Advanced Blog is dead! Long live… everything else!
A few years ago, while working on MrsRiley.com, I needed to build a nice little display of user blogs. I wanted these laid out by author, for the blogs to have descriptions, maybe some nice navigation, etc. At the time there were a few modules offering pieces of what I needed, but not everything. There were also conflicts amongst those modules, so using them all together was a no-go.
Enter Advanced Blog. I hadn’t yet released a module on drupal.org, and here was the perfect chance to offer something people would actually use. My first priority was getting all the existing functionality from the other modules to work together. At first I had hoped to update those modules and/or write some glue to get them to play nice. That didn’t really work out.
The existing modules were unmaintained and written by three separate authors. I’ll leave the disparity to your imagination. So I began by taking their functionality and building it into my own module (gotta love open-source). Then I added in the missing features. It was only a couple days of coding and cleanup followed by the excruciating process of getting my CVS license so that I could actually post the project page.
Oddly enough, a few thousand people ended up using this little Franken-module, but it was never truly finished. It wasn’t long after its initial release that the project wrapped up, and I never ended up needing for the next few projects. You know how it is. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and unlike my work in Ubercart at the time, community blogging never came up on the list. By the time it did, I had already found other solutions.
So, what now? Well, if you’re still using Drupal 6 then Advanced Blog will still work for you. You may want to consider what you can do with a few other contrib modules though. Advanced Blog was/is good at what it does, but if you’re using it then chances are you’re building a community platform of some kind. Using Content Profile and Views you can achieve the same effect and much more. Content profile fills the gap in user/blog information (like the blog description), and Views can handle all of the displays and navigation.
If you’re on Drupal 7, then hands-down the best solution is using profile fields (that’s in core now) and Views. You can still use the blog module if you like, but it’s really not needed. In fact, I almost always suggest not using it, since things are much more flexible without it (albeit a little more setup on your part). With Views 3 in D7 you can embed views, attach views, refer to views, put views in other views… You get the idea. You’re also now able to use all sorts of contextual arguments, sorting, etc.
Of course, in D8 you probably won’t even be using the blog module. They took it out of core which tells me that a lot of people are doing the same thing I am in terms of not using it on their Drupal 7 sites. With all of the contextual options, there’s really no need for adding the bloat of another module.
So, alas, farewell my dear Advanced Blog module. You’ll always hold a special place in my heart.