WordPress impressions (take 2)

So this is strike 2. Was editing my document before with an on line editor and it had to fail. Bye bye long post.

Was basically describing my experience so far with the WordPress platform and self hosting my blog instead of relying on blog services like blogger, LiveJournal, vox etc.

For years (like 2003) I was relying principally on LiveJournal (I’m [ljuser]Ennev[/ljuser] there) for text posting. But with Six Appart selling it, layoffs and some downtime recently I was starting to realize that nothing last forever. So if it goes down so do you.

I already had a domain name but wasn’t really using it, was mostly there in case of future use. Sure I could point my domain strait to my journal, but it doesn’t protect my content from failures and I can’t do all I want (like stats & widgets). Self hosting will give you all the control you want, o.k. It’s not free but nowadays you can find decent provider for 5$ that’ll give you PHP/Mysql and unlimited bandwidth (remain to be seen) but with your control over your domain name you can switch your hosting if it go under or that your not happy with the performance or that you get kicked out for abusing the bandwidth 🙂

o.k. It’s more responsibility, you need to take backups and if your site/application has security hole it’s yours to suffer. But I think the advantage outweigh the risks.

In real life I’m the IT business and I have to use a very diverse set of tools and languages, but rarely PHP, I use a lot of different database system(MS-SQL, Oracle, DB2) but rarely MySql. So the self blog project was also an opportunity to get less rusty with theses.

Initially my project was to still use LJ are the platform, it support OpenID(got invented by Brad Fitzpatrick that wrote LJ) so people could comment even if they weren’t member of LJ and I then had all the backlog of years of posting. I would use magpie to parse the RSS reader and my php code would put it in a nice form. I could put any widget I want and also had the access to the full stats etc.

So my little project with magpie and php was going well, but still I have little time to program with the full days I get so it meant the it wasn’t evolving as fast as I would have wanted to.

A month of so ago I went to PodMtl, something I meant to do for it’s beginning (then again full schedule situation). Met a lot of podcaster/bloggers there, it’s almost safe to say that they where all relying on the WordPress platform to publish. I head of it but never digged to much into it. After visiting blogs such as Bob Goyetche, Laurent LaSalle, Sylvain Grand’Maison, Laurent Maisonnave it was clear that this platform is solid, flexible and reliable.

So I’ve downloadedit, uploaded it to my space at the provided, created a blank database on the sql server and then I was amazed, the only thing I had to do to set this thing up was to put the database config in it. The rest is literally point and click. Even picking a style from the countless available and including addons is point and click. I wouldn’t say that you don’t need any background in IT to do it, but the difficulty level is quite low, if you can let’s say install windows XP on a desktop computer you could install WordPress on a hosting PHP/MySql as easily. And since it’s open source, if it doesn’t do exactly what you want you can just open the hood and modify it, you can create your addons and customize the look and feel easily. No need to reinvent the well.

Control is great, it’s as easy as managing and let’s say Facebook. As was expecting to have to clean-up tables and stuff manually but even there you can find plugins that will optimize the DB with a single click.

The only downside so far is spam, within minutes of my first post I stared to get spam in the comments. Blogging services usually take care of this for you and although it will happen, but here you are on your own! WordPress have feature where you can moderate, so the comments people leave are not automatically visible on your site, but it still mean that they are filling your box. So it was clear I had to find some spam control, I can’t say I looked hard, I’ve tried a few and so far and I’m satisfied with Defensio.

So to complete this I will conclude that if your are considering setting yourself a website that you should seriously consider WordPress.

The new hitchhiker guide to the galaxy?

From Yahoo news:

Astronaut Class of 2009 Has No Spaceship

WASHINGTON – Nearly five decades after announcing the seven original Mercury astronauts, NASA is again set to reveal a new class of spaceflyers. But the 2009 astronaut class will be the first in nearly 30 years that will enter training without the prospect of flying on the space shuttle.

. . .