Calling all blog developers

Since it’s Friday and hardly anyone reads this between Friday and Sunday I’m doing this for my own benefit.

This is a call to all blog software developers. You may think that your blog software is the greatest but it’s not. What we need is some standards across all blog software platforms.

Importing and Exporting: Stop locking people into your software. You may think that people would never stop using your software but there’s always another software around the corner that just might be better than yours. Since most blogs will import entries from Movable Type I think they should all export in the MT format as well. Right now I’m stuck in WordPress. Not that there’s anything wrong with WP but I just don’t like being tied into one software format. I’ve tried the WP to MT export scripts but so far I have yet to get one to import properly.

Subscribing to comments: When I leave a comment on someone else’s blog it’s nice to receive an e-mail when someone else replies to it. A lot of blog developers think this is unnecessary and an RSS reader should be used instead. That’s all well and good but more people don’t use RSS readers that do. Plus I don’t want a line in my RSS reader for each comment I’ve subscribed to. I’ve left thousands of comments on hundreds of blogs. I don’t want a line on my RSS reader for each of those comments that I’ve left. This is a standard feature on PMachine and Serendipity. A plugin is available for WordPress. There used to be one for MT but since they went to 3.0 I don’t know.

Permalinks: The URL’s to blog entries should be uniform so when someone moves from one platform to another their URL’s will stay the same. Personally, I think WordPress’ URL’s are the best. It goes domain/archives/date/entry-title. Seems simple enough to implement.

Toggle options: While the developers may think something is a great option or feature the user may not. Since I’m not a PHP or Perl guru I would rather just click a button to turn a function on or off and not have to alter any code. For example, in WordPress, if you want a pop-up comment window you have to remove part of the code. Granted it’s labeled real easily within the code but I’d rather not mess with the code. In Serendipity trackbacks are automatically pinged whether you want them to be or not. To turn it off you have to alter the code. While I may be comfortable doing that someone else may not be.

Not that any of these platforms are bad, with the possible exception of MT 3.0, but I just think there should be some kind of blog industry standards. Trust me if I had the time to learn how to write scripts I would at least try to develop my own. (Hmmmm. TrenchBlog? Trenchpress? Movable Trench?)

Movable Type meets the Resistable Price

In case you haven’t heard Movable Type has released version 3.0. The problem is there are some catches. First of all they’re now charging some steep prices. There is a free version but it only allows one author on 3 weblogs. This sucks for some of the group blogs I read that are on MT. There’s now no way to upgrade from 2.XX to 3.0 and have multiple authors without having to pay. And there are no available versions of 2.XX left to download. I understand that Six Apart is a business and they are entitled to make as much money as they want but I think they are in the process of disillusioning what used to be a very loyal fan base. I used MT for two years and was very happy with it. However, I got tired of waiting for 3.0 and as my entries grew in number it took forever to do a rebuild of my site any time I did some kind of modification to it. So not too long ago I made the jump to WordPress. For once my timing is impeccable. It’s free open source software which could even be used for commercial use. No limit to users. It does not support multiple blogs but I now believe it’s better that if you’re running multiple blogs to have them be independent of each other. Importing my MT entries took no time and was a snap. WP comes with a built-in MT entry importer. The documentation for WP isn’t as extensive as MT’s used to be but you can usually find what information you need from the user forums. Be warned though, just because you were a wiz at MT does not make you a WP expert. They are written in two entirely different codes. But as I said you can usually find what you’re looking for in the user forum.

MT used to be the standard. I thank them for the years of service but the ship is sinking and this rat jumped off a long time ago.