Apple’s blog server.

39 Comments

I’ve moved my own blog over to using the Blojsom-based weblog server that is now included with Mac OS X Server 10.4 so that I could try it out and see what’s in there, and what’s not that I’d like to be in there.

First off, what I like about Apple’s new blog server:

1. Easy for a server admin to set up – Good Lord, it’s easy. Once you have OS X Server installed, go under Web in Server Admin, select the Weblogs tab, click the checkbox for Enable Weblogs and hit Save. Congratulations, your users now have the ability to set up their own blogs.
2. Easy to for your users to work with – Point your users to http://server.name/weblog to either access a listing of all the blogs hosted on your server, or to enable them to set up their own blogs for either themselves or their group by entering the appropriate shortname in the blank provided.
3. Web interface for posting – it’s easy for your users to set up new categories and post new entries through the web interface.
4. Built-in themes – Nice of Apple to provide five themes.
5. Ability to work with third-party blog posting apps – This blog server supports posts that are submitted via applications tha support the Metaweblog API, so there’s a number of third-party posting applications that can post to your server.
6. RSS support – Complements Safari’s RSS reader. Supports Atom, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0.
7. Built-in searching.
8. Calendar-based navigation – allows you to easily search by date.
9. Integration with Open Directory for authentication and access controls – You can set up controls for who can, and can’t see your blog, as well as leveraging your OD system for managing authentication.

What I don’t like:

1. No easy way to remove users’ blogs after they’ve been removed from your server – I can physically remove their blog directories, but I haven’t found a way to remove them from the listing posted at http://server.name/weblog.
2. No ability to delete comments – Once it’s there, it’s there. You’ll need to manually edit the entry to remove the comment, or remove the entry.
3. No email notification for new comments – This is something I really want to see.
4. No way to ban commenters who have shown their trollish tendencies.
5. No way to disable comments.
6. Knowledge of HTML is assumed – You can post links, photos, and anything else you want on your blog, but you’d better know at least some HTML as there are no html tag buttons to help like there are on other blog server packages.

What I want to see in future releases:

1. More themes – More! More! Or at least give me an easy way to adapt existing CSS themes for use with my blog.
2. Email notification for new comments – As noted above, this is something I’d really like to see as I’ve found it very useful with WordPress.
3. Better comment controls
4. Deleted users automatically having their weblogs removed from the main weblog listing on the server.
5. HTML tag buttons in the posting page – At least tag buttons for bold, italics, underline, link, blockquote, and list.
6. Ability to add a blogroll.

In short, I like Apple’s blog server but it has a ways to go before it catches up to Moveable Type, WordPress or TypePad. Apple has made it very easy to add things (entries, categories, comments, new blogs) but not always the ability to remove items that aren’t wanted or are no longer needed.

Anybody else using Apple’s blog server and has more insights to add? Let me know in the comments.

Update 7/4/2005: I’ve managed to fix some of my outstanding issues with the blog server, specifically the email notification of new comments and being able to disable and delete comments on a per-entry basis. I’ve managed to do this by enabling the blojsom admin console, which Apple had disabled by default, then working through the settings.

To enable the admin console, you’ll need to open Terminal, then enter the following command:

sudo pico /Library/Tomcat/blojsom_root/webapps/¬
ROOT/WEB-INF/(username)/flavor.properties

Once you’re in, you’ll need to edit the flavor.properties file to remove the hash mark (#) from in front of the #admin=org/blojsom/plugin/admin/templates/admin.vm, text/html;charset=UTF-8 line, then exit and save changes. After that, I rebooted to make sure the change had taken effect, but that may not be necessary.

After my server was back up, I logged into my server as http://server.name/weblog/username/?flavor=admin, was prompted for my blog’s login and password, and then was in the main blojsom administrative console, where I could access the settings I wanted.

39 Comments

Rich Trouton

Tom H,

The places where you’re getting the errors are the places that Apple altered the base Blojsom package so that it would work better for what they wanted. Templates was one of those, as Apple changed the standard Blojsom templates out for their own custom setup.

Tom H

I’m also having that RSS issue with Firefox, but the main thing thats been bugging me is I’m getting scary Tomcat errors when trying to access certain (but not all) areas of the admin console like templates:

HTTP Status 500 – The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request. This is followed by about 30 lines of errors :-(

Anyone else having this problem ?
Otherwise using Blojsom’s been a blast

neilt

Anyone having trouble with the rss function for PC’s? Safari sees the rss feeds fine, but now matter what i do, on a PC with firefox I get “Live Bookmarks Loading” for both atom and rss feeds. anyone else run into this?

neil

Dave Sag

We tried the built in blog but found it to be a bit buggy and some of the admin screens were broken. but the main killer for us was the requirement that users be actual users of the system. this means that for an sort of cross-posting, eg posting from flickr to the blog, you have to expose an actual user’s password. in my case i am an admin user of the machine so that in effect exposes a massive security risk.

so we had a look at movable type but for corporate use it’s prohibitively expensive. we have settled on WordPress. It’s excellent and with the vast amount of plugins it’s really powerful and free.

Ron Luna

whats the best bloging software out there for mac ? apple s bloging software need a lot of work still i what some thing that will work well

Thanks

Rich Trouton

John,

You’ve just found the easiest fix to this problem that I’d yet run across. Thanks!

