[BangPypers] Zine for weblogging

Kiran Jonnalagadda jace at pobox.com
Fri Apr 24 07:28:57 CEST 2009

Hello All,

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  
here: http://bitbucket.org/jace/zine-main/

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  

Kiran Jonnalagadda

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