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The end of CityDesk
December 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP City­Desk – Joel on Soft­ware. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blog­ging plat­forms. I wrote City­Desk. In what turned out to be a mon­u­men­tal­ly wrong bet, I thought that peo­ple would want to blog on Win­dows, with all the slick WYSIWYG edit­ing good­ness that wasn’t yet avail­able in ear­ly ver­sions of HTML. City­Desk kept your entire web­site in a SQL data­base (Microsoft Jet, the back­end of Access) and had a fron­tend like a word proces­sor. Every time you need­ed to pub­lish, it gen­er­at­ed the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then uploaded to an ftp serv­er for you.

[…]

Over the years the City­Desk code base (VB 6.0, anoth­er bad bet) stopped run­ning on the lat­est ver­sions of Win­dows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a cus­tom ver­sion of City­Desk which only ran on Win­dows XP. So until recent­ly, I had a vir­tu­al machine set up with Win­dows XP run­ning in there, and a copy of City­Desk.

[…]

Matt Mul­len­weg over at Word­Press has been try­ing to get me to move Joel on Soft­ware over to Word­Press for so long it’s not even fun­ny. I final­ly gave in. [Joel on Soft­ware]

I used City­Desk myself to man­age my main web­site for a num­ber of years after the sad demise of User­Land Fron­tier, before final­ly replac­ing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusu­al prod­uct in that it was actu­al­ly bet­ter than any Mac alter­na­tive at the time (some­thing that’s usu­al­ly true only of games).


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