Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pimpin' the blog part #1

In this article I will describe to you why I want to change my blog, what I'm trying to achieve, how I plan to do that and whats in it all for you.

After writing only a few articles in Blogger and reading up on how to build a usable blog, I knew that at some point I would have to replace Blogger with something custom build. As time passed and I tried to do more and more things with my blog, I ran into more and more things that I couldn't do as I wanted to do them.

Recently, as some of you may have noticed, I got a comment from Sean Ewington, who is the Chief Technical Editor for The Code Project. He invited me to publish my blog on (thanks, Sean). To do this I would simply add my blog's RSS feed to their system and add a category to my articles, stating that they should be available on CodeProject as well. Unfortunately that last step is not possible for me, as that would mean I would now have a CodeProject category on my blog, which is not what I want.

This latest thing on the list of things you can't do with Blogger, triggered me to finaly get to work on this and plan some new code.

Some things I want to be able to do after the complete transformation has happened:
  • Customize my RSS feed
  • Easier to customize styling
  • Have more control on advertising (individual posts have specific ads, etc.)
  • Use Silverlight for at least some part of my blog
  • Have a better layout with three columns
  • Have an easier to maintain and easier to use navigation
To get this all done requires some planning. It won't happen all in one go, obviously. First thing I should state is that I had a windows hosting account lying around for a while now and I will be leveraging that account for my blog 2.0.
Here are the steps I plan to follow for getting up and running with a new platform.
  1. Get a database up and running to store content
  2. Get the content on the new platform to sync with the content on Blogger
  3. Build a new RSS feed and publish it trough my feedburner account (so if you have a subscription, you won't notice the change).
  4. Design a new layout for my blog
  5. Implement the new layout
  6. Test the two blogs side by side
After that I'm not sure. I might want to redirect all traffic coming to to my new site, but I'm not sure what will happen with search engines and their spiders and I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to do this. However I'm still happy with the Blogger editor and I'm not sure if I want to build a completely new editor so I can then kill my Blogger account. This is something I'll be thinking about later on. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Why should you care?
Well, you don't have to care, however... as the title of this post suggests, I will be publishing about the whole process of creating my new blogging platform and then moving in. Not only might you learn something, I will also make available handy code in the process, that you might use yourself. So stick around, learn and benefit.

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