Arguably my website owes a lot to the iBlog application. When Apple released a free license of iBlog to all .Mac subscribers I downloaded it, played around with it, and quickly discovered a glaring security hole.
I wrote a warning article about the security issues and posted links to my article on a few Mac news sites. Thousands of visitors flooded my site and ever since I’d say it’s been “on the map”. Even though I have hardly done anything since December (until now) the site still draws dozens of people per day.
Later on I decided that if I was going to write an unpopular article about the application, I should really be fair and give the package a good shake-down and ended up writing a review of the package and got another several thousand visitors.
I would say the review was mostly favorable. The application had a couple bugs, particularly when publishing the blog, and especially if I tried ever jumping from one computer to another. Really I was forced to pick one computer and use it exclusively for my blogging activity. But otherwise I though the design was nice, the templates were customizable… enough. Of course, I wasn’t a blogging expert—I had just started about a month previous—so I didn’t have much of a comparison.
Time to return and write the epilogue, or more specifically, the post-mortem.
My biggest complaint about iBlog has to be its lack of portability. Not only is it generally impossible to “rescue” your blog entries from its internal database (in case you wanted to move to a different system) but as I said, it’s problematic to try to use the application from more than one computer. When I did a clean install of OS X 10.3 Panther on both my laptop and desktop, getting iBlog to regenerate many of the web pages just didn’t seem to work.
My second greatest complaint would be that there was almost no response to my “personal outcry” over the security issues. I not only wrote the makers of iBlog (Lifli Software in India) but I sent them an exhaustive and detailed list of half a dozen things they could do to fix most of those problems. To this day I don’t know if they implemented any of my fixes. (I’ve stopped caring and don’t have time to check every new release anymore.)
Another criticism I would have is that I’m not really sure iBlog is terribly original. Now that I’ve switched to MovableType I see that not only are many design methodologies similar, but the default stylesheet would appear to be an almost direct rip-off of one of the MovableType designs. Now I’m not certain about this, so don’t quote me. It may be that MT and iBlog adapted the layout from the exact same 3rd source, but well, I’ve just got to question the originality.
Actually, a lot of my recent criticism of iBlog stems from the fact that I’m so immensely pleased with MovableType. It is not difficult to install, it’s free for the individual (non-commercial) user. It’s network based (although desktop apps exist so you’re not stuck with web interfaces) and quite portable and expandable.
My iBlog pages remain up on my site. The primary reason is that there’s no other way for my to preserve my early writings. There is no good export methodology. So if you would like to read my older archives, proceed to my old iBlog pages.
End of story.