François' Blog

After ten years using the Textpattern CMS, I decided to move my venerable website to another system. There is nothing wrong with Textpattern, in fact I still prefer it to Wordpress, but I got tired of the complicated backup system (mySQL database) and the lack of version control. Also, I still feel the nerd's urge for new software.

I found that the latest trend is flat-file CMS, did a quick review and settled on GRAV. It took only a few minutes to get it up and running on my iMac, and a few hours to migrate all articles and images. It looks very powerful, extensible, and actively maintained. Also, I can version control it easily with Perforce.

Next actions:

  • add features, (picture gallery, javascript)
  • improve the appearance,
  • write more posts...

Previous Post went down due to database corruption. I will try restoring the data over the next few days. That will teach me to do frequent backups (I thought my provider did it but I was wrong).

Update on July 25: All articles and pictures are back on line, but the links and photo galleries are not yet restored.


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Things used to be so simple: you got FrontPage or Dreamweaver, modified an existing table-based template, added your text with the editor, and your site was up and running. Of course it was ugly and difficult to maintain. I quickly moved away from FrontPage but at the time there were no good free CMS. I tried making my own, that used Python, but it was not very good. I tried Zope, and even put a few pages, but I never understood how it works and I gave up. Then around 2003 I found SPIP, a French CMS that worked, and converted the site. I did not put any new content for a while, but recently I updated it to the newest version, which made the whole site go blank. Time to look for a new system. I never really liked SPIP anyway. It has a strange syntax, that uses French words ("boucle" instead of "loop" etc.). Also, even if it stores its content in MySql, the templates ("skeletons") are not in the database, and need to be updated via FTP. So after a quick search, and much comparison (Mambo, Xoops, Drupal, WordPress, MovableType, etc.) I decided to install Textpattern. So far I am happy. Installation was very easy, I like the user interface and it looks like it is quite extensible. The next steps will be:

  • to install an image gallery
  • to only display links of a given category
  • to improve the overall appearance, now somewhat bland

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I started around 1997, originally to present pictures and news from the valley of the Roya, near the French-Italian border. Then other sites such as Roya Bevera appeared, so I turned into a personal blog. My main interest is to learn how to use content management systems by practice, and additionally to describe some of my activities outside work. (At the time I was working as a programmer at Texas Instruments, for embedded systems software)

In 2010, I switched my activity from programming to woodworking, and my professional website is now

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