Open Source? Give me good design, or give up!

A frustrating day today struggling with a site that wouldn’t respond, and a much-admired open-source blog platform that gave me cause for thought and a stiff drink. Ning, a social network platform, set up to provide a discussion platform for a group, simply would not respond to request after request by me over the weekend to sign up. A help email fired off to the Nings brought a “we got your note” and 24 or so hours later another message to test things. By then I was at work, and not one to give up gracefully, had tried again to get into the land of Ning via my office desktop. Hey presto! Ning’s still not as elegant in design as it could be, and its instructions are hardly crystal clear, but then I can claim to be a smart cookie. Mmmmm! All that went down the tubes this afternoon as I took on Edublogs believing I could create a new blog from the ground up in a couple of hours.

Edublogs is an open source platform for educational bloggers, and it’s built on WordPress, a much admired platform, and maybe even the number one choice of some of my small blogging community of practice chums. Where I went off the rails with Edublogs was in trying to get an RSS feed set up on the home page. I know what’s important with this blogging stuff after 31 days of it!

Now getting an RSS feed going has to be one of the more vital and surely, simple tasks for any blog. Not for Edublogs it would seem, or for me. The result of my afternoon of anguish brought to mind Dorothy Parker’s droll bon mot on a particularly maddening book she’d endured: ‘This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be hurled with great force across the room!’ That’s how I felt about my first encounter with a ‘good-guy open-source’ platform. Oh please … make it intuitive, make it work first time if possible. That’s all I ask. Otherwise I’m staying with good old Blogger or paying Typepad.


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