All posts tagged ‘blogs’

What Kind of Blogging Do We Want?

Photo by Owen W Brown/Flickr/CC

Yesterday we got a look at a new software service called Branch, and a discussion between several people who used to work for Blogger, and Anil Dash (who, as far as I know, never did).

Daniel Bachhuber, a friend who works at WordPress, oohed and aahed. I asked him why he liked it so much and he said a couple of things.

The discussion was focused on this topic: How do blogs need to evolve?

I wasn’t asked to be part of the discussion, but since this is the open web, and they made their discussion public, I can say what I have to say. It’s up to them if they want to include it in their discussion.

I’ve even provided the “source code” for this post — just the text with a little bit of structure, and some attributes, with an open architecture for more attributes. So they can do more than link to it. They can “include” it.

The advantage of doing it this way is:

  1. I maintain the original.
  2. It can be included in as many places as it’s relevant.
  3. If I want to update it, I can, and it would update in all the places it is viewable.
  4. Because I can update it, that means relative writing will be kept to a minimum. People can say what they think without making an issue of who’s right and who’s wrong. Because they might not stay right or wrong for very long!

In the thread Evan Williams says that Twitter has a big advantage because it already has all the integration tools people want. It’s understandable he would think that, I suppose, having participated in creating Twitter, but I don’t agree. Here’s why.

  1. When I quoted Daniel in the second paragraph, you wouldn’t believe the dance I had to do to get a link to the tweet onto the clipboard so I could link to it from my post. Even though I’ve done it dozens of times, I still made three mistakes for every action that worked.
  2. Twitter has a 140-character limit, which means that for any kind of complex thought, beyond a grunt or snark (which is likely to be misunderstood because there wasn’t room to explain it) I’m going to have to include a link, which of course must be shortened.
  3. As they point out in the thread, Twitter is a company town. The archive belongs to them, to do with as they please. I have no say in the future uses of my own writing.
  4. Finally, the strongest point — even Twitter agrees it’s not self-contained, because they support oEmbed, which allows them to include content that’s hosted on other servers. However, they aren’t even open about being open. You can only participate if you’re a “partner.” I don’t know who pays who for this, or if anyone pays, but they admit that being open to content hosted elsewhere is necessary, but it isn’t available to the people. In other words, we’ve given up all the beauty of the internet, for what exactly? What did we get in return?

Anyway, even if I was invited to participate, all I would do is post a pointer to this blog post. Because here I own the editorial tools and can make them work any way I want to. There is no 140-character limit. There’s no problem getting a permalink. I own the archive. Sure if you want to participate it’s a bit of work, you have to set up a blog somewhere. That’s okay with me. For a little bit of work you get a whole lot of freedom. That’s a good deal.

This post first appeared on Scripting News.

Dave Winer, a former researcher at NYU and Harvard, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software. A former contributing editor at Wired magazine, Dave won the Wired Tech Renegade award in 2001.
Follow @davewiner on Twitter.
File Under: Blog Publishing

In Walked Blog: WordPress Hits 3.0 With ‘Thelonious’

WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the web, reached a new milestone Thursday with its 3.0 release.

This one is nicknamed “Thelonious,” and you can run an update your own WordPress installation by clicking on the update link at the top of your blog dashboard. It’s also available for download.

The big news is that WordPress MU, a multisite tool that can be used to run a whole network of blogs, has become one of WordPress’ default features. You can now manage as many different blogs as you want from one single WordPress installation.

There are a number of updates to the user-facing part of WordPress. The admin has been redesigned: It’s been slimmed down and made easier to navigate with a more accessible layout and color scheme. Some of the menu choices have been renamed to be more descriptive.

There are also new contextual help tabs on every panel inside the admin, so it’s less likely you’ll be left wondering, “what’s this do?” For promoting your posts on Twitter, there’s a new tool that lets you generate a short URL for your post as you’re composing it.

The WordPress team has built a new default theme called “Twenty Ten” to show off all the new features in Thelonious. Much like Kubrick, the old default theme, Twenty Ten is pretty minimal, but it’s a good starting point for learning how to tweak and customize WordPress.

For theme developers and site administrators, WordPress 3.0 has a number of enhancements. The new MU integration is a big plus if you’re running a blog network, or even two different sites that share resources and authors. There’s also a new set of APIs you can use to make building custom headers, backgrounds, menus and custom post types easier. To see the full list of enhancements, see the list at the WordPress Codex.

Here’s a video tour of the new stuff:

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RSS for Beginners

Have you ever noticed those inviting orange buttons on some web pages, or spotted the odd link pitching an “RSS feed”? If you’ve ever clicked one out of curiosity, and then scratched your head at the unformatted gobbledygook in your web browser, you’ve seen an RSS file.

xml.gif

What is it really for, anyway? Two things: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom are two specialized formats that create what’s commonly called a news feed, or just feed. A feed is an easy way for sites to share headlines and stories so that you can read them without having to visit two dozen different web pages everyday.

In other words, web builders use feeds to dish out fresh news and content from their websites and web surfers can use feed applications to collect custom-tailored selections of their favorite websites to be read at their leisure.


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Use Media RSS

With the explosive growth of podcasting, publishers are including more multimedia in their RSS feeds than ever. While the method of including media content in an RSS feed with enclosures is fairly well known, there are other methods available for including media content in RSS feeds, one of which is Media RSS.

Media RSS is an RSS module that was created to expand the way that multimedia content could be included in an RSS feed.

Originally authored by Yahoo! to improve media enclosures in RSS and also allow the submission of media content to its search engine via RSS, the development of Media RSS has since been opened up to the RSS community through the rss-media mailing list. Full disclosure: I’m also one of the people at Yahoo! who worked on the creation of Media RSS.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

Scouting the Blogs of Internet Icons

One of the best things about blogs is that anyone can create one, easily. That gives us tremendous access to the thoughts of many. Say what you will about the quality of most blogs, but I still think we’re better off.

A pleasant outcome of blogs being attainable for all is that some internet icons have started blogs. This post will attempt to chronicle them. I’ve undoubtedly missed some. Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee – inventor of the web

Berners-Lee hasn’t posted since March, but when he says something, people listen. Might as well subscribe in your RSS reader.

Linus Torvalds – inventor of Linux

Torvalds just started blogging because he wanted a place to keep family pictures (seriously).

Jonathan Schwartz – Sun CEO

Schwartz’s blog is often mentioned as an ideal CEO blog: free of marketing-speak and frequently updated.

Marc Andreessen – Netscape founder, creator of first graphical web browser

On a temporary hiatus, but when Andreessen is on, he pumps out content. Often more business-focused than you might imagine for a geek.

Guido van Rossum – creator of Python

It’s a new blog and appears to be for both technical and philosophical writing. His first post was so wordy, Blogspot caught it as spam.

Steve Wozniak – Apple co-founder

It was almost two years ago when Woz said his blog was coming soon. I’m sure he’ll post soon.

See also: