Over on Fogknife, I have begun experimenting with a new experimental Plerd branch that implements tags. It’s pretty simple: the published docroot contains a directory called “tags”, containing one page for every unique tag mentioned in posts’ metadata, and each such page links back to all the posts invoking that tag. There’s a master tag list, too.

When I first launched Plerd in 2014, I declared its lack of tags or categories as a feature — but, four years and 250 Fogknife posts later, I found myself desiring a little bit of basic post-categorization after all. So when my old pal Joe Johnston submitted a pull request last August that added tags to Plerd, I welcomed it. I was knee-deep in the “CPAN” branch by then, though, so I put it off, and Joe has since requested that I make any final changes myself. So, that’s what I’m doing now.

I intend to twiddle with how tags work until satisfied with it, and then turn it into a pull request of my own. Your thoughts on it are quite welcome in the meantime, and the tags branch exists on Plerd’s GitHub repository as well.

As foretold by the previous post on this blog, Plerd is now available on CPAN. Starting now, you should (in theory) be able to install the latest Plerd release on your machine by running a command like cpan Plerd, and from there making a new Plerd-based blog appear with plerdall --init.

Thanks to all who tested and provided feedback on Plerd’s experimental GitHub branch last month for helping to make this possible. I expect that plenty of rough bits still remain to file down with this release, and I will attend to these as I find them — or as they are pointed out to me.

The software’s presence on MetaCPAN does not particularly impress, at the moment. In particular, where one would expect to find full documentation for using Plerd, one instead gets a sheepish hyperlink to Plerd’s README file on GitHub, followed by a not immediately useful guide to Plerd’s software internals — and even that isn’t very well formatted! But, I knew I had to start somewhere, so I decided to just ship the darn thing and start improving all that stuff in-place. I know better than to discount the motivational power of a project looking a bit awful in broad daylight, after all.

Documentation, in particular, sits at the top of my list of Plerd sub-projects to tackle next. While I will always strive to keep the project’s simplest use-case actually simple, Plerd’s complete user manual has nonetheless long since outgrown that single README file. Plerd has come a long way in the nearly four years since its initial launch; this version, intended for the first time to run outside of a manually Git-cloned directory, feels like a first awkward lurch out of childhood. I look forward to a confusing and exciting adolescence for this project.

The cpan branch of Plerd’s GitHub repository holds the proposed version 1.7 source for Plerd. It’s more of an organizational change than a feature-based one, and as it’s driven in part by suggestions that I’ve received from other Plerd users, I would very much appreciate some comment about it.

The main difference it has from 1.6 involves dist-friendliness: it allows you to install Plerd at either a user- or system-wide level and invoke its programs from anywhere on your system. This will allow for me to package and distribute it in the style of other Unix software, without forcing the you-the-user to fuss over dependencies. (I plan to begin by getting Plerd onto CPAN.)

This version also tries to make launching new blogs with Plerd less of a prickly procedure, providing a new plerdall --init command that pops a blank blog directory into being, already populated with a config file and templates.

At this time, installing this branch involves following these steps:

  1. Download the branch from GitHub, and unpack it (or clone the repository and then switch to its cpan branch)

  2. While in the code’s directory, run cpanm --installdeps . just to make sure you have all of Plerd’s dependencies installed. (If you wish to install Plerd system-wide, instead run sudo cpanm --installdeps ..)

  3. Run perl Makefile.PL; make; make install. (If you wish to install Plerd system-wide, make that last bit sudo make install instead.)

That should be it; you should now be able to navigate elsewhere on your system, run plerdall --init, and marvel to the appropriate degree as a plerd/ directory appears, full of goodies.

The idea, of course, is that once this is in CPAN or some other package manager, the one-step installation will involve something like typing cpanm Plerd and that’ll be that. But before I get there, I want to give other Plerd-using folks some time to chime in. Please consider this comment period open through Monday, October 15; you can post commentary either directly to me or to one of the mailing lists.

Thank you!

Hello. This post introduces a new website about Plerd, located for the present at http://plerd.jmac.org. I intend, here, to post news and updates of interest to the tiny but extant Plerd-using community. It also serves as a nice place to collect and prominently display useful Plerdish hyperlinks, such as the link to Plerd’s GitHub-hosted documentation up in the top navigation bar.

Heretofore I have shared Plerd news from time to time on my general-interest blog. However, I have held back from posting every update about the software as often as I might like, since more detailed or frequent news about Plerd would not really fit Fogknife’s tone. Inversely, I’ve felt self-conscious about folks seeking Plerd news to have to wade through all my writing about cats and politics first. As such, I hope that this separation of interests will encourage me to keep Plerd’s users more informed.

Admittedly, this also counts as a dogfooding experiment, since the next version of Plerd currently under development more easily allows multiple blogs to co-exist on a single server. And with this post, we see this new feature officially at work. Things, I dare say, look okay for now.