Rant Fever started as an exercise in creating a blog in PHP from scratch. That was 2003. Since that time, it has gone through five variations, including this one.
Rant Fever .5 - PHP 4
Back in 2003, I decided to expand my web development skills, which to that point consisted of HTML. I saw that a bunch of people had blogs. I thought, if they can have one, so can I. At first, I looked around at the options available. In particular, I looked at Movable Type. I learned it was written in Perl and it felt clunky to implement (some things never change --- ooh, burn!). Somehow I figured that writing my own would be preferable. That is how I got started with PHP. It was what I found to be prevalent and accessible.
That first blog was really ugly. But it had a few nice bits, including a shoutbox and fun images I stole off the internet. All told, it was an unholy mess in the back end as it got more and more complicated. I felt like I needed a better method.
Rant Fever 1.0 - Group Blog
So I started over from scratch. I had a fundamental understanding of procedural PHP. In Rant Fever 1, I delved into the world of OO. I wrote a class to abstract database calls. I created a user class. I even tried my hand at some graphic design. This was the first showing of a man with a bullhorn. I think I found it as clipart somewhere. The banner itself was made with The GIMP, and there were a bunch of gradients thrown in all over the place. It was fun, and it was miles above what I had written before.
But I still had PHP and HTML all mixed up like spaghetti. And the permissions were rudimentary and, let's face the facts, downright ugly.
By the end, I realized that I needed to make it much more modular. Still, I left it alone for a long time, and there were over a thousand posts by members of the group blog before I started over again.
Rant Fever 2.0 - MVC without MVC
My attempt at an object oriented approach lead me to a better understanding of how things should fit together. I was thinking of ways to separate database calls from the rest of my code, and I was thinking of ways to separate the HTML from not only the styles but also from the PHP. Essentially, I had the basic notion of Model-View-Controller development, and I had sort of stumbled my way into it. That said, I did not know what MVC was at the time, and the result, admittedly, fell far short of a robust application.
With all the changes I had put into this version, Rant Fever became simpler. The poll was gone. The shoutbox took a long time to reappear. The blogroll left. I had planned to eventually add it all in, along with multiple themes that could be switched out on the fly, but I sadly never did that. Still, with each new iteration of Rant Fever, it became structurally better and better, although I knew I would have to rewrite it again.
Rant Fever 3.0 - All new CMS
It was then that I discovered MVC frameworks, and Codeigniter, in particular. I had realized certain aspects of MVC in creating RF2 by accident, inelligant as it was. Codeigniter let me have a huge jumping off point for the new Rant Fever. This time, I wanted to create a content management system instead of a simple blog. It was a large undertaking that took a long time and made me appreciate the amazing CMSes out there. I began the project with visions of creating a CMS that I could use on any number of freelance projects, and to a certain extent, I did that. But if I am honest with myself, it is unsustainable for me to keep up with that size of a project while doing other work. So once Rant Fever 3 launched, I already knew it would be redone again.
Rant Fever 4.0 - PyroCMS, to the rescue
In this version of Rant Fever, I opted with PyroCMS. I did so for the following reasons:
- I wanted a system more sophisticated than one I could build myself, or at least more quickly than I could build myself.
- I wanted a system that would be easy to extend. Since PyroCMS is built on Codeigniter, a framework I already knew, it would be a good fit.
- I heard that PyroCMS is going to be based on Laravel, and that is exciting as Laravel is the new hotness, and I want to get into it.
The Undiscovered Country
Rant Fever is no longer a group blog since all of the contributers have moved on to their own blogs and with their own lives. I do not regret any of what we did together, and I am happy with what we created. But since the blog was stagnating, it was time to move on, and move on it has.
The future of Rant Fever is bright. It is now centered completely on my adventures in technology. Specifically, web development and web programming. I have been developing for the web since the late 1990's and if there is one certainty in this industry it is that it is constantly evolving. Rant Fever is evolving along with it.