I guess the title of this post pretty much sums up my impressions of Mango Blog, but, let me add some details and context …
I use Ray Camden’s BlogCFC for this blog, and have for many years. BlogCFC has served me well, and continues to do so. I have thousands of entries, many thousands of comments, and many more thousands of page views. As I said, BlogCFC has served me well, and while I do have some suggestions/criticisms of it (which I do share with Ray who is very receptive to the feedback), I have no plans on switching away from it. BlogCFC works for me and does what I need.
I also run another blog, an Adobe internal blog that is used by all of the Platform Evangelists. We use it for trip reports, pointing out news stories, and more. It’s been running on BlogCFC for a while, and I actually hacked Ray’s code to make it use the Adobe LDAP server for authentication, as well as to build a mail server bot that the team uses to send blog posts from their e-mail, great for those of us who need to file trip reports but who live on the road. But some members of the evangelism team were a little less than enamored with BlogCFC, they wanted something that looked much better and which could be skinned easily, they wanted richer editing capabilities, and more.
So I downloaded Laura Arguello’s Mango Blog and installed it on a test server. The setup was quick and painless; it just worked flawlessly the first time. And I was pleased (and surprised) to see that it even includes an option to import an existing BlogCFC blog (it can import from WordPress, too), and that worked quite well (I had to tweak the database tables to fix a few things, but nothing too painful or time consuming). The blog is fast, looks good (by default, and can be made to look even better quite easily by using other skins, some of which are included and others can be easily downloaded and activated), and the Administrator tool is superb.
But what about the code and the ability to make modifications if needed? I started working through Laura’s code, and honestly, this is some of the best ColdFusion code I have ever seen. It is well organized, consistent, documented, highly understandable … but it’s also pretty sophisticated, so casual hacks would not be recommended at all. So I pinged Laura for pointers. As it so happens she was working on a custom authentication feature for her next update (which she released this week), pass it the name of a custom CFC to do your authentication and everything else just falls into place. Clean, easy, problem solved. My mail bot was a little trickier, but actually very doable via Mango Blog’s plug-in mechanism. I now have a plug-in CFC that was able to reuse much of the raw processing of my prior mail bot code, but which now invokes Mango Blog APIs to add posts. And the end result is actually much cleaner and safer than the casual hacks I was using previously. I still have a few bugs to work out with this one, but I am more than impressed with the code and how extensibility and flexibility were thought of and built in from the very beginning.
The bottom line is that while I am sticking with BlogCFC for my own blog, I really like Mango Blog, and am very pleased that the ColdFusion community has another great blogging option available.