Yeah, I’m kicking the idea around again. I’ve been sitting here waiting patiently to see what MovableType 3.0 would be like, but despite promises to the contrary it doesn’t look like it’s going to arrive on the scene any time soon.
So I’ve been looking into the alternatives and there’s plenty of them out there to choose from (and many of you have sent me recommendations via email), but none of them really come close to what I really want in the way of a blogging package. I’ve even debated trying to write my own, but the truth is I want something that provides a commenting system that is as robust as some of the message forums scripts that are out there like phpBB or Invision Board (which I run the SEB forums on) and I don’t think I’m anywhere near talented enough to come up with something like that. I’ve also toyed with some of the full-blown portal scripts like e107.org or GeekLog which offer a lot more in the way of polls, articles, links and such, but it seems like an awful lot for just one site out of the seven I manage with MT. Plus those systems don’t ping weblogs.com or blo.gs and other similar services which removes notification of when I’ve updated. The only package that seems like it might come close to what I’m after is the new Expression Engine, but I’m not willing to spend $199 for a blogging package.
So I’m back to square one. One thing I definitely want in a new package is dynamic page generation. Static pages are wonderful in many respects, but with close to 10,000 comments in SEB alone the time it takes to rebuild all the pages that have to be updated when someone submits a comment is very aggravating. None of the other blogs we maintain here are anywhere near as slow and I’m not doing anything all that much more complicated with my layout than I am any of the others. I can only assume it’s the amount of content that slows SEB down. Disk space is another consideration and SEB is a major hog in that respect. The folder that holds SEB’s pages and the associated archives accounts for 102.71 Megs out of the 191.71 Megs currently used at my hosting service. Exporting just the text of all the entries and comments from SEB results in a 9.96 MB file, which I find pretty amazing.
The other aspect that I really want my next package to have is user registration, which MT 3.0 is supposed to have. It would also be nice if it were fairly easy to develop layouts for it, but I realize that any switch right now would probably mean giving up some things I’ve grown to enjoy having (like pinging of weblogs.com).
I’ve managed to narrow my options down to two possibilities I’m giving serious consideration. One is the aforementioned e107.org which I’ve set up a
test installation to play with for awhile. Update: I’ve taken the test install of e107.org down and replaced it with a test install of Drupal. So far I’m impressed with Drupal overall. I need to become more familiar with it anyway as I’ll be helping Monkeyboy Chris to set it up for his use on a website for disseminating info on the LAN parties he holds every so often. This package offers a lot of different options and has a plug-in system for expansion and the templating system is not all that different from MT’s.
The other thing I’m contemplating is making use of the mini-CMS built into Invision Board called IP Dynamic Lite which I am also testing out using the current forums I’ve got setup. This certainly offers all the advantages of message forum’s robustness while presenting a front page that’s still very blog-like. I could just set up a single forum area as the “blog” in which only I can start new topics and everyone else can reply to those topics. I could even simulate categories by making use of the sub-forum option in IPB. Then I’d leave the extra forums for folks to start their own discussions in. The disadvantage to this approach is that IP Dynamic Lite is very limited in what you can do with it (though there are some mods available for it) and it’s a bit more tricky to develop custom layouts for it. My current layout wouldn’t work at all with it as near as I can tell.
Both packages would require giving up trackbacks and pinging weblogs.com. Both would only be good for handling SEB alone requiring me to leave MT installed to support the other blogs anyway (but at least it’s faster with those). Neither has any scripts available for importing SEB’s content from MT so I’d have to decide what to do with all the content that’s already here. I suppose I could just let them sit on the server and link to them.
And then again I could just decide to be patient and wait to see if MT 3.0 comes out before I die. Can you tell my “need-to-tinker” itch has kicked in again recently?