I have kept an electronic diary for three years now. I upgraded my handwritten diary back in 2003 and have never missed pen on paper. Yes, searching your own diary is geeky but I like it. It is something I do much more often than I thought I would. It is much quicker to have a search engine go through your words rather than flicking through pages of handwritten stuff.
I was using the free to-download-and-try version of the Zoom search engine (http://www.wrensoft.com/zoom/) on basic xhtml/css pages with ssi and I was very happy with it. Zoom is easy to install and use. It lets you search up to 50 pages free before you need to upgrade (pay some cash to get more functionality). The only problem was that it wasn’t designed specifically with the blogging style approach I wanted where the search list of pages would be updated automatically. I needed something more cohesive so after looking at various blogging and CMS alternatives I swapped over to WordPress and then having got so excited about it for my own diary I used it to set up this technology blog too.
WordPress is a stylish piece of blogging software for people who want to produce nice web pages either for themselves – like me and my ‘dear diary’ just on my computer – or to publish online, but don’t want to have to learn too many technical details. It is an example of good open source software – free to download and simple to install – if your server is set up with everything WordPress needs to run.
There is a large community of programmers beavering away. If you do get stuck you can join in one of the news groups and get the answer to your problem. If you get really confident it is easy to put a new look on your website online or offline with templates you can download.
To do anything more sophisticated there is a bit of a learning curve, but it may be worth it if you want to host podcasts or to produce feeds to other sites. There is lots of documentation on the site and the WordPress book only costs a tenner which is cheaper than a new nice diary for penning your thoughts in.