Cool JDIC embedded native browser screenshot

Geertjan's got a very cool screenshot of (what looks like) Mozilla embedded in Netbeans via the JDIC project's Embedded Browser Component.

Atom Publishing Protocol - Draft 06

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I've been writing a book RSS and Atom in Action on developing applications with RSS, Atom and other blog technologies. I finished writing a couple of months ago except for one chapter, the one that covers the Atom protocol. I can't finish that chapter until the Atom protocol is stable. With Draft 06, which was posted today, I think I might just have the stability I need.

Tonight I'll start working on updating my Atom client (that's the Chapter 8 example in my Blogapps project) and my Atom server (in the Roller sandbox). Once I'm done, I'll make a Blogapps examples and demo server release so that folks can try my client and server with other developing Atom protocol implementations. approved

It took a bit longer than I expected, but my Blogapps project was just approved on Java.Net. I didn't realize that I had to upload some content for review by the community masters. As soon as I uploaded my code an put up a front page, the project was reviewed and approved.

At the moment, you can only get the Blogapps Java code and you can only get it via CVS. There are Ant built scripts and README files that tell you how to build and run the examples. Next up: some reasonable docs, the C# examples, and a real release. I'll release a build of the examples and the Blogapps demo server (the standalone Roller, JSPWiki Tomcat, and HSQLDB bundle). Here's the project summary:

Blogapps - Useful RSS/Atom examples and utilities

This project hosts the examples and utilities from the Manning Publications book RSS and Atom In Action. These examples and utilities are designed to be useful even if you haven't read the book. They're available under the Apache License 2.0 so you can use the code in your applications and you can modify and redistribute them as you wish (as long as you adhere to the Apache license). We're hosting them here to make it easy to support, maintain and improve them in response to user and reader feedback.

Here's a summary of the current examples and utilities

  • ch02 - BlogPoster: Simple XML-RPC example
  • ch05 - AnyFeedParser: Newsfeed parsing examples and the AnyFeedParser
  • ch06 - FileDepot: Newsfeed generation examples
  • ch07 - BlogClient: Blog client library and MetaWeblog API implementation
  • ch08 - BlogClient2: Atom examples and blog client library implementation
  • ch09 - PlanetRoller: Planet Roller aggregator
  • ch10 - Tapi2opml: OPML Technorati client and OPML example
  • ch11 - Cross poster: posts all items from list of newsfeeds to a blog
  • ch12 - Mail blogger: posts items that arrive in an email inbox
  • ch13 - Blog mailer: emails digest of recent blog posts every 3 days
  • ch14 - Ant blogger: Ant tasks for posting and uploading files to a blog
  • ch15 - Blogbot: IRC chat robot that blogs on command
  • ch16 - FileCaster: simple podcast server with file-upload
  • ex01 - FeedPoster: posts digest of recent blog posts
  • Blogapps Demo Server: Demo blog/wiki server based on Roller/JSPWiki links [October 28, 2005]

Roller 2.0 goes live on

Linda Skrocki: Dave and Allen just promoted Roller 2.0 to A couple of the hot new features are group blogging (one weblog - multiple authors) and lots of user interface enhancements that Josef (UI/UE guru) helped the team iterate.

Kudos to Dave, Allen, Josef & the rest of the Roller development team!
And there was much rejoicing! You'll hear more about Roller 2.0 as we try to coax a release out of the Apache Incubator. links [October 27, 2005]

State of spam prevention in Roller

I've started a proposal for improving spam prevention measures in Roller. I posted the first part of the proposal on the Roller wiki, which covers the state of spam prevention in Roller (as of Roller 2.0, which is just about ready for release). Later this week, I'll propose specific features and bug fixes to address Roller's limitations in this area.

What the Flock!?!

David Czarnecki explains why Flock's blog editor doesn't work with Drupal, Blojsom, Roller and (probably) many other blog servers. Flock is sending an integer for the publish parameter when it should be sending a boolean. Here's the bug report.

Red state rebels

Town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Town Council that the Council hereby petitions the Bush Administration and Congress to immediately end the war in Iraq, re-establish a progressive tax code, curtail end favoritism toward corporate interests, develop responsible policies focused on renewable energy, and commit to priorities that reflect the common good.
According to Sally Greene, "the Town Council enthusiastically and unanimously passed" the resolution.

AdSense: the death of Google?

Both Niall Kennedy and Joel Spolsky have written interesting posts on the Google spam-blog connection today. I really don't understand why Google hasn't done more to shut down the spammers down. They're gaming Google's system and Google's passing the cost to the advertisers. On second thought, maybe they're taking it out of my AdSense check and maybe it's time to try something else. Eventually, advertisers will catch on. As Spolsky says: "AdSense will ruin Google's reputation among advertisers, something which could be deadly."

