Blogging Softwares

By: Jack Doren

Blog Software Types Some of this may be an over-simplification because some software started one way, then offered some of the advantages of the other kinds, but we can start an understanding by defining some of the characteristics of different offerings that exist, and the pros & cons of each. You might also take a look at what other people have to say on the importance of selecting from among these alternative approaches, such as Lila Efimova on Choices in Weblog Software, and my own collection of links to other people comments via Blog Software MT and RU. I refer to a lot of different software vendors here ... for more info on any one of them, such as links, check out my Blog Software directory, and Blog Software Perspectives where I have a bunch of links to stuff by many people on how you can compare what the different Blog Software vendors have to offer, in terms of different features, and ease of use, kind of a do-it-yourself Consumer Reports on Weblogging.

Off-Site Weblogging is where there is nothing on your PC, other than perhaps something added to your Browser. Off-site means your weblog is off of your computer. The whole weblog is hosted by the Weblog ISP. You go there with your Browser, identify your account, perhaps select template and other features, and then you type merrily away. You do not have to futz with downloading anything to your PC, there is nothing to manage on your PC, you pass the buck to the Weblog ISP to handle backups, security, maintenance and so forth. You can give other people access to your weblog, issuing them passwords, and perhaps not giving them all the same privileges that you give yourself. Advantages of this kind of weblogging is that it is incredibly simple to get started with it, and update from wherever your PC is. There is a large spectrum of management topics you never futz with. You don't have to worry about disk space on your computer, backing up your weblog, security. It is either safe or not, this is out of your hands. Later you can figure out if it is practical to update the site from several different PCs - home, work, laptop while traveling. If that is important to you, check out your Blog Software vendor choices before making final selection, to make sure it has all the features you desire.

Disadvantage of this is that you are extremely dependent upon the fortunes of the host site. If it goes down, you are down, and there is nothing you can do about it. If they go out of business, you have lost everything. If thousands of people are using the site, you could experience slow sluggish access. If the vendor ups the pricing, you are pretty much a captive audience stuck there. Many places start free, and work up from there. See Blog Moving for types of hassles you will have to deal with if you find it neccessary to relocate your blog from this reality.

According to The Weblog Tool Roundup by Joshua Allen, and Lila Efimova on Choices in Weblog Software, examples of this kind of weblog include: Blogger, Dairyland, Pitas.

The free versions have some limits on what can be included in your postings. From my personal experience, I can see that Manila falls into this category, although you can have mutiple users with Radio posting to a Manila site.

On-Site Weblogging is where the weblog runs off of your computer, which means you have to take responsibility for managing more than the weblog itself.

Advantages mean that you are protected from the vagaries of dot coms going out of business, being hacked, going down, etc.

Disadvantage now you are a more direct target of hackers, viruses, massive users corrupting your bandwidth etc. There are a whole bunch of features available for your weblog, that you can now manipulate, and there might be a steep learning curve associated with figuring out how to do all that stuff. Are you truely ready to invest in your own server, and figure out how to work that aspect of our technology? Before you put all your weblog connection eggs into one Internet connection basket, you might want to read Lila Efimova on what can happen when you no longer able to do blogging, after you get hooked on it.

Why would you want that? Well perhaps you want to be able to tweak stuff that the off-site Webloggers do not have the flexibility to touch. Perhaps you are an institution, like a school or a business, and you want weblogs for all your people, behind the enterprise firewall. Fortunately large user communities have grown up around these tools, so that you can ask other people for guidance. According to The Weblog Tool Roundup by Joshua Allen, examples of this kind of weblog include: Greymatter and Moveable Type. From my personal experience, I can see that with Manila and Radio you do have the option of hosting your own using the Frontier server, but this is more expensive than personal users might find to be reasonable.

Radio Userland is Downloadable Weblogging, in which you manage your weblog on your personal computer hard drive, tinkering with the text until you are happy with it, then upstream it to the public website. You work with the interface using your browser, but it is pointed at your hard drive instead of at the Internet. It comes supplied with lots of features. See Understand Radio News Aggregation for my explanation of one of the more powerful. Blogger API imitates Radio Userland by making it possible for you to edit your weblog posts on your PC then transmit them to the public site.

Advantages ... you get most of the best of both worlds - the off-site ease of use, and the on-site security of your data ... you ought to backup what is on your PC from time to time, just to be safe ... you do not have to use all the fancy options available. You have the option of moving your weblog to a different host site.

Disadvantage ... here I am speaking as a user of this stuff ... I remember I happened to be showing someone a bunch of stuff I was doing in Word, and explaining that I knew how to do about 25 different things, but there's 75 more I have not yet learned yet, so why should I upgrade to the next version of this Microsoft product, when I have not yet scratched the surface of what you can do? My friend told me that most customers only use 1% of what the product has to offer, and was amazed that I had taken the time to figure out so much. Well with Radio Userland, I feel like I am below 1% figured out what is out there and can be done with it. I see other new enthusiasts who bite off more than they can chew ... how do you do that, Oh that is cool, I want to do that on my weblog, where is this or that documented, what is the terminology or jargon ... in other words it is awful easy to get overwhelmed with possibilities, compared to the much simpler types of software, where there is not nearly as much that you can do. If you find it neccessary to swtich to a different host, because 40 meg on their site has now been used up, or for some other reason, see Blog Moving for types of hassles you will have to deal with if you find it neccessary to relocate your blog from this reality.

Weblog Community, as explained by John Hiler, is when your weblog has multiple people participating in a discussion group where people can post comments on other people comments and the whole thing is threaded for easy navigation. You can get this in either the off-site mode, with no install to your PC, or have something downloaded to your PC. Examples of Weblog Community software available without requiring software downloaded to your PC includes: One kind of this is hosted weblog software, such as: Free-Conversant, Grok Soup, Manila from Weblogs dot com, OnClave.

One kind of this is hosted community software, such as: LiveJournal, Onclave, Upsaid, Xanga.

Examples of Weblog Community software available in which installation of software is required to your PC: B2, Drupal, Geeklog, Nucleus, Perl Community, PHP Community, PHP Nuke, pMachine, Post Nuke, Scoop, Slash.

Weblog Publishing, as explained by John Hiler, is when you are keying in pages that become rendered in HTML, whether or not you used HTML in the keying. You can get this in either the off-site mode, with no install to your PC, or have something downloaded to your PC. Examples of Weblog Publishing available without requiring software downloaded to your PC includes: For these you have to go to the host site and key in what you want using your browser at that site. Dairyland, Pitas.

These support FTP (File Transfer Protocol) where you can prepare the text that you want without using the browser, then deliver it there when you are happy with the results. Big Blog Tool, Blogger, Web Crimson.

Examples of Weblog Publishing available in which installation of software is required to your PC: Blosxom, City Desk, Client App, Desk Top Server, Greymatter, Moveable Type, Perl Publishing, Radio UserlandFeature Articles, Tinderbox.

Published on http://softwarereviewblog.com

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