5 min

Blogosphere v2.0?

"Blogosphere", that's a rarely used word from the past, as in 10 to 15 years ago.

Dave Winer's Jan 26, 2016 blog post titled Booting up a fresh blogosphere

My recent piece, Anywhere But Medium, has gotten a fair amount of play.

The Indieweb group has been championing this idea for a few years now. DW might be a little late to catch on, but because he has a large audience of readers, he can spread the concepts.

For some reason, DW does not write about the Indieweb. I think that he dislikes the group because the Indieweb prefers Microformats over RSS. I agree with DW on this. I like Microformats, but I'll stick with using RSS for feeds. The second choice would be a JSON format.

Putting the feed debate aside, the Indieweb has produced many other positive ideas, such as Webmentions, that DW should investigate and maybe contribute to.

More from DW:

Anyway, there is probably enough agreement "out there" to create a critical mass for a newly invigorated blogosphere to boot up along the lines of the one that started this whole thing in the late 90s to early 2000s. What we need is a little new technology, and support from one or two vendors.

New technology?

... have WordPress accept as input, the URL of a JSON file containing the source code for a post, and then do its rendering exactly as if that post had been written using WordPress's editor. That would give us exactly what we need to have the best of all worlds. Widespread syndication and control over our own writing and archive. All at a very low cost in terms of storage and CPU.

I don't understand. If I have my own website, why would I need to syndicate to Wordpress.

Many Indieweb users post to their own domain name, and then their software uses hooks and bridges to syndicate their content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and then the interactions, such as shares, replies, etc., on those social media sites come back to the personal site of the Indieweb user.

It appears that the Indieweb user is actually using Twitter directly, but that's not the case. The user is "using" the other social media sites from their own personal website.

Syndication bridges to the silos already exist for Indieweb users. I don't use those social media sites because I use my 13-year-old message board ToledoTalk.com for discussions.

Therefore, I don't need to syndicate elsewhere. I'm only interested in discussions at TT. I'm not interested in discussions elsewhere about what I post here at JotHut.com and on my other personal publishing sites.

The only discussion mechanism that interests me is Webmentions.

Just want to put this idea out there for people who are thinking about this stuff. APIs are not necessary. Just a new syndication format. We could even use an existing format, but since we're mostly working in JavaScript these days, I think JSON is also a fine way to go.

JSON is language agnostic. It may have begun under JavaScript, but I use Perl to send JSON to a CouchDB server that's written in Erlang.

When I use the Perl module Data::Dumper to display contents of a hash or an array or an array of hashes, etc., it reminds me of JSON.

JSON is a convenient way to structure data for transmission. It's not as messy as XML for human-reading.

But RSS is an old and stable syndication method. DW helped create it.

PHP is still used a lot. Many Indieweb users have rolled their own web publishing apps, and it seems that like to use PHP.

Some geeky bloggers like to use static file apps that were created in Python and Ruby.

I started blogging in 2001 by using Greymatter, which provided a simple web interface to create static files. No database. Cool little tool that would be useful in 2016. Noah Grey built Greymatter in Perl. He may not have realized it, but he designed an app that has longevity.

Programming languages should be irrelevant to bloggers or writers. The content is the key. And easily creating that content is important.

Maybe writers prefer to blog from their favorite desktop editor or from their favorite email client. Maybe some want the ability to create and edit blog posts from their phone.

Database vs non-database? Also irrelevant to the non-geeky bloggers. It should be up to the writer and the desired functionality.

If a simple setup is good enough, then an app that produces static files may work. If the writer wants fancy searches, tagging, wiki features, etc., then a database-backed app may be needed.

The markup language? Also irrelevant. Geeks like Markdown. I mainly use Textile. I've writing in Textile since 2005. I also like Markdown. I don't like to use word processors. I'm also not a fan of WYISWYG or similar web-based writing environments. I like this JavaScript editor for the browser that I hacked from someone else's code to work the way I want.

And that's important. Writers or bloggers should never be limited to certain functions.

I assume that this goes in cycles, and blogging will gain popularity again in a few years as people tire of social media, but they want to keep creating content.

Tumblr may have it figured out with its network combined with following and reblogging features. Maybe it will get much bigger over the next five years.

My recent publishing apps save markup to the file system. I can dump and backup the database, and I can backup the markup files. I at least need the markup files.

DW's JSON format to represent a post:
http://scripting.com/liveblog/data/2016/01/26/00934.json

#blogging - #programming - #design - #writing

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