pMachine 2.0 was released today.
May 24, 2002 2:15 PM   Subscribe

pMachine 2.0 was released today. With content management systems like pMachine and MovableType becoming easier and easier to use (as well as being free to inexpensive), will Blogger Pro continue to have a market?
posted by jonah (31 comments total)
 
Yes, for the simple reason that your average blogger doesn't want to deal with the hassle of installing a content management system on his/her own server -- if they have a server at all. Blogger and Blogger Pro are successful because partly because they're almost literally pushbutton publishing for the masses -- no coding necessary, just type and hit enter.
posted by me3dia at 2:31 PM on May 24, 2002


I used blogger for over a year and would have happily switched to blogger pro but didn't because of the posting limits in Pro. None in the free version but a limit on Pro stopped me cold.

After the blogger service started getting sluggish I switched to MoveableType and am quite happy. No limits, no server outages, all the features and then some. My only beef is that I have been unable to import my blogger posts.

Maybe somebody else can make the case for BloggerPro but I can't.
posted by srboisvert at 2:35 PM on May 24, 2002


I think that's definitely true for non-Pro Blogger (Blogger Amateur?) users, but it seems like pMachine is almost as easy to set up as setting up an ftp-able site (which is required for Blogger Pro).

I'm a Blogger Pro user and I can say that I'm pretty underwhelmed with the big announcement from this week. I haven't used pMachine or Movable Type, and maybe that's an indication that there is a market for Blogger Pro, but I think that the Pyra team is going to have to show us something new (like a reliable server and service) to take themselves above the other CMS's.
posted by jonah at 2:37 PM on May 24, 2002


I believe that all of these systems have a place in the market. The problem for me has been that I don't have a server, don't have the cash to get one, don't know PHP and am having a hard time finding a host with PHP service. To my mind, if you combine a tool such as bloggerpro, pmachine, etc with a host that has PHP and CGI capability, and a reasonable price tag, you would have many more customers. The way things stand now, people who use the tools are more serious dabblers than the average person--such a small market base.
posted by ashbury at 2:55 PM on May 24, 2002


pMachine seems pretty slick ... how does it compare with MT? Anyone know?
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:58 PM on May 24, 2002


I think pM's big advantage is a faster and more stable PHP/MySQL backend, as compared to MT's flatfile DB. Still, I'm going to stick with MT to publish my own blog for now, for the simple reason that it's there and installed and running smoothly. If it ain't broke...
posted by brownpau at 3:00 PM on May 24, 2002


(Also watch out for Postmaster, via HiveLogic.)
posted by brownpau at 3:01 PM on May 24, 2002


I run a couple of pMachine sites (alt.muslim is on of them) and let me tell you, it's a wonderful piece of work. Totally recommended, even for novices, even if you can't tell your SQL from your PHP. It's amazing what one programmer can do compared to a lot of companies out there.
posted by laz-e-boy at 3:05 PM on May 24, 2002


I don't no squat. For a time had Blogger and it worked and then it didn't and then it did and on and on...I don't see much diff in Pro...but I am dumb so stuck.
posted by Postroad at 3:16 PM on May 24, 2002


good, inexpensive host with PHP/mySQL/cgi/etc : thinkhost
posted by iamjacksamnesia at 4:13 PM on May 24, 2002


I am very happy with blogger and the free service at blogspot. I don't have a hundredth of the knowledge or technical skill to set up a server on my own, nor can I afford to have a machine on a dedicated line just for one blog - I mean, that takes money, and I ain't rich! I use them for typographica and so far have been quite happy. It handles a large team (about 70 posters) pretty well... Except for the outages. But what do you want for free?
posted by luriete at 4:28 PM on May 24, 2002


Wow. This does look slick. I am very interested to see how it matches up with MT.
posted by adampsyche at 4:34 PM on May 24, 2002


wow.. VERY nice.. if i could import my grematter entries, i'd consider switching...
posted by lotsofno at 4:57 PM on May 24, 2002


I had a pBlock once -- very painful. The doctor thought he might have to operate, but then it cleared up all on its own.
posted by jjg at 5:01 PM on May 24, 2002


First of all, you can import blogger entries into MT. you just need to RTFM.

Secondly, the fact that MT uses a flatfile database isn't so much a "disadvantage" as a *feature*. It allows MT to be installed in many more places than pMachine, for one thing, so providing you have CGI access with your hosting company, it'll almost certainly install just fine. 8)

There's a lot I could say about the relative merits of using dbf files as opposed to MySQL, but I don't want to get drawn into a protracted argument about them, especially as they both have their place.

But I'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming to a solution that relied on MySQL to produce dynamic pages of my blog, when static pages can be served much faster and don't stop being served when the database goes down... 8)
posted by chrimble at 5:03 PM on May 24, 2002


brownpau:

(on preview i notice chrimble has said a lot of this already.)

