David Findlay

a man, a plan, a cake: nirvana

Can't do web design for toffee

mmm, toffee

I haven't posted in a while because I have been playing with blogging tools. I currently use RapidWeaver, but it bugs me in a Microsoft Word sort of way; well okay, it's nowhere near that annoying, but still an annoyance nonetheless. It just does things the way it wants to, rather than the way I want it to. It's a bit for flexible than iWeb, granted, but its themes are not nearly as pretty, either.

To satisfy my curiosity about what else might work, I set up a couple of Wordpress blogs (one canned, one not), and a Movable Type blog (way not canned) on my webserver. I then downloaded the much-acclaimed MarsEdit 2, a blog publishing application for the Mac. At first it seemed surprisingly bare-bones (although it's not from barebones), but that actually isn't a bad thing; I suppose I just expected it to be flashier based on what I had heard about it. It has an intentionally non-WYSIWG editor, and the developer in me likes that; needs that even. Besides, Gruber uses it, so it has to be good, right? So, I played around with it some more, and I started to really appreciate being able to set up a post the way I wanted it set up.

But part of me still wanted more control. The little developer in my head, who forgets that I can't do web design for toffee, was saying "let's do this using hand-crafted-with-love XHTML and CSS". I got as far as purchasing cssedit, a really great CSS utility from macrabbit software. I love how you can use it to override the style sheets on a site and tweak them live: really neat stuff. But as I said, I can't do web design for toffee, or any other highly-sugared sweet for that matter (and if you know me, you know how much I like highly-sugared sweets, and hence you know how bad I must be at web design). So, while I have used it to tweak RapidWeaver's themes a little, I haven't really gotten a lot of use from it.

I considered looking at Panic's Coda again. Coda is billed on Panic's site as "one window web development"; it includes a text editor, CSS editor and a cut-down version of Transmit - Panic's excellent FTP/SFTP/etc tool (which I use often). I played with Coda back when it came out, but I didn't care to learn another text editor (it uses SubEthaEdit); and, as I mentioned before, I can't do web design for toffee, so creating the CSS from scratch likely wasn't going to work out well for any passing viewers' eye balls or sensibilities.

So what to do? I think I could get either Wordpress or Movable Type to look the way I want, or as close to it as my can't-do-web-design-for-toffee skillz will allow (thank you, cssedit). I would then have to figure out how to get all the old posts out of Rapid Weaver. It stores your site's data in a single binary project file, so there doesn't appear to be an easy way to extract the individual posts. I could try and scrape the appropriate tags out of the rendered HTML but that seems kludgy at best. Maybe if I create a RapidWeaver them that has next to no formatting and publish that, the scraping might be easier?

As I continue to ponder, I will stick with RapidWeaver. Maybe version 4 will make me okay with staying the course?