Blogging with TWiki

I'm taking Michael Daum's BlogUp application for a spin to see what full markup blogging feels like.

While I've been a fanboy for TWiki for a number of years, I have only really used it as a CMS type of application. That is, I write stuff in pages using TWikiMarkup (called TWikiTopics) and attach other files to the page. I even developed a couple of plugins to aid in the publishing of content but never really felt comfortable using TWiki as the foundation for another application.

TWiki is an extremely flexible way to manage content, especially where there are different levels of hierarchy which determine who should be able to read or modify the content, but I never liked the way the default pages looked. I discovered the NatSkin developed by Michael Daum and later found his BlogUp application for blogging.

At first I couldn't believe that TWiki could be used as a tool for blogging, but after a fairly lengthy scrutinisation of Michael's own blogging site, I decided to give it a go.

The setup requires a multitude of extra plugins, most of which were written by Michael as part of the early versions of the BlogPlugin, but he has gradually been converting them to external plugins so they may be used by other applications or just to enhance TWiki sites. Installing plugins has become easier under TWiki 4.x (Dakar) but still needed a fairly generous amount of manual intervention. Gentoo's innovative webapp-config system doesn't help here either – you need to install the plugins every time you deploy another site with webapp-config.

Being the inquisitive type of being that I am, I wanted to find out how it all works before I start posting stuff and for a few hours, I clicked through page after page of abstracted topics that all seem to make magical references to some DBCALL. In the end, I thought "to hell with it!" and just started creating categories and typing this post.

I have to say I'm impressed by what I have seen so far. The documentation of how to get up and running could do with a bit more work, but an experienced TWiki administrator should have no problems.

I'd be interested to see what other people think. Please leave a comment.

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