My new web site, Drupal powered

Posted on Thu 09 April 2009

When I started blogging in November 2002, there weren't many free blogging tools available. The major one was Movable Type, which I first installed on the company server before moving it to my own domain.

Alas, Movable Type is written in Perl, which I find hard to read and never took the time (nor found the motivation) to learn. That means my blog engine was merely a black box to me, and I've been regularly thinking to switch to something else I could really understand and fix and hack when I felt the need to. At some point, being a developer at heart, I even considered to write my own thing, but lacked the free time to do something that would be good enough.

I recently decided it was really time for a change, and started looking at the current state of blogging and personal publishing engines. I actually wanted something that could do more than blogging, to be able to easily add other services, mainly for my family (meaning you won't necessarily see them). Serendipity and DotClear are nice, but they're really for blogging, and not much more. WordPress does more and is sort of today's defacto standard, but its code wasn't that appealing to me. Joomla is a full-blown CMS and definitely too much for a personal website.

And I then looked at Drupal and was quite amazed by its architecture, its very nice code and the huge number of features that can easily be added to a very simple core engine. It's more an application framework for content-oriented website than a blogging tool, but that's actually exactly what I was looking for.

Since I'm a Java guy, why not using something in Java, such as Roller or Sling? My little server would probably have harder times to run a more heavyweight Java engine than PHP, and tweaking those engines quickly means getting hands dirty deep in the code, and I want to keep a bit of my free time for non-computer stuff. PHP engines, and Drupal in particular, are designed to allow people to quickly drop in new features without development -- if they don't want to.

So here it is, my new website. The layout is derived from the Marinelli theme, with the help of my dear colleague Thierry for the graphics. The CSS needs quite a lot of cleanup though. A nice feature, for those that visit the site rather than just reading the RSS feed, is the header photo that is randomly chosen at every page display. I started digging in my photo library, searching for cool pictures that would fit in this wide format.

Do you like it, do you hate it? Feedback welcome. Of course you can also simply not care ;-)

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