How I post these entries

There is a problem with all these web-based communication
tools (websites, webmail, twitter, facebook…) for people who
learned to use computers back in the good old days. The easiest
way to type information into a computer is to use emacs, and many
of the people who design these things don’t seem to understand
that.

Of course, the people who use emacs are very clever at getting
around this problem, and there are by now good solutions for the older
tools:

  • Gnus will read and
    write email with any mail technology that uses standard POP or
    IMAP interfaces.
  • Tramp will let you
    edit a file on any computer that you can get to via any normal
    protocol.
  • Psgml is pretty
    good for editing html pages.
  • SQL
    mode
    will let you manipulate a database on any machine you can
    get to.

Blogging isn’t as old a technology as the things above, and
while there’s been some work on packages that will let you open
a buffer and then post its contents directly from emacs, I
haven’t made them work successfully. I’m not alone — this
post
by a frequent contributor to the emacs newsgroups
suggests that he ended up with the same solution as I did, after
much the same problems with the packages.

Of course, there are lots of other ways to work posting besides
doing it directly from emacs. For a while, I was invoking an
emacs client from firefox via a program called mosex, which is
hard to find on google because the Museum of Sex in New York
uses mosex as a nickname. But I think mosex stopped working on
some firefox upgrade, and having emacs clients hanging around
was a bit of a nuisance.

So what I do now is just open an html file on my own computer,
edit it using psgml, and then mouse the results into the normal
WordPress admin page, trying to remember to set the category and
the keywords every time.

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2 thoughts on “How I post these entries”

  1. I’ve recently switched my own blogging routine to jekyll, http://www.github.com/mojombo/jekyll/ and I’ve been quite pleased with the result. I can use emacs, I don’t need to dick around with a web based interface, I just write, save, commit to a version control system and type a command that sends it to the server and rebuilds the website. Tada. You could do it with tramp, I suppose.

    When that’s not an option there are a couple of other firefox extensions, first the “it’s all text” extension makes it easier to open a text field in your favorite text editor (emacs, presumably). Secondly, the vimperator plugin makes it easier to open an external editor. I use it with emacsclient, of course.

    The truth is, that I think the ideal solution to the “weblog posting problem” is to use the XML-RPC apis (eg. metaweblog) to build a FUSE file system that represents the blog, on your disk, as a bunch of files that you can go in and edit, save and tada. There’s a bit of code that does this already, but I think it probably needs more work. Time will tell

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