I think pM's big advantage is a faster and more stable PHP/MySQL backend, as compared to MT's flatfile DB. Still, I'm going to stick with MT to publish my own blog for now, for the simple reason that it's there and installed and running smoothly.

MySQL is not faster than most flatfile databases. (all, really, but maybe some sadistic nerd can devise a slow one.) flatfile databases are mere files, with indices and other metadata packed at the head of the file. Any SQL Server technology makes browsing slower due to the communication between the web server (for which PHP or another server-side technology is acting) and the database server as well as the increased complexity of transaction. (SQL queries are performed by seeking a set of rows that match certain criteria variable in length, whereas flatfile databases use a simple key,value scheme.)

the content of your weblog is stored locally with MT; i don't know if the same is true with pM. (does pM store content on a centralized server, the way that blogger does?) having your content locally stored is a tremendous speed boost in publishing. while the centralized server paradigm of blogger has its benefits, the issue of speed is a major one that's difficult to step around unless they get a lot of cash invested in their servers.

publishing by hand has actually been the fastest way to publish for me personally. though i hate that whenever these topics come up i always seem to say "well, look at me, i publish by hand", it is true and it works really well for me. i think that if i did have to choose a CMS, i'd probably go with MT right now.
posted by moz at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2002


Another inexpensive hosting solution with all the goodies and great support is Cornerhost I have both Movabletype and PMachine running there, they were very helpful in answering questions since beyond reading the instructions I didn't know what I was doing.
posted by onegoodmove at 5:11 PM on May 24, 2002


"With content management systems like pMachine and MovableType becoming easier and easier to use, will Blogger Pro continue to have a market?"

With the potential of weblogs barely tapped, will any one solution completely dominate any other?!

Nope. :)
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2002


First of all, you can import blogger entries into MT. you just need to RTFM.

Thanks for the snark Chrimble, just in time as I ran out of my own urine to put in my cornflakes today. I read the manual and followed all the steps - several times - so maybe you should take your attitude down a notch (Unless your a linux user - i recognize the impossibility there as it comes bundled with the kernel :-] ). No matter what I did the entries would all come up blank. I was in the support forum (where everyone was helpful and not one person told me to RTFM!) for a week and nobody could help me. I gave up since it wasn't that important to me. Remember, just because it may have worked for you doesn't mean it works for everyone (and if you look in the support forums you will see that a lot of people have trouble with this feature).

While we are on the topic of blogging and hosting ...I have used two hosts, currently Aletia and formerly phpwebhosting. Both are good but Aletia was cheaper for hosting multiple domains on one account.

I would love to hear from other people who have or know of good, cheap full featured hosts.
posted by srboisvert at 6:29 PM on May 24, 2002


Sorry, folks, but pMachine does not appear to be a content management system. That's a load of tripe.

PMachine (at least from my review of their webiste) is a blog manager with a few extra (pretty boring, actually) features on top.

I read their list of 40 new features and had to suppress a laugh.
posted by syzygy at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2002


syzgy

A blog manager is nothing more then a simple CMS. Nothing wrong with that, it just addresses different needs. You can easily run a full site with MT or this and get most of the features you REALLY need. Its a great solution for clients on a limited budget who don't need enormous flexibility.
posted by madmanz123 at 7:10 PM on May 24, 2002


I am a defector from Blogger to Greymatter. I noticed that there is beginning to be more Movable Type out there than Greymatter now. I remember when Greymatter started popping up everywhere. I like Greymatter because it is fast, simple, and ease of templates.

I installed MT today. I don't think I'm going to use it though, because it would take me too long to import almost two years worth of posts from both Blogger and Greymatter.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 7:17 PM on May 24, 2002


The thing I didn't like about GreyMatter and Movable Type (I haven't looked at MT since version 1.0, so maybe things are different now) was their insistence on having permissions wide open on a directory within my web documents directory so that the nobody user that ran httpd could write there. I don't want to have a directory with 777 permissions in my web documents tree just on principle. (I dunno, maybe I could have gotten around this by assigning the directory to the nobody user.)

I wound up writing my own system that used PHP and MySQL. I was unemployed and bored, and it seemed like a good thing to do. And since I defined the data structure, I was able to set one of the blogs up in such a way that importing from Blogger was a piece of cake. I'm happy with the results, and I learned a lot, since I hadn't written a content management system in a few years. I had faceted classification from the beginning, so I didn't have to wait for someone else to write it. I've got a comments section that ensures that my pages remain pure as the driven slush when I validate. It was fun. I keep tweaking it.
posted by geneablogy at 8:09 PM on May 24, 2002


Syzgy, maybe you narrowly define "CMS" but I believe it includes pMachine. I use it for a small collaborative site right now and it's pretty sweet. I've set up its multiple weblog feature to act as a queue so stories can work their way through an approval and editing process. It's got extensive template control, all sorts of custom tags, and a minimum amount of fuss when installing. I've got a co-editor with zero HTML or PHP skills going to town with this thing. I even paid for the pro version. Besides, anyone who does Nancy Sinatra's official home page deserves my money.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:36 PM on May 24, 2002


On the subject on hosting: I have recently moved to vervehosting. They seem to have really good deals. There is very little documentation, but support is very fast. So far, I am quite happy with them.

