Friday, October 21, 2005

FOUND MY ECHO

Had enough. Too many SPLOGS here. Gone with Wordpress - both for my own hosting and at WordPress.com
Come on over and see me there :-)

Wet Scalpel

The Silent Deep

Diving The Blue

So long and thanks for all the fish :-)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Up and Running

Well, both platforms installed and up and running.

Initial impressions:

Both look good from the “readers” perspective ‘out of the box’. The generic style is acceptable and utilitarian, but that is of limited importance in the long run – I plan to install custom themes anyway. The access to the administration section is interesting. WHY didn’t movable type place a link to it on the default template? It is a PAIN in the a$$ to have to type in yourblog.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi! I am sure in the long run that would be second nature but – not what I would call user friendly for the newbie. In Wordpress there is a direct link in the sidebar. Both protected by passwords of course – and I appreciate the facility to email the password to the default address if you forget your password.

Wordpress admin area:

Drops you straight onto the dashboard with recent information from wordpress.org. A simple horizontal menu leads to other areas like composition, management of old posts and new comments; customization areas for options, themes and styles as well as the expected gamut of options for customising permalinks, notification areas etc.
It seems intuitive and straightforward.

Movable Type admin area:

Personally, I don’t find it as intuitive. To be fair, probably because it is potentially able to manage multiple blogs rather than just one like Wordpress. I tried out the Wordpress one first, so that may have biased me by its relative simplicity, but the MT just seemed more bloated, requiring passage through too many menus to get where I wanted.

At this point – for me - WP is winning based on ease of use and abilities.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Installing Movable Type

I must admit some trepidation to installing movable type. Especially as the official site seems to warn that it’s difficult and may be worthwhile paying someone else to install it for you! However – thought I would give it a go – there are really quite comprehensive instructions on the site, as well as “simplified” instructions elsewhere.

In the end, I found the official installation instructions comprehensive and complete. In fact – possibly more straightforward than the “simplified” version.

Uploading the platform via ftp was time consuming (20 minutes or so) and I had to be careful with Binary versus ASCII file types, but over all no real problems.

I ran the initial script once the upload was complete, and this confirmed that I had the requisite components on the server.

I also had to set up the MySql database – name - password – which was easy from C-panel – although I wasn’t aware that C-panel would append a prefix of my user name to my chosen database name. Important to notice or Movable type can’t find the database! I then edited the config file to point to the correct database, password etc.

The installation script was then run and that set up the tables etc. for Movable type. This part was essentially transparent.

From there it was a matter of logging in, changing the password, adding my email address for notifications and posting!

Overall – more complex to install than WordPress but do-able. As I already mentioned, it is not as if I will be continually installing it, so ease of installation is of marginal importance when comparing the two; as long as its installable.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wordpress installation.

Well that was a no brainer!

My host uses C-Panel which has Fantastico installed.
One of the options is install Wordpress! AND it's the current version.
One click and it was in. It– only asked me what (sub)directory I wanted to install to, password and user name.

Had one potential problem. I– thought I would install to an add-on domain on my account. This looks like a sub domain in some ways (creates a subdirectory of the html_public directory called the add-on domain name) which I thought may confuse the installation, but – no problems. Fantastico offered the installation to either the main domain or the add-on. All URIs resolve to the add-on domain name. SIMPLE

Once "“inside"” , I changed some of the defaults and activated some of the included plug-ins. Inserted the notification email address, tagline and title. Set it for pretty permalinks. I also added the list of common spam words from Wordpress.

Now to try Movable Type.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The short list:

Well no surprises:- It’s between Movable type and WordPress. The next step is a trial installation and a try out of their features.

I guess ease of installation is NOT a major point – as long as I can get ‘em installed. It is not as if I will be installing them on a regular basis!

My current hosting service has a good range of facilities – including .htacess and mod_rewrite's as well as most pearl modules, MySql and PHP. No Image::Magick pearl module for Movable Type, but it does have NetPBM modules to allow thumb-nailing.

Overall I think I have all the pre-requisites. So here goes.

Stay tuned for the next installment :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Checking out the options - Blog / CMS Platforms

I have been haunting a great site on the web - Open Source CMS .

It gives you the chance to try demo's of many different CMS platforms - including blog specific and image management systems.

The demos include full administration access, so you can try out all the different engines from both a user and administrators view. I believe this is invaluable!

They reset the entire system every 2 hours, so nothing persists - understandably - and it also stops people from permanently destroying the access for others.

So far, I have had a long look at:

Mambo - a good looking interface but not overly intuitive. Seems to be a very complex/ complete system with easy (?) integration of other components - forums for example. I feel possibly better suited for a commercial site rather that a personal blog/site but over all very impressive. Just too complicated

PHPNuke - A common CMS as far as I am aware, but their are a lot of comments regarding security of the system.. Possibly because it is so common - easy target. The interface is ok but - again- not overly intuitive in my opinion. AND I HATE an official site that pops-up a window advertising ringtones! Interestingly, this OPENSOURCE CMS - charges for the most recent release - confused!

