2006-Jun-04 21:14:37 EDT (Sun)

Whoohoo: Blog ready for primetime!

Whoohoo! I finally got around to finishing the setup for blojsom and adding a link from my home page.

Too bad, I still have such a lame name for my blog... "Mind Re: Mark". I was going for a pun of what's on my mind combined with a play on words between my name, Mark, and the word 'remarkable'. I failed miserably. Any better suggestions would be welcomeHappy Face.

I was a little disappointed that it didn't "just work out of the box" and that the QuickStart Guide was a little too brief. In particular, a little more detail on the setting up of blojsom-blog-home might have been helpful. In my case, I start tomcat using the jsvc Unix daemon so it runs as user 'tomcat' rather than root. This security precaution breaks the QuickStart Guide's suggestion of setting blojsom-blog-home to {user.home}/blojsom-blogs/ because {user.home} doesn't really exist for that user. The fix was fairly trivial. All I had to do was hard code the absolute path to the directory where the blog data was to be stored. As I suggested in my First Post, I should probably add this to the guide since it is a wiki.

After a whole lot of other reading, the only other thing I really had to change to get things working correctly was the stmp-server setup as described in the second comment of my first post. In retrospect, it wasn't that hard to get it working, but since I immediately ran into these problems, I found that I had to do a LOT of reading about the setup to convince myself that I had done it right and that things were working. Despite all of this whinging, I think that Blojsom is great and would like to take this opportunity to thank the creators for a job well done and for providing such a wonderful free tool.

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Posted by mcrocker at 9:14 PM in Blogging

2006-Apr-22 21:44:37 EDT (Sat)

First Post - My Kingdom for a Blog Realized

I've been meaning to set up a blog for a very long time, but only just now got around to it. The stumbling block was the size and complexity of the software that I was planning to use, Roller Weblogger. Although it's fantastic software, which is used by the JRoller community and many others, it is massive overkill for what I had in mind.

Just joining JRoller directly or some other online blogging service would get me out there faster, but didn't really appeal to me. Having someone else serve my data, keep backups, and handle the administration definitely has some appeal, but I have my own server, and have the skills to install the software and manage it myself, so I do have options that most others don't. If I stick to open source weblogging software, then, running my own blog gives me the opportunity to learn more about it and modify it to do what I want it to and learn from that experience too. In addition, running my own blog keeps me in control of my own work rather than ceding it to someone else and hoping that they take good care of it.

Rather than waiting till I had the energy to wrestle Roller onto my server, I decided to go with a light-weight solution to get me going. I've missed blogging so many ideas that I figure that something is better than nothing and even if I eventually upgrade to some sort of weblog style content management system that the light-weight version can simply be left in place for legacy posts. The obvious choice was to use Blogger.com's option of publishing to my own server instead of to the Blog*Spot server. This satisfies my desire to keep my own data and it leaves a bunch of plain HTML files on my server so that it would be easy to provide legacy links. Of course, I'd have to give my sftp username and password to Blogger, which makes me a bit nervous. Also, it doesn't allow user comments. Sure, I could live without user comments, but I'd love to get the street cred for implementing Joel Spolsky's suggestion of making comment SPAM blocking invisible to the original poster so that they don't just repost in whichever open source blog software I decide to use. I believe there are some standalone blogging clients that essentially do what Blogger does. These can overcome the security risk of letting a third party handle your web site sftp password, but can't overcome the lacking comment capability.

The light-weight solution that caught my eye was Blojsom . I had a vague recollection of Blojsom being a nice, simple, light-weight Java based server-side Weblogger and had come across several nice blogs that were created with it. A quick look and the feature list and a seemingly trivial Quickstart Guide convinced me to give it a try. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Quickstart didn't actually apply to me and it looks like I've managed to misconfigure the system on my first try. Well, at least I've gotten, I think, to the point where I can make a first post. When I figure it out, I'll have a second post topic and maybe some minor changes for the Blojsom wiki.

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Posted by mcrocker at 9:44 PM in Blogging
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