A Weblog of Your Own
Bloggers use Macs. And no wonder. People who love to communicate have traditionally gravitated towards the Mac. We've got great tools for writing and editing digital media. That much is certain. But with a whole bunch of Unix people moving towards the Mac, we're starting to see the effects of that particular migration.
It used to be that you need a measure of technical know-how to set up a weblog system on your own server. Blogging systems like Moveable Type require a Unix background as a pre-requisite. But with the Unix people imbiding the Mac Way of doing things, we're seeing the availability of systems that can help us start blogging in 15 minutes, with the minimum of technical knowledge.
Salon offers the following definition. "Weblogs, typically, are personal Web sites operated by individuals who compile chronological lists of links to stuff that interests them, interspersed with information, editorializing and personal asides. A good weblog is updated often, in a kind of real-time improvisation, with pointers to interesting events, pages, stories and happenings elsewhere on the Web. New stuff piles on top of the page; older stuff sinks to the bottom."
So, when I wanted to create a web site to compile information about the many interesting ways we can use a Mac running OS X in a business enterprise, I found the weblog the perfect tool to give shape to the information.
The weblog format allows me to articulate some ideas and publish them immediately with very low overhead. Then I use the side-bar to stick in the more elaborate tutorials that can help people understand things better.
Fastest Way to Blogging on the Mac
Blosxom. Look here for installation instructions. When you download Blosxom onto your desktop, you get a standard package installer. Double-click on it, answer three questions when asked (or don't, it's OK), and you'll have your first weblog opened in your browser. Total time: less than 15 minutes.
You access your weblog by typing "localhost/weblog" into your browser. Your friends find it by typing, say, "yourHomeMac.dyndns.org", if you've followed my instructions on setting up your own personal server.
Of course, you'll want to fill your weblog with your own articles. You'll find the article folder at "/Library/WebServer/Documents/blosxom/doc".
You can delete all the other articles that came with Blosxom and add more of your own. The most recent articles appear at the top. You can store them in sub-folders and they'll still percolate to the top (that's the magic of Blosxom). As long as you store each article in a .txt file, everything will work out fine. The first line in the .txt file is used as the title for the article.
Blosxom's author Rael Dornfest continues to upgrade Blosxom. It's all free, by the way, source code and all.
But you may still like to see what else is available. Why? You may want have more control over the blogging system, like custom-made links to a calendaring system or to a MySQL database. Or, like me, you may simply want to make the look of the pages more easily customisable using WYSIWYG editors like GoLive.
Whatever the reasons, alternatives exist. Since Blosxom's source code is available, there are ports to other languages, like Java and PHP. Blosxom is written in Perl.
I downloaded the Blosxom port that was written in PHP, called PHPosxom (they all have OSX in them, get it?), because I had some ideas I want to work on and Java was too much work. So this weblog is now running on a mangled version of PHPosxom (credit to Robert Daeley, who did the port and continues to improve it).
I am making the version I had created to run The Ultimate Business Machine Weblog available for download. This is the exact same code I using to drive this weblog. Just drag the downloaded folder into /Library/WebServer/Documents and you can access it by typing "localhost/weblog"
I don't want to get into the kind of trouble this guy had (see "I've been robbed") for stealing code, so I must emphasise that I did not write the original code. I just "improved" it (somewhat) and I think I've made it easier for a web designer to work with the system.
Requirements : You've got to make sure PHP is already activated for your web server.