What I have been debating and laboring over for the past 3 months has finally taken shape and execution has begun. Obviously the site is changing. Version 5.0 marks a dramatic change. I have moved completely away from writing my own PHP scripts to using very well written and very well supported open-source projects. The transition was not an easy choice and many things still need to happen for it to be marked complete.
The first and most basic change was a change of hardware for the server. I was generously given an older Dell p4 desktop machine and with a little help from Slackware, I made a server out of it. That server has been running quietly in my attic since January. At that point, I knew I wanted to upgrade niblet to a more robust framework, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.
So I started poking around with some blog scripts out on the net and testing them out. I came across this decent script called BlogPHP. It’s a pretty good script for what it does and very simple to use. I took version 4 of niblet and was very happy at how easily I could make it fit with the script. However, I grew tired of my layout and I still didn’t have a decent way to handle all the photos and albums I had in version 4.0. I started looking around and once again returned to WordPress. I have tried WordPress in the past and found it frustrating to use, but this time, for whatever reason, everything just clicked. After a few errors and mis-steps, I had all my posts ported from the old server to the new one (still working on comments).
I then started looking into scripts for photos. I probably tried out every AJAX capable script out there and a bunch of other non-AJAX scripts. I didn’t find any that really did what I wanted. So I started looking into plugins for WordPress. Two of the most popular photo services out there are Gallery and Flickr. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and Gallery is just an open-source project that basically creates photo albums for you. I’ve looked at both in the past and they both have their drawbacks. To really utilize Flickr, you’re going to have to pay for the annual service. Gallery, while free, is just messy in my opinion. Learning to navigate Gallery is learned art.
Nevertheless, I went with Gallery. There is a plugin for WordPress called embedded Gallery and it was basically the answer I was looking for. The question was, “How do I make Gallery work seamlessly with WordPress?” You can see the results working now. There are a few formatting errors I am correcting as I go, but now I want to focus on getting all the photos and comments into the new site. I have drawn out this process for too long, but I am happy I found two things that do the trick.
Why the change? Why the need to ditch the old stuff? I have written about it before. So I am just hoping this change has setup that structure.