Chapter 5. Integrating with Blogs

Table of Contents

Integration Scenarios for Blogs
Sending Flickr Pictures to Blogs
Configuring Flickr for Integration with Blogs
Blogging a Flickr Picture
How Does the Flickr Blog Integration Work?
Desktop Blogging Tools
Combining Feeds and Blogging to Generate Feedback Flows
Flock: Bringing Together Blogs and Flickr
RSD: Discoverability of Blog APIs
Wiki Integration at an Early Stage

Blogs (also known as weblogs) have become lightweight, general-purpose platforms for publication, self-expression, and collaboration. Bloggers push the limits of new-media production, especially in the area of integration, because they want ultimately to discuss anything they can see or think or hear—without any effort, of course. Because you can directly tie blogs in with other systems—often without any programming on your own part—you’ll now study how to combine blogs with other applications and data sources. In this chapter, I cover end-user functionality that lets you publish content to a blog from a web site or a desktop application. In Chapter 7, you’ll study how you can program the relevant web APIs to read and publish blog content. I close this chapter by applying lessons from blog integration to wikis, which I believe are ripe for a similar type of remixing.

In this chapter, you will do the following:

I’ll first cover the mechanics of blogging from the point of view of the user, and then I’ll cover what this means in terms of the back end (specifically the use of APIs once again, this time for blogs).

Integration Scenarios for Blogs

Essentially, blogs are online journals about a topic, a theme, or a person written by one person or a small group. Here are other general patterns:

  • Blogs consist of entries that are typically displayed in reverse chronological order.

  • These entries are often classified into categories.

  • Most blogs provide their content via RSS or Atom syndication.

In Chapter 4, I discussed how RSS/Atom syndication makes the life of a reader simpler by allowing the reader to aggregate content. In this chapter, you’ll examine how the lives of blog authors can be made simpler. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do the following?

  1. First write or create some piece of digital content (it could be simple text, HTML, images, video, or a word-processed document) in the tool of your choice (Microsoft Word,, the rich-text editor of WordPress, vi, Thunderbird).

  2. Then easily publish that content to a blog (or any other web site). That is, you could have the piece of content you wrote show up in a blog in a way that preserves the formatting—or at least translates that format appropriately to the new environment—without having to do much (or any) of the manual work of translating that formatting.

We have not pulled off such general seamless integration yet. However, we will examine some specific and useful cases of integration in this chapter. Figuring out how integration happens in these specific scenarios enables you to build not only your own tools for supporting similar circumstances but also solutions to the general integration problems.