odd-lot thoughts

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blogger and FTP

I recently created a weblog using Blogger, but I thought I'd try hosting it on my own site. Yes, I've plunked down dollars so that I could have a neat sandbox to play in and explore stuff such as blogs, wikis, whatever.

The Blogger interface for creating a weblog can't be beat. It gets a little more complicated when you want to host the blog yourself, however. I thought I was doing everything right, but I couldn't see the blog -- just that directory view you get when there's nothing at home, and no index or default html page. I hate seeing that -- it's like seeing underwear.

It turned out that I had the ftp path incorrect. I should have omitted the "www" part in the path name. But Blogger gave me no indication that anything was wrong. It seemed to publish fine, and gave me success messages! So where did those uploads go? I wonder if there's a server somewhere out there with my initial efforts stashed away?

Once I corrected my ftp path, I was golden. The weblog is now up for all to see, except that it's in stealth mode at the moment. I haven't linked to anyone, or pinged anyone, so I haven't been "outed" yet.

I imagine Google could spider my site and find it, though. I'll have to see if that happens at any point.

I'm also experimenting with Word Press. It's an open source blog app, and it's pretty good too. But the posting interface is a bit more techy than some people would prefer. No wysiwyg editor, or "compose" mode, as Blogger calls it.

That's fine with me, it's still got little buttons to save on that tedious typing of code. For example, it has buttons for creating bullets and numbered lists. However, they're labeled "ol" and "ul."

Luckily, I know what those mean. And there may be a more novice-friendly posting interface in WordPress that I just haven't found yet. But I wonder -- how useful would a "ul" button be to the novice? And is that a barrier that we want to keep up? If I wanted a group blog for students, for example, I think I'd go with Blogger over WordPress.

But WordPress does have features, and more control. That's always the trade-off, and probably always will be.


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