Whither Ideotrope

Since I started doing what would one day be called “blogging” in the mid-90s, and since Ideotrope came into existence in 2001, a lot has changed on the web. There are powerful and extensible open source content management systems available today that do most, but not all, of what I always wanted to do on the web. The software underlying Ideotrope has fallen into disrepute and disrepair, and other software has charged ahead, and garnered many thousands of users and developers. I believe it’s time for a change.

WordPress appears to be the leading open source blogging software. It’s pretty easy to use, and it certainly looks good. However, it lacks tight photo integration and has no notion of fine grained permissions… but neither, it seems, does anything else. So, rather than build anything from the ground up, I’d prefer to try and help build on something that’s already popular, and get it to do what I wish it did, in a way that lets lots of other people use it too.

At the same time, there are tens of thousands of pages (!) of content locked up within the Ideotrope database, that need to be liberated. If they can be converted without loss of information to WordPress, then they’re free – WordPress is popular enough that there are already conversion scripts into and out of it for most content management systems.

But just exporting the content won’t really re-create Ideotrope. It will dismember it. What’s really needed is some way to marry blogs (or personal content streams of any kind) with knowledge of one’s social network, to create a personalized and fine grained spectrum of privacy, from completely public, to secret, depending on the content.  This seems like such an obvious application of social networks that I’d be amazed if someone else wasn’t already working on it, but so far as I can tell, nobody is (at least not openly).

All things to work on after I finish cleaning up my research…

By Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

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