Frank Mitchell

A different animal

Because it came up in conversation

Andrew and I were chatting via IM the other day, and he asked me why I wrote my own blogging software instead of using my LiveJournal account. Well, there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that I wanted something that was easy to use. Personally, I think web interfaces are total crap when it comes to writing stuff for the web. They don’t do spell checking (not that SubEthaEdit does either, mind you), but there’s also no note taking features, no link management, no automagical expansion of accronyms, etc.

My text editor should abstract all that stuff away from me so I can concentrate on what I do best, write. That’s why Elimossinary files are written in Markdown, so that it becomes super easy to read and edit them.

Features other tools don’t have

Part of the inspiration behind Elimossinary was NewsFire. NewsFire is, as its name implies, a dynamic RSS reader for Mac OS X. As new news items appear, they bubble up your lists of feeds, so the most recently updated items are always at the top. At the moment, the index page on Can’t Count Sheep does something similar.

You can sort posts by either their creation or modification dates, and you can specify the number of posts you want to see. Clicking here sorts post be creation date. Clicking here sorts posts by modification date. Appending a number onto either of those URLs shows you that many posts i.e. #!/ccs/index/created/4. Appending ‘all’ shows you all posts.

Eventually, I’d like to do the same thing for the RSS feed and the archive page(s) once I get them up and running.

Seeing beyond the horizon

Elimossinary has the very nice feature of being able to expand acronyms automagically. For example, when I type ‘PHP’ in this file, Elimossinary knows to wrap that string in an <acronym> tag and give it the title attribute of ‘PHP Hypertext Preprocessor’. It’s just a little trick that makes my life a little easier.

One goal I’ve got in mind, is to expand that functionality to work on hyperlinks as well. is a very nice piece of bookmark management software that lets me get an XML list of all my bookmarks (and thier metadata) via a URL. If I feed that list to Elimossinary, it should be able to keep the alt attribute on all my links consistant, as well as provide me with backlinks to posts that reference a particular link.

Falling into the pit of despair

Of course, this isn’t all sunshine and roses. Elimossinary has to rebuild metadata about a file every time that file changes. That chews up CPU cycles. Fortunately, they’re chewed up on my PowerBook rather than on the Modwest server that hosts Can’t Count Sheep. Still, it’s a little bit of a hassel and the process could definately be streamlined.

But that’s a future goal. Right now, this is what you get, and behind the scenes I’m going to be working on getting some of my older stuff into the new system.

14 November 2004

“Just wanted to let you know that SubEthaEdit’s spell checking can be enabled in Edit/Spelling/. That’s were Mac OS X applications typically have the spell checking options.”

Martin Pittenauer