There are many interesting open source software out there. Almost whatever you can think off, some clever person or persons with lots of spare time and altruistic nature would come up with it!
So far as far as self hosting blogging went, WordPress was still the best by far. That didn’t mean I should try out some other blogging platform. One thing good about using web hosting that came with installation script; sometimes they have a good list of software script that you could just install straight into your hosting service.
If you just have Fantastico De Luxe in your hosting, that service is getting to be a dinosaur. Some of the better automated installation script service like Softaculous and Installatron are by far much better than the common Fantastico. The script list is vast and gets updated to the latest version as soon as it has cleared beta. That certainly helps prevent zero day hacking into your website.
Browsing through, two scripts caught my eye, the microblogging aggregator StoryTlr and blogging platform PivotX.
Previously I tried the StatusNet microblogger, which was similar to Twitter. However if you want a set and forget, StatusNet requires another delivery service like HelloTxt or the recently dead service Ping.FM (was sold to Seesmic and no longer functioned) to autopost your content. However I was almost kick out of Bluehost due to resource hogging and runaway script.
Anyway I was curious about StoryTlr despite not having a good star rating (2.58 out of 5 from 19 votes as of current writing). Turn out to be quite an intriguing piece. If you have ever tried FriendFeed, this one felt very similar and has more features!
Apart from pulling in your RSS feed and various social networks, you could use it to do blogging too! The Picasa function could also pull in your photos from that Google photo service. However all is not smooth sailing as I could not get my Flickr account to connect and there was no connection to Google+ although it has an older Google Buzz interface function which was not compatible with the newer Google+. I guess I will just have to wait till they upgrade to some future version that would support it.
Another gripe was the OATH Twitter API that would make autoposting from StoryTlr to your Twitter account. Well you could always use the FeedBurner service to autopost your Tweets to Twitter via your RSS feed, but that’s quite a big round trip to get there.
Overall, StoryTlr was an intriguing aggregator so I will probably leave it in my website for awhile for now. And of course it would play hell with Google Panda, since it would create duplicate content. But then again, it creates fresh new content which was what Google wanted. Since the two algorithms are at odds, I will just let them thrash it out while I find time and way to post new content that would hopefully be of use to visitors.
From microblogging to pure blogging platform, I decided to give PivotX a run for its money. This is also a free open source script, and seemed to be rather popular. One interesting feature about this blog script, you have the choice to use MySQL or Flatfiles for your database storage. After trying both out, the MySQL method wins out as being faster and would be the preferred method of data storage. By giving the Flat file data storage option, it also meant you could install in web hosting servers that didn’t provide or have limited MySQL database function.
I’m still exploring this blogging platform, it seems you can have added functionality by adding in plugins and extension. This certainly could bring it a level higher than other simpler blogging software like TextPattern.
Anyway for a total robust blogging system, I would still prefer to stick back with the true and tested WordPress software. Sometimes just for trying and comparison, with the automated script installer, no harm testing out some of the other alternate offering and see what kind of function they could provide. You never know you might just stumble onto a little software gem!
[update 30/7/2012] – StoryTlr
Decided to blast my StoryTlr installation to bits. I couldn’t get the auto update to work, so it wouldn’t check on my recent updated post and thus did not show up in its timeline. Tried running CRON but it didn’t work either. And also noticed it was causing problem to my WordPress blog. For some unknown reason, it caused and error log file to bloat and ate up storage space. Decided to remove it altogether for now.