What WordPress & Medium could have been?

extreme sports and blogging

For ages I’ve wondered if WordPress was going to do something more decentralised/interesting with all those blogs loosely connected using WordPress?

The answer seems to be no, which is a crying shame but I recently noticed Standardnotes, added a new sub-service which seems closer to what I imagined from WordPress

We’ve put a lot of work into our note sharing platform called Listed. Listed allows you to publish and share notes directly from the Standard Notes web and desktop app. Best of all, it allows readers to subscribe to your new posts. Your subscribers are immediately notified by email any time you publish a new post. Unlike Medium, Listed allows you to own your content source, and have a more direct communication channel with your readers.

You can imagine this could be a neat way to keep a group of people connected, outside the prying eyes of a centralised service. For example it could be a neat email mailing system like mail chimp. Imagine something like NTK in this way?

Ok so listed is still in early days but theres some interesting decentralised blogging systems like Steemit which are doing something different with the community of writers.

Is Medium doing what WordPress dreamed about?

Always wondered if WordPress is missing out to Medium.

Medium is becoming the preferred social platform for thoughtful commentary, provocative essays, and blockbuster enterprise journalism from independent and commercial publishers seeking to instigate meaningful conversations on topics of substance, interest, and import. Here, these conversations push thinking forward where it matters and drive real impact in the world.

Distributed conversations is something I thought WordPress was up to a long while ago. Its certainly easier when you own the platform and can make sweeping changes. Have a look at the way twitter closed off API access to 3rd party apps and services because they wanted to monetize there (literately) platform.

Its what makes me suspect of sinking time and my own thoughts into platforms like Medium and Slack. Yes they can do things which others can’t do currently…

…But I remember platforms like Medium and Slack are not open (even with the XMPP and IRC gateways) and there is a very bad side to this. Chris Messina tweeted recently about a new wordpress move in the middle of the slack fall out

Unfortunately I can’t install Calypso as its OSX only at the moment but its open and theres a hope someone will create a Linux client or even a Chrome/Firefox app?

Maybe WordPress will ultimately show Medium how to do distributed conversations, but in a open way, after all.

As for Slack… I’m still not sure, but I am using it via XMPP instead.

The killer application for distributed social networking?

How do we make things move along quicker in the area of distributed/federated technology? Things are moving very slowly although it seems most of the components are in place.

When I wrote the blog about Rebel mouse, I found some interesting links to some distributed solutions which could see the end of the likes of twitter and facebook.

OStatus is an open standard for distributed status updates. The goal is to have a specification that allows different messaging hubs to route status updates between users in near-real-time. This spec took over from the OpenMicroBlogging spec of old.

I remember writing about wordpress’s distributed solution a while ago.

The weird thing is I logged into Diaspora again today and not only is it a ghost town (not like G+, but really like a ghost town) but it got me thinking whats different about Diaspora and G+? Now the hype died down, its time to see some very cool uses of Diaspora. What have they got to loose? Dare I say it, wheres the killer application? Wheres the thing which will make people sit up and take note once again? Heck whys no one doing cool stuff with the API?

So what is the killer application which will tip people over? I have some thoughts but what ever it is, please let it happen soon before we’re all forced to beg twitter, facebook, etc for our data back.

Distributed Social Networking, one day soon?

WordCamp 2011 Bulgaria

This has to be the ultimate standing in social networking. Distributed social networking is going to happen at some point but in the meanwhile, we all have to put up with these crappy social networks.

I read a few things recently which got me thinking about this again… The main one centres around this read write web piece.

The prospect of a distributed, interoperable, self-hosted network of publishing, reading and discussion tools is nothing new – but the idea is gaining a lot more support as more people react to recent news like FriendFeed’s sale to FacebookTr.im’s up and down and Twitter’s denial of service attacks. The tide may not be turning, but there’s sure to be some new waves of innovation that come out of this period of frustration.

The one which got me writing is the WordPress.com ability to do real-time blogging

Jabber (XMPP) is an open instant messaging protocol used by millions of people daily. At WordPress.com we use Jabber to instantly deliver new blog posts and comments to subscribers.

It for me is very intriguing… Its a lot more like how Jaiku use to be (I actually wonder what happened to jaiku engine?). The WordPress ability is nice but if they bring the same idea to self hosted wordpress blogs too, now that would be amazing…

Diso the project all about this went quiet back in 2010 it seems, which is a shame.

I fear Matt Mullenweg the great guy that he is, may not be able to provide the ultimate standing. The im.wordpress relies on wordpress.com too much for my liking. It would be great if there was a way to do most of the piping through other distributed means. I’d also love to see the ability to post comments/feedback through im? And why not? You got the persons details, and you can subscribe to the comments, why not replies?

Matt had to said recently in GigaOM

The Internet needs a strong, independent platform for those of us who don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s domain. I like to think that if we didn’t create WordPress something else that looks a lot like it would exist. I think Open Source is kind of like our Bill of Rights. It’s our Constitution. If we’re not true to that, nothing else matters.

