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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool Pick of the Week
iBlog iconThe macosxhints Rating:
8 of 10
[Score: 8 out of 10]
With the impending arrival of our daughter Kylie, earlier this year I set out to find a new tool for managing our family's webpage. Prior to her arrival, site updates have been few and far between, so I just used basic HTML pages and updated the index page whenever I posted new content. Once Kylie was on the scene, though, I was pretty sure the relatives would want more regular updates, so I wanted a tool to ease site updates. I thought that I could use a blogging tool (along with some custom HTML code), so I started testing. I probably ran through 10 to 15 different blog tools, covering those based on PHP, Perl, and even straight HTML. None seemed to do exactly what I wanted, or required amazingly complex setup (I never managed to get the complete set of Perl modules required to get Movable Type running locally), or cost more money than I was willing to spend on the family site.

Then I heard about iBlog, a blogging tool designed to work with various servers, including .mac, WebDAV, AFP, and FTP. Unlike server-oriented solutions, iBlog creates local static HTML pages, and then uploads those to your site. This has both pros and cons; if you need a truly dynamic site with comments and other "realtime" features, iBlog may not meet your needs (though the iBloggers.net site has some good workarounds). For my relatively static family site, though, iBlog seems nearly perfect.

iBlog features an easy to use interface that lets you create multiple weblogs (so you could have a "His" and "Hers" weblog on the same .mac account, for instance). Once you've created a site, you can add categories, and entries within the categories. Controlling the look of your site is relatively easy, too -- the "Manage Stylesheets" wizard lets you specify colors for the avrious parts of the page, and shows a sample of the finished look. There's also a "Manage Template Sets" wizard that gives you further control over the placement and content of your blog. To really totally customize the look, though, you'll also want to dive into the style sheets themselves to modify things like font sets, link behavior, and other such niceties.

This is one area where I've run into some issues, though they're probably related to my lack of understanding of the system (I've only been playing with it for a few days). The first time I hand-modified the CSS page, everything worked fine. The next time I published, though, the original fonts, sizes, and colors returned. I've worked around this by locking the CSS file after I edit it, and this seems to work fine (though I need to dive into the documentation a bit more to figure out why it's doing what it's doing).

The only real downside to iBlog is also it's strength -- since it creates static HTML pages, you don't need any knowledge of PHP, MySQL, Perl, etc. in order to get it up and running ... but you also miss out on features such as a comment system, searchable stories, and other such things. However, for the basic needs of keeping my family up to date on Kylie's progress, it's nearly the perfect tool. When combined with .mac's easy-to-create slideshows, it's a nearly unbeatable combination.
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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool | 13 comments | Create New Account
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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: k0fcc on Jul 01, '03 05:58:49PM
I have to admit that I really like iBlog. I've been with them since the beginning. The support staff in India is excellent. You can view my iBlog by clicking the blog link at http://mac.stan4d.net.

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iBlog rules
Authored by: Quantum Panda on Jul 01, '03 08:48:01PM

I've been using iBlog for the last few weeks, since I got fed up with Blogger's lack of support for free users (and completely unhelpful help files). It's the perfect solution for folks like me who want full control over their blog but don't have the server access to run a script-based system like GeekLog. I'm even drafting up ways to use iBlog to manage other parts of my site.

I haven't had the problems with stylesheets you mentioned, though. If you select the "Reset Preview State" and "Reset Publish State" menu items, it should make your changes stick.



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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: tersono on Jul 02, '03 02:30:39AM

I've been using iblog for a while - like you I tried most of the alternatives, including embedding my LiveJournal blog into my website, but iBlog is absolutely ideal for my purposes. Terrific little app.....



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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: foobar104 on Jul 02, '03 08:19:05AM

I tried iBlog's three-week test drive, and decided not to buy. It was not a difficult decision, I'm sorry to say.

The list of bugs and irritations was too long for me to handle. Between the unappealing user interface, the counter-intuitive category system, and the numerous bugs involving their HTML generator, I just decided to give it a pass. If the program had been free, I would have considered just living with it. But I can't abide paying good money, any good money, for a bad product.

So I decided to assemble my own weblogging system using a PostgreSQL database and a set of PHP scripts. I populate and edit my weblog on my Mac, then use a homemade tool based on wget to upload a static version of the site to my iDisk.

My approach obviously isn't for everyone. I already had everything I needed at my fingertips, being an old database web application programmer from way back. The net result is that I got better functionality and reliability than iBlog for an investment of just a little time.