Testing the Ecto blog with Roller 2.0

I haven't tried the Ecto blog client in quite a while and I've gotta say, it looks really nice. It's got a WYSIWYG rich-text editor, spell checking and automatic image upload, which makes things easy, but it also has a bunch of advanced features like iPhoto, iTunes, and Flickr integration. It's going to take a while to explore all of the features because it really tries to do a lot.

I've tested Ecto before with Roller 1.x and it worked fine. It also works with Roller 2.0 and recognizes multiple blogs if you have them. The only problem with Ecto? It only runs on Windows and Mac OS.

Here's a good summary of the Ecto feature set: ecto and MarsEdit

posted with ecto logo

Now that I've got StarOffce 8, I need to get my hands on the StarOffice blogger addon and give that a spin.

RSS Crossing into the Mainstream

I missed it when it came out at the start of the month, but Yahoo's RSS whitepaper RSS -- Crossing into the Mainstream presents some very interesting numbers.

Somebody, and I can't remember who it was, said that RSS/Atom newsfeeds won't be widely accepted until they are invisible. That makes a lot of sense to me. I've had a very difficult time convincing my (computer savvy) friends and family to use newsfeed readers. The Yahoo numbers back that idea up. Of the 31% of online users that use RSS, 27% are unaware of RSS.

According to the study, My Yahoo! is the most widely used RSS aggregator around. The reasons for that? First, My Yahoo! itself is popular and second, My Yahoo! makes RSS invisible. You don't "subscribe to RSS newsfeeds with your aggregator" -- nobody knows what that means. Instead, you just "Add to My Yahoo!" and you do it secure in the knowledge that you can opt-out at any time by pressing that little X button on your My Yahoo! page.

Newsgator is another company that's working to make RSS invisible. Newsgator's enterprise newsfeed server has MS Exchange integration so that administrators can direct newsfeeds right into folders in MS Outlook without the end-users doing anything or even knowing that RSS is involved.

So, RSS ain't simple. For most users, the way to make RSS palatable is to make it go away. 2.0 is available


Congrats to the folks

Back to Roller

Raible's got a timely find on this first morning of BlogOn 2005, a happy Roller user who writes (and I'm picking the same except that Raible did):

Roller, on the other hand, uses things like Hibernate to abstract away queries from the underlying DB implementations, and Velocity to separate out the display logic from the business logic. And blogging software does have business logic, or a model; blog entries and categories and tags and authentication and the manipulation thereof are not simple. As a result, I see features being added to Roller that I'm surprised to see happening so quickly.

There's a surprising (or perhaps not so surprising) number of PHP programs, intricate ones at that, that have developers who didn't bother to abstract away the database layer, and wrote DB-vendor-dependent queries. That's a pretty horrible thing to do, since it ties you quite firmly down to one DB (in many cases MySQL). The SQL code is often very tightly integrate with the display code; it's bad enough in the business layer, but the view layer as well? Good gods.

Very nice. Architecture is only one of the many reasons you should consider Roller for any large or "enterprise blogging" installation. And it's only one of the reasons that Roller is advancing so quickly; some great developers have joined the team recently (Allen Gilliland and Elias Torres for example) and we've got demanding bloggers at both Sun Microsystems and IBM pushing us along.

Tags: topic:{technorati}[BlogOn], topic:{technorati}[BlogOn2005], topic:{technorati}[Roller Weblogger], topic:{technorati}[Enterprise Blogging], topic:{technorati}[Sun Microsystems], topic:{technorati}[IBM]

Made it to NYC for BlogOn 2005

It's my first time back in New York in about nine years. I lived up in White Plains for several years when I worked for Nynex Science & Tech. Now I'm back for BlogOn 2005. and I'm looking forward to a great conference. I spent the day walking around the city. I made it from Grand Central Station down to "ground zero" and then about half-way back before I wimped out and hopped on the subway.

Tags: topic:{technorati}[BlogOn], topic:{technorati}[BlogOn2005], topic:{technorati}[NYC]


I just started a new project at Java.Net to host the example code from my upcoming book RSS and Atom in Action. The examples include parsers, a Swing-based BlogClient (for MetaWeblog API and Atom Protocol), the standalone Roller Planet aggregator (which powers Triangle Blogs and the The Daily Mink), and lots of others. I'll also use it to distribute the Blogapps Demo Server, which is a standalone blog/wiki server based on Tomcat, Roller, JSPWiki and HSQLDB. (Don't tell anybody at Java.Net, but most of the examples are in both Java and C#). I haven't uploaded any code yet; I hope to get to that this weekend.

Atom Protocol draft 05

There's a new draft of the Atom Protocol available and I've already started working on updating my client (the BlogClient example from my upcoming book RSS and Atom in Action) and server (in the Roller sandbox) implementations. Surprisingly, the new spec doesn't look all that different from the previous one, so perhaps a weekend of work will do the trick.

