Speech Freer: Working Under PHP safe_mode

So I’ve mentioned I’d really like to migrate from WordPress to Drupal, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was that my WordPress has, over time, become gunked up with errors about write access that I kind of understand but have been unable to resolve. Particularly, the awesome automatic updating of WordPress and its plugins had ceased to work, and every update had to be applied manually, which was never going to happen. I was hoping starting from scratch with Drupal would let me keep everything running smoothly.

However in trying to fix a similar issue with my new Drupal install, I can across a post detailing a solution for How to Get WordPress Working Under PHP safe_mode on NearlyFreeSpeech.net, and believe it or not it works. Thank you, Sarah Pin! It’s a long process written out, but really just SSH and 4 shell commands to change the group of everything to web rather than my account. This allows WordPress scripts to write to the server, and hence allows automatic updates. The name of the site, “I Am Completely Serious“, inspired some confidence that I might just be able to fix this mess, and I’m so happy with the results that I’m definitely reconsidering the value of switching to Drupal.

Now the main drawcard of Drupal is the integrated forum module which, while not as full-featured as say phpBB, is plenty good enough for me to offer simple support, and integrates natively with the Drupal user database. In addition, I like the way Drupal is engineered; it’s a programmer’s CMS. Everything is extremely decoupled and customisable, and although that may not add much to the site itself, I suspect it would be more extensible in the future. WordPress is positively rigid in comparison. Finally, I’d just like to learn Drupal for future use, so what better place to start.

One last thing, you’ll notice the theme of Piemaster.net has changed as well. I was so eager to update everything that I didn’t really consider the consequences. The Mystique theme I was using had been customised a bit, and it turns out that since my last update a while back a bunch of features were removed and moved to “Mystique 3+”, leaving the site a bit of a mess. Reverting to the WordPress default theme Twenty Eleven is quite serviceable for now, however.

So in conclusion, I’m actually pretty happy with WordPress for the minute now that it’s all smooth sailing again. Migrating to Drupal is possible (I’ve more or less done it locally), but inevitably hits a few snags. The menus need to be reconstructed, the themes aren’t very pretty, users will need to re-register (not that there really is any atm), etc. I will get around to it, but maybe not just yet.

Piexcerpts Are Here

As you may have noticed if you got as far as reading this post, I recently mashed my fist against the WordPress settings and plugins pages until the site bent to my iron will. It will now display only the excerpts of posts instead of full articles on all pages except those of the individual posts. Hopefully this makes the side more readable, as I have posted and intend to continue posting some pretty long articles.

In case you’re an interested WordPresser, I’m using the Excerpt Editor plugin which not only smartens up the automatic excerpt generator, but also provides a convenient interface for editing past posts, with and without excerpts. It’s got a couple handfuls of features which are nice to have. Consider it recommended. Now please excuse me while I go and create some manual excerpts for old posts so they look a little less rubbish.

The Apps Cometh

So I figured some things out, and I can now host all my stuff on here! Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t want to let me embed things in pages, but I can happily store them just off to the side, leaving them accessible from a nice, static URL. I’ve quickly put up two examples to show them off before I get down to business, which you can see in the Projects menu above, but just briefly:

Forgbook (working title) is my primary project at the moment, though it doesn’t get nearly as much development love as it should. It’s the result of many factors, the main one being when I decided I had stop leaving loose ends everywhere and actually DO those little things that make the big things come together. It is in essence a glorified to-do list (especially in its current form), but it has a very exciting future ahead of it. It’s still in a very early alpha stage, but it’s at least fairly usable. Check out the version roadmap for a preview, and hit up the feedback form to land yourself in the credits!

Treetris (also working title) is something new that I came up with yesterday while waiting at Parliament Station. The idea is a survival-strategy game based on growing out tree branches, inspired by Tetris and another game I failed to coalesce a while ago. I want to keep it simple in rules and mechanics, but have a bit of depth in how it’s actually played. The Java applet I’ve got up is just a couple of hours of work and is more of a teaser than a preview; it’s just a tree that keeps growing out until your computer grinds to a halt :). It should give you some idea of what I’m going for though, and me something to work off.

It’s exciting enough at the moment to just see these two out in public on a decent web host, but there will be plenty more to come now that the foundations have come together. If you’re even a little interested in any of this, you can subscribe to any (or all!) of the RSS feeds up the top-right corner there to hear about future developments, and I promise there will be plenty. I rather like this site, and I’m itching to dump my mind on it as soon as I get the time!