Everything new - Blog - Open Source - schlitt.info

schlitt.info - php, photography and private stuff

Everything new

As you will have noticed, when reading this page, I brought my new website online. Although I was quiet satisfied with Serendipity, I decided by May this year, that I wanted to bring up a real website again. Since October 2005 I only maintained my web log and my photo gallery on Flickr, due to missing time and lack of motivation to raise a real website again. Now that changed, with switching to WCV.

The intention to create a new website raised from complains to my web log. I'm blogging since 2003 and after 5 years of publishing my thoughts on PHP and other open source projects, people simply expected such stuff in my blog. Whenever I posted something private, I had several people complaining that such stuff won't belong into the site. On the one hand, I mustn't have cared a shit, but on the other hand, those people were right. My web log mainly consisted of open source related stuff and those couple of private entries probably were not interesting to most of the readers.

So my decision was to split up my blog into 3 ones:

Since this split would have already been a bunch of work, I decided to checkout for a new system to create a complete new website. All of my previous sites were custom made HTML + PHP, but that's not very satisfying anymore as a grown up web application architect. My requirements for a new system were:

  • Don't invent the wheel from scratch

    Creating a "content management system" from scratch is a nice finger exercise for beginning PHP developers. Creating a CMS using existing components is a good practice for advanced PHP developers. However, both will once reach a stage, where programming such kinda stuff is just boring. So what I needed was a system which already did what I want in a way I want it and which was programmed cleanly enough to customize it.

  • Write content from a familiar environment

    Most "content management systems" have one common problem: To create and edit content you need to use an editor which is embedded into a website. Surely, this is cool for short texts like news or messages. But for larger articles you'll always curse such web forms. Accidentally hitting a button on your keyboard might kill all writing (try hitting <F5> or <BACKSPACE>). Spell checking in browsers is still not as good, as it is elsewhere. Missing your favorite editors features is a constantly hurting pain in web forms.

  • Write content in a familiar way

    Beside the features that you might miss in a web form editor, the markup also plays an important role. Writing HTML usually is a pain. All those tags are no fun when creating content. Typical rich text editors for the web create visual markup, but no semantical markup. As a web developer I want to write my articles in a familiar way and to create semantically correct HTML in the same step. My favorite markup right now is ReStructured Text, which (beside others) allows me to create semantically correct HTML.

  • Version control content and source

    Most CMS out there just store a single version of an article. That makes it hard for the author to track when something was changed and even harder for the reader to see what has changed since he last visited the page. Version control is an essential feature of application development and is absolutely suitable for developing content, too.

  • Customizability and extensibility

    Publishing articles is a main purpose of personal websites. However, as a web developer I want to be able to integrate custom scripts in an easy way. This is mostly not possibly in common CMS'.

After evaluating these requirements, I decided to switch to Kores WCV. WCV (Web Content Viewer) realizes an idea originally developed by Tobias Struckmeier, an alumnus member of the PHP Usergroup Dortmund. The idea is simple: Store all your content in an SVN, create a menu structure form the file system structure and display it as HTML. WCV realizes these and some more features for me and fulfills all of the requirements I have.

Finally, after some work converting my old blog and cleaning up all the mess introduced there over the years, you see the result here. The content of my old blog was split up into 3 main areas. All of the old content was converted to RST and put in a sensible place. I tried to rewrite all the old URLs to the new ones and to convert my old directory structure to a new, sensible, one.

The content you might most probably be interested in is now found in the open source area. If you are still interested in my private experiences, make sure to also visit my private playground. If you like photography, this area might also be interesting. And if you want to read all of these, try the main page and aggregate its RSS feed. If you aggregate my old feeds, please update your URLs, although the redirects will be in place for some time.

So far, only the blogs are in place and further content is missing. I'll try to bring up information on my projects and publications soonisch and to add more content to all of the sections. So stay tuned and watch the progress.

If you find any problems with the new site or redirection from the old blog, do not hesitate to send me a note. Any feedback on the new site, layout and content is also highly appreciated.

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