This thread on metatalk would probably be helpful to those with more complex needs.
posted by justlooking at 11:25 PM on May 24, 2002


The reason people are using Greymatter less and less is that it is basically a dead piece of software- Noah isn't supporting it anymore, or updating it. I switched to MT almost two months ago and, besides a week of formatting nightmares, it has run beautifully. And importing all my old Blogger entries was really easy.

I have to say BloggerPro was a disappointment, especially for a Mac user on OSX; it never seemed to work right and several of the features were unavailable.

Anyone want to buy my Blogger Pro account for cheap?

Heh.
posted by evanizer at 11:34 PM on May 24, 2002


Sorry for jumping to conclusions, srboisvert - just that this isn't an MT support forum, it was late and I was tired. But If you're ever out of urine to sprinkle on your cornflakes again, drop me a line and I'll be happy to oblige 8).
posted by chrimble at 6:41 AM on May 25, 2002


is it heresy to say that I'm really enjoying blogger pro? we have several "weblogs" (not that the people who use them would even recognize the word!) on my work site, and it's much easier for me than trying to deal with setting up something on our own server. (long, long story)

I set up the two main users before pro came out, and while I could have figured something out to switch them, it's much simpler to have them continue to use something they're familiar with. (one person is very, very, very untech-savvy, and he loves blogger.)

I keep thinking about trying out MT for my own site, but haven't had the time.

I think there's lots of room for lots of tools, and I'm happy to see the diversity - hopefully, it will improve the market as a whole.
posted by epersonae at 9:50 AM on May 25, 2002


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that a flatfile DB is slower than MySQL for accessing and processing data. I'm thinking of the distinction between, say, ikonBoard and phpBB. Don't the same performance issues apply to the MT interface as compared to pMachine? (Of course, my PHP/MySQL knowledge is practically nil, so I humbly submit to the counsel of those more experienced.)
posted by brownpau at 10:57 AM on May 25, 2002


the only definitive answer you'll ever get to that is "it depends".

the speed of rendering dynamic content depends on so many different pieces of code and how they work with each other, that it's not a matter of flat file database vs relational database but rather product vs product.
posted by Foaf at 3:47 PM on May 25, 2002


MySQL is not faster than most flatfile databases. (all, really, but maybe some sadistic nerd can devise a slow one.) flatfile databases are mere files, with indices and other metadata packed at the head of the file. Any SQL Server technology makes browsing slower due to the communication between the web server (for which PHP or another server- side technology is acting) and the database server as well as the increased complexity of transaction. (SQL queries are performed by seeking a set of rows that match certain criteria variable in length, whereas flatfile databases use a simple key,value scheme.)
Wow - that's impressively wrong. That last sentence is a good example - any query of any sort to any storage system is going to require checking some sort of record identifier.

To read a flatfile, a program must open the file, parse the headers, and (depending on how much data's in the header entry) either seek directly to the desired data or read the file until it finds it, read the data and close the file.
The next time somebody loads your page, this all happens again.

Updating is a bitch. You'll need to worry about file locking and preventing reads of data before it's completely written and handling simultaneous updates and updating the headers if something is deleted and after a little while you'll want to add some sort of indexing because your queries are getting pretty slow since you have to parse all those headers to get a single record and . . . you've just reinvented the database. Welcome to the 1960s - check your COBOL at the door!

A good database will be much, much faster than flatfiles for any non-trivial amount of data. Here's why:
  • there's no file open. The database server keeps everything open so there's almost no overhead for a query and, being non-crap, your scripting environment keeps a connection to the database open, so it's all ready to go
  • there's no header parsing - the database does full indexing internally and can use all sorts of optimized data structures
  • there's indexing - rather than having to actually check a single thing on disk, it can read the location of the data it needs right out of the indexes in memory for that table
  • there's caching - any sane database caches stuff in memory, so when 5 people visit your site, the blocks the database wants are already in memory. In fact, a smart database can recognize that the query you just sent is identical to the one it just answered and send the answer back without ever going anywhere near a file.
Unless you have a trivial amount of data (almost anything imaginable will handle a few KB faster than you can measure on modern hardware) a good database is going to be better and you get reliability, freedom from worrying about simultaneous access, transactions, and non-trivial query abilities thrown in for free.

So why do people think databases are slow? Usually it's one of three things - lousy database / administrator, inept programming or they don't appreciate everything the database is doing and compare it to something which is faster because it's doing 5% of the work. Scalability in particular will get you - I've seen a lot of crappy code where a flatfile worked when the original programmer "tested" it with 10 records and died painfully when it got hit with the real dataset.
posted by adamsc at 10:02 PM on May 25, 2002


« Older Dead Mike   |   What Would Vissarion Do? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments