Blog Post

Custom blog themes for 10.4’s blog server?

I’ve continued working with 10.4 Server’s blog server since my earlier entry. Since then, Apple’s updated the blog server with some neat features, including the ability to embed podcasts along with individual entries, as shown below in the screenshot. Apple has also updated the admin console with a newer (and much more visually appealing) Blojsom admin console.

One thing that’s I still haven’t seen is additional themes for the blog server. Thanks to Keith Bradnam’s and Brendan Berg’s work on the blojsom backend, it looks like it should be easy enough to add in new themes once they’re built, but I haven’t been able to find anyone who has started building and posting new themes for use by Apple’s blog server. If there’s someone out there who’s all-fired to start building themes, but has no idea how to access the themes themselves or set them up so that the new themes show up in Apple’s themes listing, here’s how you access them and add them.

Themes location:
/Library/Tomcat/blojsom_root/webapps/ROOT/blojsom_resources/stylesheets

If you copy (and then rename) one of the existing stylesheets in this directory, then the new filename will automatically pop up in in the list of available themes. Any changes that you make to the renamed stylesheet will then affect the appearance of your blog pages.

The dowside to this is that the filename will show up in the listing, so you’ll see your listing change to include “filename.css”. You can change it to be a more normal-sounding name by editing the following file:

/Library/Tomcat/blojsom_root/webapps/ROOT/strings/en.properties

At the bottom of this configuration file is a section called ‘Template full names’, which contains the links between theme names and the corresponding stylesheet name that they are specified by. The default entries show up in the en.properties config file as follows:

# Template full names
template.apple_layout=Grey
template.v2_layout=White
template.v4_layout=Graphite
template.v5_layout=Blue

The other thing you’ll need to keep in mind when building themes is that there are two files that need to be included for each new style you wish to add. The first is the normal CSS file, for example filename.css. The second is a matching javascript file named filename.js. The javascript file need only include the following lines:

—–BEGIN CODE—–
function customStartup()
{

}
—–END CODE—–

Remember, you need to have sudo privileges to work with these files, so the usual warnings apply about being careful anytime you’re working with that kind of power.

Anybody had any luck with building their own themes, or knows someone who has and is willing to share? Drop a line in the comments to let me know.

12 Responses to “Custom blog themes for 10.4’s blog server?”

  1. Frank Fulchiero

    I wanted an internal way, with no help from other apps like Flickr.
    I did find a kludge:
    Create a new entry. Then upload the image, as a podcast in the “Advanced” tab. Save the entry. Click the image name in the entry, this takes you to the image. Copy the URL. Go back to the blog, Edit, and enter the image’s URL in standard html img src tags. I don’t use anything except the image URL, no width, height, etc.
    See upload test 2 in
    http://nutmeg.conncoll.edu/weblog/tech1/

    I have given up using weblog server for blogging, after seeing how primitive it is compared to blogger. Time for Apple to do some improvements!
    Now I’m modifying it for easy podcasting
    alpha at
    http://video.conncoll.edu/weblog/
    Thanks,
    Frank

  2. Frank –

    Apple’s Blojsom has no image librarian =(

    However you have two pretty easy alternatives. You can copy images to your /Sites/Images directory and hard-link them into a blog post.

    OR you can use Flickr, and set up its blog posting capability. Apple’s Blojsom will accept ATOM and Blogger API (or is it WordPress? I forget) logins externally. When you have it set up correctly, it only takes one button click within Flickr to post an image to a new weblog post in Apple’s Blojsom.

    It’s free and it’s bad ass. You can even set up an email account for (get this) camera phone -> email -> Flickr -> blog all at once.

  3. James Hammett

    I’m using iWeb which appears to have NO integration with OS X Server. (Garage band’s weblog feature appears to have none either). Anyone have any experience converting a iWeb template for use by blojsam. (I don’t have access to either right now, so I can’t look at it).

  4. Geekster,

    I think I’ve located the place where you can fix this. First, go to your blog’s admin console, located at http://server.name/weblog/username/?flavor=admin. (If you don’t have the Blojsom admin console enabled enabled, see http://www.theappleblog.com/2005/07/03/apples-blog-server/ to learn how to turn it on.)

    Next, go to Weblog Settings: Properties and check what the “Blog URL:” setting is set to. It should be set to http://server.name/weblog/username/ (filling in your own domain name and username where appropriate.) If you use one domain name on the inside of your network, and another outside, use the one that’s available to the outside world.

    Let me know if that fixed it for you.

  5. Geekster

    David,
    That’s a bit off-topic but since you seem to know the blog server in depth: I’m running a server behind a firewall with a private IP. The website is accessible through the fw, no problem, same for the blog. Only, some links within the blog (like leave comment) refer to the private IP. This renders the blog rather useless.
    Any ideas where the links get set to the local rather than the URL?

  6. For the resource to show up correctly, they’ll need to be copied to the proper directory as specified in the instructions. For some of the themes, the CSS and image files were placed in the /BLOJSOM_INSTALLATION_DIRECTORY instead of under the /BLOJSOM_INSTALLATION_DIRECTORY/resources/(blog-id)/. Send me an e-mail with the theme you’re using and what’s being displayed on screen and I can try to help debug the issue.

  7. Rich Trouton

    David,

    I’d like some help with this, please. It looks like I’m able to get the Velocity templates working, using the directions you’ve posted for configuring the active theme from the command-line, but none of the resources look like they’re showing up.