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Progress as Promised

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:09 PM

It looks like my new blogging software might be able to be unveiled later tonight or, at worst, on December 26. At least that's how I'm thinking at the moment. Right now, there are a number of key things missing, such as listing the proper number of comments on the front page, but that's more of a cosmetic issue than a serious issue that should be a showstopper. It's still better than no blog, right?

By the way, I want to give a really big “thank-you” to Christopher for offering WIT as a “home away from home” that I could post at temporarily. While I don't think I'll need it, given the progress I've made, it was nice just knowing I'd have a place to go, need be.

I wasn't sure how successful transfering the data from a flat file (plain text) database to MySQL would be, but it worked after spending a few hours hacking together a script to do so. The rest can come later, I figure. The big remaining job is to copy SAFARI 2 over onto the asisaid domain — right now I have it on a test domain and I'd like to keep that domain a test domain so that I can continue to work on progress to a “gold” 2.0 version of SAFARI without breaking asisaid (right now, I'd consider SAFARI 2 somewhere between late alpha and early beta stage — it works, but it still has some problems).

Anyway, just thought I'd give an update. I don't think I'll be done in time to do the Christmas post I wanted to do, but I'll just do it in a belated fashion. The other, really good news that I didn't have time to discuss yesterday is that the hospital released my dad yesterday. On Wednesday, he had sung “I'll Be Home for Christmas” to my mother — I'm glad he wasn't disappointed. The doctor seemed quite optimistic about the way things are going.

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St. Paul's Newsletter and Content Management

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:45 PM

For that purpose, I wrote a simple CMS (Content Management System) during March and April of 2000 (that was time consuming, it's one of the only things I remember vividly from those months). Not having any practice at such it took a long time to figure out how to write the system. In fact, other than Slashcode, I was unaware that Free Software CMSes even existed. Never having used one previous, SAFARI (Standardized Automated Format And Retrieval Interface) is a bit different than other CMSes — in fact, in many ways, it doesn't really even resemble other CMSes. For example, at the moment, SAFARI is what I term an “issue-based” CMS, meaning that it divides article sets into issues, like a print magazine.

At any rate, I'm getting ahead of myself. What I was aiming to note in this entry was that I've really gotten my speed refined on posting. Posting a newsletter (30-40 articles) use to take me about three to four hours — that includes reading over things somewhat to make sure nothing gets lost in the translation from print to web, mailing out a teaser to “NewsAlert” subscribers, and updating The Navigator/Site of the Month link on The last few times I've posted the newsletter I've actually gotten that down to between an hour and a half to two hours. I'm pretty happy with that, although I've learned some places where SAFARI needs improvement.

This works out perfectly. As some readers may recall, I started a project to create a new blogging software package in March. In actuality, the new software is version 2.0 of SAFARI, but with many improvements and ideas I've gotten since I released SAFARI IssueWorks 0.90 in 2001 (which differed little from the unreleased SAFARI 2000 that runs my church's newsletter and dated from… 2000).

My idea revolves around some simple concepts that I hope to reveal very soon. If all goes well, SAFARI ContentWorks, as I've nicknamed the new version, will provide some pretty neat stuff that will make posting my church's newsletter much easier and will also have some applications to blogging. Stay tuned.

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