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Managing The Blog - Web Services

Everybody's blogging these days. Harish Kamath shows you how to do it with bBlog, one of the most feature-rich blogging software packages on the PHP/Apache/MySQL platform.

  1. Blogging Away To Glory (A bBlog Primer)
  2. Getting Started
  3. Installation
  4. bBlog Administration Overview
  5. Managing The Blog
  6. Dress Up Your Blog
  7. Conclusion
By: Harish Kamath
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 26
December 15, 2004

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So far, we have already shown you how to install bBlog and also provided you with a quick overview of its powerful admin module. Now, it's time to dig in and master the beast that we have unleashed. Just kidding!

When it comes to blogging, nothing is more important than posting a blog post -  after all, the primary reason to start blogging is to allow us to share our views with the world. Not surprisingly, the "Post Entry" screen is the default screen that comes up in the browser after we log into the bBlog admin module.

The bBlog "Post Entry" screen requires us to specify values for the following parameters:

  • Title: a title for the blog post.

  • Entry Text: the text associated with the blog entry  - this is where we can rave and rant about everything under the sun.

  • Entry Modifier: this interesting option allows us to use text-formatting plugins to enhance our blog posts with hyperlinks, images and much more. Fortunately, bBlog is equipped with a bunch of power-packed plugins to make our job easier - BBCode, Newlines and URLS, Textile V2 and Texturize - take your pick. Just in case you get the urge to scream for help, click on the "Modifier Help" button alongside to learn more about each plugin.

  • Sections: this lists the different "Sections" defined for blog. Consider "Sections" as a means to organize your blog posts into meaningful categories, thereby making it easier for visitors to read your thoughts on a particular topic. More on this later.

  • Publication Status: all entries should be saved as "live" or "draft"- the former are visible to the visitors of the blog while the latter arenít.

  • Hide From Homepage: this flag allows you to specify if this particular blog post should be visible on the home page of the blog.

  • Comments Options: this allows us specify if comment can be posted by visitors for this blog post. bBlog provides several useful options here: one disallows users from posting comments after a specific period, while another prevents vistors from entering any comments at all. This security feature ensures that the blog administrator does not get spammed unnecessarily.

  • Send Trackback: Trackback is an interesting feature that allows us to inform the blogging community that we have recently updated our blog. Technically speaking, this feature instructs bBlog to ping selected URLs with an excerpt of this blog post. Use this feature wisely and the blog will be popular in no time.

With the mundane explanations behind us, it's time to submit our first blog post. Enter some text in the "Title" and "Entry Text" fields and hit the "Save Entry" button. Thatís it - our first blog post has been saved.

We bet that you are now curious to see what our blog looks like. All we need to do is click the "Visit your Site" hyperlink that appears on the top right corner of the admin screen and voila - our blog will appear in a new browser window:

Blogging Away To Glory (A bBlog Primer)

Not impressed with the layout? No problem - we can always customize the appearance by modifying the templates associated with the blog. More on this later.

For the moment, let us move to next option in the menu - the "Archives" option. If we become addicted to blogging (most people do),  soon we will have to deal with the problem of old blog posts. This is where the bBlog "Archives" feature comes in handy - it allows you to view a selected "number" of entries for a particular "section" for the specified "month" on a single screen. Just select the required values from the associated drop-downs on this "Archives" screen and the application will list all entries that match the selected criteria, as shown below:

Blogging Away To Glory (A bBlog Primer)

Click on the "Edit" button to review each entry, or alternatively, just hit the "Delete" option to remove the entry from the database. After a quiet re-confirmation, bBlog will inform us that the selected post was successfully deleted.

Now, let's learn about the "Comments" option. It is common for visitors to post comments in response to your blog posts. This is an effective way for blog "mates" to share their opinion. Unfortunately, this feature can also be misused, since it allows visitors to flame your blog with abusive comments.

In order to ensure that this situation is quickly corrected - we would not like our regular visitors to read such comments - we can use the "Comments" feature in the admin module to moderate them.

Just click on this option on the menu to view the following screen:

Blogging Away To Glory (A bBlog Primer)

Each comment is listed in a chronological order with "Edit" and "Delete" options. Click on the "Edit" button if we feel that a particular comment can be edited to read better, say by removing some obvious typos or words, or hit the "Delete" button if we find that it is not suitable - after all, it is our blog!

And just in case you are wondering how you will be informed about such comments - bBlog can be configured to send you an email (with the comment) whenever a visitor posts one on the blog.

It is also possible that the blog is suddenly swarmed with comments on account of its huge popularity (clap! clap!). In such a scenario, it can be painful to moderate all the comments from a single listing. No problem - just filter these comments on the basis of the blog posts (using the drop down provided) and manage them more efficiently. Talk about convenience!

Finally, we have the "Sections" option. We have already indicated that we can organize our blog posts into categories - or "Sections," as bBlog likes to call them. This is what it looks like:

Blogging Away To Glory (A bBlog Primer)

On this "Sections" screen, we have the option to add a new section as well as to modify or to delete an existing section. Each new section is associated with two parameters - a "URL Name" stored for internal reference and a "Display Name" that is shown to the visitor on the blog.

A little note of warning before we move on - bBlog does not warn us if we delete a "Sectioní that is already associated with existing blog posts. So we have to be a careful when we decide to delete one.

Phew! Don't say we didnít warn you - managing a blog is definitely not childís play.

>>> More SOAP & Web Services Articles          >>> More By Harish Kamath

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