Few of my colleagues and I were thinking to have a sort of collaborative blog on our intranet where we could post our daily Tasks, TBD Lists, Reminders etc, a purpose which can’t be called blogging perhaps. I was looking for a free Java blogging tool and recalled Pebble. It’s a lightweight, personal blogger written as a web application that can run inside standard J2EE web containers. Pebble uses standard technologies such as JSP, Servlets, filters, JSP custom tags, JSTL and JAXP. The installation on Tomcat is fairly simple. Since the blog is collaborative, we wanted multiple users who could post on the blog, so I created few users in the tomcat-users.xml with role blog-contributor. Incidentally Pebble needs JDK1.4x and does not work with JDK1.3.

Though we just started using it there were few suggestions which I sent to Simon Brown, who wrote Pebble:

  1. After Login the link to Login probably should become “Logout”, in fact there is no Logout option in Pebble interface
  2. Option needed to alter post dates/make the post private
  3. The blog main page should refresh when we make a post and close the popup window
  4. After posting we do not get any message that the post has been made (difficult to decipher as the same window remains open).
  5. Email address field missing in comments form.
  6. Facility needed to preview the blog (as user would see it) after we make the posts, because all the editing links are visible at top and there is no way we can logout.

To which Simon replied:

Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll certainly be implementing some of them. 🙂 In addition to my website, I’m also using pebble for collaboration on an intranet, mainly for project news and stuff like that. Again, not “blogging”, but it’s great that I can use the same concepts and software, just by changing the JSPs.

Don’t ask me why I did not go for Roller, probably because I wanted a new interface and secondly I was not looking for too many features. BTW we call this blog Collablog, any other suggestion?