Advanced Installation

Author: PyBlosxom Development Team
Version: advanced_installation.txt 1042 2007-06-16 04:22:36Z willhelm
Copyright: This document is distributed under the MIT license.


We encourage you not to try any of this until you've gotten a blog up and running.

This chapter covers additional advanced things you can do to your blog that will make it nicer. However, they're not necessary and they're advanced and we consider these things to be very much a "you're on your own" kind of issue.

If you ever have problems with PyBlosxom and you ask us questions on the pyblosxom-users or pyblosxom-devel mailing lists, make sure you explicitly state what things you've done from this chapter. It'll go a long way in helping us to help you.

Renaming the pyblosxom.cgi Script

In the default installation, the PyBlosxom script is named pyblosxom.cgi.

For a typical user on an Apache installation with user folders turned on, PyBlosxom URLs could look like this:

That gets pretty long and it's not very good looking. For example, telling the URL to your mother or best friend over the phone would be challenging. It would be nice if we could shorten and simplify it.

So, we have some options:

Both methods are described here in more detail.

Change the Name of the pyblosxom.cgi Script

There's no reason that pyblosxom.cgi has to be named pyblosxom.cgi. Let's try changing it from pyblosxom.cgi to blog. Now our example URLs look like this:

That's better looking in the example. In your specific circumstances, that may be all you need.

You might have to change the base_url property in your file to match the new URL.


A note about the base_url:

The base_url property should NOT have a trailing slash.

If you're running on Apache, you might have to tell Apache that this is a CGI script even if it doesn't have a .cgi at the end of it. If you can use .htaccess files to override Apache settings, you might be able to do something like this:

# this allows execution of CGI scripts in this directory
Options ExecCGI

# if the user doesn't specify a file, then instead of doing the
# regular directory listing, we look at "blog" (which is our
# pyblosxom.cgi script renamed)
DirectoryIndex blog

# this tells Apache that even though "blog" doesn't end in .cgi,
# it is in fact a CGI script and should be treated as such
<Files blog>
ForceType application/cgi-script
SetHandler cgi-script

You may need to stop and restart Apache for your Apache changes to take effect.

Hiding the .cgi with RewriteRule

Apache has a module for URL rewriting which allows you to convert incoming URLs to other URLs that can be handled internally. You can do URL rewriting based on all sorts of things. See the Apache manual for more details.

In our case, we want all incoming URLs pointing to blog to get rewritten to cgi-bin/pyblosxom.cgi so they can be handled by PyBlosxom. Then all our URLs will look like this:

To do this, we create an .htaccess file (it has to be named exactly that) in our public_html directory (or wherever it is that /~joe/ points to). In that file we have the following code:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule   ^blog?(.*)$   /~joe/cgi-bin/pyblosxom.cgi$1   [last]

The first line turns on the Apache mod_rewrite engine so that it will rewrite URLs.

The second line has four parts. The first part denotes the line as a RewriteRule. The second part states the regular expression that matches the part of the URL that we want to rewrite. The third part denotes what we're rewriting the URL to. The fourth part states that after this rule is applied, no future rewrite rules should be applied.

If you do URL rewriting, you may have to set the base_url property in your accordingly. In the above example, the base_url would be with no trailing slash.

For more information on URL re-writing, see the Apache documentation (1.3, 2.0, 2.2).