You can't manage a community

Jim Grisanzio has written up a wonderful summary of lessons learned from his work in the Open Solaris community. He wrote it for the many teams at Sun that are involved in open source projects and open source community building, but it looks like good reading for just about anybody in the software industry today.

Tags: topic:{technorati}[Open Solaris], topic:{technorati}[Open Source], topic:{technorati}[Community Building]

Time to give again

Red Cross logo

Please help the survivors of the earthquake disaster in southern Asia by donating to the Red Cross.

Converge Trip Report #3: Satuday

I spent Friday and Saturday in Greensboro, NC at the ConvergeSouth 2005 conference. I had a great time meeting fellow NC bloggers and attending talks on community building, blogging and journalism, collaboration, blog tools and podcasting. The next couple of posts will be my trip report, based on my notes and recollections. This is final installment #3 of 3.

Saturday, the focus of the ConvergeSouth conference was new media and "creativity on the web for all people" and the format was Dave Winer blogcon style "un-conference." That means there's a moderator with no prepared talk or slides who briefly introduces a topic and then the audience engages in a blog-like conversation on the topic. Interesting idea and it can work well, but I still like the old tried-and-true "expert gives engaging, insightful and interesting talk" format of conference and fortunately some of the speakers at Converge did too.

Policing the Media, Duncan Black

The first talk I attended was Policing the Media led by Duncan Black. After a fairly long introduction, he went into the blogcon format. In his introduction Duncan explained that he wants to improve the media. We deserve better. He had a litany of complaints and didn't try to capture them all. Traditional (and I'm assuming he means print) journalists ignore the rest of the media: talk radio, cable news networks, and partisan news outlets. Journalists won't admit mistakes. They don't do proper fact checking.

After his intro, Duncan didn't really get any objections from the audience and in fact the first question was from a newspaper guy who asked how papers can collaborate with bloggers. Some suggestions were to use bloggers as stringers, to use hyperlinks, and to look at what The Raleigh News and Observer is doing with its blogs and specifically Tarheel Blogwatch. From there the conversation moved to stories of policing the media, the most memorable one involved the issue of hot topic voting machines. I must say, the blogcon format worked pretty well for this talk.

Collaboration, Jimmy Wales

The next talk was on collaboration by Jimmy Wikipedia Wales. It was a traditional presentation, not blogcon format, a complete history and status report on Wikipedia and closely related projects like WikiNews and Wiktionary.

I was most interested in the discussion of real time peer review and the techniques used to keep the wiki vandals and spammers at bay. The Wikipedia folks are able to correct damage and ban the attacker within a minute of an attack. That's great, but is pretty depressing how many people they have working on "recent changes patrol." That's why I keep the Roller wiki locked down and only give username/password access to people I know. Jimmy mentioned the need for a global blacklist of spammers and vandals and that Wikipedia is the logical place to maintain such a blacklist. Roller really needs a good blacklist (for comment/trackback spam), especially now that Jay Allen has stopped maintaining MT-Blacklist.

Tools & the Future, Dave Winer

This was an open blogcon style session centered on the question what do you want from the tools. Much of the discussion was dominated by a couple of complete newbies who just wanted things to be easier, but didn't have any concrete suggestions. That's fine I guess. It confirms what I think most folks working on blogging tools already know: ease of use and simplification are the top-priority (well, ok, maybe they come second to spam-prevention). Here are the most useful suggestions that I heard during the session.

  • Ability to annotate podcasts and provide metadata
  • Easy point-and-click audio and video blogging
  • Automatic hyperlinks
  • Built-in spell checking
  • Interactive and comprehensive how-to tutorial for new bloggers
  • Better directories to help us find interesting blogs
  • Better ways to index and query the blogs

I don't think the blogcon format worked very well in this session. We would all have benefitted from a little better preparation and a little more steering. See also: Kevin Howarth's notes from this session.

Podcasting, Herb Everett

This session was a basic overview of podcasting. While it was interesting to hear Herb's experiences, I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already know about podcasting. Talking to some podcasters after the session I learned that the Apple iTunes tags are pretty important nowadays (but have the bugs been worked out?). I'm wondering if Roller's podcast support should include them in addition to the standard <enclosure> tag. See also: Kevin Howarth's notes from this session.

Dinner and conclusion

Saturday night, I attended one of the hosted dinners and finally got to meet Ed Cone, Greensboro blogger and one of the conference organizers. I've been reading Ed's blog ever since I discovered his Jerry Garcia interviews a couple of years back. Ed interviewed Jonathan Schwartz and Tim Bray just the other week, but didn't realize that is driven by homegrown North Carolina software.

That's it for my trip report. All and all a great experience. If you want to read more about the conference, check out conference organizer Sue Polinsky's list of posts on the topic and the Technorati tag ConvergeSouth.

Tags: topic:{technorati}[ConvergeSouth], topic:{technorati}[Journalism], topic:{technorati}[Podcasting], topic:{technorati}[Blogging]

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