TidyWeblogger Update

Monday, 2008-07-28; 03:32:18

progress on my custom weblogging app

In my entry about data loss, I mentioned that I started “using” my own weblogging app to continue to update Technological Supernova. It’s almost six months since that update. How are things going?

Progress has been slow, because I’ve been juggling my Cocoa programming life with my geology research life, and geology research has taken precedence in the past few months. Also, when I have had time to do Cocoa programming, other projects have been the focus of my time — in particular, Degrees of Tweetdom was far more interesting. But I’ve been missing out on weblogging, and for the past few days I’ve been furiously doing some more coding on TidyWeblogger.

When I mentioned that I was “using” my own weblogging app, basically all my app did at that point was generate the HTML page for the entry. Everything else was manual — I had to manually copy the correct portion of the HTML from that page and manually paste it into the main weblog page of Technological Supernova, and I also had to manually update the RSS feed, too. It was enough to keep my weblogging going, but definitely not anything that anybody else would realistically use.

This entry marks the first entry where the main weblog page and the RSS feed are automatically updated. I’m excited! No more manual cut-and-paste, and no more worrying about whether I borked the RSS or the HTML. Yay!

[UPDATE: RSS feed seems to be semi-borked. Safari is only showing 5 out of the 10 entries in the feed, for some reason. Can anybody figure out why? (It’s really late and I need to go to bed.) Also, comment counters don’t appear for the last 3 entries on the main page, but I know the cause of that.]

I’ve also implemented a second kind of entry, one which uses Markdown and SmartyPants to generate the body HTML from a plain-text formatted paragraph. This is also the first entry to test this new feature out, too. Using the now-seemingly-defunct iBlog, creating entries was RTF-based, although one could insert HTML code using special tags. Markdown is plain-text-based, but inserting HTML code should be easier and less problematic. I’m looking forward to the change.

Here’s what’s still not working:

  • category pages
  • archive pages
  • older/newer buttons to navigate between entries
  • the sidebar is not up-to-date
  • only works with Technological Supernova (paths and resources are hard-coded for T.S.; TidyWeblogger needs to be generalized to my other weblogs and to other potential iDisk users)
  • locally-stored weblogs currently not possible; other users may not want their iDisks cluttered up with plist files that TidyWeblogger uses to store data
  • the UI is horrendous; it needs toolbar icons and a preferences window and all that good UI stuff

I think that after I get my weblog all up-and-running using TidyWeblogger, I’ll think about a visual redesign. Seems like a good time for that.
But on the whole, things are OK. I’m reasonably happy with the progress I’m making, especially in the last few days. I’m hoping now that I’ve got most of the app infrastructure in place, automatically creating the category pages should be pretty easy.

Here’s a funny story: Technological Supernova uses .mac comments. During the .mac to MobileMe transition, comments got turned off, and then on, and then back off again. So I filed a bug report, and also filed a support request about MobileMe (since comments weren’t working with iWeb, either).

According to super-secret sources inside MobileMe headquarters, Apple “forgot to re-enable” .mac comments after the transition was complete, and it “took a couple days for anyone [read: me] to complain”. Apparently I’m the only one who actually uses .mac comments.

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