A Emacs Frustration (Blogger package)

By Xah Lee. Date:

Spent like 2 hours trying to get a emacs package to work, which would allow me to write my blog in emacs and upload it to http://xahlee.blogspot.com/ at Google's blogger.com (aka blogspot.com) without going thru browser. I was pissed by the tech geekers.

The packages in question are: “blogger.el” by Mark Hershberger at [http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/BloggerMode] and “weblogger.el” by Mark Hershberger at [http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/WebloggerMode].

I tried to download them, install and use them. I encountered full of problems. The first problem is locating them, and decide which i should or can use. Then, the problem is finding the download location that has the most up to date version. Then, the problem is installation, trying to decipher whatever description in the header that might constitute documentation. Then, the problem is running it, and suffer whatever error it comes up. Each of the above stage is non-trivial, requiring some 10 or 30 min per step, for someone who has used emacs for more than 8 hours a day for the past 10 years.

The emacswiki itself is incompetent, and its founder Alex moron refuse to understand this. I tried to improve the emacswiki, but then i have to suffer ITS incompetence, and its idiosyncratic syntax. [see Problems of Emacswiki]

I recall about a year ago i tried to have emacs upload to Blogger, and had some problems. But today i thought i give it another try.

There are “blogger.el” and “weblogger.el”. The first is just for Blogger, the second is supposed to work for LiveJournal and Moveable Type and other blog sites.

I tried “blogger.el” first. It didn't work. It froze your emacs with “Contacting host: plant.blogger.com:80” in minibuffer, then after a minute or two, returns “if: Why? url-http-response-status is nil”.

Then i tried “weblogger.el”. The emacswiki says version 1.6 can be downloaded at xyz, but on xyz it's not version 1.6. In fact, the file itself has conflicting version info. The emacswiki has a bunch of unorganized discussions. In the end, i got “weblogger.el”, which according to header comment is: “;; Version: 1.2” but according to the constant is “(defconst weblogger-version "1.3" …)”. Don't know which side of the ass the 1.6 come from.

Emacswiki also babbles about Savana… something about empty project there or some other problem. Going to Savana one is faced with a complex interface with a hundred links and knobs.

Locating the required “xml-rpc.el” itself isn't easy. After all these done, it didn't work.

The header doc says you have to “weblogger-setup-weblog” but then it also says “M-x customize-group RET weblogger RET”. So which faaking one?

The header doc itself are littered with “FIXME this” and “FIXME that” notes. When i tried to set server for Blogger, it's not clear what i should use. Is it blogger.com or blogspot.com or should it be some special API URL?

Also, the package mentions the source location at “;; URL: http://elisp.info/package/weblogger/”. Hello, it is faaking dead? for how many years?

in the end, i got some error about some 405 method not supported.

So, now having spend about 4 hours on this… should i perhaps start to look at the source code?? maybe another 10 min will solve it, but then again maybe not. Posting to Blogger thru their API shouldn't be difficult. I might as well look into writing it myself, which, if i end up a day spent, i at least learned something real and tangible, instead of swimming in tech geeking collective's open source spaghetti.

Note: this essay is not about the author of “blogger.el”. But, rather, a instance of incompetence, of the tech geeker's culture, that are induced by their utter illiteracy of the social sciences. (tech geekers are the types that hang out on slashdot, newsgroups, irc, also known as hacker culture) For more essays about tech geeker's social ignorance induced problems, see: The Bug-Reporting Attitude, Problems of Emacswiki, Modernization of Emacs, Responsible Software Licensing, The Unix Pestilence.

Best Emacs Package for LiveJournal

Btw, the LjUpdate [ http://github.com/hober/ljupdate ] package (which allow you to use emacs to post to livejournal), by Edward O'Connor, is fantastic. It is simple to install, easy to use. I've been using it few times a week for about 2 years now.

Best Emacs Package for Blogger


I found e-blog http://code.google.com/p/e-blog/ by Mikey Coulson works for Blogger fantastically. You post to your Blogger account within 5 minute of downloading the package.

Rustom Mody wrote:

I am exploring lightweight options for creating an (intranet) blog of my team members. What are the options for pushing out from emacs to a blog-publish share location?

Also, emacspeak supposed to work with Blogger too, but i've read from blogs recently that it's also problematic.

… depending on what your “intranet blog” is …

W3m is primarily a text-based browser like lynx, launched from command line. Emacs has a interface to it, called w3m, so that you can browse web in emacs.

from my experience, this combination is actually some 5 times slower than full featured web browsers. (my w3m has image loading turned off, while my web browser has images on, and js and css on and still few times faster.)

today, js is almost a requirement for most major sites. Without js support, w3 isn't much useful.

personally i use w3m occasionally for my English research work involving dictionary lookup. Overall, i don't recommend it, because you have to spend days to install, learn to use it, dig elisp to find workarounds, and on the whole the benefit isn't great. (For example, compared to a browser, some 5 times slower, no js, ugly display, and often badly formed, and so on.)

as other suggested, you could just use w3m to update your blogs thru the standard web interface. However, i've not tried this.

In fact, these days i simply use full featured browser to update my Blogger blogs. I find it faster, more convenient, in general, than trying to do it within emacs. Typically, one button press switch me to browser, few clicks with the interface gets me to the blog update page, one button switch me to emacs, write, switch, paste, click to update. Repeat if necessary, or use any of the editing or admin features in the blog interface, such as Blogger's numerous add-on features, comment management, profile editing, which usually won't be there in any integrated emacs blog uploading modes.

part of the reason that web interface works better in general for me, besides above reasons, is that usually my blog writing involves complicated html (such as css marked syntax coloring of code snippets), and sometimes plain text mixed with the particular Lightweight markup language and html (such as links). The simplified mark-up lang used for each blog site are different (and there is no one standard or predominant one). The emacs blog modes typically support plain text only.