Last year TypePad introduced a new feature called "TypePad Widgets." To accompany this feature we wanted to provide a way for 3rd parties to easily inject their widgets onto TypePad weblogs. We initially started down the path that everyone else did: by re-inventing some XML based protocol/schema for packaging and describing widgets. It didn't take us long to realize that the methodology we were devising was far too complicated for the vast majority of people. Then someone had the idea, "why not just let the person POST the widget via a web form?"
And we're happy to see others embracing these kinds of APIs as well -- Google recently deployed a similarly simple Widget API for their Blogger service. They now allow 3rd parties to post widgets into Blogger blogs via a simple HTML web form, and it should be pretty easy to reuse your TypePad widget work there as well.
My 2005 research An Introduction to Activism on the Internet was featured in the November 27 “Recommended Reading” column of the Wall Street Journal. Katrin Verclas, executive director of the Nonprofit Technology Network, picked thirteen on- and offline resources for leveraging technology for social change. About my document, she says:
“John Emerson’s guide covers strategies and techniques of electronic advocacy using email, the Web and other new media to bring about social change. It provides a great overview and analysis of campaigning methods.”
See for yourself at http://backspace.com/action. Thanks, Katrin!
The week before Thanksgiving, Six Apart hosted its first ever public Movable Type Hackathon. We were delighted to have Jay Allen back in the offices to lend his considerable talent and expertise to all those who attended. As you might imagine, being the former Product Manager for Movable Type is an impressive position for anyone’s resume, but especially for a Professional Movable Type consultant and member of the Six Apart Professional Network. As a result Jay has been quite busy and has had very little opportunity to drop by and say "hi." So it was great to have the opportunity to sneak away with Jay during the Hackathon to catch up and chat about what he has been up to.
For the Movable Type Hackathon, Jay worked on enhancing the Cloner plugin. Jay added the ability for the Cloner plugin to allow MT administrators to clone not only blogs, but also templates, users and posts. In this podcast Jay and I talk about these enhancements as well ass NotifyWho, another invaluable plugin that Jay wrote that allows blog administrators to notify a list of recipients when new comments and Trackbacks are received, as well as when new posts are made to a blog. This has proved to be an essential plugin here at Six Apart as well as for a number of customers using Movable Type to manage work groups within their business and enterprise.
Oh yeah, and Jay shared with us some big news in his personal life. Listen to the podcast to learn what it is.
When I first moved out to California, I was a little bit skeptical about the whole fixation on food and ingredients. Thinking too much about the farm that your food came from seemed like more the usual hippie earth-hugging stuff that’d made me roll my eyes at the Bay Area in the first place.
But I slowly started to come around — let’s face it, paying attention to what you feed yourself just plain makes sense. And part of the reason why I started to pay attention to the ingredients that make up a great meal was because I started to meet the people who bring that food to us. Our office at Six Apart isn’t too terribly far from the Ferry Terminal Building here in San Francisco, which houses a farmer’s market a few days a week.
That’s where I met Steve Sando. He’s a bean enthusiast, a guy who started Rancho Gordo. Rancho Gordo brings us heirloom beans — instead of the usual flavorless, canned beans from the grocery store, Steve helps promote and distribute varieties of beans that had nearly disappeared. As a result, Rancho Gordo beans are used by great cooks all over the place, from some of the best local chefs to the on-campus restaurants run by our friends at Google. And most weekends, when I swing by the farmer’s market, Steve is there telling people about his beans, face-to-face, offering a human connection that helps explain why this one item on your plate matters.
Steve’s kept in touch with the latest happenings in the food world on a one-on-one basis, but in the larger food community as well. And these days, that means following food blogs. TypePad hosts many of the best and most popular food blogs on the web, and so when it was time for Steve to start a blog, the official Rancho Gordo blog launched on TypePad.
I’m always happy when we see another small business that’s using a TypePad blog to help grow their company, but for a company like Rancho Gordo where the human connection is so much of what makes their work unique, it’s especially satisfying. Good luck to Steve with his new blog, and more importantly with his advocacy of human beans. And congratulations on being named our TypePad Featured Blog today.
Over on Vox, the team has just posted their personal lists of the things they give thanks for. But perhaps one of the things we're most thankful for is the warm reception Vox has gotten from its community. It's not just from within our Vox neighborhood -- Vox's praises are being sung from some of the most prominent reviewers in the media.
And then just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal offered its opinion on Vox. Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret took a look at the community and offered some great insights:
This week, we tested a new, free blogging service called Vox, www.vox.com, from Six Apart Ltd., a blogging software company. One of Vox's best attributes is its ability to label each individual post, or entry, with a different privacy filter, so that instead of setting your blog to be entirely private or entirely public, you can pick and choose what you want to share.