John Eriksson

actually, I just found a way to remove the stupid guy’s blog from the list.
1) I removed the data folder so it became empty.
2) I resetted his password so I knew his password.
3) I logged in as him to his blog.
4) I clean all the text fields in the settings box.
5) I sent him a mail about new password notification :)

Problem solved. Too easy to be easy. :)

John Eriksson

ah, have just started to try out this thing. any user on my server can create an own blog, but I can’t remove them. Some asshole has made a blog named “go jurk off” with no content, and I can’t remove it from the blog list. bummer.

davesag

I have encountered several problems with blojsom. the main one is that it is altering html in the entries in such a was as to break it. try blogging across from flickr to tiger server’s blojsom – you’ll end up with the … tags displayed inline as the have been converted to html entities. i can’t see any way to change this.

Alan

I had no idea Apple had come out with a blogging software!

They hardly did- its a GUI for one of many available blogging tools that one can run already. I run on my G4 laptop every app on my enterprise server- MovablTpe, WordPress, phpBB, UseMod wiki… just need to get under the shiny hood.

Kind of curious since their Apple Education Communities is running WordPress.

PS- I love Apple, I love my Macs, and have been deeply in love since 1987 with them. Just hate to see mis-information out there.

Darren Taylor

I have just begun to customize the css for a site/blog I am developing.
You can view the current status at

http://www.uniquipinc.com/weblog/religionmine/

Has anybody had success with adding a link list. I realize you need access to either the include files (not sure how blojsom works, this is the way it is done in WP) or a default page where you might have the ability to add div tags and customize the page layout. Is this possible through adding plug-ins in the Blojsom admin console? Any input would be much appreciated. So close Apple…

Ron Luna

Cant set up categorys on the weblog get this meassage
Java Script
Unable to add new weblog category do you know how to fix??

Thanks

Ron Luna

Cant get pass the sec page to set up category s ? no prob logging on with use but cant get categorys set up what am i doing wrong or what do i have off or on that wont let me go any where ?

Thanks

standsinhole

I found implementing blogs and securing them to a private group simple and quick to setup and get running.

Then I spun a long while looking for the configuration templates so I could swap that “X” image for my own logo, at least.

I’m hoping blojsom admin tools will help

Rich Trouton

boardwalk,

The reason those are giving your errors is that Apple’s altered their blog server from Blojsom in how it handles blog themes. I talked to the Apple developer who adapted Blojsom for Apple’s use and asked him how I could use Blojsom themes with Apple’s blog server. He told me that they’d gone away from the themes that Blojsom uses, in favor of CSS stylesheets. That’s probably why the flavor and template settings aren’t working, because Apple’s altered them from what they’d be on a default install of Blojsom.

boardwalk

While using the admin console, the following menus generate http 500 exception

weblog settings -> flavors
weblog settings -> templates

the error seems to be related to apache/tomcat servelet BlojsomServlet attempting to find the EditBlogTemplatesPlugin.

—–
type Exception report

message

description The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request

exception

java.lang.NullPointerException
at org.blojsom.plugin.admin.EditBlogTemplatesPlugin.process¬
(EditBlogTemplatesPlugin.java:124)
at org.blojsom.servlet.BlojsomServlet.service(BlojsomServlet.java:407)
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:853)

——–

Do additioal plugins have to be installed for these menus to work? Any help is appreciated.

Port Mole

Blojsom is OK for users, but has pretty unintuitive admin UI. I thought that it felt like it wanted to be administered from the command line, but someone had put a web UI on top to make it easier.

I looked around at blogging software a bit lately, and actually tried Blojsom seriously for a while. The best thing about it is that it runs as a Java servlet. So, if you already have Tomcat running, it’s an easy install.

For actual use, I’ve switched to Drupal. It’s a PHP app. It works well, and the admin UI is slightly less convoluted than Blojsom.

Rich Trouton

I’ve made an update to this entry, for all those who are interested.

Mike

Take a look at Pebble pebble.sourceforge.net. It is much simpler then Blojsom and yet it has already addressed most of the shortcomings of Blojsom that you pointed out above.

Rich Trouton

Zac,

What config file did you edit in order to enable email notification of comments? Thanks.

Kokopelli

For notification you need to enable the email plugin. I think that is how it works but I never use it. I know the comment plugin has an email setting.

Banning is available in a number of flavors including IP bans.

You can disable comments for a blog in general or a specific post. I like usign the meta plugin along with the macro plugin to simplify things.

Unfortunately I am more familiar with blojsom than the Tiger install of it. I do have a Tiger server though so I will check out what is available by default and try and give some better guidance.

Some of this will require editing at the text config level by the way.

Zac Tolley

You Can have have the server email you when you get a comment, I poked around the config files and turned it on. Can’t remember exactly what I put in there, but I found it just by being nosey.

Twist

The issues are probably more to do with Blojsom than with anything Apple is doing I would think. I tried Blojsom out a long time ago and wasn’t impressed. Movable Type and WordPress were superior in many ways. Of course depending on how good the development team is it could be quite a bit better now but WP and MT have also gotten a number of upgrades since then.

Dalle

I been using the built in blog for a while now and its a grate blog for “users” i just cant bother to change and use another one for myself. I would like to see what u just mentioned.
If someone need an internal weblog server running a OD this is easy and grate for the users they dont need to know anything to use it or start it.

David M

It seems a bit short-sighted to me that Apple hasn’t provided anything in the way of comment control. After all, it’s the biggest single problem with most blogs (and blogging platforms), and although the uptake rate of OS X Server-based blogs is probably going to be slow at first, why not build in comment management (and spam prevention) from the very start?

Dan

Awesome Rich! I had no idea Apple had come out with a blogging software!

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