Blogging visions

A while ago, Dave Winer asked: What’s next in writing tools for weblogs? I was tempted to comment on this myself, but never got around to it, and got lost in the debates. Today, Phil Windley points to Lisa Williams who has published a great summary of the debate in her Weblog Wishlist Manifesto.

Phil writes:

My personal wish is to be more easily create entries on my blog. I’ve cobbled together some bookmarklets and whatnot to help create content (like the quote just above) but I still spend far too much time cutting and pasting URLs, etc. and typing HTML.

Amen to that.

One of the areas I have been looking into for a while is TTW WYSIWYG editors, that is, editors that work ‘through the web’. For a long time, there were problems with cross-browser/platform support, but it seems things are changing. Microsoft Internet Explorer’s designMode feature has been embraced by Mozilla. See the Midas spec, examples and demos.

I have recently integrated HTMLArea Version 3.0 (beta) which works in IE 5.5+ (Windows) and Mozilla 1.3 (all OS) into a CMS I run. It works best in Firefox. I am tempted to use it in MovableType now. That is, if I don’t decide to leave MT, but that’s another story …

Bookmarklets, yes. They are not optimal, but can be great. It’s a pity about the lack of cross-browser support. I’m still struggling with porting my old MSIE bookmarklets to my new favorite browser (FireFox).

Hmmm. This post is written in Zempt, a Windows-client. It’s a nice little tool, but not wysiwyg. Rather than building tools in the browser, it might be better to build stand-alone clients, and interface with the blogging tools by web services or open apis.

Another item on my wish list is about semantics. I ought to use more semantic markup in my posts, and would like tool that would make it easier to add. Bookmarklets or popup menus/windows, maybe even context-sensitive menus we know from HTML-editors and development tools. In this genre, readers of my blog on the web might have noticed a new feature, with a new special markup of abbreviations and acronyms like HTML and XML. Another cool MT-plugin. The database is unfortunately a flatfile thingy, but I guess I should look at automating it, maybe interoperative with our Reference Profile.

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