Vox also excels at making it easy to add photos, audio, videos and book links to your blog without any prior expertise. It lets you incorporate content from Web sites like YouTube, Amazon and photo-sharing site Flickr in only a couple of steps. Viewing of each multimedia element can also be restricted to people you choose. Vox is supported by ads that aren't intrusive or distracting.
Thanks to everyone who's embraced Vox, and if you haven't signed up yet, register for free and join the community. If you're already a member, stay tuned -- tomorrow's Question of the Day will give you the chance to tell your neighborhood exactly what you're thankful for.
This month, Matt Jacobs joins Apperceptive in our New York office. Matt comes to us from managing the websites for the Jewish National Fund, and helped maintain the blogs A Hamburger Today and Slice. Both designer and developer, Matt is also a long time blogger and Movable Type user — since the 1.x days — and brings an intimate knowledge of the application.
We’re happy to have him rounding out our kickass team.
Since we've wrapped up our interview series with the winners of The Style Contest, we're spending time with each of the contest judges. Today we're speaking with Joelle Reeder of Moxie Design Studios. Check back every week for a new interview.
Sure, as part of the The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen keeps a Movable Type-powered blog with peeks behind the scenes of her popular daytime show. But when Ellen posted her recent American Express commercial, we couldn’t help but notice something a little bit unusual.
At about 1:15 into the ad, Ellen talks to a goat named Frank. Now, LiveJournal’s mascot has always been Frank the Goat, and as his LiveJournal and comic strip attest, Frank’s always ready for his closeup. We can’t definitively prove that Ellen’s got our goat, but the potential of a Frank cameo was at least worth pointing out.
And of course, American Express is no stranger to Movable Type-powered blogs either, having run a number of targeted blogs for years with sites ranging from mmmChicago to Entertainment Access Spotlight. Now all they need is more ruminants popping up from time to time and they’ll be all set.
(The Frank illustration is courtesy of Ryan Estrada, who creates Frank the Comic.)
Over the past 4 months Six Apart has been working to help its developer and professional community to connect more with one another. That was the primary motivation behind starting the bi-weekly Professional Network phone calls (free to anyone to join in on), as well as why we wanted to host a Movable Type Hackathon here at the Six Apart offices.
It was a great success. Not only did we have a number of Six Apart engineers from the Rojo, Vox and TypePad teams with us, not only did we have several Six Apart partners with us like Socialtext and Technorati, but we had five ProNet members take time off of work to commit a whole day to the event. And then over the course of the rest of the week, other ProNet members were making announcements of the stuff they were working on remotely. What pleases me the most is that the Hackathon did not just produce a single day of hacking, for a single room full of people, but it inspired an even larger number of people to through out the week to do what they love: to build and contribute something to a community they belong to.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will be profiling the people who participated, and highlighting the contributions they made during what turned out to be a week long Hackathon event through a series of blog posts and podcasts. So check back often, or subscribe to the ProNet blog to learn more about what we all produced, and to learn the answers to some of these burning questions:
- What is Jay Allen’s big news?
- What is Blog Cast?
- What is the best and worst freeway in Los Angeles?
- What new tools are being developed specifically designed for Movable Type developers?
- What’s the dealio with the “Hacking MT” web site?
- What cool new APIs is Socialtext making available to developers?
- If you threw a cell phone at a windshield, which do you think would break first?
- Who was the accidental tourist in Perl Programming Land?
- How will Movable Type and Socialtext be integrating more tightly in SuiteTwo?
- What new technology was Technorati working on while they were here?
- What are some really useful Movable Type plugins you may not have heard about?
- What were all the plugins and tools created during the Hackathon?
- And many many more…
Since we've wrapped up our interview series with the winners of The Style Contest, we're beginning a new series with the contest judges. Today we're speaking with Douglas Beach from Adobe. Check back every week for a new interview.
We'd like to congratulate the Washington Post and Newsweek for their launch of On Faith. Apperceptive helped make the vision of Washington Post Newsweek Interactive a reality by helping to refresh the design of the site, implementing the templates, installing Movable Type Enterprise and creating custom plugins.
We’re excited to see a familiar tagline with the Dalai Lama as an author, and we’re excited to follow the progress of some of the other contributors, including Desmond Tutu, Mohammad Khatami, Elie Wiesel and Akbar Ahmed
That’s good blog!
Ding, Dong! Hey, who’s at the door? It’s a podcast! Come on in.
It has been a very busy week at Six Apart with tons and tons of announcements. We were at the Web 2.0 conference and Widgets Live. We announced a partnership with Widget Box, we launched the Vox Open Media Profile, and we helped to debut the SuiteTwo appliance from Intel. Plus, we are gearing up for the Business Blogging Seminar in San Francisco, a celebration of Movable Type’s 5th Birthday and the Movable Type Hackathon that will take place the following day. So what better way to wrap up the week and get a jump on next week than with a podcast that covers it all?
