August 9, 2007

Blogging Factory

Earl Moore writes a detailed discussion in Meandering Passage on Tinderbox: My Blogging Factory.

His first point is one too seldom mentioned when we talk about weblogs: the place you need the computer to help isn't in designing the page or serving it. We need help with the hard part of blogging: writing. Moore uses WordPress for his weblog. What he needed, and built with Tinderbox, was a tool to keep track of what he was researching, what he was writing, and what he was blogging:

Moore literally builds an idea factory, with adornments for Receiving, Manufacturing, Packing, and Shipping. New ideas and links go to the adornment labeled "Receiving", which adds some metadata to mark status and timestamps. When it's time to start an article, the parts are dragged into the Manuifacturing Department. Finished articles go to Packing — Moore, a manufacturing veteran, calls it "pre-staging" — where they are held for at least 24 hours, giving time for editorial review and second thoughts. Then, on to Shipping and the queue for posting to the Web.

Tinderbox's spatial mapping and color coding help make relationships clear without getting in the way of the unpredictable process of research and writing. Small assistants are easy to add as well; for example, Moore wants to add an agent to the Packing Department that will set an alarm if an article has been waiting for more than 24 hours. "I like," Moore concludes, "that Tinderbox encourages you to think about your data, and provides the tools to let you look at it your way."