issues with iBlog [update/3]

The wonderful thing about devoting oneself as a writer is that distractions constitute one's productive methodology. Sometimes these distractions are good. More often, they are frustrating.. hours spent tracking down some obscure text only to discover the tome is barely worth its cover.. or more likely, like today, struggling with software. Today, it was Lifli's iBlog. Yes, the very software used to code this blog.

There are a number of issues with iBlog that requires some serious sweat-time.

- the latest version, 1.3.4, is missing the Preference panes the software requires.

Update: actually, some of these feature are to be found by double-clicking on the Blog name in the primary view, or right-clicking. Not very intuitive, but there it is. However, the FTP details (Active/Passive mode & Proxy info) are still missing, at least from what is shown in the Help manual. (The Help manual also needs updating to reflect all of this..)

- the more blogposts you produce, the slower iBlog crunches out a Publish. Slower & slower. It's barely keeping up. I usually go and get a coffee while it's churning out another post. If you are troubleshooting an issue, such as Templates, that requires continual rePublishing, it's going to take awhile.

- as soon as you start customizing the stylesheets and templates, things get messy. The Calendar stops working.

Update: the Calendar seems to have fixed itself in 1.3.4.

And, what bugs me the most: the tables stop auto-resizing in Safari/Firebird (although it still renders perfectly in IE). This very page, if you are on Safari or Firebird, probably isn't shrinking down to a comfortable size on your screen. This is more than annoying -- if you can see a solution to this problem in the HTML/CSS, please feel free to show me the light. I'll see what I can do about your Amazon wish list (hint hint).

Update: the issue seems to be with pasting text in from email or Word. The paragraph returns screw up the auto resizing in Safari and Firebird. This may have something to do with the way iBlog codes the text (it uses <br> <br> tags instead of proper paragraph tags, etc). Although this is not entirely iBlogs fault, it does render fine on IE, but not Safari.

- the developer seems head-deep in .Mac support (because of recent attention from Apple). Although he is committed to solidifying standard FTP & improving the speed of the program this is taking a bit. Attention to standardizing to blogworld common denominators such as Comments and Trackback should see higher priority (while there are third party solutions for Comments, they are time-consuming and ungraceful, such as Haloscan--also slows down yer' blog considerably).

- as there is only one person developing the software (Sarat Kongara), handling the business end, troubleshooting and answering support email, fetching java (the liquid kind), & he's travelling a lot, it seems, back & forth from India (where he's at--kinda' neat, but to the point:) things are slow to be resolved. Apparently iBlog now comes with a .Mac subscription (although this version sneakily doesn't have FTP). All of this seems to have swamped Sarat... Apple should hire one or two geeks from the labour pool to look over the code and give the program an overhaul. I don't really blame Sarat for all this, but the program needs more revamping before it is distributed on a wider level, and Sarat needs to hire someone or get Apple in on the gruntwork.

- there are numerous technical issues with the code iBlog produces

(Update: apparently with 1.3.4 this has been fixed; I guess we will see. [It does seem that the HTML needs some more work.])

- I've never been able to get it to synchronise with FTP as my FTP server requires active mode (there is no setting for this in 1.3.4, despite the Help manual showing such a settting).

- there is very poor security [also see Murray Todd William's article & review] with the javascript passwording.

In any case, I've posted a few Q's to the iBloggers forum, so we'll see what turns up.

posted. Mon - December 1, 2003 @ 11:52 PM           |