GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkSNTT: Addressing The Aggregator vs. Technorati vs. Central Repository Issue
09:48:32 PM

I initially titled this post "Resolving The Aggregator vs. Technorati vs. Central Repository Issue", but in an effort to avoid being presumptious I changed "Resolving" to "Addressing". Let's just say that my goal here is to find some common ground. I'm not going to go back through the archives to figure out who said what, so no links to prior articles. Suffice it to say that there seems to be three schools of thought about how best to encourage as many people as possible to make Show 'n Tell Thursday posts while simultaneously making the posts as conveniently available as possible for as wide an audience as possible.

Some people are psyched about the idea of having every contributor post articles in their own blog. People without their own blog could submit guest contributions through any participating blogger. Count me as one of the people who like this idea. I've written the code, and it will be rolled out shortly. Each blog will need to support a special RSS or Atom feed for the contributions. Blogsphere users will simply have to assign their SNTT posts to a category, and the category feed functionality takes care of all the rest. (Well... almost all. They'll have to register the feed URL with the aggregator site. I've put a registration form into the aggregator code. Registrations will be screened to keep out spammers.) The feeds will all be pulled into a central aggregator site that can be browsed interactively, searched, and which provides a single outbound feed that anyone can subscribe to.

Some people, on the other hand are psyched about the idea of each contributor adding adding "Show and Tell Thursdays" as a Technorati tag to their contributions and sending out a ping. Anyone who wants to keep up with the contributions just has to go to the Technorati site and subscribe to the feed for the tag. Contributors whose software doesn't support tags and pings can add the tags manually, and pings can be sent through sites like Ping-o-Matic or by going directly to Technorati.

Some people favor the idea of a single site where contributors can post (or mail-in) their articles. That site would present a blog interface and support outbound feeds that anyone can subscribe to.

There is, I believe, some overlap of opinions already. In looking for common ground, I don't think I'm doing anything particular special.

And there is a common ground. All three of the ideas revolve around feeds. Individual blogs can support category feeds, Technorati supports feeds, and the central site will support feeds. An aggregator can pull them all in. The only problem will be resolving all three types of feeds properly so that

  • There is no duplication when a blogger has a categorized feed and also adds the Technorati tag, and...

  • There is consistency in attribution, so that if posts from people who provide their own feeds are identified by name, the same will be true for people who rely only on Technorati tags or who contribute through the common site.

This can be done. It can be done even though Technorati feeds don't provide quite the same information that is available for individual feeds. My aggregator software will require some modification. There will have to be a way for people to (optionally) tell the aggregator that their posts can be found in the Technorati feed, and I'll have to extend the code that links posts to feeds in a (child-parent relationship), but it won't be difficult. Without seeing the feed from any common posting site that might be created, I can't say exactly what I'd have to do in order to handle that in an equivalent fashion, but I'm sure that it can be done -- with just a little creativity and maybe a little bit of working together with whomever puts up that site this

The result will be a central SNTT aggregator site that pulls in articles from individual blogs, from Technorati tag feeds, and from a central repository. It can generate an outbound feed, too. And if anyone wants to add more value to the community by pulling in the feed and doing something interesting with it, that would be a bonus.

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Comments :v

1. Stu Downes03/10/2006 04:08:39 AM

Richard, I like the SNTT concept but personally find it a) too restrictive in timing and b) too broad in scope. I think your concept is an excellent method to push forward with a focussed aggregator. We as a community agree on a set of tags which act as a showcase, so SNTT could be the catch all. Then sub categories such as Domino, Notes, Sametime, Workplace, Improving Productivity with Lotus Technology etc. etc. etc. Have a single set of aggregated articles and feeds which could well become a single focus for bloggers, customers etc.....everyone still maintains their own site, or registers and blogs on the central site, but the focussed feeds mean I can for example subscribe to Sametime feeds and see all the feeds which have sametime in them - without the mess of using technorati or some of the blog search tools. Enough of my wibbling I hope you can see my thoughts there!

2. Chris Linfoot03/10/2006 11:08:13 AM

Rich - lets have your aggregator.

Technorati is badly broken and it isn't getting fixed. You'll never see all SnTT posts there. Mine are missing for a start though Technorati has at least indexed them - it just failed to spot the tags. Many others are missing from Technorati altogether.

Google Blog Search is much better but a dedicated aggregation solution would remove our dependence on third parties who have no real interest in a successful outcome.

3. Stu Downes03/10/2006 04:19:27 PM

Richard, having re-read my comment I think I need to clear my thoughts. Love you idea of an SNTT aggregator. Would love a site full of aggregator feeds so I can have an aggregated sametime feed, aggregated domino feed etc etc. I have to agree with Chris @2 in that Technorati is not the best for aggregating information.

4. Richard Schwartz03/10/2006 04:52:01 PM

@Stu: Categorized feeds is something I have in mind. My aggregator code already knows how to do that on a feed-by-feed basis -- but exactly how to implement this for SNTT is a little unclear. Some individuals may be posting a mix of SNTT tips on development, admin, sametime, workplace, etc., so a feed-by-feed categorization isn't really adequate unless we can get meta-information about each post. Blogsphere only supports a single category per post, and doesn't include the category data in feeds. I don't know what DX supports in that regard, but I'm guessing that we'd all have to do some sort of tagging and I'd have to modify the aggregator code to parse the tags.

I'm going to walk before I run. I'll have a single outbound feed at first. If we put our collective minds to it, though, I'm sure we can come up with a way to add categorization, tagging, filtering, or whatever best suits everyone's needs.

5. Steve Castledine03/11/2006 12:30:24 PM

Hi Rich - DX supports multiple categories - and/or seperate multiple technorati and has the category info in the RSS. So whichever way you guys go for - it should support it. If theres anything missing that you will need - then just let me know.



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