The independent web is growing quite a bit. Although we have these great cloud servers for WordPress, the software that people run and install themselves is still as popular as ever. Our services are bringing more people online, but they’re also bringing more people who want to own their own space on the web–they want to own a house instead of rent an apartment. When we were first starting out, I thought, “Downloading and uploading software, managing databases, no one wants to do that.” But it turns out, a lot of people do.

Lets hope he follows through on that thinking…

Mydreamscape the alpha framework which powers it

Inception Lego

James (my savvy neighbor) said mydreamscape is like the Flashforward Mosaic project. And he’s not far wrong. I’ve been calling it the flickr for dreams but the Dream Mosaic project seems like a better description (if you seen Flashforward of course)

So after all the thinking about what to use to get mydreamscape up and running, I think I’ve finally come to a decision.

( WordPress + Buddypress ) + digress = mydreamscape.com

I tried out elgg but felt it wasn’t developed enough for what I trying to do. So I’m using WordPress 3.01 as the base install, buddypress which adds a social networking system on top of wordpress then digress as the annotation technology. I had planned to use the W3C’s Annotea Server but it looks like a real pain to setup and it would require a series of browser plugins to use effectively. This might not be so bad, but its off putting for most people and frankly with javascript and html you can achieve quite a bit. Enough to be better that comments but not so much its becomes academic.

Right now I’m struggling with the wordpress themes because buddypress and digress each have there bits and its a matter of getting them to work together in one single theme. Once I got that going I’ll be going signing up a couple of alpha users. If your interested in the alpha, drop me a email.

Converting posts from Blojsom/WordPress to Moveabletype

I had to write this because for weeks now I’ve been trying to convert blog entries between different blogging services.

The first one was converting Blojsom to WordPress, but this wasn’t too bad because both work around the RSS 2.0 format. Getting the comments, tags, metadata out and into the rss 2.0 feed was a real pain and I’m convinced I dropped a load of trackbacks and pingbacks in the process. This is another reason why I started using Disqus for all my comments.

The harder task was moving blog entries from WordPress to MoveableType. Yes I expect most of you are wondering why I would move from a far superior system to something which most people left in the dirt ages ago. Well unfortunately we still use MT on the bbc.co.uk/blogs platform and that means as backstage moves to the official blog platform, some mug had to find a way to down convert to MT 4.1 which only imports/exports in this crazy text only format.

So after lots of looking around, I finally found a XSL which I modified to do the job from a stripped down WordPress WXR file (RSS2.0 with lots of WP namespaces stuff). Its important that you strip down the WXR file as it might not be valid XML, so no XSL transform is going to work. I also took a bit of time to write a XSL to remove most of the namespaces elements or convert them into a more valid RSS 2.0 element. You can do the same with lots of finds and replaces, so I won’t post the simple XSL.

Hopefully this will save others a lot of time in the future, if your faced with the same problem.

Hello 2010, welcome to the new blog

2010

So I finally decided to switch my blog to wordpress and on top of that I was able to install storytlr open source.

I’m still in the process of doing all the redirects and general cleaning up but its coming together quite nicely. Once its all stable I’m hoping to spend some time sorting out the styles and themes.

Getting the entries out of Blojsom was easy as pie but then converting them into a format which WordPress wouldn’t barf on was a big problem. In the end I wrote a throw away XSL to do it, because it WordPress didn’t like namespaced elements or generally anything over the standard RSS 2.0 elements. I did manage to push over the Categories and Tags but had to split them apart in WordPress later.

My whole thing is hosted with GoDaddy on their new European Servers and will be quite slow while it caches all requests.

I love Blojsom but I never upgraded to version 3.x which required a database to work. With the need for a database, it meant the ground between WordPress and blojsom was a less so. Then add cheap hosting, amazing plugins, themes and community. And its pretty much a no brainer. I also found that less and less blog editors are supporting Blojsom (some kind of metaweblog xmlrpc category issue). So now I’m able to use Bilbo which is a KDE editor with support for pretty much everything WordPress allows. I’m also able to use Google Gears which is useful when offline.

This was also a chance to get a little more serious about my blogging and footprint online. Hence I’m really hoping to stretch what storytlr can do for me and some of the projects I have for it.

In the meantime, let me know if you see anything very weird which I may have missed….

MT? you might as well be dead to me

From Fowa, do you trust these people?

I've heard about the problems but have not publiclly said much. But I'm sorry as far as I'm concerned, I stopped recommending Movable Type a long time ago and can't understand why people still use it. Suw's post on strange attractor is simply awesome and well worth reading if you also recieved the email from Sixapart. But generally it doesn't scale effectively, and I'm not saying many blogging servers do. But I wonder why everyone seems to think there are only 2 blogging application servers out there?

What about Blojsom, Community Server, Dasblog, B2, Roller, etc. Theres much more to blogging servers that MT and WordPress. Go Explorer, don't be constrained by whats the norm. Thom Shannon recommended http://asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htm

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