Blogging on web.mac.com/clanmills

Article:
Blogging

Updated: December 17, 2007

This article is about blogging. I'm kind of curious about this for a variety of reasons. I can certainly see that there's a strong demand for people to be able to publish their own materials on the web. Well, I've had my own web site since 1995 (on demon.co.uk) and clanmills.com was born in 2003. So, I like to publish stuff - especially photos of my friends and family.

So what's the problem?

Well, publishing your own web site is just too technical. Folks want something quick and simple to use - that isn't technical. Writing HTML/CSS/JavaScript and updating the web site with FTP is just too tedious. And of course a web site doesn't enable folks to leave comments, publish your calendar and so on. You've got lots of work to make every thing happen. So in the world of "Web 2.0" the solution's a blog.

So, I now have 5 different blogs and 3 web sites. I haven't really taken much interest in the blogs in the past. However, I've decided to keep them updated for the next few months and share my experiences on this page.

There's no order intended in the blogs listed below. This isn't an 'order of merit' because all solutions are good and ungood in their own way. However I don't recommend using HTML for anybody who isn't a code warrior in their day job. Too tedious.

Check back for updated progress. And of course, I'm very interested to learn from the experience of others - so drop me an email if you'd like to share your thoughts with me.

Article

1 Web Service - ImageVertex

http://www.imagevertex.com/rmills/

This web site is run by Norman - an e-mail friend of mine. This article is inspired by conversations with Norman about blogging. The ImageVertex solution provides elegant pages. Once you've got the swing of how things work, it's quick and easy to add photos and publish on-line.

So ImageVertex is easy to use and Norman is very responsive to emails. You can update your blog from any browser.

2 Wiki - PNN.com

http://robinwmills.pnn.com

This service produces beautiful pages. They offer a great range of pre-built widgets that you can add to your page(s). Want to show the weather in Timbuktu? A few clicks and clunks with the mouse and you've got it done. There's a very impressive range of "themes" for the site. Want a total makeover? Clunk, you've done it!

PNN has caused me to rethink my dislike of Wiki's in the past. PNN's page are beautiful.

Unix based Wiki's which I've used before used an undocumented language which is converted into HTML. Many Wikis and Twikis produce horrible looking pages. PNN's different. The results are very nice.

I believe there are quite a number of people competing in this space. Webflakes, Med.ium - and probably lots of others. This is probably the main battle field in the battle of the blogs.

3 Apple Solution - iWeb and .Mac Account

http://web.mac.com/clanmills

This has a very nice Mac client iWeb which comes bundled with every new Mac. And the software's beautifully integrated with iPhoto and the Finder. It's what you might expect from Apple. So that means several things:

  1. It only works on Macs - there's no Windows client available
  2. You're obliged to buy your web space from Apple as a .Mac account
  3. You have to purchase upgrades to iLife and iWeb

However it is very nice - and I've really only started to use this. Of course you can only update your blog using iLife and I believe the files are stored on your Mac. So you can't update your blog on holiday unless you maintain your site on a portable Mac.

The .Mac Web Gallery is an awesome feature of iPhoto and .Mac. The resulting photo galleries are possibly the best available anywhere and the effort to make them zero. You select the 'event', click 'Web Gallery' and everything is done! How simple can it be?. http://gallery.mac.com/clanmills.

4 Microsoft Solution - Windows Live

http://clanmills.spaces.live.com

I've only started to look at this. The Windows Live Photo Gallery has a very nice desktop client - almost as good as Picassa (Google's Image Browser).

5 Google Solution - Blogger

http://robinwmills.blogspot.com/

I believe this is the market leader in this browser based blogging. It all runs on the web - so you can use and update your blog from anywhere. On vacation and want to update your blog? No problem - you can do it from an internet cafe.

One of my running buddies maintains a very nice blog and I know he gets a lot of comments in response to his posts on the site. http://fartherfaster.blogspot.com. So Blogger works well. Curiously however the same family have a conventional web site. I must have a little chat to them about why they have both: http://www.pommier-family.net.

I really like the Google/Picassa Image Browser on Windows (no version for the Mac). It's cool and easy to use. And you can easily publish photos on the net. I think the .Mac stuff is even better, however Google's solution is also great. http://picasaweb.google.com/robinwmills.

6 The Web 1.0 Solution - HTML/CSS/FTP stuff

http://www.clanmills.com
http://www.stevenscreekstriders.org
http://www.heatherandthistle.org

I don't think I've got anything unusual to say about having your own web site. I do all the CSS and HTML by hand. I use PhotoShop Elements to scale images, and ImageReady to create imagemaps. My favorite program for creating a graphical montage is LumaPix::PhotoFusion. Occasionally, I'll use Illustrator.

The good side of HTML is that you have total control. The bad side is of course you have to do everything for yourself! And that can be hard work. And it can be tedious dealing with different browsers.

Another way to deal with your own web site is to use a desktop package such as GoLive, Dreamweaver or FrontPage. I haven't really used these packages much - so I don't have an opinion to offer about them.

Comments?

I'm very happy to accept comments, feedback and suggestions for any of my articles. I'm always happy to hear you - especially if you have constructive suggestions. And I'm particularly pleased if you can let me know about corrections.


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Updated Monday December 17, 2007