Tantek talks about hand-rolled blogs. I’m interested, because I fall into his second category (“folks who rolled their own blogging content management system”). Photomatt followed on, with insightful comments that neatly step over the class warfare between the out-of-the-box people and the hand-rolled people, to get at the important point:
Whatever you do should put as little as possible between yourself and whatever it is you love about creating your little corner of the independent web. ... Tantek is happy writing the code for his page, just as I get a buzz typing in a box and having everything else happen automagically. ... Do what makes you happy.
This site is hand-rolled because I love understanding how web sites are built, and writing tools to create web sites. Some days I would like not to have to worry about it, but on those days I can just ignore the tools that are in place and working. On the days when I want to make something happen differently, I can hack on the tools.
BTW: many of the hand-rollers seem to do it because they care passionately about the style and structure of the markup (that is, the tags themselves, rather than the page they produce). I can understand that passion, and would like to be able to partake in it. If you look at the HTML that produces this page, it is nothing to be proud of. Someday I will get rid of all the tables and 1-pixel gifs and do a real 21st-century CSS-driven accessible layout. But not yet. I don’t have the time, focus, or stomach for the multi-browser debugging that would take.
The whole thread got started by Zeldman railing against RSS feeds (because they homogenize the web experience), something I myself have felt before. Even when I use an RSS reader, I use it more as a bookmark manager with update notification than as a way to read the bodies of entries.