PostNuke - Another PHP type CMS that I THINK evolved from PHPNuke. Less security issues. Slow to run and I get the impression that the support for it has dwindled over the years. Ok from the admin point of view but far from intuitive. I gather that themes are not easy to come by unless you want to pay for 'em. Not really a blog tool. Permalinks and trackbacks / pings seem unsupported as well. Not for me.

Xoops - Not a good sign when the main developer is apologising for not being around...... Not particularly for me.

Wordpress - Essentially 'touted' as a Blogging tool but I suspect there is more too it. Has an active user base and support forums as well as a massive Wikki. I am surprised at some of the people who are using it on the web. Why surprised - well it is free for a start!
The interface is clean and intuitive. Not surprisingly, it has excellent comment control/configuration with RSS trackbacks and pings as well.
I was pleased to see that it is easily set up for other pages rather than like blogspot with a single main page and archives. Hundreds of themes - all free as far as I can see and a handy in-line theme changer. Will put this toward the top of my list to try.

Movable Type - A commercial blogging platform with a free non-commercial single user license. I am looking at it simply because it seems so commonly used (commercially at least) and I see quite a lot of sights using it - eg Geek News Central. As far as I am aware, MT's parent company - Six Apart - established the Trackback protocol, so this platform is certainly up there. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any demo's for Mt so will probably have to do my own install and check it out. Worryingly, the company offers a PAID installation service for its customers as apparently many people have a problem installing it :-( . Even so, it seems so prevalent, it must be worth a look.

This site gives you the option to compare various features between platforms. Also worth a look.

That's all for tonight! More later - wish me luck!

Coming to terms with it all. -RSS

Well, its been a steep learning curve.

I mean - What is RSS all about?

RSS feeds are novel for me, but I have installed Feed demon (trial), got a Newsgator account and subscribed, subscribed, subscribed. I must admit it is fascinating to see where things are up to now-days.

I also note that google has now opened a Google-reader - jumping on the band-wagon - its a sign of the times.

Content delivered to your desk BUT you get to choose the content! It even includes Podcasts! I think I like this system. Certainly I will want my blog/site to have RSS capabilities, just as this one does!

By the way, I gather from Newsgator, that they will be integrating their online services with FeedDemon - allowing you to synchronise your casts between the two - and now they have acquired a Mac client too, so that makes it even more useful for the multiple platform family!

Yep - RSS - a new (?) way to receive content that I want.

Firefox at last


O.K. I give up - I am now officially Firefox 'ed. After avoiding it for so long I agree its preferable to IE. More secure BUT especially - I LOVE tabbed browsing! WHY has it taken so long to make it to the "mainstream" ? I gather Microsoft is going to introduce it in IE7 too. Anyway - better late than never.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Where am I heading?

Where am I heading?
Well – I want my own place in the Blogsphere – and this isn’t it! I love to tinker and “get under the hood” of things and Blogger does not have the degree of customisation that I really want.
I am also considering some form of content management system that I can migrate my website Diving the Blue to – and it would be great to have one platform do both.
So:
  • Blogging

  • Photo albums

  • Customisation of appearance
  • rss feeds
  • trackbacks
  • comments
  • spam control
  • good categorisation of posts
  • easy theme/appearance changes
  • permalinks
  • Cheap/free
Are all a priority.
any other suggestions?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Where am I starting from?

Where am I starting from you may ask.

Well, I have been a computer user for about 30 years. Initially the old PDP-11/10 (and in-fact an old punch tape Monroe…) then the SDK 80/85 – you know the all- machine code with octal/hexadecimal readouts.

I learned FORTRAN, BASIC, COBOL and “machine code” over the years, but never did much outside of BASIC. OOP is a new concept for me.

I started a website in 1996 on Geocites.com and then migrated it to its own server a few years ago.

More recently, I erased it and started Diving The Blue , a digital underwater photography site. That has been my main foray into the internet.

I am familiar with Domain name registration and DNS redirection, and have set up multiple email accounts with various redirection; BUT I have no experience of UNIX/LINUX or APACHE.

To date, all my sites have been managed with LAMP type systems and a CPanel interface using Microsoft FrontPage as my web designer / publisher. Throw in some judicious direct access to my files with HTML and occasional direct server access….

Along the way I have developed a smattering of PHP, CSS, MySql, DHTL. XML is NEW to me. RSS is new to me as well. No Idea at all about Pearl…

This could be fun then!
    

Welcome

Hi! Well - this is it - your chance to see me stumble around the net, coming to terms with Content Management Systems (CMS), various sorts of "blogware" and generally discovering digital life.

I have been a "Geek" for years in many ways, but never really got into the Blogosphere.
Join me as we TRY to find what I need to enter the fray!