Ayende @ Rahien

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I need my own blog software, damn it

I am well aware that I am… outside the curve for bloggers. For a long while I handled that by simply dumping the posts as soon as I wrote them, but that turned out to be quite a burden for some readers, and pieces that I think deserve more attention were skipped, because they were simply drowning in the noise of so many blog posts.

I am much happier with the future posting concept. It make things more predictable, both for me and for the readers. The problem happen when you push this to its logical conclusion. At the time of this writing, I have a month of scheduled posts ahead of me, and this is the third or forth blog post that I wrote in the last 24 hours.

In essence, I created a convoy for my own blog. At some point, if this trend progresses, it will be a problem. But I kinda like the fact that I can relax for a month and the blog will function on auto pilot. There is also the nice benefit that by the time that the blog post is published, I forgot what it said (I use the write & forget method), so I need to read the post again, which helps, a lot.

But there are some disadvantages to this as well. My current system will simply schedule a post on the next day after the last day. This works, great, if I have posts that are not time sensitive. But what actually happen is that there are lot of scenarios in which I want to set the date of the post to the near future. I still try to keep it to one post a day, so that means that I need to shuffle the rest of the items in the queue, though. This is especially troubling when you consider that I usually write a series of posts that interconnect to a full story.

So I can’t just take one of them and bump it to the end, I might have to do rearranging of the entire timeline. And there is no support for that, I have to go and manually update the timing for everything else.

It is pretty clear why this feature is missing, it is an outlier one. But it probably means that i am going to fork SubText and add those things. And the real problem is that I would really like to avoid doing any UI work there. So I need to think about a system that would let me do that without any UI work from my part.

Comments

Patrick Smacchia
09/05/2010 09:12 AM by
Patrick Smacchia

I can relax for a month and the blog will function on auto pilot

You also have the option to not blog at all for a month or two. Nobody except you, require you to blog. It is a positive experience to figure out that the world still turns even if you relax for a month or two.

Frank Quednau
09/05/2010 11:18 AM by
Frank Quednau

I did actually write my own blog engine, and only 2 weeks ago I put in support for future posting (inspired by what I saw on your site). Alas, I don't have the push feature either, because I am not writing enough :)

Andrew
09/05/2010 11:44 AM by
Andrew

Instead of writing your own software can you just write a tool that adjusts the underlying database of the current software (to push future dates forward etc)?

May be easier :)

Rafal
09/05/2010 12:37 PM by
Rafal

@Patrick

I wouldn't recommend taking such risks. Everyone will be pissed off when the world suddenly stops turning

Tuna Toksoz
09/05/2010 02:48 PM by
Tuna Toksoz

A console software might be a good option to consider.

mattmc3
09/05/2010 05:36 PM by
mattmc3

Ayende - the other thing is (and I think you've mentioned this before) that when you schedule posts ahead of time, a lot of interesting discussion happens in the comments section pretty much without you. Not sure if that's good or bad - depends on what your goal is I suppose. Tradeoffs.

Yawar
09/05/2010 07:18 PM by
Yawar

Wow. You actually have so many posts that you need to implement a queue management solution, with fixed-position and flexible-position items in the queue. You are my hero. :-)

Steve Py
09/05/2010 10:27 PM by
Steve Py

You also need a "Save for AFK" button for the odd whimsical post that isn't really date sensitive and you don't really care about feedback on right away. Perfect to sit in a hidden futures queue waiting to get promoted automatically when the future queue drops below 4 entries. (Such as when you get pulled off into conscript duty, or head off to London without your AC adaptor and are stuck in the Airport cursing pseudonyms.) You know, just so people don't panic thinking you've up and died or something. ;)

Manu
09/06/2010 04:00 AM by
Manu

WOW. I belive that with your post throughput, the word "blog" is almost inadequate. This machine-gun like writing reminds me more of life-streaming. So if you already write your own software to support it, you should consider calling it the "Strog"!

Simone
09/06/2010 09:27 AM by
Simone

Ayende, which feature do you need? Can you write me an email and explain better what you need?

Dave
09/06/2010 09:42 AM by
Dave

If you publish the posts without a date in the order they're written, why doesn't the publish system just first tries to retrieve a post with the current date or a date in the past (in case you've scheduled two posts on one day or the system crashed) and if nothing comes back, it retrieves the first post from the queue?

Morten Jacobsen
09/06/2010 01:16 PM by
Morten Jacobsen

Sorry for you, Ayende!

The bad thing is that I need one myself. And it could well have this feature you're talking about. But I have some needs on my own: A twitter (140char) and FB (250?char) field which automatically copy title and the start of the post, and let me reedit them.

I also want a common tag-system for the blog and twitter to automatically set hashtags. And I want to use my bit.ly pro to compress the links.

And then I´ve like to schedule both blog, post and fb, and repeat if I want. And even track my clicks, taps and other.

The tool should use css to produce output for web, iPad and iPhone, and I should be able to preview them before I post.

I think it should be possible to create this tool using for instance google apps, ie - docs for editing, calendar for scheduling and so forth.

Ayende Rahien
09/06/2010 01:19 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Simone,

The ability to post without a date, will queue things in the future posts.

The ability to post with a date, will move things in the future posts queue up.

The ability to note when a post was posted, and when it is published.

Candida
09/06/2010 02:36 PM by
Candida

Is Subtext open source? I'd love to get a hold of the code, and take a shot at adding this

Joe
09/06/2010 03:06 PM by
Joe

Automatic posts, interesting. All you need now is pre-defined automatic replies to comments based on likely replies.

chris martin
09/07/2010 05:44 AM by
chris martin

All I can say is quit being .NET for a minute and consider wordpress. Even PHP can be well engineered. ;)

Fabian Schmied
09/07/2010 05:53 AM by
Fabian Schmied

Ayende, have you considered just making a feature request and sending a patch instead of forking Subtext's source code? I believe that's how it's usually done in open source projects.

Adam D.
09/07/2010 07:33 AM by
Adam D.

Oren,

Knowing of how you work, I would suggest an email interface (however that can be made to work). I know that's one thing you keep on top of. Just make sure that you can interact with it very simply. Think command line, but implemented through email conversations with a bot you wrote.

Sam DLG
09/07/2010 02:49 PM by
Sam DLG

Just use wordpress and use your time to handle the more complex problems in nhib/profiler/ravendb.

The tool for the job. Why make a hammer, when you can use the free one laying next to you?

:-)

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