Welcome, Kevin Miller!

My good friend and technical reviewer for The Book of F#, Kevin Miller, has recently started blogging over at! Much of his day-to-day work involves managing build, deployment, and migration processes, so he’s primarily writing about some of the challenges he’s faced with migrating multiple SQL Server instances and query optimizations, but he also has some fun articles comparing programming languages, too.

Please take a moment and welcome Kevin to the party. I know he’d love to hear from you.


The Hacker News Effect

It has been known by many different names: the Reddit effect, the Slashdot effect, the Digg effect; but whatever the source the result is the same – a huge spike in traffic due to a popular site linking to a lesser known one. Didactic Code experienced this first hand for the first time when Why F#? gained some traction on Hacker News.

My blog traffic is predictable to the point that I occasionally joke about how I can tell what time it is by looking at the stats. Lately my quiet little node on the Web had been seeing around 200 views on weekdays and generally about 1/4 of that on weekends. Sunday evening though I noticed something unusual – my view count had climbed to over 1000. The blog stats showed the traffic was coming from Hacker News so naturally I started watching to see how high the numbers would climb. Sunday ended with 1,575 views and the momentum carried on well into Monday until after the article peaked at #13.

Hourly Traffic

Hourly Traffic

The hourly traffic graph from the WordPress banner shows traffic for the past 48 hours.  It maxed out at 705 views.

Daily Traffic

Daily Traffic

The daily traffic graph shows all traffic for the past 30 days. You can imagine my surprise when the traffic shot up on Sunday.

Weekly Traffic

Weekly Traffic

The weekly traffic graph shows 31 weeks of history. You can clearly see the annual dip around the holidays followed by this week’s spike.

Monthly Traffic

Monthly Traffic

The monthly graph is the most interesting to me because it shows how steadily my traffic has increased over the years and what an anomaly like this looks like in the life of a small blog.

For as much excitement as I got out of this I was really happy about the discussion the post generated here, on HN, and on Twitter.  I didn’t jump into the HN conversation but I really enjoyed reading the comments, particularly those comparing languages that I haven’t even thought about looking at.  So, to everyone that took the time to read my post and those that joined in on the conversation – thank you!

Publishing to your Blog from Word

One of the Surface reviews I saw recently expressed concern that the Live Essentials suite wouldn’t be available under Windows RT. I generally don’t use much from that suite but the idea that the functionality wouldn’t be available got me interested. Was the lack of Live Essentials actually worth fretting over or would the gap be filled by other by other solutions?

It turns out that although there’s still a bit of a gap with no movie maker but most of the functionality is indeed provided by other dedicated applications like mail, calendar, photos, and SkyDrive. What really surprised me though is that Word is a great substitute for Live Writer. Until a few days ago I had no idea that Word could be used to compose and publish blog posts to most of the major blogging platforms.

Out of the box, Word supports publishing to:

  • Blogger
  • SharePoint blog
  • Telligent Community
  • TypePad
  • WordPress

The documentation states that providers may be available in the Office marketplace.

Getting started is just a matter of creating a new document with the Blog post Template. The template was already installed for me in both Word 2010 and 2013 but if you don’t have it you should be able to find it in the online gallery.

The first time you use the Blog post template Word will tell you that you need to register your blog account and give you the option to register now or later. I opted to just get the registration over and get on with blogging. To register your account you just need to select your provider and enter your blog’s URL and your account credentials. Word will take care of the rest including creating or updating the post and uploading any media such as images to your media gallery.

After your blog is registered and you’re ready to publish you can push the content to the provided by clicking the Publish button in the BLOG POST ribbon.

Word offers two options for publishing to WordPress: Publish or Publish as Draft. I didn’t look at the other providers so I don’t know what additional options they provide. I generally like to configure other options like scheduling and tags before publishing so I’ve been opting to publish as draft then open the my WordPress dashboard to complete the process.

Word also make it convenient to insert categories, open existing posts including drafts, and manage your blog accounts. Of course, if you don’t like the experience of blogging with Word, the browser is still a viable option.