Heh. I was thinking about this just the other day when somebody asked why my blog doesn’t have paging. Total agreement. I was just stumped by what to put on the front page and dealing with the leftovers. Will have to do some experimenting.
Great! Please leave a comment with a link when you have something working :-)
Dang. The last thing I needed was more encouragement. :) I actually punted on paging, and simply added a single flat archive page with the titles of all posts. At about 20K per year (4K gzip) it will suffice for my purposes.
It’s a little unwieldy perhaps, but it made me rethink why I needed paging. It’s not for the casual reader. It’s more like a sitemap for robots and other dedicated individuals. The only requirement to satisfy is that all content is technically discoverable.
If I had more content than reasonably fit on one page, I’d break the archive down by year (or month if I’m crazy prolific). Archives organized by date are fairly standard. That’s exactly how the public library archives newspapers and magazines. The only gotcha is making the sections large enough to be meaningful. There are some blogspot themes that seem to default to monthly archives, but for people who only post once per month, that’s a lot of clicking to browse through.
Basically, I’m in agreement that “partial” pages are ugly, but I don’t like the “overstuffed” pages solution. If post 22 is on page 2, I don’t like that it will later jump to page 3 once more posts show up. That breaks the invariant that every post is on a predictable page. It may seem backwards to work from post -> index page, but keeping that relationship fixed is important to me.
So while I didn’t implement it, date based archives would be my next angle of attack. To continue your diary analogy, many extensive diary writers will start over with a fresh book each year, regardless of how many blank pages are left in the current book. It’s both technically feasible to implement and presents an easily comprehended mental model for the user. Are the most recent posts duplicated in the current year’s archive? Yes, but that’s hardly surprising. Does the archive only have a single post in January? Yes, but again, easily understood.