A meta-post about blogging

Part one: There are several interesting discussions currently going on on the Metacity blog, including the development of optional and experimental subsystems for CSS theming and window matching, and whether applications should be able to extend the window menu (so if you have Istanbul installed, you could add Screencast this window to all windows.) Hop over and add your two penn’orth.

Part two: I don’t know any good content management systems. “Good” here means:

  • easy for the end user to use (which is not usually me)
  • without continual security holes
  • not requiring MySQL
  • if possible, not requiring PHP; Perl or Python would be lovely.

Moveable Type goes some way towards being “good”, but my complete blog is so large that it takes three quarters of an hour to publish it in static mode, and the dynamic mode appears to require weird and clunky PHPisms. I have worked around this to some extent by using MT’s rather nice dashboard, but turning off dynamic publishing, and writing a simple but fairly powerful mod_perl system called Plough which produces dynamic content by reading out of the database of a MT installation and running the results through Template Toolkit. Several of the sites I look after now use this system. I rather like it, but it’s not really ideal: MT requires me to keep the static files around anyway, and they waste space.  Maybe there are better answers out there.

Part three: This blog’s syndication is in a bit of a mess. It currently exists in four places:

  • LiveJournal, here, where it started. Archives are here going back to 2001.
  • Dreamwidth, here– but not everything has been imported from LJ.
  • GNOME Blogs, here– generally the same content as LJ, but not entirely. This is what is syndicated to Planet GNOME.
  • marnanel.org, here– again, not exactly the same content, but all public entries from LJ have been imported (although the comments haven’t). This is what is syndicated to Planet Collabora.  It’s powered by Plough, of course.

I update the blog by writing it on Dreamwidth, letting Dreamwidth syndicate the content to LJ, and then copying it manually to GNOME Blogs and marnanel.org.  I’m okay with this as syndication, but I think it would be good if I had fewer things to update.  I’d quite like everything to end up on marnanel.org, for the increased control over styling and the googlejuice; I might perhaps write a script which updates marnanel.org and GNOME Blogs according to what’s new in Dreamwidth’s RSS.

Part four: I am still planning to write up GCDS, but this is not that post.

Part five: It has been mentioned that I don’t blog about GNOME much any more, and that this is possibly not ideal for Planet GNOME.  This happens because almost all my GNOME hacking involves Metacity, and of course that goes on the Metacity blog; I only mention here what I’ve already written there.  If you have suggestions to fix this, please let me know!  (Before you ask, the Metacity blog can’t go on Planet GNOME; it’s not allowed.)

In news unrelated to blogging, my temperature has reached 99.6°F (38°C) and I feel rather awful. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

4 Responses to “A meta-post about blogging”

  1. Andy O'Neill says:

    As a long-time Planet Gnome reader (lurker!), I have to say that your posts are nearly always amongst the most interesting there and I’d hate to see them go. Of course, more posts on your GNOME work would fit in well there too – can you not cross-post Metacity posts to pgo?

    Get well soon!

  2. Thank you!

    I’m not sure about the crossposting; I suppose it would be technically possible but I don’t know whether it would be seen as a workaround to the “people not projects” rule following the letter of the law rather than the spirit, if you see what I mean.

  3. Chris Eveleigh says:

    have you tried Perch for CMS? (http://grabaperch.com)
    i’m afraid it requires mysql and php though. not sure i really understand your requirements there – do you want a choice of DBs? or saving content and config as static files?
    and i also don’t really understand the preference against the three P’s – are you looking for a desktop CMS written in one of the C’s instead?

    i too hope you feel better very soon. :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Apart from using perl, I think ikiwiki fits all of your criteria. I use ikiwiki for several sites with non-technical end users, and they seem to find it quite usable. The author knows a huge amount about writing secure code; ikiwiki has had few (mostly benign) security holes over its lifetime. ikiwiki doesn’t use MySQL, or in fact *any* SQL database; it keeps files in a version control repository such as Git. And it statically compiles your content to HTML at check-in time, using a CGI primarily just to support web-based editing.