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Serendipity Weblog Software - Finally it's in a Book

(Photo: Serendipity Book Cover)
Did you notice that I did not write about Web site development related — more technical issues — lately? For a simple reason:
“The technical stuff on this Blog simply works!”
Long live Serendipity “s9y” Weblog software

That’s exactly how it should be, unless you are a developer, who deals with LAMP (*) issues on a daily basis. Since I am not a developer (anymore) my focus has shifted towards marketing and business related topics with occasional sidekicks to personal development.

Why do I want to tell you about Blog software today?

The reason is simple, the core developer Garvin Hicking released his new book on Serendipity only a couple of days ago.

Why should you buy this book?

Let me give you a couple of reasons (in arbitrary order).
  • Because it’s the ultimate

    “How to successfully cheat on Wordpress and get away with it guide”.

  • It feels good to have a hard copy in hand.
  • Only 5 hard copies are available for free. Sorry, purchasing is the only way to ensure you get a hard copy.
  • To improve your German skills. :-)
  • To show appreciation for Garvin’s and the teams’ efforts. Yeah, they are real people.
  • Besides all the s9y issues on the surface, you might also get lessons of a great programming style and software design (if you are interested in that).

What’s in the book?

Lots of stuff — 750 pages — covering all technical aspects of working with Serendipity. No matter, if you are a s9y beginner or already an advanced professional user or developer. This book nails the facts. Actually you can check it out in more detail yourself, one chapter and the complete table of content (toc) is available online in German language. The toc itself has 18 pages! Okay, what's in the book in a nutshell.
  • Installation manual
  • User manual
  • Intro and guide on how to use
    • Plugins
    • Templates
  • Extensive documentation of the API (application programming interface)
  • Extensive Glossary

From reading through the free chapter, which deals with installation I can see, that Garvin is an accomplished technical writer. He certainly managed to put his experience from the support forum into the book and he knows who he is writing for. Great job, Garvin!

This book is available at and Open Source Press. Find out all details at Garvin’s original blog post Serendipity-Handbuch

Only one disclaimer: The book is released in German language, Let’s hope that an English one will follow.

Why do I use Serendipity for my Blogs?

I am kind of an off-main-stream type of guy, and I always have been, but I based my decisions on facts not just believe. I mainly use Linux not Windows or Mac for example. When I was about to install my first Blog I said to myself, “What kind of software is out there”. I noticed a huge crowd following Wordpress, and I saw some excellent comments and ratings at my Web host panel for another piece of software: “Serendipity”.

So I checked them out both, and… Serendipity won my personal contest. I just checked out the latest developments and compared Wordpress 2.5.1. and Serendipity 1.3.1. Again, I will stick with Serendipity. Some reasons in arbitrary (again) order:
  • Easy installation even without Fantastico®.
  • Most default settings are just fine, however, together with the variety of available plugins you can customize your Blog much more as opposed to a Wordpress Blog without diving through code.
  • Integrated media manager. No need to FTP an images, etc.
  • Plugins are centralized available. You install them via the Web browser. Upgrading them is damn easy. Click!
  • Bugs are fixed rather quickly.
  • Bob Parsons (President of, Inc.) is using it.
  • Great community in which the developers are very active.
  • You can run several, distinct Blogs from the same installation and database.
  • Sophisticated multi-language capabilities.
  • Of course great multi-user environment.
  • Separation between PHP Code and Template files. No messing around with the PHP files. It uses the powerful Smarty Templating Engine. Many layout aspects can be controlled via plugins through the Admin interface anyway.
  • Rock solid programming, and database design, makes it easy for developers to extend the functionality.
  • The functionality is less dependent on the chosen templates as it is with Wordpress.
  • Never had troubles with it.

As with Windows versus Linux or Mac there are logical and emotional reasons that drive someones preferences.

I happen to prefer Serendipity, but also use Wordpress on other Blogs. That way I can benefit from both “Worlds”.

John W. Furst

(*) LAMP stands for the commonly used open source Web development platform based on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Perl or Python.


E-Biz Booster Blog on : Templates and Themes For Serendipity - S9y

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Screenshot: Templates The number of freely available templates or themes is a critical ingredient for the success of any Blog software. I have advertised Serendipity Blog software (s9y) and Garvin Hicking’s new book on Serendipity


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Carl on :


Great write up John! I assume you'll be buying a copy to practise your German?

John W. Furst on :



Yeah, "Ich bin ein bisschen aus der Übung y han practicado solamente español últimamente."

Actually I also have a question for you, Carl. You are kind of a template wizard, when it comes to S9Y, aren't you.

Here's the question: Let's say you want to create a new template for s9y. Which of the existing templates would you choose as a base for your modifications? It should be a template that's already sophisticated (in XHTML/CSS context) and uses the most features of S9Y 1.3.1. and its state-of-the-art plug-ins. Did I make the point clear?

Have a nice Sunday. --Yours John

P.S.: LoL means: Laughing out loud! (for those who don't know)

Carl on :


John I haven't really had much involvement with s9y since the release of version 1.1 but my understanding is that bulletproof is the only template that is currently pushing the envelope with v1.3 additions.

John W. Furst on :


Ok. "BulletProof" not a bad name for a template, ... let's have a look. It's even more than a single template framework meant to be a basis for new s9y templates. Here's the Web site:

Thanks Carl

P.S.: I should write a post about s9y templates. ... [link posted here soon]

Marco on :


Thanks John for the link to the page. It looks fine.

Tom on :


Thanks for sharing.

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