My blogging frequency has recently dipped while I've been building a new blog that incorporates Ray Camden's supreme blogware, BlogCFC, and the Aura skin available from Leorex.

Some of you may have noticed growing pains this morning and last night as I pushed the new blog live, so thanks for hanging in there while the CSS glitches were worked out when I noticed some unexpected issues in MSIE after having done the majority of development with Firefox.

Blending the Aura skin with BlogCFC was suprisingly easy.

It required merging Aura's index.html with BlogCFC's layout.cfm, followed by corresponding updates to bring the stylesheets together. Aura ships with 4 style sheets, for formatting, layout, design, and print. I found I often got confused as to which style sheet I was working in because they overlap the css classes between them.

The next major step was redoing Aura's graphics to suit my design, including a different color scheme and wider body. This is where I spent most of my time while trying to smooth out the layout, rebuild and create new images, and adjusting the style sheets further.

Finally, I spent a day working on an import script that can bring CFXML_Blog blogs into BlogCFC. In production, that script worked flawlessly, and I hope to offer it to Ray for possible inclusion in BlogCFC.

I also spent a half day writing an adaptor to map CFXML_Blog url query strings to their equivalent in BlogCFC. The two blog types use different parameters to get at category or date views. The view adaptor worked perfectly for mapping the main blog views from index.cfm, but I ran into a still unknown glitch in the RSS adaptor for requests to rss.cfm.

That custom RSS adaptor is not working right now execpt for a hack that temporarily permits the ColdFusion RSS view to be mapped correctly since that's the majority of RSS traffic. You may have noticed a flurry of my personal blogs showing up on ColdFusion blog aggregators. That was because of the RSS adaptor glitch when I first tested it live, not because I think you're so interested in my photos of Concord or my ride to work :)

Other than that, I had a fair amount of custom formatting code in the old blog text that I had to cull out of the new blogs. So I had to go hunting for FONT, PRE, and XMP code blocks and switch them to use the BlogCFC code highlighting mechanism provided when you use the CODE tags while entering new blogs. I love that part!

Since I did development with MySQL 4.1, and am using MSSQL here in production, there was just one issue I ran into with the CFXML_Blog importer. When inserting comments I first queried for them to make sure there were no duplicates, but the SELECT sql statement errored with an interesting message. I'll post the details later, but in short I had to change a staight "and field = cfqueryparam ..." to use the LIKE operator as in "and field LIKE cfqueryparam ..."

One other important change was to add a RegEx function around the blog text in the RSS output to strip custom HTML out of it. Having HTML in the blog text caused the RSS validation to fail.

I made one other BlogCFC modification based on my preference to not show all blogs for a category view. I'd rather build a pagination mechanism in where the user can view a category in groups of 10 or 25 blogs at a time. Until then, I limit the blogs shown per category to 50. If you're trying to find something try using the Search field on the right menu.

I first got the idea of switching to BlogCFC and Aura from Lucas Sherwood's blog, and I noticed that Andy Jarrett went live with this too just last week.

Please let me know if you find any other glitches that may annoy you, and I'll try to document the transistion more completely soon. For now, please enjoy the new look!

-Steve