Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Migrated to WordPress

July 28th, 2007

As of today this blog doesn’t run on my home-made-blogging software anymore. Instead it uses WordPress.

When I started this blog, I thought it would be a nice experience to build my own blogging system. And it was, but….after I build the basic blogging system, I wanted to add more features, eg. comments, pingbacks, etc. After a while I realized I didn’t had time (or didn’t make time) to add these features, so I started looking for another solution.

I heard and saw a lot of good things about WordPress, but it uses PHP, a language I never really looked into. But I was getting more and more enthusiastic about WordPress, so I decided to make the switch.

Last few days I created my own WordPress theme, so I could use my existing layout. I moved all the data from my old blog, setup mod_rewrite for the old urls and here’s the result. I still have to migrate my Dutch Blog, but that’ll happen somewhere next week.

If you run into dead links or if you’re experiencing any problems on this blog, please let me now. You can use the comments for this, they are working!!!! If you’d like to comment on any of the older articles, please do so.

Started Dutch Blog

April 21st, 2007

Today I started a new weblog, this time a Dutch one.

When I started this blog (the one you’re reading right now) I made the decision to primarily write in English

Last few weeks I ran into multiple subjects which were all Dutch oriented, but I never wrote about them because it just didn’t feel right to mix Dutch and English postings.

Also when writing my series about Google Maps I discovered there isn’t much written about this subject in Dutch, so I’m going to translate the articles into Dutch.

All of this made me decide to start a new (Dutch) weblog. This doesn’t mean the English one will cease to exist. I’m planning to write more and keep both blogs up-to-date. Sometimes I’ll write about the same subject on both blogs, but I don’t want to make the Dutch one just a translated version of the English one (or visa versa).

About this blog (4): English or Dutch

March 9th, 2007

This is the fourth post in the ‘about this blog’ series and is a follow up of the previous one about decisions. It’s about the decisions whether to write in English or Dutch.

As you may have noticed, the main language on this website is Dutch, while I’m writing this blog in English. Why not stick to one language for everything? Or translate the site as a whole?

First of all, I’m Dutch, so my native language is Dutch. Because of this writing in Dutch is more easily for me than writing in English. There are a few reasons why I chose to write this blog in English:

  • To improve my English writing skills. I’m using English a lot for communicating with others. When I’m writing an email, sometimes I can’t find the words to express myself. By writing in English on this blog, I hope it’ll be more easily for me to express myself and not to make stupid mistakes we Dutch sometimes make.
  • I hope sometimes I have something to write about that’s interesting for a broader audience than only the Dutch-speaking.

The main reason why only the blog is written in English is that most of my customers are Dutch and I didn’t have time to translate everything. Maybe someday I’ll have a complete bilingual website.

I won’t say I’ll never write in Dutch on this blog, because I can imagine that sometimes I want to write about something that’s only interesting for Dutch speaking. But I’ll have to find out what the best way will be to do this.

About this blog (3): Decisions

March 6th, 2007

This is the third post in the ‘about this blog’ series: Decisions.

Before starting this blog I had to make a few decisions. Some of them were easy to make, others were not so easy to make.

The first decision was which blogging sofware to use. I already wrote about this one in the first post of this series: About this blog (1): Custom Made

During the development of the blogging software I ran into a rather difficult decision: what kind of URL schema am I going to use? There’s been written a lot about this subject, so I started reading.

One of the most important things about URL design is to keep URLs simple and human readable. If these two are true for your URLs a search engine won’t have problems crawling your blog.

I started looking at other blogs and noticed there are many different ways to design an url. Here are a few (random) examples:

/blog/2007/02/16/Recreational-SVG

/yyyy/mm/dd/Title-without-Spaces

/2007/03/web-20-borrel-een-succes-open-coffee-meet-coming-up/

/yyyy/mm/title-without-spaces

/amigo/customer-service-tips

/tagname/titile-with-spaces

/svn/posts/302-preview-5-highrise-tasks

/id-of-post-plus-title-without-spaces

Because I’m using Ruby on Rails the last example would be the easiest to build. But I like /yyyy/mm/title-without-spaces better.

Does it really matter which one you choose? I don’t think so. All of the above URLs are SEO friendly. Some people argue you should not add dates to your URLs, while others think it’s good for your permalink structure to do so.

