Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eating my own Dog Food

For several years now I've hosted this blog here on blogspot/blogger. Its been both a good and bad experience. For writing out simple posts it has made things pretty easy. However, if I try to post code examples I've got to deal with the various quirks of the blog engine. How it escapes special characters and that you can't easily do color colorization has been really annoying. Yes, I know you can do some hoop jumping to make this work, but I decided a long time ago that if I had to do that then I would host my own blog.

Speaking of which, a few months back I got called out for not eating my own dog food. Yup, as a Python developer shouldn't I use something Python powered? I currently do Django professionally so those are in my tool chest so this should be trivial. Heck I also do some serious Pinax work so why not that?

Whatever I put it under, it would be a nice move. I would be able to format and control my blog to a much better degree. I could easily supply code examples. I could use the hosting to demonstrate pet projects or launch some of the things I've wanted to try for some time.

So which blog to use? Roll my own?

Heck no.

I've got a full-time job, I teach 10+ hours a week, and my consulting efforts eat up a chunk of my free time. So rather than use my energy to reinvent the wheel, I would rather rely on the hard work and labor of others.

With that in mind, I really, really like Django-Mingus. Out of the box it does everything that I want and is a breeze to get up and running. It has a large, active community and it even uses a project that has my name attached, django-wysiwyg (although Chris Adams did most of the work).

Some might ask the good questions as to why I'm not using Pinax for my new blog. In essence, I wanted to do something in the wild that wasn't Pinax powered and my concept projects all use Pinax. So don't worry, I'll be doing Pinax work for as long as I can foresee.

So I've begun working on it during the Blizzard of 2010. I'll have it up today unless we lose power or Internet.


dartdog said...

Can't wait to see what you do with Mingus, I may be able to help with some questions? Where are you going to host? I'm on Webfaction FWIW, they seem ed to have the lowest pain threshold for a newbie like me, and support SSH and GIT.

pydanny said...

@dartdog, for now I'm on WebFaction. I too like the SSH and GIT support. Also, I would rather be coding than doing Sys Admin and what they give out of the box suits my needs grandly. So I look forward to your help!

I'm no artist though so until I find a design I like I'll just stick with their Django design.

kevin said...

Terrific! Let me know how the Mingus launch goes.

Chris Adams said...

Good idea - I have some rough install notes from when I brought my site up in November which might be useful.

Anonymous said...

You might have mentioned messagecms here as their website has claimed for several months to offer an open source version to developers and designers. Thankfully you only mention those people delivering fact rather than fiction.
Good honest opinion! Thanks Danny

pydanny said...

Chris, my current issue is with getting the media to display. Right now I just have a dull and bland site without CSS or JS. :P

pydanny said...

Anonymous, messagecms has a really pretty website. But since I posted my CMS request and review nothing about the site has changed, including release of their code as open source.

So I'm going to throw down the gauntlet. I declare the open sourcing of messagecms to be Vaporware.

Anonymous said...

Did you finish the migration successfully? I didn't see a URL mentioned in this post for where you might be migrating to (or if it is just your root domain going over in which case I'm assuming you're not quite done with the move yet? - or perhaps this can be a reminder to update your RSS URL on your blogger template).

As to "eating your own dog food" I have an opinion I don't mind throwing out there on this one. In my Plone days I was very much a jump in 100% kind of guy and I ported my blog to Plone. I ran it on Plone for a few years with many of the capabilities of Blogger at the time. However, over time, I setup a few sites on WordPress and started realizing that although the same things _could_ be done in Python, they just weren't done as well as an open source project that has hundreds of plugins, developers, and themes available to it.

I try to be a pragmatic programmer, and in this migration have tried to become comfortable with using the tools that are best for the job (no matter what language they may be in). So now that I'm a full-on Ruby and Rails junkie I have continued to maintain my blog in WordPress. Why? It's simple, it works, it's easy to redesign, there are tons of plugins, I still know enough PHP to write my own plugins, and it's the best and most efficient blog platform I've encountered. That being said, I still look into additional alternatives as time permits. I'm considering Jekyll for Ruby based blogging as my posts tend to have less photos and be primarily text, but I'm nowhere near making that jump yet.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents about dog food. From one busy day-job worker and side-consulting guy to another ;)

pydanny said...


I have the new site up, but haven't migrated over all the blog entires. I probably won't do that now - will likely just link to the previous entries for now.

The hold up now is that I want to change the style a bit and haven't had time to do that yet.