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10:54:37 PM

With the release of Notes 7.0.2, and with it the IBM Blog template, there's been a lot of talk going on. And it's not just about the IBM Blog, either. Declan has debuted an early version of Blogsphere 3.0, which looks great! All this movement forward, and all this talk has made me start to think about what needs to come next.

I month ago, I made a spur of the moment suggestion of my own about the need for an @BlogPost function in Notes, but it's a suggestion for developers... and it's putting the cart before the horse.

In this thread on Volker's blog, Bruce suggested an OpenIBMBlog project on OpenNTF, and I countered with the idea of an IBM Blog Themes project... which Bruce promptly created. That's half the horse.

The other half is implied in what I believe is the answer to the question that Volker asked: How many IBMers are using the new IBM blog template, and how many are planning on moving to it? I have no idea what the actual answer is, but I strongly suspect it can be reasonably approximated as "not a lot, yet". I draw this conclusion because of what I presume is missing inside IBM-- the other half of the horse that we need to lead the cart: a deployment framework for Domino blogs. I presume it is missing inside IBM because if it were there I'm almost certain that someone would have mentioned it by now.

Rob Novak recently mentioned the idea of blogging in QuickPlace. It doesn't exist yet, but Rob notes potential demand for it. Why? Because QuickPlace is inherently a self-service deployment framework. Of course, unless QuickPlace blogging departed from the Domino web-only paradigm of the rest of QuickPlace, it wouldn't be Notes blogging, would it? It would be a good thing for companies that are invested in QuickPlace, though.

Now, I could be wrong, and it could be that a Notes-based blog deployment framework is being worked on in IBM -- officially, or perhaps unofficially -- and that would be great. In order for Notes-based blogging to really take off, it's absolutely got to be easy for people to start individual and group blogs, and it would help a lot if it was easy to customize them. It should be possible, with a reasonable number of clicks and screens, to deploy one blog. It should not be much more difficult to deploy twenty blogs for members of a team, 1000 blogs for every user on a particular mail server, or even 10,000 blogs for everyone in a company. A deployment framework should know how to deploy private, shared and internal public and external public blogs. It should provide a choice of templates, themes, and a wizard for doing basic customization. And of course it should maintain OPML and a categorized and tagged blogroll page to make it easy to find blogs.

Building the framework would be no small task. Open source would be great and I'd be interested in helping, though I'm not sure that I've got a lot of time for it; but I think there could be some possibilities for it as a commercial product, too. Anyhow, I just wanted to put the idea out there. It's not a new idea by any means, but this does seem to be an appropriate time to bring it back up.

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Comments :v

1. Steve Castledine10/05/2006 04:38:44 AM

I had this idea a while ago (community blog server that created an online community and made creating a new blog/wiki a click of the button) and started putting some "server side" code together to create "dominoblog" communites. I even registered as a domain name. In the end other projects got more of my time than this one so it never went anywhere.

With the theme thing at openntf - thats a great idea - I will obviously help on that.

2. Stu Downes10/05/2006 07:22:26 AM

I think the other area, apart from automated provision is to look at interlinked blogs (i.e. my personal business space is linked automatically to the team members space of any projects I work on, all the projects for a particular account are visible on an account page, and community pages for specialisms link to personal spaces and project spaces etc. etc.). The concept was first aired to me by Rod Boothby (he documents it here >> ). I posted on this recently and expanded on areas I think we can gain business benefit by adapting the Domino Blog template

3. Richard Schwartz10/05/2006 10:38:07 AM

@1, Steve: Pretty much same here. It's something I started work on, though from a Notes client perspective more than a web perspective, quite a while ago, but back-burnered in favor of paying work

@2, Stu: The interlink idea is very much part of what would be my "master plan". I actually wrote about it in a guest editorial in Advisor many years ago, referring to doclibs rather than blogs. I.e., deploying personal doclibs to every user, linking them to team doclibs, department doclibs, division and company doclibs, etc. With the ability to extend the approval process in the doclib template so that docs are moved or links are published after approval. Similar concepts could easily be applied in the blogging world.

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