- Web 2.0 Summit
- Eric Kleptone (Kleptones)
- Jeff Bezos of Amazon
- SF Chronicle story on Web 2.0 attendees
- and SF Chronicle blog post quoting Mena
- Open Media Profile announcement
- Open Media Profile spec
- Six Apart Developer Center
- Widgets Live
- WidgetBox announcement with TypePad
- TypePad Widget API
- TypePad Widget Gallery
- Movable Type Transformer plugin docs
- SocialText post about SuiteTwo
- NewsGator blog post about SuiteTwo
- Intel Press Release about SuiteTwo
- Six Apart Business Blogging Seminar
- D.L. Byron, Textura Design
- David Jacobs, Apperceptive
- Rohit Bhargava, Ogilvy
- Movable Type Hackathon
- Movable Type Subversion Repository
- Team Vox Updates on the new release
Today, we’re happy to introduce the Open Media Profile. Just looking for highlights? Here you go:
- Open Media Profile is an OpenSearch profile based on Media RSS.
- Vox will support Open Media Profile as well as GData API
- It’s pretty cool to support APIs and formats that have been led by Amazon/A9, Yahoo, and Google in a way that anybody can use
Open Media Profile is a new name, but it represents an old idea. Let’s start with some background.
Tim O’Reilly says that in the Web 2.0 world, data is the Intel Inside. Almost every site offers feeds or APIs to get your data out, but that’s only half the problem — what if you need to pull your data in to an application?
With the launch of Vox, bloggers have wanted to include data from all their other services, like Flickr, YouTube, iFilm, PhotoBucket, and many more. But it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel or create a proprietary API for this feature. It should just be present for any service that wants to make use of it.
To solve the problem, we’ve created the Open Media Profile. It’s based on the Amazon A9 team’s work in leading the OpenSearch community, along with Yahoo’s work in leading the Media RSS community, and Google’s work in creating the GData set of APIs. While we’re proud to integrate all these technologies, we should point out how much we’re not inventing. In many ways, this is a mash-up of many of the most popular APIs on the web.
Now all you need to do is see the spec. Check out the Open Media Profile for Open Search spec, and let us know what you think.
Believe it or not, there is still a lot of fear among businesses about blogging. That is why we developed the Business Blogging Seminars last year - to take the hands of so many businesses and to show them that blogging is far less intimidating then they might think.
After the last seminar we hosted in San Francisco, it was incredibly gratifying to hear from so many attendees who were ready to lead their business and in some cases, their entire industry, into the world of blogging. In fact we spent so much time after the seminar talking about the implementing blog, and the technology of blogging that we decided to include a special Technology Track in the seminar.
And if the Business Blogging Seminar Technology Track doesn't sate your inner-hacker enough, then join us for the first ever, Global Movable Type Hack-a-thon on Tuesday, November 14th, when a number of us will gather together at the Six Apart offices to build cool new plugins, write documentation, improve existing core functionality and more. And if you can't make it to the office, don't let that deter you to work on something. Because at the end of the day, regardless of where you live, you are free to join us all for an online demonstration of the various and sundry things we have built.
If you would like to attend, be sure to sign up on the Hack-a-thon wiki. And if you can't attend for whatever reason, consider helping us spread the word about the Hack-a-thon by adding a badge on your blog.
Afterall, the more who hack, the merrier.
We’re thrilled at the immense amount of great work that’s been launched by our Professional Network members recently. Just taking a look at some recent posts, Apperceptive’s John Emerson has announced several of their recent projects, including helping Wired News switch to TypePad, and helping Ziff Davis switch all their blogs to Movable Type Enterprise.
And D.L. Byron of Textura Design mentions the launch of Intel’s new blogs on Movable Type Enterprise, which we’ve covered on the Movable Type news blog. Meanwhile, Tim Appnel of Appnel Solutions points out Vanity Fair’s recent redesign with venerable pundit James Wolcott’s blog moving to TypePad Business Class.
Movable Type Enterprise and TypePad Business Class, both of which launched earlier this year, have been among the most successful product launches we’ve ever had at Six Apart. And the reason why is simple: ProNet members are making these blogs happen. We’re very, very proud to see people all over the world building their businesses by providing customization, design, development, and consulting services for Movable Type, and as we mentioned in the post about General Mill’s Gold Medal blog, “Want to get started telling your own story? Get in touch, and we’ll help you get off the ground with Movable Type and connect you with the right member of the Professional Network to manage your project.”
One of things that has made me the most proud about The Style Contest is the desire expressed by many to contribute styles to the database long after the contest was over. This to me is the best sign that The Style Contest was able to achieve one of its more important goals: to foster a Six Apart community of designers. But "The Style Contest" never felt like the right home for this community and group of individuals, which is why the team decided to create a new home for Six Apart styles and the designers who create them, aptly named "The Style Archive."