I am planning on setting up some blogs for some completely non-technical users and I am looking for some suggestions on which software might best serve my purposes. I am looking for the ability to host multiple blogs off of a single install, I would like the MetaWeblog API to be supported so that the users may use blog clients if they wish, and most importantly, it should be possible for non-technical users to easily make blog entries and run their blogs (post content and pictures, edit blogroll, etc...). That means for example that requiring the user to know HTML is not an option. Also, I will be hosting this myself, so I'm not looking for a service.
Does anyone have any suggestions that might meet my requirements? [ February 04, 2006: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
For non-technical users, I believe support for simple, non-HTML markup like Textile, Markdown, Bluecloth, etc. would be one of the big things to have. Can't recommend any specific software, though. I suspect, though, that most blogs support such markup languages through plugins at least (although I do know that the Rails-based Typo has Bluecloth, Redcloth, etc. built right in). [ February 05, 2006: Message edited by: Lasse Koskela ]
I've tried a few different blogging packages, and overall I like WordPress. I've set up six or seven wordpress installations now, and all have been very easy. It's especially easy if you use a hosting company that has a "one click install" (typically by using the "fantastico" package) I'm mostly recoomending DreamHost at the moment, for example.
Even if your hosting company doesn't offer a one-click install, as long as you have reasonably recent versions of PHP and MySQL, and FTP access to the server, you should be fine. Installation is pretty straightforward (the following is for example only, check the exact details in the documentation):
set up a MySQL database, noting the db machine name, userid and password.
unzip the WordPress download
edit the config file to add in your database parameters and web site details
upload all the files
go to install.php with your browser and follow instructions
delete the installation subdirectory from your server so nobody else can run it.
Once you are happy with your new installation, I also recommend a few plugins: Spam Karma 2 is great at recognizing and dealing with Spam. I also use wp-StatTraq to track my visitors, referrers and stuff in an easily digested way. There are loads more plugins for all sorts of things, including plenty of easier ways to format entries than messing with HTML.
However, my experience has been primarly in one-blog-at-a-time installations. I've not used the Multi-User version of WordPress, even though it seems fairly popular. [ February 06, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Carver ]
Thanks for the info. WordPress looks really great, but the feedback on the multiuser version leads me to believe it might be problematic. If Simon does implement FCKEdit with Pebble, that make it suitable for my needs although the dearth of readily available themes might not be too popular amongst my non-technical user base. I'll have to look more into Typo. Thanks for all the suggestions, and if there are any more I'd love to hear them.