Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Site Tweak: Last Updated Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

22 June 2015

We've always included the date of publication with every story by design. It's not only helpful (if a bit redundant on the day of publication) but it's especially useful on the Web where a story can be retrieved from some other site.

But we have never bothered publishing the time of publication.

Partly that's because it's fluid. On a product announcement, for example, we may get the news up early and the sponsored links up later in the day.

So what time was it? The original post or the update? It doesn't much matter, so we just skip it entirely.

It's enough to know the date of the most recent story.


But we do find it helpful when a site publishes the time it was last updated. Of course, if you're following our RSS or Twitter feed, that isn't going to matter. You'll be notified whenever the site is updated.

But if you just drop by now and then, it might be helpful to know if anything's changed. Even if there's no new story, there might be a + sign on a headline with some update or comment.

It may be a little feature but we were able to roll a dash of typographical design in a little PHP coding as soon as the thought occurred to us.

So we decided to add it to the left column under the Tracking status.


Just popping a time in there wasn't going to mean anything, so we needed to label it. We used a widely letterspaced "U P D A T E D" in a small font size. Subtle but sufficient.

For a couple of hours we simply printed the day (since we don't publish on Sunday) and the time under it in black. But since our published dates are in color, we thought we should stick with the program. That's both subtle and yet draws your eye.


The format was the next issue, We weren't entirely pleased with just day and time because it omits the time zone. We're not all in the same place.

We show the day of the week and the time in 12-hour format (which we prefer, not having any enthusiasm for subtracting 12 from the 24-hour format) with "a.m." or "p.m." in our preferred style after it.

Which left no room for the time zone.

We wanted to show the time zone because 1) we think it helps to tell people it's our local time zone, not theirs and 2) we can never remember if it's Daylight Saving or Standard time (and would like to know).

So we fiddled around for a while Saturday morning after posting the matinee until we hit on the solution:

  • Drop the periods from a.m. and p.m.
  • Set the whole line in the same small font size as UPDATED
  • Enlarge just the time itself

That's 1) easy to read at a glance and 2) includes all the information we want. It's just not our a.m./p.m. style but you can take certain liberties for special displays on the page. We never, for example, use double quotes in a headline or use a quote mark as our drop cap.


Photo Corners is a static site so we can't query some database for the last update time. There's no software to do any querying and no data to be queried.

Well, almost none.

The headline page is updated whenever we publish, so there's a little PHP code in the page to look up the headline page's last modified time and report that. The code also does a little formatting beyond what the PHP strftime function provides.


It may be a little feature but we were able to roll a dash of typographical design in a little PHP coding as soon as the thought occurred to us. Which is the the nice thing about building your own house.

Now where did the weekend go?

BackBack to Photo Corners