Blogging software, one entry per line
January 5, 2012 1:15 AM   Subscribe

I need suggestions for blogging software that will display one and only one line per entry

I've got (what I believe to be) very specific requirements for blogging software. Specifically, I'd like it to display, without date or other info, a single line for each entry that I make.

I realise this can be done by simply editing an HTML file, but I'm looking for software because then maintenance of archives and other activities (e.g., searching) would be automated. Also its a lot easier to update when posting via a form rather than worrying about not closing a tag, etc.

Wordpress would be fine, but I'm open to other free software that I can install on my VPS. In other words, not really interested in hosting on some service.

The style I'd like is pretty much identical to Robotwisdom, the headlines part at least.

Many thanks for your help!
posted by Mutant to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There might be something pre-baked, but I'd probably do this with Wordpress.

Make a quick theme, use something like Advanced Custom Fields to give you a "Link" and a "Link Text" box on your post admin page and then just display the header and the link for all posts, ignoring the post body and the single post page. It could be done pretty quickly tbh.

Alternatively, you could do it with Wordpress's inbuilt Links function. Use wp_list_bookmarks to generate it the way you like. The only issue is that this doesn't allow for extensibility later on, as there are a defined number of fields available IIRC.

I don't know what your HTML/CSS/Wordpress capabilities are like, but let me know if you need more guidance and I can totally help you out.
posted by Magnakai at 1:27 AM on January 5, 2012

I too would do this in Wordpress. It's fairly easy (Notepad, FTP download and upload) to find a Wordpress theme that is reasonably close to what you want, and cut out any stuff you don't want.
posted by antiquark at 2:01 AM on January 5, 2012

Hi Magnakai - thanks, that's an interesting idea - can easily I suppress the body and associated date display? That would get me to the single line. When messing about with Wordpress on my own those were the killers that kept it from a single line per entry. I still need the date associated but not displayed so archiving will work correctly. I'm not very knowledgable in Wordpress or CSS, I've installed Wordpress and themes manually many times, but if you can point me in the right direction I'll give it a go. Have to admit I'd never looked at Advanced Custom Fields before.

antiquark - I'd rather avoid FTP, etc and work solely within Wordpress (or whatever blogging package) and using notepad its basically a manual process.
posted by Mutant at 3:13 AM on January 5, 2012

There's probably a way to adjust P2 to serve this function: if not, a bit of quick editing will do it.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:58 AM on January 5, 2012

What you want is perfectly doable in any theme. Getting the code right as a novice will be a little tricky, but here's what you look for:

In the WP Dashboard, under Appearance > Editor, open the index.php file in the list at the right. Scan through the code for a bit that looks like this:

<php if ( have_posts() ) while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

Yours may be written slightly differently but the 'have_posts()' and 'the_post()' part will be in there. This signifies the beginning of the individual post display. Inside that, the part you want is this:

<php the_title(); ?>

Try deleting everything that comes before and after it up to this:

<php endwhile; ?>

Your post now consists of just those three lines. That should give you a list of just the titles. You can still do stuff with custom fields to get the links in there, or to make it even easier you could avoid the custom fields altogether and make the content of your posts consist of just a link. Then add <php the_content(); ?> right after the title tag to reproduce the list on Robotwisdom. You will have to do a little CSS-ing to style the display, but that will get you the content you want.
posted by ella wren at 6:04 AM on January 5, 2012

Drupal can do this easily, but "easily" means something different in Drupal than in other software. The learning curve is steep (but rewarding!)
posted by coolguymichael at 8:26 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I ended up having something to do today, otherwise I would've been on this hours ago (and probably built it for fun). However, Ella Wren has summed it up pretty well.

The date and time of the post will still be stored in the database and associated with the post, it just won't be displayed on the page.

What I'd recommend is installing MAMP (Mac) or WAMP (Windows), which is a little web server that runs only on your computer. Then install Wordpress (there are plenty of guides online) and fiddle with the theme on your computer. That will give you instant feedback of what you're changing. When you're happy, install Wordpress onto your website and upload the theme that you've created/hacked to pieces.
posted by Magnakai at 10:33 AM on January 5, 2012

Wordpress would probably work, but it might be overkill. (Self promotion) I work on Habari, another PHP blogging platform. Just for kicks, I put together a theme for Habari that displays just the title of a post, and a link (with extra text you specify). I simplified the publish form to only have those three fields.

You can check out the theme at its Github repo.

I know you didn't ask anybody to do anything for you. It just was an interesting challenge.
posted by codger at 12:07 PM on January 5, 2012

Yea, just dig into the template that renders your page. Personally I find the robotwisdom site unnavigable, instead I display the latest post in full at the top of the page and summarize of the recent archives below that. It's pretty easy to change the theme / template to do that in whatever blogging app you use, as it's exactly the kind of thing they're designed to make easy.
posted by pwnguin at 12:10 PM on January 5, 2012

Awesome guys, editing the template is incredibly obvious now that you've mentioned it and I've screwed about with the theme that I know pretty well ( Atahualpa ) and its totally doable without changing themes - excellent.

Thanks again and codger especially appreciate you taking the time to build one in Habari - appreciated.
posted by Mutant at 9:59 AM on January 6, 2012

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