New Site, New Software

23 Jul 2008

Anyone who’s been paying attention to http://www.rho.org.uk (which is, to a first approximation, no-one) will have noticed that I’ve not updated it for over a year and a half. The short answer is lethargy; I just didn’t get round to it. For the long answer, read on. Previously, http://www.rho.org.uk was a single site running on Blosxom. In order to get the site looking how I want it to, I’d written a number of templates. And plugins. And hacked the script a bit. It all sort of worked, I enjoyed doing it, and I even appreciated the Perl practice. However, I decided to rearrange things such that entries were organised by date as opposed to category (see Cool URIs don’t change), and that’s when the problems started.

In theory, this shouldn’t be too difficult - Blosxom is, after all, a very flexible system, and can do this sort of thing - but to sort out all the details, and to make all my plugins and templates work in the new world, isn’t a ten-minute job. The effect was that every time I felt like writing some actual content for the site, I’d pick up the computer, and think “I need to sort out the script first”. I’d prod at it listlessly for half an hour, but without enthusiasm. After all, that wasn’t what I’d picked up the computer to do. I’d lose interest, and go and do something else. Last week, instead of starting to tweak the script, I checked the public version of the site. The last entry was from eighteen months ago.

I could have knuckled down, dived in, mixed metaphors and fixed the existing setup. However, that sounds a lot like hard work. What’s more, the problems probably wouldn’t stop there - the more I go off-piste with Blosxom, the bigger a rod I create for my own back. I realised that rho.org.uk is something I do for fun, and that what I really wanted was something that worked with the minimum of fuss. I’ve tried the DIY route, and I know I can do it. That doesn’t mean I want to. I want to be writing entries, not messing with Perl and Apache.

So, I decided to start from a clean slate. I’ll keep the old site around as an archive, but I’m not bothering to port the older entries en masse. I’m also separating my blog - (http://rob.rho.org.uk) from the main website (http://www.rho.org.uk), as that gives me more flexibility for any future changes, and means I don’t need to shoehorn pages that don’t make sense (such as the one for SilverService) in to a blog structure. Software-wise, I’m using Movable Type - I’ll post more about that later.

I also promise to post more frequently. Honest.

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