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1 parent 8ecb397 commit d8a6a9d57c319776abc31ce88df2ae3c81217323 @tav committed Jan 25, 2009
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+=========================
+A Minimal Blogging Engine
+=========================
+
+:X-Created: [2008-06-28, 09:21]
+
+I became a blogger in 2002 with `Radio Userland <http://radio.userland.com/>`_.
+As the trial expired, I decided to wait till better tools were available. 6
+years and an active blogosphere later, I presumed things had improved.
+
+So I tried out `Wordpress <http://asktav.wordpress.com>`_ and `Blogger
+<http://asktav.blogspot.com>`_. What did I find? Crap. Now don't get me wrong.
+They are decent publishing tools. I've set up various Wordpress blogs and even
+convinced my mother to start a blog on Blogger due its funky `transliteration
+tools <http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=58226>`_.
+
+But if all I'm getting is a publishing tool, then I at least expect ease of
+customisation and ability to add my own HTML when needed. After all, this was a
+basic feature of the `original web browser
+<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WorldWideWeb>`_! But no.
+
+Instead you can spend hours trying to customise the overly complex CSS. You will
+have your line breaks broken up in weird and arbitary ways. And unless you are a
+masochist, don't even try mixing WYSIWYG and raw HTML editing!
+
+So, after spending an entire night trying to bend Blogger to my will, I decided
+enough was enough. And in less time than it took to figure out Blogger's CSS
+class names, I was able to hack together this minimal blogging engine.
+
+It's just a simple Makefile, 2 little python scripts and a template file with
+bits of HTML and Javascript. To write a new blog entry: create a new
+`restructured text <http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html>`_ file and then
+run ``make && svn commit``. Tada!
+
+If you are interested, here is the text file from which this article was
+generated:
+
+* `a-minimal-blogging-engine.jen
+ <http://pleinair.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/documentation/asktav/rst/a-minimal-blogging-engine.jen>`_
+ -- it's plain text despite the .jen ending
+
+Now this particular solution is definitely not for most people. But I was
+pleasantly surprised at just how much functionality I could put together in a
+few hours -- and still maintain full control over the content and style!
+
+This has only been made possible thanks to the following tools which have come
+along in the last few years:
+
+* `Disqus <http://www.disqus.com>`_ -- for distributed comments
+* `Docutils <http://docutils.sourceforge.net/>`_ -- for converting restructuredtext to html
+* `Google Analytics <http://www.google.com/analytics/>`_ -- for visitor statistics
+* `Google Code <http://code.google.com/>`_ -- for hosting the subversion repository
+* `Feedburner <http://www.feedburner.com/>`_ -- for handling the RSS feeds
+* `FriendFeed <http://friendfeed.com/>`_ -- for aggregating my web activities
+* `jQuery <http://jquery.com/>`_ -- for manipulating the Disqus API
+* `Subversion <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subversion_(software)>`_ -- for version control of the articles
+
+I am particularly excited by that last feature. As I get full versioning support
+for free. Looking at it another way, I get a personal wiki without any
+additional work on my part!
+
+Of course, this setup is not geared for multiple authors and doesn't have fancy
+web interfaces. But it is definitely a better publishing tool *for me* than the
+other options that I can see out there.
+
+Please let me know if there are decent alternatives that I should be using
+instead. And if you care to use this setup, then checkout the `subversion
+repository <http://pleinair.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/documentation/asktav/>`_.
+All my code is placed in the public domain.
+
+And now that I've done what several thousands of others have `done before me
+<http://diveintomark.org/archives/2001/07/30/why_i_dont_use_blogger>`_, I can
+hopefully focus on creating tools that are *actually* geared towards enabling
+dialogue and active collaboration.
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+=====================================
+A Present Is Found & A Friend Is Made
+=====================================
+
+:X-Created: [2008-08-13, 00:01]
+
+*[This is a reposting of an email that I had sent to some close friends on March
+20th 2003 @ 05:53.]*
+
+::
+
+ | time. 2am. place. the wobbly (millennium) bridge.
+ |
+ | after entertaining myself running around the trees, i pull
+ | myself up onto the wobbly bridge and gently skip along. my
+ | heart beats slightly faster as i see the river flow underneath
+ | me. the thrill of being so high. the thrill of falling.
+ |
+ | clumsily pull myself over the side, straddle a beam and sit,
+ | watching the river flow. i lean back, feel the aura of the
+ | full moon. the wind blows. so soft. but with a sharpness that
+ | makes me alert. aware. lyrics come to mind "london calling to
+ | the underworld... i live by the river!"
+ |
+ | i get up to climb back over. i almost slip. heart beats. back
+ | on the wobbly. start to skip along again. in front of me, a
+ | giant circle. a perfect circle. a circle of objects. i look
+ | around -- no-one to be seen. a present from an anonymous
+ | stranger.
+ |
+ | i delight in the find and start exploring. a mobile phone. a
+ | paintbrush. a block of wood. a pressure valve. a blue tin
+ | (labelled russian caviar). i look inside. some round stones.
+ | another block of wood. too many objects to be mentioned here.
+ | the wind takes on a cold edge, but the present makes me very
+ | warm.
+ |
+ | and in the middle of this perfect circle, at the exact middle
+ | of the bridge (both lengthways and sideways), a grey and
+ | white toy bunny with a fat blue alkaline battery. i ponder
+ | upon the present for a long time. is there a clever message?
+ |
+ | for some reason, the words "beautiful girl lovely dress"
+ | sample across my mind's ear. a cyclist zooms by. i call back
+ | at him. he stops. he turns. he approaches cautiously. i ask
+ | him what he thinks. maybe a clock he says. doesn't have
+ | anything interesting to say. i let him go.
+ |
+ | i explore the present further. time goes by. i feel inspired.
+ | thoughts provoked. another walks by. i wave. we speak. i can
+ | sense the samani in this creature. we will be good friends.
+ |
+ | i bid the present goodbye, and decide to spend the remaining
+ | hours of the morning exploring the mind of this new found
+ | friend. and fun hours they were.
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