OK, So Here's The Deal...

A Marine Major, Running Fool, and All-Around Smart-Ass.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Blog Technology Decisions

It was a late one Wednesday night. Why? Could it be because of the Starbucks venti Americano with an extra shot and mocha and sugar added?

You’d think but no, not really.

It’s because I’m OBSESSIVE!!!

As you know, I have two blogs. One is just a plain Jane HTML web page file that I maintain “old school.” I manually generate it at home using Dreamweaver and then upload it to my page. Very labor intensive but I’ve got the routine down pretty quick.

I kept getting behind that one so I made another one on Blogger for daily, short, random thoughts. I like that one a lot.

Lately, I’ve been doing some research on RSS feeds. Basically they are a way for your blog to generate an output of your blog to shoot out to any sources that want it. Blogger does this for you but my plain Jane webpage blog does not.

I asked around to see how I could get an RSS output somehow and that led me to Wordpress.

Stay with me.

Wordpress is a free blogging program. You download it, set it up, and you have your own blogging capabilities. It uses a database that you have to host on your own space (mine is provided by the same company that houses my webpage and gives me my email accounts.)

Look at it this way: the Wordpress is like your own Blogger set up. Blogger does the same thing but they do it online and they store all the stuff on THEIR servers. By using Wordpress, it’s almost exactly the same except you host it on YOUR server.

The advantage is that you own your own files and have more control over what you can do. The disadvantage is that you have more overhead, set up, maintenance.

Most of the evening was spent playing around with the templates and getting it to work. Then a lot of experimentation to see how I could manipulate the look and feel of the blog.

After I had enough of that, I came to another dilemma, probably the more important of the two.

First, examples of each blog for reference:

HTML blog

Blogger blog

Wordpress blog

I had an intricate decision matrix to figure out, and this is what I had a hard time doing. How many blogs should I maintain and what programs should I use?

The first decision was should I have one blog or two? Or three? OK, maybe three was crazy but two got in the lead because I needed one for my daily comings and goings (the more long-winded of the two) and I needed one for my quick delves into how I interpret the world around me. Yes, there will be overlap but the main difference is the journal is something I can look back on and see what I was doing that day. A recap, if you will. The other one is more of a sign of the times, an interpretation of funny situations or views I have about various things I come in contact with.

Doesn’t make sense? Well, it does to me sooooo……

OK, so with that settled, what technologies do I use?

HTML blog
Advantages: I have full control and the blogs aren’t hidden in a database. Formatting is easy. Already have years of entries.

Disadvantages: No RSS feed. Has a kind of “homemade” feel. Higher maintenance to create entries. No connection to a blogging community. No searching or sorting capability.

Blogger blog
Advantages: clean look. Can post entries from anywhere. Part of a community. RSS feed.

Disadvantages: tied to a online service. Possibly lose entries if Blogger crashes.

Wordpress blog
Advantages: I own the database. Highly configurable. Looks good.

Disadvantages: Input is not exactly wysiwyg. No way to easily migrate old blog entries.

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  • At 8:41 PM, Anonymous mj said…

    hi jason - I've been UA a while...but saw the google blog search today and had to see if I could search for my favorite blogger...and what to my wondering eyes should appear....but ANOTHER
    blog ...and then this item about the RSS and related....
    you won't remember but my first email to you years ago was to ask what BLOG utility/software you were using...(back in the day when you were doing it all yourself...)
    anyway, i'm still here to bug you about the BOOK....
    and am again amazed at how much writing you get done.

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger Viper said…

    Yeah, I've been industrious but have slacked this week because I'm on the pistol range and when you suck at shooting, you need all the rest and stress release you can get.

    Book, book, yeah, I know. Got some other pokers in the fire but when do I not?

    The writing is... well, it won't win me a Pulitzer but it keeps me from becoming a mass murderer or suicidal so, you know, there's a purpose.


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