Set up a Personal Microblog with Bilboblog

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Aug 28, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

There are many reasons why you would want to run your own private microblog, but how do you actually do that? The easiest way is to install Bilboblog, a tiny, no-frills PHP/MySQL-based microblogging engine.

Although Bilboblog is described as a microblogging application, it's not a drop-in replacement for Twitter or It's actually more of a hybrid between a microblog and tumblelog. Similar to a conventional microblogging engine, Bilboblog lets you limit post length, but it also supports text formatting and sports the ability to embed images and videos. Bilboblog's major advantage is simplicity: it works right out of the box without any tweaking and there is virtually no learning curve. Better yet, Bilboblog features a one-step installation procedure, so you can set up a personal microblog in a matter of minutes.

To install Bilboblog, create a MySQL database (e.g., bilboblog), grab the latest release of the application, unpack the downloaded archive and move the resulting bilboblog directory to the document root of your server. Make the bilboblog directory writable, and point your browser to http://yourserver/bilboblog. Fill out the required fields, and hit the Install button. Once Bilboblog is installed, you can switch to its administrator interface by navigating to http://yourserver/bilboblog/admin and logging in with the user name and password specified during installation. To create a new post, click on the Add new message link, add text, and format it using the available buttons. If you need help with formatting codes, press the Help button which opens a section containing brief descriptions of the supported formatting options and their usage. Press the Publish button to post the new entry. That's all there is to it. Since Bilboblog is a strictly single-user application, there are no complicated user and access management features, and you won't find any advanced content management features either. Some power users may consider Bilboblog somewhat limited for their needs, but if you want to set up a personal microblog with a minimum of fuss, then Bilboblog might be the right tool for the job.

When using Bilboblog, you'll notice that its English translation is sometimes incomplete and lacks consistency. So I spent an evening going through the language strings and fixing them to the best of my ability. I also did a few minor changes like replacing the default toolbar icons, adding a license to the footer, and slightly modifying the default theme. You can fetch the tweaked version of Bilboblog at my Google Code page. As an experiment, I also host my personal Bilboblog-based microblog on my Bubba Two server. Feel free to drop by.


  • even more steps

    somebody seems forgot to mention other steps :
    open pc
    connect or check connection [if failing insert an ISO/OSI pile troubleshooting approach]breathebreathe
    connect to the server where you intend to set up the software
    breathe I cannot repeat it enough somebody still forget this step
    mmm ok the rest is known but remember to add more point for the breathing task.
  • 56465461

    McIvor: That's the basis for pretty much every scripts. Were you trying to sound funny?
  • More than one installation step!

    So, um... how does one create a MySQL database?
  • Tried it, didn't like it.

    So I gave this thing a try. It's ok, but the usability is fairly poor. I dislike webapps that mix old (new top level windows) and new (ajax opening and closing entry fields). Add to that a poor level of customizability (for example, how do I get rid of the "gravatar" text? ) and this appears to be another example of a poorly thought out piece of software. I liked the idea though, and the install was as smooth and easy as described. If they could just streamline the ability to customize the headers and footers and make everything uniformly dynamic using ajax that would be great.
  • Re: 1 Step Install?

    I was referring to the procedure performed by Bilboblog's installation script. Of course, as with any PHP/MySQL-based application, you need to do some preparatory work before you can run the installation script.
  • 1 Step Install?

    "Better yet, Bilboblog features a one-step installation procedure, so you can set up a personal microblog in a matter of minutes."

    I beg to differ.

    "To install Bilboblog, create a MySQL database (e.g., bilboblog) (1), grab the latest release of the application (2), unpack the downloaded archive (3) and move the resulting bilboblog directory to the document root of your server (4). Make the bilboblog directory writable (5), and point your browser to http://yourserver/bilboblog (6). Fill out the required fields (7), and hit the Install button (8)."

    I must say, that's a mighty long 'step'.
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