this blog is girtby.net

Posted
01 December 2008

Categories
Nerd Factor X Meta

Tags
wordpress rails hosting mephisto

13 Comments

And We're Back

So girtby.net has been a bit quiet lately. You might have assumed that $WORK or $LIFE had both gotten crazy busy. In fact they had, but that's not the only reason why girtby.net was in stasis. There's a story behind that, but the short version is that I'm back. Not quite the same as before, but back.

Now, the long version.

The story starts about 6 weeks ago when my hosting provider kindly decided to upgrade the server I was hosted on. I had, and still have, a shared hosting account which means that they will do things like this from time to time. Most of the time it's a good thing.

This time it was a bad thing.

Previously I was running my blogging software (Mephisto) on Rails 2.0.2 on Ruby 1.8.6 on CentOS 4.7. In the server migration, CentOS went to 5.2 and Ruby went to 1.8.7. Rails 2.0.2 doesn't like Ruby 1.8.7.

During this time almost no one noticed that anything was awry at girtby.net, thanks to the fact that most of the site was being served directly out of the cache that Mephisto keeps/kept for performance reasons. Without any blogging software behind it, the site became a zombie. Minus the staggering gait and hunger for brains of course.

For the next couple of weeks in my copious spare time (which wasn't much after $WORK and $LIFE) I was trying to get Mephisto to work with Rails 2.2 which could work with Ruby 1.8.7. It soon became apparent that I was about the only person on the internets that was actually trying to do such a thing. And, well, screw that.

So I caved. And after dallying with the Rails floozy for all this time, I went grovelling back to old faithful Wordpress. Fortunately she took me back...

In my ~2.5 year absence Wordpress has addressed few of the gripes that I had about it previously, but it still looks like the best blogging platform available (which includes the surrounding development ecosystem).

There is some more blogging software navel-gazing to come, but that's enough for now.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to making this place look respectable...

13 Comments

Posted by
Richard Atkins
2008-12-03 18:03:28 -0600
#

Welcome back. It seems that while you weren't looking, we went from having Typo as the dead end blogging solution for Rails enthusiasts with Mephisto being the up and coming replacement to these two completely swapping roles.

I notice the current look is... spartan. I assume this is an extremely temporary issue and nothing I need to be concerned about. But worry I do - what if it's a deliberate and permanent choice to look like the Gnu website? The horror!

Also: will we ever be allowed comment previews in this new regime?


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-03 21:56:57 -0600
#

Thanks Richard. Actually it's pretty amazing that for such a hip'n'happening web framework like rails there are only two open source blogging engines and both of them are basically abandonware.

The current look is the sandbox theme, as recommended by Matt but, unlike him, I haven't yet worked up my CSS mojo. In the meantime, consider it FOR SPARTAAAAA!

Comment previews (in fact the WMD editor) will be making a return.


Posted by
Brendan
2008-12-06 14:10:24 -0600
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Glad to see you're back. Sorry to hear about the troubles.

BTW, I'm still getting a red bang in Bloglines, although I did get notification of this post (and nine earlier ones).


Posted by
Richard Atkins
2008-12-09 19:47:06 -0600
#

Coincidentally, the old atom comments feed has ceased to be, although Google Reader sees content in the old atom posts feed just fine. Is it just about damn time we all stopped using URLs that mention atom?


Posted by
Matt Quail
2008-12-09 20:54:13 -0600
#

Yeah the Sandbox theme is reasonably compelling. Customizing the CSS for Sandbox is not too daunting, I wrote up my process here http://madbean.com/2008/sandbox-child-theme/

I was going to say "Happy CSSing", but CSSing never really makes you happy.


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-09 22:10:45 -0600
#

Richard: the comments feed should be back now. Or more accurately, the 301 redirection from the various old comments feed URLs should be in place now. Let me know if not!

Brendan: is it still happening?


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-09 22:12:05 -0600
#

Thanks Matt.

If nothing else wrestling with CSS will at least make a change from mod_rewrite, which doesn't make me happy either.


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-10 12:59:19 -0600
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OK, it looks like Wordpress is outputting malformed XML in the Atom comments feed. WTF, Atom still isn't fixed in Wordpress? FFS.


Posted by
Julian
2008-12-10 15:30:30 -0600
#

My Atom comment feed is validating fine. (WP 2.6.5)

(I am just adding a data-point, not defending WordPress nor dismissing your complaint with "It works for me.")

Look at the user record for your login account (maybe called "admin", maybe "Alastair"). There is a field where you can enter a Website. My guess is that you have the text "http://" in that field. That would account for one of the two validation errors.

The other one is beyond me.


Posted by
Julian
2008-12-10 15:39:04 -0600
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Hmmm... you may have stumbled over an WP 7 RC1 bug!

I am not an expert in Atom, but it looks like it is using rel attribute where it means ref. I will wander over and see if I can escalate.


Posted by
Julian
2008-12-10 15:51:05 -0600
#

I requested that the WordPress team re-open a recent enhancement ticket to fix the damage that was done.

This was introduced 3 weeks ago; you are running a beta version of WordPress. (Now I am defending WordPress!)


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-10 21:31:15 -0600
#

Thanks Julian, but you're seeing the comments feed after I patched wordpress. For the record, here's the patch:

=== modified file 'wp-includes/feed-atom-comments.php'
--- wp-includes/feed-atom-comments.php  2008-12-04 17:47:50 +0000
+++ wp-includes/feed-atom-comments.php  2008-12-10 02:21:46 +0000
@@ -12,6 +12,7 @@
    xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"
    xml:lang="<?php echo get_option('rss_language'); ?>"
    <?php do_action('atom_ns'); ?>
+   xmlns:thr="http://purl.org/syndication/thread/1.0"
 >
    <title type="text"><?php
        if ( is_singular() )

Yes, a missing namespace declaration; pretty basic stuff.

I would raise a ticket in Wordpress trac but I've forgotten my original password, and for some reason it seems to be using different credentials to the rest of the site, so a password reset doesn't seem to be working, and ... Argh!

BTW the "http://" issue should be fixed now, not sure if it's an artifact of the Mephisto migration or not (actually I suspect not).


Posted by
alastair
2008-12-10 21:53:53 -0600
#

Julian: thanks for the rel -> ref correction. After two separate patches to wordpress, and manually updating all my comments with the correct URL, my comments feed now validates!

(And still I haven't started on the CSS...)