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Working on new editorial tools

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by Dave Winer.

This week I set a goal to get my next generation of editorial tools to a level where I could use them for almost everything I do online. Not yet for others to use, this is how I develop stuff. I do more than eat the dog food, think of it this way -- I am the dog. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

So, while I have been writing very actively online for the last few days, very little of it has been appearing here at scripting.com. Eventually I'll figure out how to migrate so that it is. Right now the place to go for it all is protoblogger.com. Which is an apt name, because I feel like what I'm doing now is the prototype for what blogging will be like in the future.  Permalink to this paragraph

Like the first generation, the new stuff mixes linkblogging and writing of longer posts. Permalink to this paragraph

The first time I did this stuff, it was easier, all the content flowed to one place, a static server that I ran. Permalink to this paragraph

In the second gen life was more complicated, I was running a dynamic server on the back-end (Manila) and using an outliner for the front-end. Permalink to this paragraph

Then I went back to static on the back end, which is how Scripting News currently runs. Then I stopped linkblogging here and started on Twitter, which still must be part of my work environment, but I have a lot more to say than fits easily in 140 characters. The challenge has been to create a tool that does both, in the same place, with agility. And empowers the author. And makes it easy to scatter the writing all over god's creation and at the same time create a feeling of "home" for the author. Permalink to this paragraph

After Automattic adopted rssCloud I decided to look at using wordpress.com as the back-end, rather with a static server. As I explored WordPress, I realized it could solve a huge amount of the problem for me, and I had no interest in doing yet another dynamic CMS, so I embarked down this path. Permalink to this paragraph

I gotta say, now that it's all working, it's very fucking cool. Permalink to this paragraph

I have 8 different WordPress blogs and my links flow through Twitter too, all from one window. This gives me so much more power than I had before, and I suspect a lot of other people are dealing with this kind of complexity too, but I am managing it. I love the complexity instead of it being in my way. It took a lot of work, both conceptual and programming to get this right, but I'm there now. Permalink to this paragraph

Anyway there's no purpose to this post other than to Narrate My Work and let other developers know that this kind of editorial system is coming, and it has special needs on the back-end. There's no single rendering of the content, since it's scattered all over the place (the lifestyle of our time). But there is a new position for a static server that stores the user's full content flow. It's a low-tech workhorse of a server, but it's super-important. Permalink to this paragraph

I have to maintain a server for the unrendered content. That works fine for me, but won't work when I get users. So the back-ends should probably evolve to not just display the rendered HTML but to allow tools to store the source code for the writing along-side. That's how writing tools should be working, imho. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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Last update: 11/12/2009; 12:53:25 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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