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Open sourced my Hippo blog

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Half a year ago I started making my own blog using Hippo CMS and Hippo Site Toolkit. I didn’t like the Blogger tagsoup, wanted to use HTML5 and CSS3. I also wanted to control my data. Yes there are maybe more blogging engines than toothpaste brands but I happen to work at Hippo so I decided to eat our own dogfood. It all started with drawing the wireframes with pen on paper (dead trees), then running the HST Maven archetype. After making the initial design for a static JSP, it took a train ride to Groningen to split up the static JSP into several HST templates.

I had a working blog, mostly based on the archetype, but no blog posts. It took some while to convert the export from Blogger into a JCR node structure. The export from Blogger was one huge XML feed with both the posts, comments, page templates and settings and it took some XSL transformations, imports and exports to the repository before everything was in place. Then I had some work getting all the images into the repository which were scattered over Flickr, Picasa and some other webservers. I also had to think about supporting or redirecting existing URLs for blogposts and (RSS) feeds. It’s not that easy setting priorities if you’re playing the product owner, scrum master and developer at the same time.

After dealing with some sysadmin issues (trivial for sysadmins, unknown territory for me) I switched the DNS and my Hippo blog was alive! Colleagues reacted enthousiastic and asked where they could find the code. I replied “It’s mostly the HST archetype with some Forge projects”, but they kept asking for the code. During Chris Heilmann’s talk (watch the part at 30:55 if you’re in a hurry) I decided to put effort in upgrading the project to the latest Hippo CMS and HST releases, cleaning up the code and adding some documentation so others could use the code. Thanks Hippo for allowing me to do most of this during working hours 🙂 (all the previous work was done in my spare time).

Again it took more time than I thought and I had to fight some hosting issues which prevented my from working on the code and documentation. It’s not done yet. You will still find some hard coded labels with my name in the JSP and I will work on that in the near future. Not all documentation is visible on the web, but I tried to add as many instructions in the Javadoc or the HST configuration.

If you want to help, check out the code, request to join the forge project and improve it. If you still don’t like it, fork it. That’s the big advantage of bringing your code in the open.