J'ai testé 13 plateformes de weblogging gratuites*. Voici les résultats. Un grand nombre de ces plateformes sont francophones. Ma recommandation numéro un pour une solution en français est Mon-Blog.org, qui tourne sous DotClear. BlogSome, sous WordPress, est aussi très bien.
As the people I hang out with on Freenode are painfully aware of by now, I’ve been on a blog platform testing binge. In total, 13 free* platforms tested. Here is a quick list of my test blogs — you’ll find detailed comments about each platform on the test blogs themselves, and a general overview below. The ones I preferred were Blogsome and Mon-Blog.
- MSN Spaces
- NRJ blogs
My main interest was to have a peek at what existed (personal curiosity) and see if it was possible to claim the blogs on Technorati. What follows is an account of my personal user experience on these different platforms. It is not the result of a battery of systematic “benchmarking tests”, though here are some of the points I paid attention to:
- was it easy to create an account, or did I have to fight?
- how easy was it for me to sign back in, afterwards?
- overall, did I find the features I expect from a weblog? (note how subjective that is)
- how did writing a post go?
- could I add images?
- could I change the template?
- could I add links to my other test blogs? (linkroll management)
- could I claim the blog as mine at Technorati?
- did I bump into availability problems?
Lets get the last point over with first. I succeeded in claiming blogs on all platforms except three: NRJ blogs, Skyblog, and LiveJournal. The reason for that is that the last two platforms limit links in the blogroll to weblogs using the same platform. This prevented me from using the blogroll to add the Technorati code necessary to claiming the weblog.
Note, by the way, that I am talking about the free version of LiveJournal, as the paid version does not have this limitation. NRJ blogs, by far the worst platform amongst those tested, does not permit linking at all (even in posts!) I’m not even sure if it deserves to be called a “blogging platform”.
As far as linkrolls or blogrolls are concerned, ViaBloga gets top marks for their “almost-automatic linkrolling”. You can simply type in the URL of the blog/site you want to add, and it retrieves title and rss feed, and also creates a screenshot and thumbnail of the site. It really makes you want to add links to your sidebar. One-click blogrolling, if you like. Otherwise, most link management systems are pretty standard.
Some, like MSN Spaces, make you click “Add Link” between each links, instead of systematically presenting you with a form allowing you to add a link each time you go in link management. This is one of the minor but irritating usability problem which plague MSN Spaces. There are major ones too, but I won’t list them too (no paragraph breaks for me, login problems, timeout problems, clunky interface, ugly permalinks, horrible markup) — they are detailed on my test MSN Space.
Visual editors are neat when they work, but they are a great pain when they do not work. Because of my browser settings, I failed adding links to my posts at ViaBloga, for example. I also failed to add photographs at CanalBlog, HautEtFort, and 20six because of this. BlogSpot is clear enough about the fact you need an external service like Flickr if you want photos on your blog, and both LiveJournal and U-blog seem to fail the photo test for various reasons.
Both Skyblog and NRJ blogs are very limited blogging services, the latter being a very pale imitation of the former. Skyblog focuses on making it easy for teens to put photos on the web with brief comments, and, despite many other shortcomings (no permalinks, interface issues, server overload at peak times), I’m forced to admit it does it pretty well — which partly explains its success (it’s the main French language blog platform in blog numbers). The other services passed the photo test with more or less ease (don’t forget I’m a geek, so uploading a photo first, copying the URL and inserting it into a post isn’t an issue for me — it could be for some).
At some point, I had trouble connecting to the following services (or timeouts): Skyblog, MSN Spaces, and 20six (I can’t remember any others, but my memory might be failing me. NRJ blogs distinguishes itself by refusing to publish certain posts, or waiting a day or two before being so.
Now, before I get lost in random comments, I’ll give you a quick low-down on each of the solutions tested, as well as links to other people who have recently reviewed some of them.
- Pros: WordPress, very easy to sign up
- Cons: might need to be a bit of a techie at times
- MSN Spaces
- Pros: none
- Cons: way too beta (buggy)
- Pros: community, well-established
- Cons: lots of settings, limitations of free accounts (no Technorati claim possible)
- Pros: well-established, nice admin interface
- Cons: lack of categories, trackbacks, and image hosting
- Pros: great link management, wiki-like features, active development
- Cons: some usability issues and minor bugs; not free
- Pros: well-established, community
- Cons: community (!), some usability problems (cf. ViaBloga)
- Pros: great if all you want is upload your phone photos, spit out a comment, and allow people to comment (though Flickr does it better)
- Cons: no permalinks or trackbacks, limited server availability, teen-sms-talk and link-whoring comments
- NRJ blogs
- Edit 18.12.04: it seems confirmed that NRJ blogs hasn’t launched yet, and Google caught them by surprise.
- Pros: none
- Cons: sucks (I mean, some posts don’t even get posted, and finding your blog URL demands a thorough investigation)
- Pros: has the usual set of features you expect from a blog
- Cons: admin interface can feel a little rude at times
- Pros: nice admin interface
- Cons: no trackbacks
- Pros: has the set of features you expect from a blog
- Cons: ugly, cluttered admin interface, server downtime
- Pros: community, features more or less ok
- Cons: probably doomed
- Pros: DotClear (clean, beautiful, all functionalities)
- Cons: launched three days ago
I hope this will have been of interest to some. Thanks for your attention, and I’m glad to be over with the testing!
Edit 16:20: I’ve just add quick pros/cons bullet points (thanks to acrobat for the suggestion and the proof-reading).
Edit 13.12.04: ViaBloga was included in this survey although it is not a free platform. It is free for non-profit organisations, however. The mistake is mine — being an early tester, I was offered six months free, and in my mind had not switched ViaBloga to the “paying platforms” category. See my comment and Stéphane’s on the subject.
- Testing Hosted Blog Solutions (2004)
- Get Listed in Technorati Blog Search (2006)
- Brainstorm/Discussion — The Future of Blogging Technology (Gabor Cselle) (2007)
- Blogs et école: notes de conférence (2005)
- U-Blog, Six Apart, and Their Angry Bloggers (2004)
- Easier TopicExchange Trackbacks for WordPress (2004)
- Teens, Schools, and Blogs (2005)
- How Will CoComment Change Our Commenting Habits? (2006)
- EPFL Offers Blogs to All Its Students (2004)
- Blogs pour parents: notes de conférence (2005)