Publishing a project weblog

Configuring Movable Type
A couple of years ago I predicted that Weblogs would emerge within the enterprise as a great way to manage project communication. I'm even more bullish on the concept today. If you're managing an IT project, you are by definition a communication hub. Running a project Weblog is a great way to collect, organize, and publish the documents and discussions that are the lifeblood of the project and to shape these raw materials into a coherent narrative. [Full story at]

There is, of course, no direct way to know how much project weblogging is going on behind firewalls. I'd be interested to hear from folks who are doing this. What's working for you, and what isn't? (This might make a good topic for the discussion forum.)

Although tools like Radio UserLand and Movable Type have made it incredibly easy to start and run a project blog, there are still things that may be non-obvious to a lot of people. On the RU side of the fence, it's easy to miss the setting that alerts to your postings -- which you won't want to do if your weblog concerns a company-confidential project. Similarly, the Web bug simulator and the standard tracker are features you'd want to suppress. RU might want to consider a script that consolidates these scattered settings into a single "stealth-mode" setting.

Although I don't regularly use Movable Type, I've set it up on a machine for some friends, and for this column I rechecked the setup here on my Mac OS X box just to remind myself how it works. Although the installation docs are very good, when I imagined myself to be a not-particularly-CGI-literate project manager just trying to set up MT for team coordination, I realized there are a number of unanswered questions. Should I worry about which Perl modules are available? (No. MT can provide and use its own complete set of local modules, so just use the full version and don't worry about it.) Do I need to worry about the MySQL option? (No.) What goes under CGI, and what goes elsewhere? (It might make sense to divide the distro into two subpackages.) What's up with Local Site Path, Site URL, Local Archive Path, and Archive URL? (The latter pair can be the same as the former pair. Maybe that should just be assumed, with the choice to relocate the archive suppressed and made into an advanced option.)

Tools like RU and MT make it delightfully simple for somebody like me to set up a project weblog for team cooordination. But then, I have long experience setting up Web-based services. For somebody who doesn't, the activation threshold can still probably be knocked down a notch or two. And since a private project weblog is a different use case, it might be helpful to spell out the special considerations that apply.

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