The front-page of a serendipity-powered blog offers you a link to the next page at its bottom. But is it, really? Because arguably, it's the previous page. Wordpress seems to think so. So instead of the ever-confusing previous and next (chronologically? counting from the cover-page? or what?), could we just have older and more recent entries instead? Older and newer, maybe? Please? : )
Actually it's not so hard to patch that as to your liking.
Either change the language constants in your lang/serendipity_lang_en.inc.php file, or (even better) edit your entries.tpl template file to change the wording? :)
I for myself actually prefer "next page" and "previous page" because that is my personal pagination style when I visit blogs, even though they're chronologically sorted. So I tend to see that wording issue to be more of a personal flavour or Korinthen-Taste style. ;-)
The point was specifically that "previous" and "next" allow for different interpretations -- WP has one, s9y has another, thereby needlessly creating confusion. "Older" and "newer" on the other hand is clear; it won't mean one thing in s9y and another in WP.
And then of course fixing it in my weblog won't do me a blind bit of good when visiting others' logs, will it?
No prob. Hope prvs comment didn't sound rude, got one of those "emergency" kinda calls before I could edit for style.
And yes, that's part of the problem, it's not like s9y were wrong, and WP were right (or vice versa, for that matter). It's just confusing that they're different, so it would be nice if they used the same "right," or the same "wrong" scheme. : )
Or maybe, everybody's using feedreaders these days anyway, and it doesn't matter. : )
Not quite sure how to proceed myself, I could change it for this weblog, but that would probably just add to the confusion.
Well, what you're writing all boils down for one thing: AN OFFICIAL POLL! ;)
Of course that would only make sense if other blog authors are willing to change the wording. Speaking for Serendipity, I would bow to the Mehrheit. So just get the others into the boat, convince major blogs to think about it (roell.net, spreeblick, bildblog, shoppblogger, schockwellenreiter and you're set).
Well. Or Whatever. Just mumbling for myself here. Nobody reads to the end of longer comments anyway. Sigh.
Which I guess brings us straight to the treacherous waters of semiotics and affordance.
"Back" and "Forward", "Previous" and "Next" might just as well be left and right arrows (where of course, the above problem persists).
I find it interesting that outside of the previous/next paradigm, there seem to be no readily apparent symbols for "older" and "newer" outside of calendar dates or page numbers, of which we'd always need at least two to determine the direction by means of comparison.
An icon of a baby and one of an old person might be a first idea for younger/older, but in the context of a weblog, this could possibly be ambiguous ("Does the baby symbolize younger entries, or entries from when the author was younger?"). And that's not even taking into account the fact that most would likely prefer textual navigation over icons. (Or would they?)
Can of worms.
As far as icons go, a large stack of pages to symbolize "towards more recent entries" and a smaller one ("towards the beginning") might work. Strictly speaking, the beginning would have happened on a single page, but we wish to illustrate more/fewer, not one/many. Of course, this is still deep within the realm of theory.
On a more practical note, it just occurred to me that all web-comics I know seem to mirror the transport bar of a tapedeck/VCR/CD-player/DVD-player:
|« « » »|
(first, previous, next, latest)
"Left" always signifies "back in time;" the (implicit or explicit) "play" button points right, towards younger - and ultimately, future - content.
I guess if there is widely recognized standard, then that's probably it?
Which of course brings us full circle, because s9y even uses « » in the page-navigation (at least in the theme I use), but with "reversed" meaning. In fact, it doesn't end there.
When I leaf through older pages, I get URLs like http://katze-mit-wut.azundris.com/archives/P3.html - with the page numbers the higher the older a page is. This is surprising, I'd think the first page would be *page one*.
It is also surprising because articles work the other way around - the first article is article #1, and article indices remain static.
This of course won't help you with reading the articles in chronological order, because there is no way to go from an article to the page it's listed on (or is there?), so even if you start at entry #1, there is no easy way (that is, outside of the browser's location bar) to reach entry #2, at least not in the most basic configuration.
To add insult to injury, if you enable the "Links to next/previous entry" plugin, you get "« older entry, newer entry »", in contrast to the page navigation's "« newer entries, older entries »", so the metaphor/navigation s9y uses is inconsistent.
