Monday, February 13, 2012

Check it Out: The Running Blog Database

I might not be one of the popular (running) bloggers.  I might not be one of the better looking bloggers (which might help explain why I'm not the most popular).  I'm not the funniest (The Boring Runner, perhaps), nor the most entertaining blogger.  I'm sure I'm not the smartest blogger, and despite my porn name, I might not even be the most perverted blogger (SUAR?).  However, I do appear to be the only blogger who mixed an idea with some know-how to create a tool for the running blog community to interact with.  I refer to it simply as the "Running Blog Database".

My attempt at a logo.

As the name alludes to, it's foundation is a database full of running blog information.  From the user's perspective, it is an interactive webpage that allows people to submit and/or find other blogs like a directory.  Here is a partial list of how I think it can be utilized:
  • Submit blogs for you or others to find and reference.
  • Browse running blogs for fun or curiosity.
  • Find that new person to stalk.  Just be ready to go to jail.
  • Sort blog list by State, City, or Blog Title.
  • Search for blogs by specific States, Blog Title, or Blog Author.
  • Find other bloggers in your area.
  • Find other bloggers at your race or vacation destination.
  • Cross reference blog authors to their blog's title, and vice versa.
  • Get available email addresses.
  • Find your soul mate (look out eHarmony).  Use someone's profile picture to jump to conclusions like if they have a compatible personality, or are at least good in the sack.  Disclaimer:  Just about everybody in running blogland is married including 2Slow4Boston, sorry ladies.
This Running Blog Database, started out as a wish to be able to easily look up my fellow (run) bloggers.  After I had awhile to think about it, I came up with a plan, kinda like a MacGyver who branched off into computers.  Then a couple weeks ago, I took some of my average skills from my day job as a computer programmer, and applied them to the world wide web.

Sample listing from the Running Blog Database.
I hope everyone who has made it this far clicks on the link to check it out (after you finish reading what I have to say, of course).  Currently there are over 500 running blogs listed, and I've been trying to add about 40 per day.  Not that I'm the only one who can submit blogs to the list.  I have put a section toward the top to allow anyone, a.k.a. you, to add their favorite running blog(s).

While I have tried to keep the database centered on running, there are plenty of blogs that fit into a gray area, like those snobby multitasking triathlon blogs, whose authors like to remind us runners that they know how to swim, and while they're at it, post pics of their thousand dollar+ tricycles tri-bikes.  Despite our differences, I figure if those Iron men and women post about running, subscribe to runner's blogs, and interact with our blogs, then they deserve inclusion.  Walk like a duck, quack like a duck, yada yada.

I went ahead and included some blogs in the list that appear dormant just in case they ever become un-dormant, but just so you don't think I'm too easy, I omitted any blogs that were restricted to invites only.

The most time consuming part for me has been the data entry.  I haven't had any problems finding new running blogs yet, but to get as much data entered as I can, I view each individual blog and find all the pertinent info to copy.  On the plus side, I'm getting a diversified look into the running blogosphere and finding some blogs I would like to start reading.  On the down side, I've been missing out on several episodes of "The Big Bang Theory."

I'm about to get all nerdy up in here if I haven't already given you that impression, so either skip this next paragraph, or find out why some people find me boring.

The most technically challenging part of putting this webpage together turned out to be getting everyone's profile picture since it is not readily available.  First of all, I don't think everyone has one shared to begin with, and I haven't looked into how to obtain any of them from Wordpress blogs yet.  Hence, only Blogger blogs have a chance at getting displayed on this site.  Secondly, the algorithms I used to obtain said pictures seemed to take more processing power than what my web hosting provider could support and it led to unstable results for the user (occasional Internal Server Error), meaning I spent half of a weekend on it until I got plan C to work good enough.  On that note, I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out to this point, however, this project is a little out of my programming field, so if you encounter any problems with it, or have some constructive criticism on making things more user friendly, please let me know.

I hope everyone ends up liking it, using it, and maybe putting a link to it on their blog.  If you think your blog's sidebar needs more flair, feel free to add a widget to your blog template and use my graphic from the top of this page to link to it.  My wish is that it becomes a resource for the running blog community that people want to bookmark and use from time to time.

Go check out the Running Blog Database.  I guess if you're already listed there, that means you're somebody.  :-)  Please tell me what you think.


35 comments:

On the Right Track said...

hey there...came across your blog from a friends! I am a new follower and a newbie blogger!

