Drop Shadow


There are basically two ways of setting up an automated blog/CMS: install the software in an account at USD, or request an specialized account from a third-party provider. You can usually pay for a custom hostname using third-party providers, but if you want your URL to be www.sandiego.edu/something, then you will need to use software that you can install in your USD account.

The USD webserver uses Apache/2.2.15 for the webserver, PHP 5.3.3 for dynamic scripting, and MySQL 5.1.73 for the back-end database. Any blog/CMS that uses those technologies will probably work on the USD web server.

However, in the course of advising people on what software to use, we’ve come across a few software packages that seem to work well and do what people need of a blog or CMS news system.

BloggerGoogle’s Blogger service features an easy step-by-step setup process, many customizable templates, and support for interacting with other blogs.
DrupalDrupal seems to combine both simplicity and complexity in one package. Most of the complex portion of Drupal is initially disabled, making it fairly easy to set up. The initial setup, however, requires a bit of MySQL knowledge, and requires editing a few settings in a config.php file.
GeeklogGeeklog is the first blog/news system we used at USD. It was set up for the insITes IT newsletter, to replace the old print Access newsletter. Geeklog is fairly easy to use, but does require some changes to the system configuration through the .htaccess file. If you want to modify the templates, you will need to edit the template files by hand. Geeklog, in its current version, is also tied to a 3-column format.
MamboMambo is much more complex than other blogs, but it also does a lot more, bridging the gap between a blog and a full-fledged CMS system. It allows multiple levels of topics, multiple templates depending on section, and all-in-all is probably able to do what you want--if you can figure it out.
Using Register GlobalsAt this point, you should not be using any registered globals in your scripts.
WordPressWordPress is the simplest and easiest to use of the CMS software packages listed here. Setup requires no system configuration changes and modifying the templates can be done through the web interface (although this still requires knowledge of HTML).

Register Globals

Some older PHP software requires that register globals be turned on. We don’t generally recommend using such software--PHP turned off register globals by default years ago, in August of 2000. If you need to use such software, you can turn register globals on by creating a “.htaccess” file in the main directory for the PHP software that needs it, and add the line:

Note that home.sandiego.edu web sites cannot set the php_flags and so cannot turn register globals on. If you absolutely need it, there are PHP functions that will register the browser-sent fields within your scripts.

php_flag register_globals on

For more information about register_globals and why it is a good idea not to use it, see Using Register Globals on the PHP web site.

Magic Quotes

Magic quotes automatically preserves quotation marks when they are submitted to your PHP page in a form, for example as part of an article title or body. There are two types of magic quotes: GPC and runtime. GPC is for get forms, post forms, and cookies, and runtime is for everything that the server receives.

On the USD web server, magic_quotes_gpc is automatically on, and magic_quotes_runtime is automatically off. This will normally be what you want. If your software requires “magic quotes” at a different setting, y ou can turn it on or off by placing one of the following lines in your “.htaccess” file:

php_flag magic_quotes_gpc off php_flag magic_quotes_runtime on


If you have comments or tips for readers of this page, you may post them here. Questions are more appropriately directed to the webmaster. Comment on this page