March 24, 2005
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Structured Blogging

The PubSub people have launched Structured Blogging, which advocates "making a movie review look different from a calendar entry. On the surface, it’s as simple as that - formatting blog entries around their content."

I find the advocacy site a bit vague. The underlying message is one of the driving forces for Tinderbox blogs. In Tinderbox, it's easy to create a BookReview post, which is distinct from a LoveStory post, a Diary, a TravelNote, or whatever you write about. You just say, "this is a a prototypical TravelNote", and then whenever you add a post you can select "TravelNote" from a popup menu to make a new post "just like that one".

Please, people: sign your weblogs! There's an entire page in this site about "Who's behind it", which never gets around to saying just who is behind it. You've got to go over to PubSub, and then follow the About tab, and then find and follow the Management category, before you ever get to a name.

The actual scheme Structured Blogging currently advocates seems a sort of a hash, using the SCRIPT tag to embed custom XML markup inside HTML pages. If some randomly large firm said, "let's embed Word documents in all our Web pages, so they can look better and we can process them more effectively", well, that'd be pretty much the same thing. Thanks, Dave Winer, for the link.

Here's where Tinderbox architecture helps us a lot. Tinderbox runs on your machine, it knows what your data wants to be, it's free to use your CPU and your screen and it doesn't have to share with a million other people who are writing their own stuff. When you have stuff you want to publish, Tinderbox can go ahead and publish it appropriately -- in as many formats as you like. Server-side writing tools, in short, make it hard to offer lots of flexible services to writers.