful when Pepys isn’t very specific in the Diary entry itself. But of the 2,875 Encyclopedia topics, I’ve written short summaries for more then 500 of them — all those that have Wikipedia pages associated with them.

This leaves a lot of links without decent summaries and I’d love it if any of you felt like writing one or more. Just email me the text and the link it should be associated with (eg, http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/150/). Summaries should be up to 60 words and summarise the person, place or thing in a way that will be useful for the life of the diary. Where possible I tended to focus particularly on information around the diary person, such as how a person faired upon the Restoration. Also, I’m not attached to any of the summaries I’ve written so far, so if you feel you can improve on any, do email your versions to me at the usual address!

These tips won’t show up if you read the diary by email, or RSS. There’s also a bug that means the tip won’t show up in Internet Explorer on Windows if its link is at the very left hand edge of the Diary entry. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fix that.

I hope you find these useful!

8 Comments

Art Perry   Link to this

This is a very helpful upgrade!

Regarding links to pages in this site: Does your blog software have an option to generate URLs that are more descriptive - i.e. to use your example above, instead of http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/150/ to http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/Elizabet... I find this much easier to navigate and understand than just using system generated numeric links.

Phil Gyford   Link to this

It is possible but is unlikely to happen I'm afraid, for several reasons. First, because it would mean having to redirect all requests for the old numeric URLs to the new ones; not impossible, but with 2,875 of them, it's a lot.

Second, because it's much easier for me to put the links into the Diary entries using the numbers rather than another scheme. Because this is my main maintenance task I don't want to make it any harder!

Third, because the titles of some pages change over time. This isn't the end of the world, as the URLs could remain the same regardless, but it would create inconsistencies.

Having said all that, you're right, it would be more friendly, and were I starting the site now I'd do as you suggest because it's regarded better practice. But when the site began at the end of 2002 I don't think it was particularly simple to do with Movable Type, the software I'm using.

Phil Gyford   Link to this

Incidentally, in case you're wondering why there's that 'p' in the middle of the current URLs... it's because when the site began I only envisaged linking to a handful of "people" and "places" mentioned, so "p" seemed the logical directory name. It was only when the site became more popular, and there was obviously a need for more background information, that the Encyclopedia expanded to cover all topics.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Phil, those roll-overs are snazzy as all getout. What a nice surprise. Thanks!!

GrahamT   Link to this

Thanks Phil. A really useful enhancement. Well done.

I can confirm that in IE7, links on the left margin cause the pop-up to flash in and out of existence too quickly to read, but resizing the text (scroll wheel) seems to cure it - even when resized to the original size.

Timothy Mason   Link to this

Dear Phil:

I'm having a little difficulty with the new feature. If I choose to click on the "hover-point" in order to read the full encyclopedia entry, when I return to the diary the hover-text remains, hiding a portion of the copy and I can't make it go away. Am I doing something wrong?

Yours,

Timothy Mason

jean-paul   Link to this

Brilliant! Works like a charm in Safari (Os X 10.4.11). Thank you for your wonderful work, Phil!

Bradford   Link to this

Works very well with latest update to Mozilla Firefox, discovered by pleasant surprise before noting this explanation. Thanks again, Phil, for your tireless work.

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