Blogging Platforms

Topncal writes:

Why did you choose your blog platform? It is not one of the top 10 or 15 systems. So how did you find it? I checked out the page for it a few weeks ago. Nothing really stood out to me as making it different. So I guess it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on why you chose it.

I don’t remember exactly where I discovered Thingamablog, although I do know approximately when I did so. I uncovered a bookmark for Thingamablog in a stratum of bookmarks dating from 2004-5. I suspect that I was combing the likes of linuxlinks.com and icewalkers.com for Wiki software and happened upon Thingamablog by accident. I tried it out, thought I’d make my own template from scratch, got really bored with that, and forgot about it for a while.

A little later, an old classmate of mine started a blog of his own, which encouraged me to do the same. Sure, I could have just joined LiveJournal, etc., but to me that would have just been my account at somebody else’s site. A grouchy sysop could capriciously, conceivably, delete my account– and that would be end of my fun. Also, if I didn’t like the service, it wouldn’t exactly be easy to move my stuff to elsewhere, as I’m sure you may know.

Anyway, since this was going to be strictly for fun, I had no desire to involve a hosting company, and my ISP had no desire to allow me to run a public Web server in my living room. They were willing to let me upload a few old-fashioned pure-HTML pages to their Personal Web Space.

So, I needed a blogging platform that would not only run client-side and output static HTML, but that could do so on my Linux desktop. As it turned out, Thingamablog fit that requirement pretty well. It’s written in Java, so the code’s very portable, and since the output is ordinary HTML, that’s portable, too. So if, for example, I get annoyed with my current hosting provider, I can pack up and leave in a clap of the hands. And there’s no chance of anybody getting cute with stupid SQL injection tricks, PHP inclusion, or parameter fuzzing, because none of that’s applicable. This isn’t to say it’s not possible for someone to deface this site, it’s just a little less likely… and if they did, it would be overwritten the next time I published.

Is Thingamablog perfect? No. In fact, the editor in the current version has some sort of memory leak or something that causes it to become decidedly unresponsive. Also, the way it handles the category archives leaves a bit to be desired. I have to contract out commenting and site search to HaloScan and Google, respectively. I don’t think I’ll trade up to a server-side solution any time soon, but I think that if I did, I’d bypass WordPress and Movable Type altogether in favor of a full-fledged Content Management System such as Joomla, although I hear good things about Drupal, too.

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5 thoughts on “Blogging Platforms”

  1. First thanks for answering my question. I feel special. You make very good arguments for using Thinamablog. I do find it interesting that you said you would not use movableType if you were to switch to an online solution since it also creates static HTML like thingamablog. Though I have to say I can’t blame you since i think Movabletype is a crappy install. Though I will admit that I have not installed version 4.
    Though I can respect your decision to want a more full featured CMS. I used wordpress for a long time but always wanted to switch to a full CMS product.
    Not that you asked for my opinion but if you do decide to switch I would recommended drupal over Joomla. Just personal preference and the Joomla community seem to like to fight alot.
    Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t plug my favorite CMS. Expression Engine is not open source but is an awesome product with a large community. They do have a free version that you can download and install.
    Either way thank you again for answering my question it is always kewl to see why people make the choices they do. I can see several good uses for Thinamablog.

  2. Nothing personal against Movable Type. It’s just that if I were to go that route I’d just as soon go to a fully dynamic site.
    I have to admit, the only reason I’d use Joomla is that I already have some experience with it.

  3. I really want to love Joomla I really do. I guess one day I will. Probably when a customer makes me update there Joomla site and I have to learn how to code for it.

  4. I tried Thingamablog a couple of years ago. It was impossible but the best I could find which would let me have a blog without need php and such. Excuse any typos here. I can;t see a fricking thing I am typing this font is miserably small. I could be typing in frech for all I know. I’m so glad Firefox has it;s own spell check.

  5. Sorry to hear you are having difficulty with the font size. I’ll try to get it adjusted. But until then you can always hit Control-Plus to enlarge.

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