Today Tom Lazar will host a BOF about how to improve blogging in Plone and I think we all agree that this is indeed a very important topic. And because I was thinking about this topic before and also discussed some ideas with Tom (a year back or so) I thought about listing some issues and possible solutions here.
So what’s wrong with blogging in Plone right now? Mainly I think it’s commenting, at least this is the reason why I switched my COM.lounge TV blog to WordPress. With Quills I had several problems back then. Some might be due to the version I used (it simply seemed to be bugs) but the most important was trackback spam actually. Moreover some things seemed a bit unpractical like not being able to edit the publish date (I had stuff to import once and wanted to change it’s date back to when it once was posted).
I also started collecting some commenting use cases and requirements on the sprint wiki on the commenting page. But let’s list some more stuff which would be nice:
Blogging in general
- enable every content or folder to be turned into a blog. This was an idea I had a while back and it seemed that Tom had it, too :-) It probably is simply about adding some marker interface to a folder to enable various blogging features.
- If a folder is marked as a blog it might enable a blogging API for using a blog editor (I recommend Flock).
- If a folder is marked as a blog it might have technorati tags as a viewlet available (some KSS magic for editing them might be nice as well and is something I tried to implement at the Snow Sprint as a portlet and viewlet but ran into some problems of the early KSS)
- enable blogging APIs (the more we can provide the better) to also edit non-blog content, like normal pages or news items (what’s the difference anyway?). This was something Tom was mentioning to me I think back in Seattle or the Archipelago sprint. This indeed might be nice to have although most blogging editors of course miss some sort of navigation feature as they expect only a blog which in fact is only one folder.
- Enable simple statistics on your blog. It would be nice to directly be able to see a rough click count per entry a la WordPress, the same would be nice for your RSS subscribers.
- Provide a new view for blog folders in which it lists things like permalinks, dates, comments etc. on each blog post.
- Enable a „more“ section on posts which doesn’t show up in the overview listing or the RSS feed.
- Enable a feed per category (should be easily doable with collections but making it even easier for end-users or even automatic might be nice)
I am still not sure whether there should be categories and tags or simply one of these categorization means but both probably makes sense (with tags being more granular). Then the question is still what will be mapped to the existing keywords in Plone.
As mentioned above this is the big topic. So again, what would be nice?
- Make it possible to plug in various spam protection components. The most important would be Akismet but also nice would be Captchas, Math-Questions etc.
- Enable moderation on comments and make it configurable when to moderate them (e.g. only moderate them if they contain more than 3 links) (possible via content rules?)
- Enable email notification on new or to be moderated comments (again content rules)
- Enable comments to be left by anonymous users
- Enable RSS feeds of comments
- Enable OpenID login for leaving comments
- Having an overview of all the comments of a certain subtree of your site.
- Have a batch editing feature (mark them as spam, delete them, approve them or disapprove them is what WordPress offers here. We probably could use any Plone workflow here)
- Make the comment form sort of configurable which fields are asked for for the comment (URL, E-Mail, more?)
- Make the whole commenting system exchangeble (which is probably done anyway as it most likely will be some adapter for content)
Of course spam protection is evenly important for trackbacks which in fact could be handled as comments as well.
There is the whole syndication question but lots of work seems to be underway on this project already and this is something which is interesting for the whole Plone project in general. Regarding blogs and podcasts it would be nice of course if you can automatically create enclosures maybe a la Feedburner. It might also be nice to be able to rewrite the RSS URL of a certain part of the site to use Feedburner. Thus one would need one more private RSS feed URL which you enter at Feedburner and the public feedburner one to show on the site.
So this evening we will have that BOF. Everybody in Naples who is interested in the blogging story should do so! I also hope to see some of you at the commenting sprint!
And if we all get finished wouldn’t it be nice if everybody could have a blog on plone.org? Would also solve the „But I don’t want to use PHP and I don’t want to have wordpress in my domain name“ question (although think also about this: Having a blog on WordPress.com also means to have it seen by more people as they might stumble across it on that site).
See you later then and kudos to Tom et al to keep the Quills development up!