MGBrown.com

What a lot of work?

I have just been through a bit with my site. This started when I upgraded to use my own engine rather than Blogger.com.

Blogger.com just didn't cut it, it has no support for the likes of RSS. Although it did provide RSS in the Pro version, they are no longer offering Pro, with no indication of when they will be upgrading what remains. There are also features that I don't see how the Blogger publishing model could ever offer. Blog comments for example. As a result I decided to embark on my own home-grown Blog code.

I started by using an MS Access database with an ASP.NET(vb) front end. This worked for about 30 minutes before I started running into all the usual junk with Access. I do hate access and always have done. Any database that doesn't actually remove records from files when you delete them has to be bad. It also has lots of other issues which just make it bad for web sites. On the flip-side though it is the only DB my host provides free, so I thought I should at least try it. I regret making that choice.

The next choice was to use MySQL. The next cheapest DB my host supports. This seems to be a good database. Although it does lack support for Stored Procedures and Triggers, it is quick and robust. The small downside is that I don't know how to use it. However I enjoy learning new things and have had much fun mucking about with it.

The problems I have had with MySQL were mainly caused by my Host's lack of documentation. I spent ages trying to connect using a connection string for MySQL's 3.5 ODBC Driver when my Host only has version 2.0.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I now have a brand new working site. It even has an RSS feed, so aggregators like SharpReader and FeedDemon can read it. If you don't have one of these, I would recommend you check out SharpReader as it has less of the features you don't want. FeedDemon however is better for those that are not to hot with using computers, as it has a far more polished UI and Setup.

To-Do:

  • Add a decent editor tool. I am currently using Access with a linked table.
  • Add a comments feature. You can always send me comments using ContactMe.aspx but it would be better to add the comments to the Blog item direct.
  • Add a blog roll.
  • Add a CDF feed so it works with IE channels.
  • Add a text search feature.
  • Work out what trackback is all about.
  • Add a 'listening to now' feature.

I have a few things on my To-Do list, but I am generally happy with the result I hope you are too.

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