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.
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.