Thanks to everyone who attended our session today. The room looked packed, and I know Chad, Brian, Bob and myself enjoyed sharing what we’ve done and answering your questions. We had several conference calls and e-mails to make sure we covered a wide variety of topics, and I know we hope everyone got a lot out of the session.
One question I think I failed to have a concrete answer for is “What is a blog”, leaving some people feeling I didn’t answer it at all. I’ll try and clear it up a little here.
As I mentioned in my presentation, a blog is really several technologies working together–data storage, presentation, and administration. Data storage is usually a file format called RSS, presentation is usually handled by templates created in XSLT, and administration is the back end where you enter and maintain your blog posts. Data storage and presentation are what make blogs so difficult to define concretely.
In a web browser, a blog (such as the one you’re reading) looks like a web page with a number of short articles on it. In an aggregator (a program that downloads RSS files so you can read and manage the posts off-line), the blog entries look just like e-mails. Same exact data, just a different presentation.
This is where things get really cool. Remember Chad’s wedding gallery? You can find it at http://www.kremp.com/album.asp. Visit his site, open any gallery, and then open any album. Look down in the lower right-hand corner of the album. You’ll see a little orange button with a white “RSS” label. With Chad’s gallery software, you can use a blog aggregator to subscribe to any of their albums. When you first subscribe, you’ll download all the photos in the album, each like an individual e-mail. As they add additional photos, your aggregator will automatically download each one as a separate message.
Does this mean their photo gallery is a blog? In a way, yes. It uses the same data storage (RSS), and templates to manage the presentation. In a web browser, it looks like a web page; in an aggregator, each photo will be a separate message. One of the main differences is the administration part. Chad’s gallery is geared toward the uploading of photos, and short comments. The blogging app I use on this site is geared toward entering a lot of text data, but with some ability to upload photos as well.
The software I use at FloristBlogs.com has both a blog and a photo gallery built in together. Why not–they’re practically the same thing!
I hope this helps clarify a little what a blog is. Unfortunately, there isn’t a concrete definition, and that’s just because blogs are so flexible that they can be many things.