Bill P. Godfrey et al

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Adventures in websites - Bishop to Blogger

"In my day, the Canadians would use magnetic tape and I was the editor of the Hamster Times."
This the second in a series looking at personal web hosting.
Part One - Student Days

Web publishing has got very easy these days. Time was that if I wanted to make a page on a web site, I'd create a text file in a text editor and I'd start by typing
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
and write the rest using raw HTML. Woo hoo!

That's all fine if you want to produce single, stand-alone documents, but if you want to have some sort of organisation with consistent navigation (like a blog) you need some tools. Enter...

Bill's Incredibly Stupid Home Page.

My route to blogging started way back in March 2002. I decided I would try it out, but I needed some tools. Back then, there was a bit of a mish-mash of blogging tools, none of which really suited me. But I'm a software engineer, dag nabbit. I'll engineer some.

For a C++ program knocked together over a weekend, it did the job. Even having frivilous touches like a month view of posts and an RDF feed.

One downside was that it had no scope for reader comments. Instead I included an email link and I would post "Lettuce to the editor" pages when I'd have enough to warrant it.
(I shamelessly stole that pun from Neil.)

The big problem was that it was a pain to use. I abruptly gave up blogging in June 2003. Then in November 2004, I started again. This time I used Google's blogger service, which works in a very similar way to BISHOP, but done right.

Generally dissatisfied with my prior bloggings, I started afresh with my new domain, although I have re-posted a few of my better efforts when I've been stuck for something to write.

Now, my writings are enjoyed by eleven people all over the world. I've finally made the big time! (Ish)

(Coming up in part three, Beyond Blogging.)


  • Back in my student days, before all this blogging malarky, I used to use a diary service on a BBS; did the same sort of thing as blogs - although like BISHOP you had to mail or message [in a for-runner to all these messaging services - well - bar irc ] comments to the diary owner.

    Later, at work [2002] I'd meddled with some scripts and created "GIZMO" [named after my dog at the time] which was essentially a simple perl-based tool to allow news releases to be issued in a standard looking format (in effect, a simple CMS) - while work used it for their news releases, I tweaked and played with a copy for myself - using it instead to keep track of computing news; the idea being to create my own news database for later research projects and so on [ which was actually quite useful ]

    Now, I'm re-visiting GIZMO, and have performed a few tweaks and realise that with very little work I would have a boni-fidy bit of blog software... maybe I'll play around with it and see if I can't get it into a form that would be useful...

    [old code never dies.. it just gets re-purposed]

    That said, I still hand-code a lot of things; Of course, with tools like dreamweaver and the like this is a lot easier - especially maintaining the templates and not deleting that last "TR" that suddenly throws your formatting out the window.

    Ah... kids today, they don't know they're born.


    By Blogger M., At 10:28 AM, July 20, 2006  

  • Water annoys you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:17 PM, July 20, 2006  

  • Part 3?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:57 AM, July 26, 2006  

  • Still writing it.

    By Blogger Bill P. Godfrey, At 8:12 PM, July 26, 2006  

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