Today I went through the exercise of setting up a new blog. I prefer to install the blog software myself at a domain that I own and this begs the question: Which blog software should I use?
b2evolution looked promising, but there are little animated emoticons on the blog editor which I found rather distracting and silly. I couldn’t figure out how to hide them, and promptly gave up.
I’ve tried Serendipity before, but never tried to do any customization. The default theme was rather humdrum. Also, on their feature list they reference WordPress integration, which really made me think I should look more closely at WordPress instead.
I turned away from Nucleus because the screenshots link on their websites took me into the Gallery application. I like Gallery, but I really want a blog system that will make it easy for me to post photos inside the blogs and I reason that, if the Nucleus website doesn’t use the Nucleus software to display screenshots, then it’s probably a little too cumbersome to do.
I’ve played with TikiWiki in the past and it looks extremely powerful. However, after installation, it took me several minutes just to figure out how to enable the blog module, so the whole system seemed a little too much like Linux in the 90’s… it’s very powerful, you have full control, but you really need to put some effort into learning how to tame the beast.
So that left me with WordPress. It’s very popular and extremely well supported, but I used it about 2 years ago and remember that inserting images into blogs were really hard. So I played around for a while on the WordPress site and noticed an example of an image in the Wysiwyg editor. Very encouraging!
I’m very impressed with the wide range of plug-ins for WordPress and the plethora of themes! I settled on this very cool Paalam 1.1 theme by Sadish Bala (“made free by Web Hosting Bluebook“). Uploading my own banner image is dead simple, and WordPress even has a built in image editor to help crop the image. The default Wysiwyg editor I’m using right now (I believe it’s called TinyMCE) is also really cool. I’ve gotten so used to editing Google docs documents – editing WikiText is really awkward by comparison.
The blog research and implementation took me several hours… but I’m happy with the result. Now, lets see how easy it is to add an image to this blog…
Wow! That was fantastic! There’s a file upload form right below the editor. After uploading, a button lets you insert a link to the uploaded image into the document. It couldn’t be simpler (well, without drag & drop at least). I’d like to figure out how to make the text flow around the image (without having to edit the HTML and stilysheet), but this is a great start! BTW, it appears that switching between “Code” and “Visual” input is also really seamless in the Wysiwyg editor.