Happy Birthday

Today is cvillenews.com’s fourth birthday. After 1,066 news stories and 12,839 comments, I’ve decided that some upgrades and improvements are in order. The site is now powered by new software, has a strange (hopefully temporary) new design, and has new features galore. It’s a real step forward. You’ll need to log in anew in order to post. Details after the fold.

In the first year of cvillenews.com, it ran on a program called PHP-Nuke. It was awkward and buggy, but the best thing available. Then a new project was forked from that program, called PostNuke. Better, but still buggy, and it’s scarcely improved in the past three years. In the meantime, blogging software has come a long way.

So, the site now runs WordPress, which is my favorite of the two leading blogging software programs (the other being Movable Type). The result is that it’s way easier to create an account, and a whole bunch of bugs that made the old system a pain are now gone. There’s a raft of new features (subscription to individual discussions, pings/trackbacks, multiple categories, the URLs don’t suck any more, and lots of other standard bloggy things), and WordPress is a sufficiently active project that no doubt the features will continue to develop. Ooh, and comments are flat, not nested/threaded — I prefer threaded, but people have often asked that they be made flat, so there you go. My favorite bit of all of this is that WordPress makes it much easier to operate this site — it should be simpler than ever for me to make things happen here.

To Blog or Not to Blog
The move to blogging software is also symbolic, though. Long-time cvillenews.com folks know that I’ve long wrestled with the (admittedly minor) matter of what, exactly, the site is. On many occasions I’ve said that I’d rather it not just be “Waldo’s site,” but a community site, with many people influencing its content, ideally something from which I could cut myself out entirely and it would continue to happen. And while I still think that would be totally cool, it’s been four years and that hasn’t happened, so I can’t see why it would now. In using blog software, I’m surrendering and saying “yes, this is my site, filtered through my biases, and has all of those pluses and minuses that go with being a blog.” I would still love story submissions, I still want the same level of commenting, I’m not about to start ignoring suggestions, and so on — I just think it’s time that I ‘fessed up to the inherent weaknesses that accompany this site, which are best summed up by formally declaring it to be a blog.

I know the design is ugly and inefficient. I went with the default look. I intend to improve on it. But form follows function, and so I thought I’d start with the function and move along from there. Besides, the old site was pretty hideous, anyhow. (Brown and beige? Ugh.) I may add those nasty little icons again. In beta testing, nearly everybody said that they missed them. Shocking.

I’ve been working on this off and on for a month or two. I’ve tried to move everything over without any troubles. Please comment or e-mail me if you find any bugs — missing data, things looking funky, etc. All that I know of so far is the “Edit This Story” link on each story (useless if you can’t, in fact, edit the story, which you can’t) and the fact that you have to log in again on this system (which I’m not going to bother to fix, because it’s not a terribly hard thing to do). I want to get bugs squashed as soon as possible, so that I can spend my time just using the site.

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