About a year ago I launched a The Cafes with some fanfare to host shorter writings on a variety of subjects that didnâ€™t already fit into Cafe au Lait or Cafe con Leche. That site was a partial response to my feelings about the shortcomings of a lot of existing weblog management and CMS software. In several ways I think itâ€™s still superior to a lot of whatâ€™s out there, including the WordPress engine that hosts Mokka mit Schlag. But not in all ways.
For The Cafes I spent a lot of time thinking about the front end and the user interface to the site, and I think I did a very good job there. It works and it works well. The Cafes is still a very nice site design. I spent a lot of time working on comments in particular, because that was the main feature Cafe au Lait and Cafe con Leche were always missing. I not so humbly think the comment system is second to none (though perhaps it could be a tad more obvious how to find it.)
Unfortunately I was so focused on the comments and the overall reader experience, that I neglected the other side of the user interface: how posts were uploaded, written, and managed. The process of writing and posting new articles was so involved that I tended not to do it. Adding a new article requires editing and manually uploading at least three separate pages. Consequently Iâ€™ve written very few articles specifically for The Cafes over the last several months. In a few cases Iâ€™ve actually written fairly long articles, but not gone to the trouble to upload them. (The negligible AdSense revenues havenâ€™t really inspired me either.) Most of the recent articles on The Cafes started as long posts on Cafe au Lait or Cafe con Leche that grew past what I like to put on those sites.
By contrast, WordPress isnâ€™t just nice for readers. Itâ€™s also nice for authors. In fact, itâ€™s so nice, Iâ€™ve actually drafted one article for The Cafes in WordPress rather than BBEdit. WordPress makes it much easier to dash out quick notes on a variety of subjects, organize them, and catalog them.
There are some issues I have not yet addressed. I would love to rip out the cookies and replace them with decent HTTP Digest authentication, though thatâ€™s a bigger task than I feel comfortable undertaking just yet. I want to replace the Atom 0.3 and RSS feeds with a single Atom 1.0 feed. Possibly WordPress 1.6 will offer that option. And I absolutely must get rid of the hideous HTML escaped markup in the feeds. Thatâ€™s too gross to be believed. It has to go. It is an embarassment to have it here.
But I can do all that, sooner or later. The WordPress code is well enough designed that I can hack this all together. Iâ€™ve already made one change. I hacked the WordPress software to generate RSS/Atom feeds for the different categories’ subcategories, so you can subscribe, for example, just to the Software Development feed or just to the Testing feed. So far I havenâ€™t even needed to ask for help on IRC or the mailing list. The combination of Google and the WordPress Codex has answered all my questions, though I still have a few doubts about whether my hacks are the right solutions to my problems or whether there are easier ways to accomplish what I want to accomplish. I may have to ask the mailing list for their judgement on that.
Iâ€™m not abandoning The Cafes. I still plan to publish my longer more focused articles there (Indeed Iâ€™m dual publishing this article on The Cafes and on Mokka mit Schlag) but I think Mokka mit Schlag is likely to see a lot more activity going forward.
P.S. Mokka mit Schlag is a form of German coffee covered in whipped cream I first encountered at Borsodiâ€™s coffee house in New Orleans about 20 years ago. This site is dedicated to the memory of its proprietor, Robert Borsodi. If Iâ€™ve skipped an umlaut or doubled consonant or some such, I apologize to any germanophones reading this; but thatâ€™s how Bob spelled it.