New blog software (Blog Software)

Paul M. Foster (20 December 2010 21:36:22 Revised 20 December 2010 21:35:27)

Currently, this blog runs on WordPress. Why? Because it does the things you need a blog to do, and it's a simple download/install on this hosting service. It was a choice between Joomla, WordPress and a couple of other choices. I've used WordPress before, so I figured I'd go with that.

But I've never been satisfied with blog software. I'll tell you why. First, since I code in PHP, my blog software needs to be coded in PHP. No problem there; most blog software I've seen as automatic installs with hosting companies is built with PHP. It needs to be themable. Again, generally no problem. It needs to allow for comments or not, depending on the post. Got it. Etc. etc. So what's the problem?

First, I don't like the editors that come with most/all blog software. They're laggy, and I'd rather use my favoite editor, if I'm going to write a long post about something. Can you guess? Yep, I use Vim, and I prefer to write in Vim if possible. Second, blog software typically stores posts in long text fields in a RDBMS of some kind. I just think that's an abuse of a RDBMS. If you want to store short text or fields in an RDBMS, fine. But when you start storing long stretches of text and images in an RDBMS, you're abusing the technology as far as I'm concerned. Things like that should be stored in their own files, and if you must use an RDBMS, store links to the files.

Another annoyance of most blog software I've seen is that they don't make use of the "excerpt" except when you go look at the index of posts for a month or somesuch. They don't use the excerpt on the main blog pages. I prefer to be able to look at a summary of each blog post, and read it further if I'm interested. And I think the main pages of a blog should work that way. Think Slashdot. I like that paradigm.

I get kind of prickly about things I don't like in software. If I weren't a programmer, I'd probably be like most people and just live with what Microsoft doles out to me. But being a programmer, I often think I have a better idea. Which leads me to writing software tailored to my needs.

So, I'e decided to write my own blog software to replace WordPress here. You're welcome to travel along with me and see if you agree with the choices I make here. Once I'm done, I'll put it up on Sourceforge or something for you to download and play with. You'll notice that this particular blog post is under the category "Blog Software". Future posts on this subject will be under that heading as well. That way you can choose not to follow along if you aren't interested. Unfortunately, WordPress will still show these blog posts right up there with the rest of them.

In future installments, I'll go through the design process, and possibly publish preliminary code. Naturally, when the whole thing is done, I'll be releasing the software unde an open source license.