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Changing blog engine?

Gentoo/FreeBSD logo by Marius Morawski

I can say that in the last two days I was finally able to do a quite important test over Gentoo/FreeBSD, the resistance to the Slashdot effect, that is all but an easy thing. It was certainly helped by the limit of my ISP’s bandwidth, but the server didn’t crash and that is quite good. What did happen, though, is that this morning I woke up and Typo decided not to show any more article’s content anymore.

I tried a restart to no effect, then tried to upgrade after a new backup (and after having cloned the database on a development one); the upgrade this time didn’t die on itself, but the result wasn’t good anyway: the index was ordered from the first post to the last rather than the opposite, that is what you usually want (last post at the top); categories instead worked fine, as well as archives, so I simply worked it around by putting a redirect in lighttpd that moved users requesting / to request the English category, that’s what most of the people want anyway. Unfortunately after that I also noticed that both comments and trackbacks disappeared, d’oh!

I restored to the original point, the same Typo revision, the same database, and it worked flawlessy, even showing the articles. How that is possible, I still hasn’t answered.

Anyway, I think Typo upstream is just annoying the hell out of me; the migrations don’t work, their Trac site is still offline because when they enabled anonymous posting it started filling with spam, so you cannot even report the problems; also the only spam protection you’ve got (that works) is the Ajax commenting, which is also bothersome as it disallow commenting on some browsers, included my phone’s.

So I wanted a new blog engine, and I wanted it to be a new challenge for Gentoo/FreeBSD too. I discarded WordPress and alike because I don’t really like the default view (that is likely what I’d use because I suck as webdesigning), too spaced; I don’t want to mess with b2evolution because of the bad experience on Planet Gentoo. Also, I would like to avoid PHP and Python that, to me, sound both pretty bad performing, and Perl, I don’t have any knowledge of, which makes it difficult for me to debug.

The solution wasn’t that obvious but Damm suggested it to me. JSP! We got Java working already, and last month I was able to get TomCat working fine, too, what better challenge? So I decided to take a look to which blogs were interesting that used JSP, and I found two: blojsom and Roller both of which are interesting because they are under the radar of big companies that would prove them pretty good. Edit: sorry David for having expressed it wrong, now should be better, hopefully.

The first, blojsom, is used by Apple for their Mac OS X Tiger Server weblog server, while the latter, Roller, is used by Sun and IBM for their corporate weblogs, which is a pretty good curriculum for the software. Between the two I started looking first at blojsom, mostly because I actually used (as a commentator, rather than a blogger) the other one, and although I certainly like it more than WordPress or b2vo, I still find it clumsy, and if I remember correctly, it had a bit of problems with Technorati Tags, while they works quite well with blojsom.

It really fascinated me, it’s way faster than Typo ever has been, Tomcat is just like a diesel engine, it takes time to start, but then it is fast, it gave me a pretty good impression. But of course, I cannot just remove this blog and replace it, as I don’t want to lose neither entries nor comments, so I’ll have to write a script to convert Typo’s database into blojsom data. It shouldn’t be that difficult actually, as the structure of the latter is quite sane, even if the first one is… terrible.

Also, as the URLs are pretty different, I’ll have to create a redirection table for the old URLs to the new one, nothing too complex, but it will take a bit.

My main problem now is that I’m not sure what to use for the server, if lighttpd reverse proxying for Tomcat, or as nelchael suggested using Resin directly. The latter didn’t start “out of the box” or rather out of the ebuild, for me on Gentoo/FreeBSD, and this is not really good, but on a theoretical plane, I’d think that using a single server to serve both static and dynamic content is simpler and faster; I just need to get resin working, for a start.

Also, whatever I choose, I’ll finally be able to merge back the hosts so that blog and site are all on the same address, rather than having two different vhosts.

Oh well.

Comments 3
  1. I just wanted to correct that blojsom is not backed by a big company (Apple in this case). It’s developed by myself with contributions from the community.

  2. Sorry David, I expressed it with the wrong words, I think that also Roller is not actually developed by Sun/IBM, what I meant is that it is «cheered», or «in the radar» of Apple (and Sun/IBM for the other one). I’ll fix the entry now.By the way, you did an awesome work with blojsom, I just completed importing the posts, I just need to get textile working and before end of the month I might be moving out of Typo 🙂

  3. I would suggest Serendipity, which is the best weblog engine ever ;-). To be serious, when it comes to high-traffic sites I would suggest to use a Squid before the software you decided to use. Just spend it 20GB of diskspace for caching and you images, CSS-files, JavaScript-files and all the other static stuff is just delivered via Squid, which scales much better than any webserver.Btw: I would really like it if you think again about your retirement from Gentoo. It would be so sad, if you leave. I’m following you weblog since a few weeks and I find it unimaginable funky what you did and do the whole day. Do you want some sort of computer game? Some books? A CD or something to become a bit more happy. I will do my best to convince you to stay, be sure.

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