[BangPypers] Zine for weblogging
jace at pobox.com
Fri Apr 24 07:28:57 CEST 2009
While seeking a weblog app to replace my ageing Plone+Quills
installation, I came across Zine, a Python-based WordPress clone. http://zine.pocoo.org/
By this point I had already considered and decided against WordPress,
PyBlosxom and Yaki. Here's why Zine appealed:
1. It's an unabashed WordPress clone, created only because the author
didn't like what he saw under the hood and felt it could be done
better. There's no attempt to do the user-facing side differently.
2. Zine's creator, Armin Ronacher, already has a good track record
with Pygments and Sphinx (which Python 2.6 uses for documentation).
3. It's surprisingly clean and easy to hack on. I found the WordPress
importer unable to restore threading in comments, so I went to their
IRC channel to discuss it. With their help, in barely an hour I learnt
to use Mercurial (having no DVCS exposure before) and contributed a
patch, which was a mere 2-3 lines change (and some more displaced). I
spent the following two days making a bunch of patches, collected
So here's the pitch:
1. Zine is a great foundation, but it's still skeletal and needs much
2. Armin & co are having trouble finding enough spare time from their
other interests and student responsibilities. There were no updates
for three months until I stepped in.
3. Open source projects only survive when there's a sizeable community
of users and developers. Zine doesn't have it, but deserves it.
4. Ergo, if you're not very set on your blogging app, please give Zine
a chance. Every one of us has limited time to contribute, but if there
are enough of us, we can make it a sustained improvement effort.
The IRC channel is #pocoo on irc.freenode.net (or irc://irc.freenode.net/
#pocoo if you'd rather click). I'm in it whenever online and will be
glad to help. Armin is in there as mitsuhiko and is very helpful, as
is dennda, another of the core developers.
Postscript: Why the others were rejected:
1. WordPress: in just two days I had data import errors, MySQL charset
encoding errors (WordPress declares a table as utf8 and stores text
twice encoded in utf8, apparently because of a MySQL bug that requires
switching from swedish to utf8 encoding on every single server
connection). I couldn't get myself to trust it beyond that. Folks
who've customised WordPress also talk of what a mess it is under the
hood. WordPress has a huge community and a very nice UI, so not using
it is also a big loss.
2. PyBlosxom: mature codebase but seems to be falling out of favour.
PyBlosxom will also publish entries right out of the folder you
created them in. This is hugely empowering, but in the long run I want
to just write, and not be concerned with where I'm placing stuff.
3. Yaki: Rui Carmo's blog+wiki combination at the.taoofmac.com. I've
long been a fan of his format, but Yaki is clearly a personal project
for learning Python. The code needs much tightening, and there's still
the matter of the user having to put blog entries in the right
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