I considered printing this, but the preview showed it as 171 pages!
30 Apr 2004
30 Apr 2004
I think this is the article that founder Philip Greenspun originally had on his site but was required to remove under the terms of a settlement with the ArsDigita VCs.
30 Apr 2004
Some of the features you requested are being worked on. Threaded comments are already implemented in the development version of frassle and will be here soon. But the idea of building a blog that looks like your own blog, rather than a part of the frassle application, is very attractive. I have begun exploring this possibility, but I haven't got a complete enough design yet. Let me tell you what I've got so far, and maybe you or others have some suggestions.
The core functionality is called the Page Builder. Any frassle user can go into their Page Builder and create a new page. When you create a page, you choose a title and URL for it, along with a layout: 1-column, 2-column, or 3-column. You then get a pretty simple page with the layout you asked for, and can add stuff to the page by adding a block into a column.
A block contains a noteset, which is a set of notes (blog posts created in or aggregated into frassle) that match a certain expression. I'm using expression here in the programming sense—an expression is a written phrase that has some meaning. In this case, a noteset expression describes a set of notes using some of the following criteria:
- a particular note, selected by GUID/permalink
- notes from a particular feed
- notes from a particular category
- notes from categories with relevance of at least n% to a particular category (i.e. posts from a variety of feeds that are pertinent to e.g. blogging)
- notes of a particular length/word count
- notes that contain or don't contain some text
- notes that are responses some note or note-set
- notes that you posted as comments to another blog
- your suggestion here
The noteset language can describe each of these criteria and allows them to be combined in typical set-theoretic ways. For example, you might ask for all posts from my feed with under 10 words, to go into an "interesting links" block. Or you might ask for all posts from my feed that are not over 30% relevant to my computers category, in order to make a non-geek version of my blog.
You can think of the noteset language as a very powerful, expressive search. While the expressions themselves will probably look like this:
there will be a friendly interface that just builds these in the background. (A good UI to clone would be MS Outlook's filtering.)
The page builder is an interesting feature because it allows you to both build an aggregator page — something like Google news that shows you the latest happenings from blogs and news sources you care about — and build a custom view of your own frassle data. Other things you could do:
- Create a personal "dashboard" page, with relevant bookmarks, headlines from your best friends' blogs, and a to-do/to-read list
- Create something like Google News but with your own topics (I might have Blogging, Social Networks, Open Source Content Management, and Boston), based on frassle's related news feature
- Build a page for an online community, offering forums (just a frassle note in disguise) and latest content
But your suggestions about blog widgets got me thinking. In the backend, every block hits the frassle note database. But in the front end, we want lots of options. Given a noteset, you may want to display:
- a set of titles/links (headlines)
- the full note contents, possibly with links to add a comment, categorize, etc.
- a note excerpt
- just images(?)
who knows what else
Each of these implies a certain presentation of the noteset. I envision each being designed as a frassle plugin; if you want to create a new kind of view, you just create a plugin that renders a block. This allows a lot of flexibility—you could build a calendar widget, or a blogroll, or whatever—but keeps things pretty simple.
I think Movable type has a plugin architecture and we should learn from that. I have heard some complaints about it and we should especially learn from those.
The moon mission could be a community site for Envisioning the Future of Weblog Software, or as you suggest, converting Lisa to the frassle religion.
30 Apr 2004
29 Apr 2004
There's an interesting discussion about compulsory military service over at the EphBlog. It is in response to this Record op-ed by Daniel Gura, which argues for a draft on grounds of socioeconomic egalitarianism. I'm with EphBlog writer Dave Kane in his assessment of the article ("slipshod"). I thought Aidan Finley brought up an interesting point in the comments:
The bottom line here is simple: the upper socioeconomic classes don't, and shouldn't serve in war. Part of the incredible stupidity of the Great War was preferentially recruiting and killing the best and the brightest. America's never done that—cf. Vietnam—hell, in the Civil War, you could pay for someone else to fight for you. I think society has a compelling interest in only sending less advantaged brackets to the front. As our dear Gura himself admits, he's got dreams. "I hope to be working somewhere that will allow me to learn the skills to later in life be apart of the decisions that are made in our government." Yep, that's not a dream your average grunt has. Drafting Williams kids is a waste of resources, and a waste of time.
While some will interpret this as sarcasm, I took Aidan's post seriously. Although it sounds crass, think about it. It's certainly appealing to envision Ken Lay risking his own ass for the future of the worldwide energy supply, but since he's old, lazy, and demonstrably poor at following rules, he wouldn't be of much value as a soldier.
With a volunteer army, each individual who considers joining must weigh its risks against its benefits. You only need join if the risks are worth it for you. If you're wealthy or expect a wonderful fulfilling life, the small risk of death outweighs the potential gains (salary, benefits, education, tuition, etc.). But if you're poor and uneducated, maybe the army is a desirable alternative to delivering pizzas.
The notion that we should have a draft in order to improve the socioeconomic diversity of the military doesn't appeal to me. This is because I don't believe the makeup of the military, socioeconomically skewed though it is, is any more unjust than the socioeconomic makeup of fishermen or truck drivers (other professions with low pay and high death risk). National defense seems pretty fundamental, but wouldn't our way of life also be threatened without reliable trucking services and affordable lobster?
28 Apr 2004
This site was created to give you the opportunity to "try out" some of the best open source and free php/mysql based software systems in the world. You can log in as the administrator to any site here, thus allowing you to decide which system best suits your needs. Each system is deleted and reinstalled every two hours. This allows you to be the administrator of any system here without fear of messing anything up.
It's php/mysql only, but still, having a single place to try out tons of different CMSs is pretty cool.
28 Apr 2004
Paul Ford's fictional take on the semantic web.
Update 4/28: I read this article, and it's the same cheerful me-too semantic web kool-aid. We'll all be living in a beautiful taxonomically-described world, and somehow we'll agree on what terminology to use. Yeah right.
27 Apr 2004
You can look at what various people and groups of people are reading on the web here. You can get an account and add your own links, and create and join groups here too. If you get an account, or create a group, either one can be made private, so nobody but you (if a private account) or your fellow group members (if a private group) can see your links.
And, well, that's about it so far. More stuff is on its way though. Stay tuned. Join the list or drop us a line if you like.
27 Apr 2004
What Free Software hackers need to know about Microsoft's competition strategy.
27 Apr 2004
Danny Ayers on blogs as metadata. Right up frassle's alley.