Well folks, today is the last weekend day before we switch over the user interface of www.weblogs.com.
I'm sure it's confusing -- it's confusing here too. The new weblogs.com will be different from the old one. How much different it will be will depend on what the weblog community does with it.
The old way
The old weblogs.com accepted registrations. You'd give it the name of the weblog, its url, and various other bits of information. Then, every hour, it would read the weblog, and if the page changed, it would add it to the list of the weblogs that changed in the last hour.
This was a good way to do it when there were a small number of weblogs. But there are so many weblogs now, weblogs.com is so slow that it's barely usable.
The new way
The new weblogs.com must be told when your weblog changed. It doesn't automatically check to see if a weblog has changed.
Now here's a key point -- even though weblogs.com must be told about changes, if you use a blogging tool or content management system, it can be programmed to tell weblogs.com about the change. In fact, Manila and Radio UserLand both have been programmed to communicate directly with weblogs.com. If you run a Manila or Radio site, you don't have to do anything beyond setting a Pref in a web form for your site automatically included in the new network.
If you develop a blogging tool and want to have your users optionally be able to participate in weblogs.com, it's easy. Send us the "ping" message through XML-RPC, SOAP or HTTP-POST. Specs are here.
If you're just a blogger and don't know an XML-RPC message from a hole in the ground, you can ask the developer of your blogging tool to take a look at the specs, and ask questions on the mail list for weblogs.com developers.
Or you can bookmark this page, and hit it every time your site changes. And it can be automated later, if you want.
What happens on Tuesday
Anyway, a lot of this may not make any sense until the change happens on Tuesday.
Here's what's going to happen. The home page of weblogs.com will change. It will be much faster, and will be updated more frequently than once an hour. However it will not be customizable. You will see all the sites that changed in the last three hours. At first that will be manageable, but as sites transition to the new method it will probably become an overwhelmingly long list.
Then with any luck, and with support from developers, alternate user interfaces should appear, ones that are subject to customization. Search engines like Daypop and Google will use our changes feed to search weblogs when they change. Perhaps other services will come online then as well.
By getting the weblogs.com user interface out of the way, our service can be reduced to its core, can run fast, and spawn a new round of innovation in the World Of Weblogs. At least that's my hope as we get ready to flip the switch.
10/21/01; 8:45:34 AM by DW