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New Blog!

Hey, folks. I've been putting off starting this blog for a while now. It's something I think about a lot when I'm too busy to work on any websites, but I finally got a day off to take care of this. For a long time, I had an empty WordPress blog sitting here, its inbox filled with spam comments on a dummy thread I made just to prevent errors. When WordPress issued an update to patch the ubiquitous OpenSSL vulnerability, it also reset the formatting I had done to make the blog look like the rest of the site. Realizing how little control I had over it, I decided to start from scratch. Now that I can update the blog comfortably from the same FTP interface I use for the rest of the site, maybe I'll feel encouraged to do so more often.

The nice thing about WordPress for most people is automation. Even experienced web developers sometimes prefer it, simply because they can login with a browser, fill in the appropriate fields, and publish their blog posts with a user-friendly interface. It doesn't require you to think about HTML formatting while editing the text of a webpage. If you don't want to do anything too complicated, it makes things easy. I get it.

But the easy way has never been that appealing to me. I drive cars with manual transmissions. I change my own oil. In a general sense, I would usually rather build something myself than buy that thing pre-built; often that preference remains even if the pre-built thing is free. In short, I'm a control freak. So I'm making my own blog interface. This is still very much a manual upload situation, but that's going to change soon.

I'm starting to work with Java. There are several ideas I want to implement with Java (cell phone apps, desktop apps, POS systems, et cetera). One of the first 'real' apps I want to make is an open-source FTP blog updater. Rather than login via a web browser and handle everything server-side like WordPress, the program would assemble a blog update client-side and then upload it, updating menus to reflect the change. This would reduce complexity and improve user-friendliness. A WordPress base installation on my server took up 33.2 MB of space and included 1,824 files. Storage space for something that size isn't really an issue, but it can be a real pain for the independent coder to wade through and make functional or aesthetic changes. If you want to change the layout or the functionality of your blog manually, there's a good chance you'll end up wading through a lot of PHP include() functions to find what you need. There's no way around some of that, but most of the WordPress architecture is on the editor side. Moving the editor off the web and onto your desktop allows for a reduction in complexity and an increase in security. If your site does get hacked, editing everything at home will ensure that you have a current backup ready to go, which could eliminate a lot of headaches and downtime.

Of course, this is all just postulation at this point, and I may end up going in a completely different direction. But, I think it's an exciting prospect. Would you use such a program? How about a smartphone app that does the same thing? Let me know what you think in the comments.