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Jul 8, 2008

Get Started With Movable Type

Get Started With Movable Type

You recently decided hosted blogging is for the birds. You want more control over your blog's setup. In fact, you want total control over every last detail of your layout, functionality and design. So what do you do? Where do you turn?

One popular option is the Movable Type publishing system from Six Apart (other popular options include DrupalJoomla!, and Wordpress). Movable Type contains pretty much everything you need to get your own site up and running, plus the flexibility to get really obsessive over the details. Also, with a little creativity and some community-created plugins, you can power much more than just a reverse-chronological list of blog posts...

Which way will Twitter go?

A picture named sailboat.gifBiz Stone posted yesterday about the status of services connected to Twitter via their XMPP gateway. We knew about Summize, suspected that FriendFeed had a deal, and learned that there are two others. 

We'd like to see Twitter connect their full output to anyone who wants it, but without directly saying so, Stone implies that there are technical reasons they can't.

I am not an expert on XMPP so I have to defer to others who are. They say it would be possible for Summize to allow anyone to subscribe to the flow they receive from Twitter, and this would be transparent to Twitter. 

Gnip, a company whose founders I interviewed last week, asked for this arrangement, and even thought Summize was willing to provide them with the flow, Twitter said no.

This is a clear indication that it is an economic issue, not a technical one. 

I wrote yesterday that identi.ca changes things, offering a public utility model to compete with Twitter's company-owned model. It is built around the assumption that anyone can hook into the stream of any server, allowing a "federation" where being a citizen of one community means that you're a citizen of every community. 

It seems then, long-term, there are three options for Twitter. 

1. Open up their XMPP interface to all interested service providers, with the help of the community, so that it has no impact on the scaling of their servers. I'm almost 100 percent sure the developers would rally around such an idea, and help Twitter get this going.

2. Wait, and support the same federation protocol as identi.ca, allowing Twitter users to participate in that community, on equal terms.

3. Build AOL-like barriers around their service, to force users to connect to Twitter users only through their software. 

Obviously, from the way I've written it, you can tell that I think #3 is not really an option, not if they want to learn from the experience of instant messaging. 

It seems to me that blogging, which came after IM, set the precedent for Twitter-like services, and while the compatibility between blogging services isn't perfect, it's pretty good. Because of RSS (and RDF and Atom), and the two blogging APIs (Blogger and Metaweblog) you have fairly good interop. I wish it had come out better, but it's still early for Twitter-like services, compatibility could still, theoretically, be perfect.

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