Writing guide pages for martinfowler.com
If you’re in the habit of browsing this site, and are observant, you’ll have noticed there’s been a few changes in the last few months. Most obviously I changed the visual design, including a new typeface and banner coloring. More importantly I’ve been reworking the guide pages - pages that provide an overview to articles on a particular topic, such as the Agile Software Guide, the Software Architecture Guide, and the home page. Yesterday I published the new version of the Software Delivery Guide.
This is all a consequence of finished the refactoring book last year, which means I can now spend time giving martinfowler.com some attention after a couple of years of neglect. I have a long list of things I need to fix with the site, but top of that list has been these guide pages, which I hope will help people find useful material on the site.
Working on this intensifies my feeling that martinfowler.com is an odd duck of a web site. Most sites that are full of articles like this are journals and news organizations which emphasize new articles. But when I publish articles, I strive for articles that will be valuable for many years. If traffic is any guide, I have succeeded - about a third of my popular articles (over 1000 page views per month) are over ten years old. But my desire to support long-lived material means I don’t have many places to copy ideas from to improve the browsability of the site.
My aim is to help readers find articles that they are useful to them. The guide pages focus on particular topics, provide a brief summary of the topic and then articles on the site that cover them. These guide pages aren’t intended to comprehensive - I don’t try to review all the material on the web on the topic, just articles on this site.
I intend to do more of these guides. Two old ones that are still there are on NoSQL and DSLs - I haven’t yet decided whether these will stay or not. I need to spend some more time examining the material on the site and figuring out where good topic guides are needed. Interlaced with this is reviewing the tags I have and redesigning the tags pages.
I also have half-a-dozen articles in the preparation queue. Like much of recent writing on martinfowler.com, these are written by my colleagues (both inside ThoughtWorks and not) where my contribution is that of a developmental editor (which can often be pretty intensive work). I hope to get back to some more serious writing of my own soon, but I want to get the website into a better state beforehand.