Friday, September 11, 2009

Why did I switch to BlogEngine?

(Originally posted 2008.05.11)

There were several reasons. But basically, I'm a cheap, lazy, old, curmudgeon.


First, I tried using a few PHP-based Blog engines: Wordpress Multi, Drupal, and something else I can no longer remember ... Since I'm cheap, I was trying to use "free" hosting sites. There are a few. WordPress was free, and since I wanted to have multiple Blogs, I decided Wordpress Multi was probably the best choice. There are a lot of themes. A couple were close enough to the "theme" of each my blogs that I could choose something for each. But the free hosting sites didn't really seem to like letting me put Amazon links in. There were plug-ins for Google Ads, but not for Amazon. Since, I'm also lazy, or more accurately, keenly aware of how much effort I am willing to exert for a given benefit (I am a contract progarmmer, paid hourly), and didn't want to invest the time to invent a new plug-in in a language in which I am a newbie, I decided to research something else in more familiar territory.

.NET open source options (at the time) seemed to be restricted to SubText (.Text was defunct), and dasBlog. I decided on SubText, because dasBlog is file based and that just seemed to me to present potential future performance issues. Also, SubText seemed more mature, with more people supporting it, and it used MS SQL Server. Back to the "cheap" issue again; my hosting provider for my primary site, www.sa-consult.com, only provides me with one MS SQL Server database as part of my monthly fee. Since I could install the SubText tables seamlessly in my existing database, it seemed like a good choice. Back to the lazy issue, I just found it too difficult to develop a suitable theme for this site. I was able to do it, but it just seemed like a pain in the **s. Also, I seemed to be unable to get it to use subdomains the way that I wanted to use them.

So, somehow, I found BlogEngine.NET. And I really like it! It uses XML files natively (like dasBlog), but unlike dasBlog (or at least the version I was researching), it supports multiple blogs in one installation, uses subdomains without jumping through hoops, seems to have permalinks and clean URL's for SEO, and has providers for both MS SQL and MySql server. The installation anywhere for the XML version seems to take about 5 minutes, and the instructions are easy to follow. I was able to create a theme (from an existing one), in about 2-3 hours, and another in about 1 hour. It uses Master pages. It's a bit short on plug-in's at this point, but I expect this to improve.

As for the curmudgeon issue: this product serves my needs quite easily. The curmudgeon in me likes that. I have several other curmudgeonly blogs: theSpiritualCurmudgeon, and theAmericanCurmudgeon. One is already converted to BlogEngine, and the other soon will be.

I highly suggest you take a look at it! (As well as my other Blogs ...)