Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


Structured Blogging is official

It's been announced, so now Structured Blogging 1.0(pre-X) is official!

Doing a Technorati search for seems to be the easiest way to see what people are saying at the moment. I'll try to respond to some of the comments here.

(But first, I should mention again the other developers working on the project - the people who wrote most of the code: Kimbro Staken [MCD libraries, WP plugin, Amazon/etc lookups], Chad Everett [MT plugin] and Shelley Powers []. And of course Marc Senasac [UI design] and Marc Canter [microcontent mastermind].)

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Rohit Khare of CommerceNet is happy SB now uses microformats. The plugin still does the XML-inside-<script> thing, but it's no longer the only way of getting access to the structured data. It's up to developers to choose: some will prefer to read the XML chunk for the convenience, or to get as much depth as possible from a structured blog entry, while others will go for maximum reach by looking at the microformatted data.

That said, the MCD system is fairly flexible, so if you want to make an forms-style application that generates a particular format of XML, you may be able to define an MCD file to do it for you... which you can then send off to other people using the SB plugin, who will make posts using the MCD, which you then aggregate. In that case microformats, or anyone else's standard, aren't relevant - you just want a convenient way to publish some XML which you or your company cares about. If it turns into something other people want to work with, then you can define a microformat for it, and change the MCD to support that.

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Dan Farber @ ZDNet: Structured blogging initiative taking off.

Frank Gruber was there.

Both of these pieces mention the invalid XHTML / RSS we're generating. Oops! The XHTML is a known problem; Danny Ayers noticed it a week or so ago and I did some work to get the then-current code to generate XHTML that was valid XML, but the validator is a bit pickier and it complains loudly when you put any unknown elements in the document, even if they're inside <script> tags. IMHO this is a problem with the validator (check this out: Line 78 column 190: there is no attribute "xmlns"!), but maybe I just don't know my XHTML well enough, so if anyone can enlighten me as to how to get the validator to not complain about what seems to me to be properly namespaced XML, please leave a comment here.

I see that we've slipped a little since that point and are now publishing XHTML that is invalid XML as well. I'll make sure that gets fixed.

I wasn't aware of the invalid RSS, but it looks like that will be pretty trivial to fix the real issues there - we'll just skip generating the <enclosure> element unless the file size and file type are properly filled out (in future: detected) and make all the URLs absolute. The warning about the <script> is more troublesome, but we'll sort something out.

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Thomas van der Wal: "it may be one of the brightest ideas of 2005". Wow!

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Jeff Clavier describes the launch in some detail.

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Ross Mayfield's personal take is this bottom-up approach won't degrade into Semantic Fuzz, but that not all users will want to spend the time to add all the metadata. Ross: PubSub has found so far that the users don't really care about the metadata, they just want to be able to publish reviews and events and have them look different from normal posts. The new SB plugin has an improved facility for looking up metadata on books, movies etc, which may be enough to get users to click on 'review' and 'movie' before writing a movie review... we'll see; I bet they'll be keeping a close eye on the new content being published!

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Rod Boothby wants to get involved. Rod, what you want to do is download one of the plugins and take a look at the MCD files that define the structured data. You might be able to leverage one of the plugins to collect some of the data you want, and to put it into the XML format you want.

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Bernard Moon from GoingOn mentions the announcement. The GoingOn Network will include structured publishing using the Structured Blogging system, I think. GoingOn sponsored the UI development... although I had to tone it down quite a bit to make it fit in to WP and MT :-)

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Yiibu is in... we've been having a good conversation about how this all fits together with their concept of 'stacking' smaller bits of content together to create meaningful stuff.

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Marc-Olivier Peyer à "l'annonce qu'ils ont faite hier soir à San Francisco est d'une importance capitale pour l'avenir du blog".

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Richard MacManus sums it all up on Read/WriteWeb.

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Final note: v1.0pre9 has been built and sent off, so it should be up on the site when the New Yorkers get up in the morning :-)

Update: More notes over here...

Update 2: #1 on memeorandum! Excellent!

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Structured Blogging plugins - v1.0pre8

We've been cranking today - 40 checkins to Subversion from three developers :-)

I just sent off v1.0pre8 of the Structured Blogging Movable Type and Wordpress plugins to the New York team, so they'll be up on the site in a few hours, in time for the announcement at the Syndicate conference in San Francisco.

It's starting to look pretty good. This release supports media RSS, and the following microformats:

  • hReview
  • hCalendar
  • hCard
  • relLicense
  • XOXO

To come in the next few days:

  • iTunes RSS
  • relTag
  • XFN (maybe)

Now that it's not under wraps any more, we're starting to talk to people. I've got onto the Wordpress wp-hackers list (thanks for the pointer, Phil R) to see about getting some bits included in WP 2.0 so we can get rid of some of the cruft in the plugin. Just about to post to microformats-discuss to let them know what's going on and see what they think of our microformat support.

Fun times...

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