It's Not Magic
Writings of a techie wizard
Mon, 10 Sep 2012
Well, it's happened: I have yielded to the temptation to write my own blogging system, and I am now using it to write and publish this blog. It's called simpleblog, and you can find the release version on the Python Package Index here, or look at the bleeding-edge development git repository here.
I should probably explain that when I say "blogging system" I don't mean a complete package that I'm planning on offering as a web service for blog publishing any time soon. It's just a Python package that lets me write entries for this blog and publish them here with an absolute minimum of effort. I wrote it because it was getting to be too much effort to get things exactly the way I wanted them with any existing blogging system. If you've visited here before, you will have seen the "powered by Pyblosxom" image on the right, but Pyblosxom was not the only package I experimented with while I was trying to make an existing system fit my needs. (And I should also emphasize that I'm talking about my needs; plenty of other people use existing blogging systems and it doesn't seem to get in their way.)
Just in case you're curious, the two things which pushed me over the edge were the two main things that have changed here as of this post. First, entries on index pages now only show the portion "above the fold", with a link to the full entry. This makes index pages a lot shorter and more manageable. Second, the individual entry pages now have links at the bottom to the next and previous entries in the blog as a whole, within the entry's category, and within each of the entry's tags. This makes it easier to browse the blog post by post without having to flip back and forth between an index page and entry pages. There are plenty of other features I've added, of course, but most of them are behind the scenes; they make it easier for me, but they aren't visible to you, reading this.
Of course I could have tried to write plugins for Pyblosxom to do the above (I couldn't find any existing ones or I would have used them). In fact, I had already written several home-brewed plugins to add other small features to Pyblosxom. But that was part of the problem: writing those plugins had shown me that it, for whatever reason, Pyblosxom's architecture was not making it easy for me to do what I wanted to do. Designing simpleblog, and architecting it so that modifying it would be easy for me, has gone very smoothly. (Some of the issues I was having were probably because this blog is statically generated, whereas Pyblosxom is mainly intended for dynamically serving blogs; it has static rendering, but that's not its primary purpose. Simpleblog, right now, only does static rendering, so that's what it's optimized for.)
If you want to try simpleblog yourself, please do; the release source on PyPI is stable (though of course I've only tested it with this blog and the "example" blog that comes with the source). I make no guarantees about the development source on github, but I will try not to push to it unless this blog and the example blog render properly (for some value of "properly"). If you do try it, please let me know what you think, either by email or through github's issues and pull request system.
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