When faced with an issue as a programmer, the process to find a solution is different from that of the rest of the population. I finally convinced myself that episodic publishing of articles may turn into a worthwhile, satisfying occupation. Well, here's the issue: I instantly thought of a blog. For most people that may not be an issue; they may turn to blogspot or any of the other hosters, register, pick a title, decide on a theme, and start writing. Not me.
Having this collection of articles hosted elsewhere was out of the question. I didn't even want to think about migration or copyright issues and the likes. Years ago I started experimenting with wordpress. While this is certainly the most popular blogging tool, it's complete overkill for me. The idea of needing a relational database engine (MySQL) to save my articles to is intimidating; not because it's particularily hard to install or administer, but because it's so powerful. Neither do I need all the MySQL features, nor all the things WordPress has to offer. What I want should be flat-file storage of my text.
A tool that supports this which I've used for a while as a lab notebook is FlatPress. It stores data in XML files, is fast enough for me, and generally headache free. However, I use HTML since the mid 90s (back when we used tables instead of CSS) [FOOTNOTE: During an Interview to become a 'webprogrammer' in 1999 I was admired that I did all my HTML 'coding' in notepad and not the HTML layout tool that was available. Well, I guess I needed more of a challenge) I always found the idea of learning a different 'language' to get the same formatting mildly irritating. Plus, I thought uploading my images through a webinterface only so that I could link them into my posts seemed awkward. I realized that I could just copy them on the command line, but then I am already on the command line.
This got me to think about nanoblogger, a blog engine written for the command line that creates static HTML content. I first saw this used by Kurt Schwehr Well, isn't that nice? It's certainly a lot faster than parsing XML and comes with command line comforts. I played with it and was satisfied until I thought about layout and all the additional things blog engines bring along. I am pretty satisfied with my website layout, and don't think the way blogs archive articles, show calendars and archives is anything I really need.
This decision and testing process took me an entire Saturday afternoon. Not that I missed much: Fairbanks temperatures were at -40 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, my local friend's facebook updates encouraged staying at home, drinking wine and watching movies. While some may consider this a lost afternoon, I decided to write, designed a small project that will distract me from current paper-writing issues, and found a topic to write on different from "I am starting this blog and hope to update Monday, Wendesday, Friday." Cheers to that!
ronni <at> gi <dot> alaska <dot> edu | Created: 2012/01/28 | Last modified: August 11 2012 00:20.