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A Blue Perspective: Karaoke code re-use

Karaoke code re-use
6 December 2003

I've be an infrequent reader of weblogs for a while now, but this week was witness to quite a few hours of weblog scouring; meandering from place to place, wherever my mouse dared take me. And I've come to a conclusion about what a weblog should be.

A weblog shouldn't be about unilateral communication, it's not like a book or a magazine, where the words are stuck fast to the paper. A weblog allows many people to share and evolve thoughts; without these different voices you may as well be writing a news article. As such, a site's blogger merely starts the ball rolling by creating an entry, then it is up to the readers-cum-authors to explore the ideas in that entry by adding their own insights. It is pure Internet: using the free flow of information to expand our thinking. The process of taking turns to express oneself in public reminds me of karaoke; although discomfort to other patrons is usually less severe online, and alcohol normally doesn't make your posts sound any better.

In any event, this realisation found me wanting to introduce commenting onto this here site. Although I'm aware of Movable Type (it seems to be popular with the kids nowadays), I've hand coded every part of this site in Perl, so if I wanted comments, I'd have to bash it out myself. I'm not sure whether my reticence to use other people's code on my web site (or life in general) is due to personal pride, a fear that it will break, or just plain laziness at not wanting to read the manual; it could be just the masochist in me. Plus, I'm a bit of a control freak, and coding it yourself means that everything is just the way you want it, which in my case just means that the code is indented using tabs, not spaces. (I kill space-indenters!)

So, if you feel like having a sing, grab a microphone and hit the comment button!


1/5. 6 December 2003 @ 15:06, Brad wrote:

I was reading this, and I thought "why not??". I read weblogs alot, and have made the choice to move from passively reading to actively vocal.

About what, you may ask? Nothing much at the moment, as I have nothing to say. Just thought I'd share, regardless.

By the way I wouldn't go to my site with any expectations: it's one of those dreaded (and deservedly despised) "Under Construction" pages. Life just gets in the way too much. :)

2/5. 7 December 2003 @ 13:49, Cameron wrote:

Life does get in the way of the Internet far too often.

3/5. 8 December 2003 @ 03:50, RMCox wrote:

I find it interesting you coded your own commenting system what with Moveable Type being written in Perl and all... the benefit to adapting code from something like Moveable Type would be not having to reinvent the wheel. So things like comment preview and that handy cookie on off switcher are already coded in there.

Which is not to say I'm a Moveable Type zealot, I hand coded my community blog (and by "community" I mean me and one other person...) in php as part of this greater coding experiment... blah blah. But my point is, while I myself am a fellow code reinventor, I still think it's a good idea to peek under the hood of these other systems. Buried in that code is knowledge and experience -- something I've found invaluable after looking at such projects as horde ( and pear ( in the php world. So don't read the manual and maybe even don't use the app, but certainly look at the code.

But, as I said in the Stop Design thread (, cheers and good luck with the new site.

4/5. 9 December 2003 @ 02:49, pF wrote:

I am exactly the same with my code. If I can write it I will. I try not to use other peoples packages as you have to spend time figuring the damn things out. That said I wouldn't dream of writing my own BB there are just too many well-done hard worked systems out there.

I'm currently writing my own CMS because I can never find a cheap & good package that does everything I want - and which produces valid code!

5/5. 13 December 2003 @ 16:33, patricia wrote:

Being a tech-wannabe it's been sort of a surprise at just how personal the choice of a blog publishing tool/CMS can be. I started out on Blogger not knowing a thing about HTML, CSS or PHP. I've graduated up to MT, but there's still so much to learn. The thought of coding a CMS is mind bogling. :D

As a new visitor (followed link from Stop Design) I want to thank you for allowing the comments. Not everybody does and I think it's great when an author allows for the flow of ideas.

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