About Blog FM
Okay, so this is how it happened. We had a good client that wanted to start a blog. We wanted the project to be cost effective so we looked at a number of blog applications and settled on Movable Type. We paid our $100, installed the application and had a running blog in under a day. Wow. Great. The client then gives us a list of the categories they wanted. There was a lot. About 51 initially. Yeah.
Oh, and they wanted six parent categories, with children categories that would be parents to additional children. That required a plugin. We install the plugin and start entering categories. Now, we had some categories that had the same name, but were under different parents. Movable Type and its category plugin didn't like that. Not one bit. You have to have unique category names, even if its under another parent. Stupid.
However, we had spent too much time trying to get this to work and the deadline was looming. We figured out that we could trick Movable Type by putting in unique category names by adding an additional character on the end of each name and then programatically removing it when viewed. Man, are we brilliant.
51 categories takes up quite a bit of space. Client says: Could we maybe nest the categories so that it only shows the parent categories and when you click each one, it expands and shows the children? We say: Um, sure. Another plugin (which didn't work the way we needed it) and then countless experiments to try and get it to work. We could get it to expand the first parent, but not any parents underneath that. This turned out to be a problem with the sub-category plugin and we once again felt like we were trying something that either hadn't been tried or was abandoned by developers smarter than us. We're a little too persistent sometimes.
With just 10 days to our deadline, we didn't have a working blog. And that is when we arrived at the conclusion that in the time we spent trying to make Movable Type work for our situation, we could have built a blog application from scratch. Hmmm...our own blog application. No. No way. We'll find another blog application that does what we need it to do.
Nine days to launch and we embarked on the impossible: build a blog from scratch. We had to match the features of most blog applications, but develop our own features as well.
Nine days later, we launched the first blog fm. It was database-driven at that point, with no static pages or XML. It did however, work for our clients. A week later, we launched the static page generation system and if we do say so ourselves, that blog application is better than most of the ones out there.
We didn't want to saddle our client with the expense of such an undertaking (and it would have been really expensive), so we told them that we would just charge for the time wasted on trying to get Movable Type working as long as we retained the rights to the blog fm application. The clients readily agreed and we've been trying to make our money back on this thing ever since.
Now, we could probably package this thing as is, write some help files, and go head to head with Movable Type. We may do that someday. Right now, we're still exploring how to make blog fm better. We think the most important feature is that we can install this baby in any website and integrate it seamlessly. We like that we can make it do anything to accomodate our client's needs. We really dig that we can roll it out for $500-1000. Yeah, that's more expensive than Movable Type, but most companies can avoid the limitations of software made for the masses.
You can blog for free. That's cool. We're involved in this whole niche market thing. If you want to incorporate a blog into your new or existing website and don't want to hassle with the limitations of off-the-shelf software, then blog fm is your thing. Oh yeah, and if you want us to build the rest of your site too, we do that too.