well, blah

So I finally redirected tieguy.org to my new host at rimuhosting. Mostly I’m happy, though my blog looks like butt and I need to fix the theme. (Does it really matter? Who reads blogs from the web anyway?) Apologies to any planets the new feed spammed. Mostly pretty psyched- still can’t get over how cool the Gallery Google Maps plugin is, or that I now have RSS feeds for my galleries so that I can get my mom to subscribe to my picture stream. Again, need to do some theme hacking on the gallery, though- a little non-obvious to navigate right now, and my CC licenses have dropped off the face of the earth. (Except, oddly, in the RSS feed.)

After all that, what blahs me is the discovery that I’m so close and yet so far on blog tools. One of the big plusses for me of switching to a new host was the ability to run a db server, and hence to run more sophisticated blog software than I had been running. So far, so good- I’m running WP now. I have categories, which is great, since I’d like to be able to separate posts about gnome from posts about work, etc. But it turns out I’m now dissatisfied with all my posting options :/

So, I guess my perfect blog tool looks something like:

  • Utterly minimal posting cycle: launch from panel, (select blog if I have more than one), type subject, type body, select category, hit ‘post’, app goes away and I stop thinking about it. gnome-blog works perfectly here; kblogger apparently the same. BloGTK fails here because I need to ‘connect’ before I post, and because it defaults to posting but not publishing, so that is one more click in the minimal cycle. (Yes, I know there is a preference for this, but (1) why does it not just remember what I used last, and (2) why is the default to assume that I’m an idiot? The default should be that I meant what I said- post it!) Drivel fails here because it doesn’t exit after posting, and at least the first time I had to ‘show more options’ to choose a category. (Drivel should look to monkey journal to see how to do this with less widgetry.) The native WordPress web form fails here because I have to launch the browser and then navigate to the correct form. Also loses points because the browser is much slower to launch than a dedicated tool.
  • Easily accessible formatting. gnome-blog wins here; bold, italic, and link. No fuss, no muss. BloGTK has so many things in the toolbar that it is hard to find those three key items. Drivel’s options are in a menu instead of a toolbar like every other text tool on earth, though it gets points for supporting ctl+b/ctl+i/ctl+u. If there were a shortcut for hyperlink, I’d probably forgive the lack of icons :) Kblogger appears to lack this, from what I can tell in the screenshots. WordPress’s built in editor is pretty slick, though the dependence on the browser to open a new window (a slow operation) for certain things is suboptimal. Also still cluttered, but not overly so.
  • Inline Formatting Monkey-journal (thanks to gtkhtml), wordpress (thanks to the browser), and gnome-blog get this right- if I hit bold, I should see bold text, not <b>. Drivel and BloGTK don’t.
  • Support for categories. This is why I have to stop using my beloved gnome-blog, which is perfect on the previous two categories. Drivel, BloGTK, and KBlogger support this, but I get a list, not a multiple-select, which is suboptimal. So the web form is the only thing that gets this completely right, which sucks :/
  • Support for multiple blogs. Am going to occassionally blog on two work blogs soon, so I’d like multiple blogs. Again, gnome-blog (and AFAICT kblogger) fail here. Drivel appears to fail here, though I’m not quite sure on that count. BloGTK definitely succeeds here, though it would be nice to behave better (aka, not have a blog dropdown) when I only have one blog.

I think that’s it. Bottom line: nothing really satisfies :/ WordPress is ironically probably the closest to what I want feature-wise, but the lag involved in using the browser just drives me out of my mind. I think for the moment I’m going to use Drivel, but BloGTK is close, as are gnome-blog and monkey-journal- each probably needs only a little bit of love to get things Just Right. :)

2 thoughts on “well, blah”

  1. […] Luis Villa complains about there being no really decent Gnome weblog posting program, and he’s not wrong. Personally, i use the web UI for WordPress, but I used to use both gnome-blog and BloGTK. I thought that I might hack category support into gnome-blog, because it’s in Python and ought to be pretty trivial to do. However, it seems to be rather difficult to hack on a panel applet. For a start, it has to be installed into /usr (or at least the .server file has to be). So that needs to be done as root. Secondly, the configure file for gnome-blog seems to want the pygtk development files, which I don’t understand; it’s all Python! The development files are for compiling C against the pygtk headers, aren’t they? Thirdly, in order to test a change I’d made I’d need to remove the applet, install my new version, and re-add it to the panel. That seems really hard to me; it enforces a C-ish “make a change, run a script to ‘compile’ it, restart” sort of workflow on me, and not having to do that with Python is one of the reasons I like Python. Why can’t I install an applet somewhere in my home directory? (answer, according to #gnome: bonobo.) That would make things much easier. Apparently there may be a configuration option or compile-option to pass to bonobo that will make it look in other places for .server files, but that sort of low-level tweaking scares me. If it’s that easy, I’d love to see distros incorporate that little switch as a matter of course, so that the panel will be able to load applets with their .server files in $HOME/.local/servers or similar. Anyway, I won’t be hacking gnome-blog any time soon. Deskbar is also an applet, and presumably suffers the same problem, but it has a -w option to run it in a window. It would be great if other applets supported that. Failing that: what’s the workflow for trying out an applet? I can’t see any way of making it easy… […]

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