Blook 0.1

MCMThursday, May 28, 2009

A bunch of people have asked me what software I used to release Fission Chips, hoping for an easy answer, but unfortunately it was a "roll your own" solution that wasn't easy to distribute. So last night I packaged up the code, called it "Blook", and I'm releasing it today!

WTF is Blook?

Blook is free software to help you put your book online with minimal fuss. It doesn't do blogging, it doesn't do fancy-schmancy other things... it just releases your chapters on a schedule. Pretty damn easy. You paste your content straight from Word or Open Office, and it turns it into minimalistic XHTML with paragraph tags and smart quotes and the rest intact. You set a schedule, and it releases a new chapter at each interval... straight onto the website and via RSS as well. Nifty!

I Prefer Bullet Lists. Please Give Me a Bullet List!

Fine, you imaginary prima donna, here's your bullet list:

  • Simple content formatting (strips out the gook)
  • Automatic release according to schedule ("Monday, Wednesday, Friday")
  • Built-in RSS feed (also scheduled)
  • Easy-to-use chapter browser, plus next/previous buttons on each page
  • "Share" buttons to let you spread the word via your favourite social network (and MySpace)
  • PayPal donation support. Just make yourself a saved button and enter its ID.
  • Skinnable, giving you lots of control over how it looks
  • ePub export function turns your book into a fully-functioning eBook!

What CAN'T It Do?

The current version doesn't support comments, but you could easy throw a Disqus widget in there if you like. I've also removed the voting component that you see in Fission Chips because the code there is very hard to read, and I need to re-imagine some of it first. Oh, and it's only good for straight text. If you have fancy formatting or images, this won't work for you.

What's the Catch?

My coding skills suck, so you're likely to develop a mad case of epilepsy just reading it. The installation is simple, but not as simple as it could be. Editing the config file takes a text editor. It's really not user-friendly that way, but once it's set up, it works well.

System Requirements

PHP on an Apache server (it uses .htaccess files to make things look nice). You need to be able to give PHP write access to a few directories, so if your server doesn't support that (shared ones are iffy), you may be out of luck. No database required!


Blook is released under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License. You may do with it what you please. Also keep in mind that I'm likely not going to be updating the code base for some time, so if you want new features, you're on your own.

(note: I was intending to GPL this, but some of the vital sub-components are probably incompatible with the GPL, so until those are replaced with "free" versions, we've gotta go with CC BY-SA)

How Do I Get It?

Download straight from me, right here. If someone out there wants to set this up on Google Code or something, be my guest. But for now, I'm good being the maintainer.

Why Is It Called Blook?

Because it sounds funny. Duh.

All content released under a Creative Commons BY-NC license except the contents of "TV" section, which belong to their respective owners.