This idea sounds really cool...

looking forward to reading more about you:)

Caroline said...

wow! this is awesome!
I love it.
I am already in the data base..
this is a lot of work !!!
thank you!

Jill said...

Wow, Jon, this is really so cool. I scoured the first few pages and saw tons of new blogs to read (like I need to read more ;)). I can't even imagine all the work that went into this (I can't even make an excel spreadsheet of my training! :)), thanks for putting in the time to do it!

More Later... said...

Pretty cool! Thanks for doing that!

XLMIC said...

How cool...and kind...that you did this! WOW...what a ton of work! Can I add myself and make myself into somebody?

XLMIC said...

HA! I found myself :P

Laurie said...

Wow, very cool! Thanks for the "feature" too. :)

Terzah said...

Very cool idea! It looks great!

P1t0 said...

That is awesome!! Very cool indeed!

Michael said...

This is great! I've thought several times, I'd love to have a list too and be able to search for people in different states, etc. I think this might just catch on!! And I'm already in there, so I'm clearly somebody :)

ajh said...

Very cool! It must have taken forever!

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I just added something on my blog but with much less detail. Very nice. I also asked people to add theirs if they want - was not going to put the time you did. I agree this is something needed.

Amanda - TooTallFritz said...

Awesome! I added myself. Thanks! I wasn't sure how to put a photo up but at least I'm in now! Yay!

Jamie said...

Somehow I'm already on it, but I will email you to add my city and state!

Thanks for doing this!

Coy Martinez said...

I envy tech people of the world like yourself. Whereas I, on the other hand, have mucho trouble operating the remote control for Dish.

Alanna said...

Found you through Mel (Tall Mom) and I love this! The fact that I'm already listed makes me feel super special... :)

Laura Boll said...

Such a great idea, thanks for putting in all that work!!

Jenn @ A Runner's Road said...

Wow! What a labor of love! And I'm a;ready on there....cool! Thanks for putting this together. Going to find some new blogs.

Christine said...

Great idea! Will share on my blog :)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Who's a better-looking blogger than you? :)

Thanks for including me!

I didn't see how to modify an existing entry, so if you want to complete the entry:

Downers Grove, IL
kovas@midwestmultisportlife.com

Robin said...

That's fantastic! Well done.

Chicken said...

You're amazing. Didn't think I was anybody until I searched and found myself. Guess I'm sorta somebody now!

This really is something great! Can't wait to follow new people, including you!

Marathon Mom said...

What a great idea! Maybe I'm missing it, but where is the form to link a blog?

Becca said...

I do love this ! I can email you some design css if you would like!

Harold Shaw said...

Thank you Jon, great idea and thank you to whoever already added me in :-)

Suz and Allan said...

This is a great idea! I was really excited to see our blog already listed. Allan's mom is a computer programmer so she's going to be quite excited when I tell her about this. Glad I found your blog in the process!

Anita said...

I think this is Awesome. I am new at Blogging and Surely not the best at it,I think I have you Beat HAND down in every category! But I do try to get in touch with Locals for support and encouragement. Thank you for POSTING This. I also Like seeing others people blogs to try and improve...Yours is great!

5 Miles Past Empty said...

DAAAAAAAAAAANG!! Good work! A little, ok a LOT dorky but hey, somebody's got to do it and no way in heck could it ever be me!!!! =) Truly appreciate your time and effort! You are awesome!!!

Now, how can I get my first name listed in my spotlight blurb of Amanda-Amazingness?? =)

Thanks--Amanda

Johann said...

This is really fantastic! Thanks for the effort and time you put into this. I find it incredibly useful.

Robin said...

What a great idea! I added my blog, www.dashingdiva.net to the list.

Carrie FamilyFitnessFood said...

What a great idea! Thank you. I put a link to you on my blog and will share. Thanks for all the work.

Molly said...

This is the coolest, I just added my blog. Thanks so much for putting it together!!! Happy Running! : )

Ali Mc said...

I love this idea - I added my blog but then when I searched it my old (non-existent) one was there too....and I need to send you a pic!

lindsay said...

heard about the database from marlene @ mission to another marathon and someone else... maybe running off at the mouth? anyway, was honored to already be listed! i feel famous :) now i need to figure out how to send you a profile photo... you rock!

Nicole said...

This is great! Thanks for compiling everyone!