I was a proud user of Blogger. I have been a member since the year 2000, and it has faithfully kept and squealed my secrets, whatever the case may be.
I thought it was pretty cool to use something as unusual as Blogger. Unusual because I am part of a community wherein using free application service providers are not the norm ("Why use one, when you can create or install in your own server?").
With Blogger, I was unique.
With Blogger, I was also incessantly chided. It was only a matter of time, according to my "bitter half", before I finally become "true to myself," and customize a full-featured blogging application.
After almost four years, the time has come. I declared August 2004 as the time for change, among other things.
And so I began my research, and compiled a list of open-source blogging applications (too bad about Movable Type, huh?). I basically:
- read the reviews,
- visited sample websites,
- browsed thru various support forums,
- scanned user manuals, and
- basically wasted my entire weekend.
At long last, I have narrowed it down to three: Nucleus, WordPress, and pMachine.
I’m a firm believer in the evaluation process. Although feedback from other users help (and unsolicited advice does not), each user has different needs. The only way I can choose the application is for me to actually install and try it out.
Thanks to Fantastico, I was able to instantly install both Nucleus and WordPress in the server.
I ditched WordPress after an hour of tinkering. I found it too simplistic, and getting the required output takes too much code manipulation.
I tried Nucleus, and was actually becoming fond of it. I loved manipulating the skins and templates (after finally figuring out what they meant), and almost built an entire website around it.
However, I got frustrated when I tried to create a hack that will show the headlines of related articles. Surely, there must be something else which will easily accomplish this?
With much hesitation, I installed pMachine. I had my reservations (and still do) about it. It has a highly commercial website which gives the impression that it is a Movable-Type-in-the-making. After all, who wants to receive an email after a few months stating in legalese that the script I was using is already for sale?
But I was getting frustrated (not to mention desperate), so I hurriedly installed it, and peeped inside the control panel.
Love at first sight
I was holding my breath. I immediately loved the way the control panel was organized. It took me a few minutes to figure out the purpose of each section, and how to modify the configuration.
Additionally, pMachine spoke my language (which is a cross between English, Filipino, newbie-techie, and basically a lot of unintelligible baby talk). I easily got the hang of the tags and variables, and started creating my own templates.
After approximately 3 hours, I have integrated all my templates into pMachine, uploaded a few sample articles, got my contact form working, and customized my search form.
As of this writing, this website is proudly powered by pMachine.