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Structured Blogging – Enterprise Only?

Structured blogging activity has accelerated, and has reached the important milestone where there is debate about whether it will amount to anything. If you are not familiar with structured blogging, the term itself should be enough to give you a good idea – think of structured editing, eForms, and blogging all mushed together. Structured editing has been around since the early 80s when companies like Datalogics, Texet, Arbortext, SoftQuad and others were developing SGML authoring and editing tools (I was involved in the Texet effort). The big problem then was the user interface. WYSIWYG was new, but the real issue was not that the tools were not graphical enough, it was that authors were not interested in tools that forced them A) to use a different tool, B) to use a tool that required them to do more work, and C) to use a tool that they were not convinced would provide significant benefits. Today many of us use eForm, HTML or XML tools and the interfaces are far superior, but A, B are still major hurdles to overcome. C is less of a problem, and maybe appealing applications based on ‘microformats’ will help even more. Perhaps the blogging tool plug-ins in the works will alleviate A and B, but winning the hearts of bloggers will not be easy. It will be far easier to do in the context of enterprise applications, but the difficulty should not be underestimated. I am a fan of structured blogging and authoring in general, but the concerns being raised are real. To catch-up on the pros and cons of structured blogging see posts from Bob Wyman, Charlie Wood, Paul Kedrosky,

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2 Comments

  1. Column Two

    Structured blogging – enterprise only?

    Frank Gilbane has written an brief article on structured blogging, a term I confess I hadn’t heard before. To quote: Structured blogging activity has accelerated, and has reached the important milestone where there is debate about whether it will amoun…

  2. Bob Wyman

    Although some observers doubt if bloggers will go to the trouble of doing Structured Blogging, we’re already seeing quite a bit of evidence that many are finding it to be very useful and well worth the minimal effort it takes. I’ve listed a few examples of uses on my blog at:

    As you suggest, the basic idea behind Structured Blogging (putting more metadata in published content) has been around for a very long time. Content Managers, like those who follow Gilbane, will certainly recognize the value of this old idea.

    The first time I worked with this idea was back in the 1980’s when I was looking for ways to make DEC’s ALL-IN-1 Office Automation system easier to use and more powerful for users. We called it “semi-structured messaging” at the time. The technologies and encoding formats we used were different (it was before XML), but the ideas weren’t very different. More recently, we’ve had Tim Berners-Lee (of WWW fame) and others working hard to advance the idea of the “semantic web.” It is clear to most folk, and has been for a very long time, that more structured publishing would be of great benefit to a wide range of users. We’re hoping that the Structured Blogging effort, by making it exceptionally easy to do, will finally be the spark that gets structured publishing established as a normal and productive thing to do. Wish us luck!

    bob wyman
    CTO, PubSub.com

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