I am, admittedly, an Amatomu fanboy and I have been a little unsure what to make of Afrigator since its launch. Both chilibean and one of my other blogs have been listed on Afrigator for a couple weeks now and while there have been a couple things I would have liked to see added to Afrigator, I have been happy to let the site evolve and watch that happen.
The Afrigator guys just announced some upgrades to Afrigator which are pretty snappy! There is a pretty detailed list of new features on the Afrigator blog so I won’t rehash them (I am sure a few other bloggers are doing just that anyway). Instead I’ll tell you what I think is really cool about the new feature-set.
When Afrigator launched a while ago I had a couple reservations about the way the content was being reproduced on the site. That issue was dealt with a while ago and you can no longer see the full content of a post on the Afrigator site simply by clicking on the title link. Beyond that it was a cool site that seemed to do a decent job, given its purpose to aggregate blog content from the African content. There were a couple niggling issues and features which were absent or just not quite up to scratch (blog stats were a little underdeveloped compared to similar services out in the Wild). Most, if not all of those issues I had with the original version of the site have been addressed and there are one or two extras I didn’t think of which make a difference.
The additional feature I like the most is the OpenID functionality so users can now log in using their OpenID rather than having to create yet another account. Not only can you log in using your OpenID credentials but you can now also use your OpenID credentials to replace your existing Afrigator log in (unless I have this wrong? Justin?). This is simply awesome because it doesn’t render my OpenID option useless just because I created an Afrigator account before it became available. This is a great example of a little thing that makes such a big difference.
Another addition is the ability to add multiple blogs to a single account. This feature has been in demand for some time now and I am glad it has been added to the mix. It is the sort of feature which is noticeable when it is absent and taken for granted when it is in place and that makes it essential, I think. Another handy addition is the ability to add tags, or labels, to your Afrigator page. These labels are basically the same as the tags in del.icio.us and very useful. Where labels differ from del.icio.us tags is that the posts listed on Afrigator don’t seem to have labels attached to them so it seems labels are really keywords that are contained within blog posts, rather than metadata (data used to describe the post). I’d like to see some way of adding labels to individual posts, perhaps when they are added to the “MyGator” page?
The site has also had a facelift and it looks a lot sharper and clearer than it did before. The basic design is pretty much the same. I do prefer the old tag clouds though. The new tag clouds seem a little cramped even though they are easier to read. Afrigator’s stats have also been beefed up and this is welcome improvement. Accurate and flexible stats are a must for this sort of service and this is one area where Vincent and Matt have done a great job with Amatomu.
On the whole, the new version is a great improvement on the older version and I suspect there is a lot more to come. I believe this is still version 0.2 Alpha and that means there is lots of room to grow.