Hari's Corner

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A brief look at blogging tools

Filed under: Software and Technology by Hari
Posted on Sat, Mar 25, 2006 at 11:38 IST (last updated: Thu, May 7, 2009 @ 21:07 IST)

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I am currently looking at various blogging tools available for personal publishing and re-evaluating some of these options. Since I'm planning to create a new blog to publish my book reviews in (I'll still be posting these reviews at LiteraryForums.org), I wanted to evaluate some of the options available and see if I should stick with WordPress or not.

I won't say that I'm unbiased. Once you get used to working on a particular tool or software over a period of time, you're pretty much convinced by its usefulness, partly because of familiarity and partly because you're quite good at customizing it to your needs. But in any case, I decided to share some of my opinions on the various platforms available for personal publishing. Here I've restricted myself to three blogging tools and one blogging service.


Website: b2evolution.net Pros: Quite sophisticated and feature rich Cons: Probably overkill as a personal blogging option.

This is more than a useful blogging tool and looks quite promising. I downloaded and installed it on my personal server and I only have two problems with this tool. Firstly, its size. It's uncompressed size is around 9 MB or so and for a blogging system, I consider that way too big. It also shows that it is feature rich, but probably way overkill as a personal blogging tool. The second problem, of course, is that it tends to appear far more complex than WordPress, for instance. It's multi-blogging tool, for instance, seems confusing by default and the developers should probably look at changing the default options to install only a single blog. Also its admin panel does require a bit of learning. Overall, b2evolution is quite good and seems well designed and sophisticated.


Website: bblog.com Pros: Simple, small and intuitive Cons: Lacks a bit of polish, also fewer plugins, themes and mods than other blogging systems

bBlog would probably be the ideal blogging tool for many reasons. It's pure blogging approach makes it cut down on a lot of excessive features and options, which is refreshing. It's small download size is also a definite advantage. But there are a few hitches on the path to perfection. One is the way its templating system is designed. I am a fan of HTML templates, and no doubt Smarty is a very sophisticated templating system, but what this implies is that you probably need to tweak it a lot more to get it to work the way you want. For instance, when you need to display more link categories on your sidebar, you need to edit the template to get it to display. This took me quite a while to work out. You also need to learn the Smarty tag system if you want to customize the templates. The other problem with bBlog is that you won't find too many pre-built themes, plugins or mods for it. It's level of customizability is quite basic.

Barring these issues I raised, bBlog is probably my second choice as a blogging system after WordPress.


Website: nucleuscms.org Pros: Looks slick and professional Cons: Slightly complex admin panel

I'm reserving judgement on NucleusCMS because it looks to be a great option as a personal CMS. Again, like b2evolution, it is a multi-blogging tool, which is a definite layer of complexity which I prefer to avoid when possible, but unlike b2evolution, it is small in size and its features are somewhat different from a typical blogging tool. It's probably targetted at more technical users than WordPress, too.

The only setback, in my opinion, is the admin panel which looks a bit more complicated, I suspect, than it actually is. A bit counter-intuitive and definitely takes a lot of getting used to.


Website: wordpress.com Pros: Free, easy to setup blogging service, no web hosting required Cons: Lack of control over plugins, features and skins

WordPress.com is not a blogging tool, but a service, along the lines of blogger/blogspot. The advantage of WordPress.com is that you have a blog up and running within minutes. The downside is that, if you're expecting it to work exactly like it would if you had the downloadable version of WordPress installed on your own server, you'd be mistaken.

It's probably ideal for newbies looking for an alternative to blogger. WordPress is definitely a great blogging option, but to me, its true potential is realized by the ability to plug in a wide variety of features with ease and to customize templates. With WP.com, you are restricted to a stock WordPress install without any plugins or the ability to customize the template. While you get a variety of pre-built themes to skin your blog with, the customizability is minimal. Definitely more suited for new bloggers looking to get a feel of blogging without the complexities of setting up their own.

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4 comment(s)

  1. you know these geeks that like linux, especially commandline linux? They would like bblog. I like (yes, me, the geek) bBlog because of the attitude of "hey, if you want to change it, all you need is a little php knowledge, all the power to ya!"it can be a little indimidating though to a newbie. It is small and really easy to blog off, but customising is difficult.

    Comment by titanium_geek (visitor) on Sat, Apr 1, 2006 @ 06:16 IST #
  2. Actually I like bBlog a lot, but I just didn't want to learn a new system. I needed to get my Book Reviews blog up and running and since I'd already done enough work in WordPress, I could get it up fairly easily.You can check it out here: http://harishankar.org/

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Apr 1, 2006 @ 08:06 IST #
  3. Currently posting from links as I'm upgrading Arch and I'm left with no X currently. :)This is also a good way to test the site readability and other issues from a text browser.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Apr 1, 2006 @ 15:00 IST #
  4. good job, i like the info

    Comment by Busby SEO Test (visitor) on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 @ 09:25 IST #

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