It’s been almost a week since the relaunch of the Beardscratchers Compendium. Amongst the furious bug-fixing, performance tweaks and watching lines in error logs fly past the screen, I’ve managed to get a few updates out the door.

But before I get on to introducing the biggest new feature, let’s get the not so exciting things out the way:

Fixes, Improvements and Changes

Many behind-the-scenes bugs have been fixed, along with a little smoothing of the layout in places that are probably not obvious, but make a big difference. Some notable changes:

  • Artist news pages have been tuned up and tweaked to display much more cleanly and with better formatting. Many articles now display associated thumbnail images.
  • A few interesting news sources have been added that might generate some better matches for all the artists.
  • RSS feeds were being quite broken by dodgy HTML from various news articles. The code that generates RSS feeds has had a real workout and can almost handle anything thrown at it.

Introducing the BeardDex

This update post is really about the latest feature to have been added to the Compendium. It’s something I’ve called the “BeardDex”! You might have inferred from the name—which hasn’t had much thought put into it, I must admit—that it’s some kind of index, like one of the many stock market indices.

It’s exactly that. Simply put, it’s a measure of an artist’s ‘notoriety’ over time as viewed by the Compendium. It’s how the Compendium is seeing the rise and fall in things like popularity, activity and “chatter“ of a particular artist. In these early days, the factors that contribute to a rise in notoriety are quite primitive. Further up the road, there will be much more data driving the generation of the BeardDex.

The BeardDex is featured on every artist profile page, right in the header. The graph shows you how the artist has rated on the BeardDex over time, most recently on the right. Additionally, it graces the top of artist news pages, and you’ll see this graph crawling along the top of the news stream as the days go past.

One thing to bear in mind, is that the BeardDex has only a few weeks of data to work with at the moment and the generated graphs tend to be a bit sparse, but there are already a few artists with interesting graphs:

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