Weblog software upgraded and a comparison of weblog publishers

I upgraded the WordPress software to version 2.8.4. I was worried at first that doing so might cause some trouble, so I had put it off until now. I try not to fiddle too much with my website software, because fixing it afterwards can sometimes be a bit of a chore. The upgrade went smoothly though. Of course, afterwards I had to edit the default theme. I use the default theme and then change the style sheet in order to make it fit a little better with my website. I know, that’s pretty lazy of me, I know. I could just make a new theme and make it look exactly like my website, but I haven’t. Keeping the web apps looking differently, but the same style, makes it look a little separated, which I like in this instance.

After changing the style sheet, then I was faced with the other chore I always have with WordPress, making it validate. WordPress seems to take the philosophy of functionality being more important than standards. A philosophy that I do not usually agree with. My philosophy is that most functionality can be obtained within standards (event though it might require more work), and most functionality that doesn’t meet standards is worthless anyway.

In order to get WordPress to validate, I had to take out two attributes. The first was in the comment.php file. aria-required is used. As I understand it, aria-required is something that is used by some screen reader browsers. I do not think this feature is needed. The other attribute I had to take out was role. I have no idea what it does or why it is needed. I think it exists in HTML 5 or something, but it isn’t in XHTML 1.0 Transitional, which is what WordPress claims to use. Another issue was  an invalid XML ID used by my simpleCAPTCHA plugin (XML IDs can’t start with underscores), which I am choosing to ignore (couldn’t find it in the code).

On a side note to all you web developers out there, don’t bother using doctype declarations when you’re lying about its standards compliance! This annoys me to no end.

I rarely use the website itself to post blog entries these days. I had been using Windows Live Writer to do this. I recently found Sun Weblog Publisher, an extension for StarWriter and OpenOffice.org Writer (I actually use the Novell edition). The extension allows publishing blog entries directly from the word processor. An excellent idea; one I really like, since I use OpenOffice.org as much as possible. Another advantage to the Sun Weblog Publisher extension is that it is multiplatform. I could use this extension on Linux as well. Windows Live Writer is a stand-alone application that runs on Windows that publishes to blogs. There are disadvantages to each of them. Neither solution is free software; they are both closed source. Starting with Windows Live Writer, it isn’t multiplatform; it only runs on Windows. It is stand-alone; it isn’t part of Microsoft Word or anything else, so one has to learn a new piece of software (if that’s a problem for you). Disadvantages to Sun Weblog Publisher, it not only isn’t free software, but it isn’t freeware. It says it is a free trial of 60 days; although, I couldn’t find what happens after the 60 days. I also had some issues with publishing to WordPress. Every time I’d publish, it would pop up an error saying to check the settings, even though it did publish successfully. The big issue I had was with validation. Windows Live Writer, to my surprise, publishes very clean and valid HTML (it could use some word wrapping, but the HTML itself is good). Sun Weblog Publisher, on the other hand, publishes garbage. In the previous entry (before I fixed it), I had about 10 errors, dealing with the simple <p> tag! It also doesn’t seem to rely on the CSS to take control of formatting, as it includes margin dimensions.

Although I’m not 100% happy with either solution, in my opinion, Windows Live Writer beats Sun Weblog Publisher. Eventually, maybe someone will make an extension for OpenOffice.org that is free software and publishes clean HTML.