March 5, 2006

Look, how many BLOGS you have!

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by dgcombs

I happily and go luckily was assuming everything was A-OK with my website. I’d been testing pmWIKI on it for some time and it was looking good. Then my mother made a cryptic comment about trying to shut down this blog or looking for a new language. Hmmmm… I’d better check, I thought. And certainly I was surprised to find out that the blog didn’t function.

So I looked at the web server (I recently switched from BOA to someting the in folks call “”lighty,”” lighttpd). I had noticed a few oddities, but I thought they’d gone away when I’d upgraded to version 1.4.10. But sure enough, this version was causing PERL cgi scripts to fail – even while allowing PHP scripts to run! I was scratching my head over that one. I reviewed the configuration files at length and decided it might take more work to fix it than to set up a new blog based on PHP!

So I set out to look. First I looked to see if pmWIKI had any features that made it work like a blog. There’s no sense in trying to have too very divergent tools if one will do. Nope. The pmWIKI folks are still trying to define what a BLOG is in terms that will allow the WIKI to function that way. drat!

So I surf – and I surf – and I surf. I finally come up with two candidates: Simple PHP Blog and Serendipity. Since Simple PHP Blog was so… well, SIMPLE I thought I’d try it first. So I unpacked the files and checked it out. Yup. It was simple all right. But still very nice and niceness is appealing. Then I tried to enter my first blog… uh-oh. The markup (the thing which makes for bold and italics and embedded links and headers!) wasn’t Markdown but more like what’s used in PHPBB, a PHP based forum or Bulletin Board sofware. You just take a normal HTML markup and replace the angle brackets with square ones. Ugh! Worse, if you highlight a word and try to click their BOLD button, it appends a bold word at the END of the post.

So then I read about Serendipity. Nice name, easy to dance to. But I couldn’t give it a 78 because it requires the use of Apache and MySQL. Now the whole point of using Blosxom all this time was that it was SIMPLE and EASY and didn’t require complicated things like a SQL server. Double UGH!

So I went back to Simple PHP Blog because it was… well, SIMPLE. In the mean time I kicked off the update function on my Linux box running the Blog. It’s an old SPARC Sun box so it takes a while to run even if it’s written in Python and running under Gentoo; it’s just a slow machine. The first problem I’d have to tackle is changing Markdown to pseudo-HTML. Then I’d have to write a script to modify the posts from simple text to structured text. Then I could copy the files over and done!

Ah – finally the update finished. Looking over the logs I noticed that Lighttpd had been updated to version 1.4.10-r1. Hmmmm, says I. I quick restart the server and then point my browser to my old BLOG. Wow! There it is! PERL is working again! Whew! Now I don’t have to install Apache or MySQL or go through all that conversion stuff. Yipee! But I did learn a lot. Thanks for the tip, Mom!


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