I decided to use dates in my weblog URLs although it’s slightly more complex to implement with my Restful weblog controller. I did it because I like the resulting structure of URLs which can be used as an archive: ”/weblog/2007/” gives all posts from 2007, ”/weblog/2007/01/” gives all posts from january 2007, etc. I left the day out of the URL, because I don’t think it’s very useful (I’m not planning on writing tens of posts every day).

Next decision was more easy to decide: Use full or partial text feeds. It was more easy, because I personally like reading blogs which use full text feeds, so I’m using a full text feed.

The final decision was a difficult one: which language to use, english or dutch. This will be the subject of the next post in this series.

About this blog (2): Status

March 2nd, 2007

This is the second post in a series I’m writing about this blog, a sort of “The making of….”. This time the status of this blog.

The main thing I can say about the status of this blog is “It works!”.

When building this blog I used the some of the guidelines from the great book Getting Real by 37signals:

  • “Build half a product, not a half-ass product”: This blog’s main purpose is to help me to write. That’s why I started with building the Posts functionality, not with the comments, tagging, etc. These can be added later on (tagging is already implemented).
  • “Don’t wast time on problems you don’t have”: At the moment I started writing this blog, all the posts fitted on one page (and they still do). So why worry about pagination and creating next/previous links? That’s something I have to take care of before the list of posts grows too big to fit on one page.

At this moment a part of this website is still static, e.g. the homepage. After I’ve written a new blog entry I have to manually add it to the homepage (a list of the three latest posts is shown on the homepage). Is this a problem? No! Would it be nice to have the three latests posts show up on the homepage automatically? Absolutely!

Another example, there’s no automatic ping build in right now. After a post has been added I go to the Technorati website and press the ping button. Is this a problem? No! Would it be nice if the blogging software did this automatically? Absolutely!

Because of the things I have to do manually it takes a little more time to publish an entry, but it’s not impossible.

My css is not complete, not every Textile markup element has a customized style. I just use them and when something isn’t displayed the way I want it to, I’ll add it to the css.

In the near future I’m planning to add the following features:

  1. Comments
  2. Pagination
  3. Ping
  4. Trackback
  5. Everything else I come up with

“Start with what you really need and add everything else later”, that’s something I’m planning on doing in my other projects also.

About this blog (1): Custom Made

March 1st, 2007

In my first post I promised to write some more about this blog and how I created it. I’m going to write a few posts about this subject, so let’s start with the first one: Why I use custom made blogging software.

Before creating my own blogging software I looked at a lot of out-of-the-box products or blogging platforms (why reinventing the wheel?).

Because I’m on a journey from Java development to Ruby on Rails development I specially looked at the Rails based blogging software, like Typo, Mephisto and SimpleLog. There are a few reasons why I decided to build my own blog from scratch:

  1. I wanted a simple blogging app. Not one with which I could maintain my complete website. Just use it for the weblog and integrate it into the website (which is also a Ruby on Rails app). This must be possible with the three programs I looked into, but all the tutorials and howto’s I found were based on building a standalone weblog.
  2. For another project I’m working on I needed the possibility to create a lot of (small) weblogs. In Mephisto it’s possible to create multiple pages which behave like a weblog, but I needed a weblog which is related to a user.
  3. I’m not that experienced with Ruby on Rails and building your own blogging app seems to be a good start 😉

Next time I’ll tell some more about the status of the software and what still needs to be done.

My first Post!

February 26th, 2007

Build a real site for my company, that was on my todo list for a long time. And now it’s finally here! To celebrate this joyful event I’m also starting a weblog as of today.

I never had a weblog before, so I guess I have to find out what I want to write about.

Because this blog is part of the website for my company Million Pieces, most of my writings will be business-related. About the projects I’m working on, the tools I’m using, the programming languages I write my applications in, but also about running an internet business in the Netherlands.

A few other things I’m planning to write about are things I personally love, hate, am worried about, like beautiful code, privacy, copyright, mashups, etc. (You have to keep on reading this blog if you want to find out which of these I love, hate or am worried about ;-)).

Next few days I’ll write a bit more about my company and about this website (how it’s been created).