I finally got over the Not-Invented-Here (NIH) Syndrome about the blog here at Uhri.com. Wow, what a relief.
In 2000, when I first set up this website, I decided I would write my own app to add posts to the front page. These became known as Spectacularities. I’m not sure that at the time the word “blog” even existed. It certainly hadn’t caught on by that point if it did. Essentially, I was building software for blogging.
I wrote a quick little utility to add Spectacularities to the home page. It consisted of a user control for displaying the page, a single form for post entry, and one database table. It was enough to get things working that day and I was happily on my way. I never intended for my little blogging app to stay as small as it was. I never intended for it to end up as decrepit as it did.
For reasons I can’t remember at the moment, the admin page eventually fell into disuse. Something broke and I just never fixed it. It may have been right around the time .NET arrived and I never upgraded the page. I switched instead to using the stored procedure directly in Query Analyzer to add and update my posts. It was a lot of single quote manipulation and generally a pain in the rear.
Then the archive page, built using the said user control, began to get out of hand. When three years of posts began to appear on it the load time was unbearable. I took the archive offline.
With just the current post displayed and a propped up SP, things really began to go downhill. I posted less and less frequently. Finally, at the end of 2004, I put Uhri.com out of its misery. The whole site got replaced by a single flatline graphic. It was a sabbatical which lasted almost an entire year.
In September of 2005 I approached the problem with new vigor. I came up with a new strategy for my own blogging software, tenatively dubbed “uBlog” (I thought it was a clever name, anyway). I started the “very public” redesign of the site with requirements gathering and everything. I put up use cases and details about how the site would be designed. It was all part of my grand plan to write an XHTML and CSS-based blogging software in ASP.NET.
I started checking out the other blogging tools out there. WordPress had caught my attention on several occasions because of its standards compliance. I reviewed dasBlog, .Text and its fork SubText, and a newcomer to the .NET blogging tools, VineType. VineType seemed to be the most promising — a .NET-based blogging tool with XHTML standards. I may still consider VineType in the future as their codebase grows. The developers there seem to have a good thing started and while it may not grow to the size of WordPress, they do provide the basis of a good blogging system in ASP.NET.
As I reviewed these competitors, I came to a sinking realization.
I had NIH Syndrome. I wanted to create my own tool with features the way I wanted them. I saw the thriving WordPress community and was jealous. There were plug-ins for anything feature I could possible want. With the exception of VineType, the .NET blogging tools looked like garbage. If I were to roll my own, I could make it as easy and beatiful as WordPress. But if I built my own software, I could never reach the critical mass of WordPress. There wouldn’t be a community of developers building add-ins that would make a great .NET blogging application. There just aren’t enough bloggers in the .NET world that would care.
I wust wasn’t sure I was ready for the kind of commitment involved in something that would most likely be unsuccessful.
Joel probably said it best:
If it’s a core business function — do it yourself, no matter what.
As a corrollary, if it’s not a core business function, outsource it.
It turns out blogging software isn’t a core business function. Its not what I want to spend my free time doing. I’m much more interested in the creation of content. That’s what the blogging software is for, after all. I’d be crazy to reinvent the wheel just to call it uWheel (hey, another catchy name).
So I installed WordPress and haven’t looked back.