Thanks but no thanks.



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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: Han Solo on Jul 02, '03 10:16:30PM

OK, you've got my interest -- how about posting a link to your site so others can see how it differs from the rest listed here? Even better, a link to a page describing in more detail what you did would be a big help to others (like myself) who are debating between "canned" and "roll your own" blogs/CMS. TIA.



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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: foobar104 on Jul 02, '03 10:39:21PM

<a href="http://homepage.mac.com/jharrell">http://homepage.mac.com/jharrell</a>



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iBlog - An easy-to-user weblog creation tool
Authored by: swhinjapan on Jul 02, '03 08:30:36AM
I love this app! I have been using it for a few weeks now, and have found it very user friendly. Setting it up to upload to my .mac account and starting my first blog took less time than signing up at an online blogging service. The program works with iLife, so it is easy to add photos, movies, or sound files to your entries. Or, if you prefer, you can just drag the files directly into the entry, very easy to use. The one time that I had a problem, I found the support to be exeptional. The day after I sent an SOS email, I came home from work, turned on the computer, and almost instantly got a PM from Lifli to see if I had solved the problem or not. Ten minutes of PMing later, problem solved.
Check out an example of iBlog in action here: OnMyMind
Or, if you read Japanese: OnMyMind_JP

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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool
Authored by: jimphelps on Jul 02, '03 12:41:48PM
I've just started running iBlog. It is a cool little application. It took me a while to get the templates and CSS set up. I am using Haloscan for comments. That is a bit of a pain but not too bad if you remember to insert the tag.

Overall, it works pretty well and lets me publish blog-thoughts quickly and easily on my .Mac sight. There are some features that I would like to see: the ability to keep the iBlog files on .Mac so that I could update the blog from multiple machines, the ability to review and edit Links once you have placed them in the blog text, the ability to incorporate RSS feeds into the blog itself.

You can see my blog here My iMind.

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Setting up HaloScan
Authored by: swhinjapan on Jul 02, '03 10:49:00PM
I am using Haloscan for comments. That is a bit of a pain but not too bad if you remember to insert the tag.
This is not necessary at all. If you set it up correctly, iBlog automagically creates the tag for you. Just go to ibloggers.net and check out the instructions for setting up HaloScan. Don't miss this step: NOTE: Replace 'Name' in the above html code with...
This has worked for me, and is far less tedious than coding in the tags yourself. The catch is that your 'tag' ends up being a numerical string, NOT the title of yoru entry. A small inconvenience compared to the gain.

HaloScan powered commenting on iBlog: OnMyMind
Or, if you read Japanese: OnMyMind_JP

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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool
Authored by: outlier on Jul 02, '03 02:03:45PM

I have to add my own vote of support for iBlog. Like others, I also looked at other server-based systems (blogger, etc.) and found the overall experience lacking. I believe folks at Lifli have done a masterful job -- their attention to design and interaction detail with iBlog is 1st rate (the iLife integration is alone worth the price of admission!). While I share many of the same wish-list features as others have posted (integration with iDisk, better HTML rendering of formatted iBlog content, etc.), I have to say I'm impressed. I even joked that I hoped that Lifii's success at designing a superior .Mac blog application didn't make them vulnerable to being "watson-ized" by Apple!



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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool
Authored by: kwong on Jul 02, '03 02:35:47PM
iBlog works seamlessly with .Mac, so it's a no-brainer if you have a .Mac account and want to start blogging. Though it lacks built-in server-side features, iBlog works well with third-party weblog resources. I incorporated a search engine, stat trackers and BlogRolling to my iBlog, and I see other iBloggers with commenting on theirs, too. Kingsley's Weblog

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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool
Authored by: kwong on Jul 06, '03 03:54:14PM

Just an update: I got my iSight and was able to add a streaming webcam to my iBlog's sidebar using EvoCam. The best part is only the webcam image refreshes on the page, so it doesn't affect stats or counters. I'm having a blast with iSight and iBlog.

http://homepage.mac.com/kwong/



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iBlog - An easy-to-use weblog creation tool
Authored by: pslade on Jun 23, '05 07:09:59PM
iBlog is a great tool! I was searching for a good blogging application that could post to my server and allow me to customize the format to fit with my site design. As another poster commented, the templates and CSS took some getting used to, but once setup it all works great. My blog is located at http://www.sladehome.com

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