Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Arguing with weblogs

No, not people on weblogs, the actual software.

So, I’ve been thinking (still) on what to do with Claw & Quill; I’ve come up with a few new vague ideas I’ll probably be expanding on soon. But it occurred to me that what I should be doing is expanding on them there, not here. I should have, to wit, a development blog, just like all the cool Web 2.0 kids.

And, speaking of Web 2.0, I’m at least hoping to make C&Q 2 a Ruby on Rails application, so I figured: why not make the blog a Rails application, too? That means, more or less, using Typo, the only Rails-based weblog software that shows any signs of actual development. In fact, many people who run Typo get it from the source repository instead of using the last stable release.

Herein lies a problem, though. The install directions haven’t been updated to show an important step or two to take that, in part, compensate for the fact that the database schema files haven’t been updated, either, which makes the system crash when you try to use it. Given that installation in an actual “production” environment is, as they say, a non-trivial exercise even under the best circumstances, this adds an extra level of frustration. (Rails is actually easier than PHP to run in development mode, since it comes with its own web server, but making it run under Apache or lighttpd is a lot harder than just dropping a .php file in a web directory.)

And, beyond that, the thing still doesn’t actually work. Some patches, and I mean for actual bugs, haven’t been applied to the trunk yet. Most of the themes available for Typo need to be modified to run with the trunk. And, a sysadmin on my web host has complained about Typo being a “pig,” which is in part due to a memory leak Rails 1.0 had with its component architecture. (Typo is apparently one of the few Rails applications to use components extensively.) The memory leak is fixed (maybe), but Typo is still pretty piggish. I posted a question in the host forum, asking for advice on which version to run, and so far have had only crickets chirping in reply. I’ve decided I might as well run with the current trunk: I’ve put some effort into making the damn thing work, ranging from fixing bugs to decoupling it from the unnecessarily-bundled copy of Rails it included—my web host should have the current version of Rails installed on the server by default.

It’s been interesting in spite of the irritation level, I suppose, though. I’m getting a little more experience with an actual working Rails application (gasp), as well as experience configuring lighttpd. And, I’ve looked again at weblog-posting applications, including ecto, which I’m using now. (Several of these support multiple posting protocols, including ones LiveJournal speaks, but only LJ-specific posting applications have LJ-specific feeps like “current mood” and “current music.”)

Of course, when this is ready for production, there’ll be another bit of interesting configuration on the host: right now I have a placeholder page for C&Q, as well as the old C&Q site, a PHP application, both served by Apache. I’d like both of those to stay where they are, and have a “blog.clawandquill.net” for the development blog. Rails apps on the host are always served by lighttpd. Do we set it up so everything gets served by lighttpd, or figure out how to proxy just the Rails application to lighttpd? Inquiring minds, and all that. (My suspicion is that having everything served by lighttpd will be easier in the long run, since the old site is going away, but I don’t know if the host will see it that way or not.)

N.B.: While I was trying to use Ecto to post this to LJ, it kept giving me a strange error. No idea if it’s Ecto’s fault, or LJ’s…

Tags: tech
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