Interestingly, the "comic" plugin uses the aforementioned transport bar,
«« « » »
with the (chronological) beginning in the left.
So essentially, entries (text-entries and comic entries) go one way, and pages go another, making the interface inconsistent.
Blogs always list articles chronologically reverted, so their usual page flow is just that the latest entries are Page 1. That page numbers shift thus is a result of that chronologically reversed ordering, and thus I find that to be consistent. You can't compare that with a chronologically foreward-sorted book's page numbering?!
While I consider page-numbering a minor point, here goes.
Consider this: If the first page we see (the top page, the latest items, the latest page), is page #1, then the first article we see (the top article, the latest article) should be article #1.
That's not how it is. Both pages and articles are displayed in reverse chronological order, with the latest one first (or "on top"), but one is numbered up, and the other down.
As a result of the way the pages are numbered, links to pages are not stable. As a result of the way articles are numbered, links to articles are stable. And yet, both are displayed in reverse chronological order.
This illustrates that display order is independent from item-order. Having stable links however is dependent on item-order.
Adjusting page-order to be analogous to entry-order would make things more consistent. It would also allow stable links to pages. It would break no existing links to pages.
"The first to be shown" may change with each new article. "The first ever written" won't.
There's more, though.
Stable links to pages would arguably only do any good if page_n always contained the same items. So if he we had 21 entries, ten articles per page, page1 would have entries 1..10, page 2 would have 11..20, and page 3 would hold articles #21. Yes, the cover-page would only show one article at this point. I'm sure this is not for everyone. (It would however provide a spatial metaphor -- "Y? Oh, I remember that was on the same page with X and Z." -- which arguably is more than we have now.) It would also imply that deleted articles still count towards the article-count on a page, so that page 2 would always have articles 11..20, even if I delete articles 5..8. (Which really means that articles/page is a cap -- there could be fewer articles on page, but not more.)
So, can of worms.
Whether changing that would be worth the effort is anybody's guess, but just as we have shown that item-numbering and item display order are really independent, let's not forget that item-numbering and (layout of) navigation are independent. Even if we leave page-numbers be, that doesn't mean we can't make navigation consistent across s9y, which it isn't at this point.
« "Blogs always list articles chronologically reverted, so their usual page flow is just that the latest entries are Page 1. That page numbers shift thus is a result of that chronologically reversed ordering, and thus I find that to be consistent. You can't compare that with a chronologically foreward-sorted book's page numbering?!" »
No, we do in fact compare it weblog articles which are also displayed in chronologically reverse order, and still have item #1 be the oldest. s9y's article-numbering already proves that display-order and item-numbering are not as tightly coupled as you suggest, please stop implying otherwise. : )
The numbering isn't the point. Or, it is the point as far as stable links (to items with soft numbering) are concerned, but that never was the main point of the article.
The main point is -- well, illustrated in 126.96.36.199.1.1.2, really. : ) The point is that in s9y, "left" sometimes means "older" (as in other weblogs, all webcomics I'm aware of, and yada yada yada), and sometimes newer. This needlessly prevents the UI from being used in a consistent way. (To avoid the use of "intuitive" here, which might be in the eye of the beholder.)
This is not my main gripe, though. Static page numbers would (arguably) be good in some ways, and problematic in others -- see there.
At this point, I consider them nice to have in some ways, but possibly not worth the effort.
What bothers me much more that s9y's navigation is inconsistent. Below the original article, you'll find two links, one pointing left and linking to the chronologically previous item ("left == older stuff"), one pointing right and linking the chronologically next item ("next == newer stuff").
On the overwiew-page however, you'll find a left arrow referring to newer stuff, and a right arrow hurling you towards older stuff.
With the single exception of on s9y's main page (on s9y's article page, s9y's comic page, WP, and in fact every last web-comic in the world), left always means "older."
Older. As in, previously added. Not as in, previously displayed. All I'm asking for is consistency. "Older" (and "newer") may or may not be a good paradigm, but it's the established one. Introducing a different one for no pressing reason will needlessly confuse people. Especially if you use both opposing metaphors in the same UI.