What I’d like to see in blog schemas

Nary a day goes by when Robert Scoble doesn't have something on his blog about RSS versus ATOM or some such thing. Personally, I haven't really looked into either format much; I just use Newsgator to read a handful of blogs in Outlook. But I am now working on my second Blog entry tool (first WordBlogX for BlogX, and now dotWord for .TEXT), and there are a couple of things I'd like to see added to blogs in terms of metadata.

Firstly, I've been thinking that it would be cool to have a "this is what I'm listening to right now" field that could be populated with the current CD / Artist / Album that I'm listening to, along with a URL for buying the album or perhaps a sound clip. People tend to like to tell their friends (and readers) what they're listening to, and it's a great way to discover new artists or recordings by artists that you may not have heard of before.

Although I've done it a couple of times already, I'm kind of loathe to dedicate an entire blog to "this is what I'm listening to right now" because I assume that people read my blog to find out about VSTO or other tech / geek stuff, not about the latest Pet Shop Boys CD. And yet I want to talk about that stuff, because some people might find it interesting. So the "this is what I'm listening to now" field(s) would be a separate bit of metadata on all the geeky / tech posts that people could look at if they wanted to, or ignore it if they didn't.

Of course then I'd want a way to suck the current track information out of MusicMatch (that's right, I choose not to use Media Player) which is probably next to impossible... if only every app in the world supported a rich, discoverable, programmable object model! (Something I might rant about at some future point in time is how some people think that Microsoft maliciously added VBA to Office as an act of pure evil to "lock in" customers. What it really comes down to though is that customers want that level of programmability).

Secondly, what about an X-Authored-By field or the like? Web servers have it. Web browsers have it. Web authoring tools have it. Why not blogs? I should be able to "advertise" dotWord (as soon as it goes public 😉 ) in my entries so that other people can try it out if they like, as could any other blog tool authors.

Another thing I'd like (well, actually, I think my readers might like <g>) is a black list for RSS categories. This is more of a feature request for aggregators than a metadata request. Being a security-minded person, I usually shy away from black lists because you never want to accept things you don't know about. But in the case of RSS, I have an "Ignore Me" category under which I post test messages or other junk, and a "Randomness" category under which I post random stuff. People may want to subscribe to all my other categories (including new ones I invent in the future) but not these two. As far as I can tell, there's no easy way to do that at the moment.

And speaking of categories, I suck as a categoriser! Whenever I try and find an old post on my blog, I usually click through about three categories until I find it... how on earth do I come up with the categorisations? They suck! I'll try and do better on this new site 😉

LiveJournal has a "this is the mood I'm in right now" field. Maybe a "this is what I'm eating / drinking right now" field would be fun. Or perhaps just an extensible, repeating "this is the <noun> I'm <verb> right now" section.

Anything you'd like to see added to blog metadata? Of course I have nothing to do with getting any of this implemented, but it's a fun thing to ponder.

Comments (6)

  1. .Text does currently have properties you can set so that a post only shows up in your categories, home page only, syndication only, and/or no syndication.

    However, at the moment, these are not exposed via a web service.


  2. Don X says:

    Actually we’re all mostly anxious to see hear how your progressing on "VSA" 😉

  3. Peter Torr says:

    Don – well I can’t tell you much now, but we’ve already released Visual Studio Tools for Office v 1 this year, and if you were at the PDC you might have seen Reza do a presentation on some of the really cool features we are adding for "Whidbey". Unfortunately we don’t have any new ISV offerings at this time…

    Scott – thanks, I’ve just discovered the "advanced" posting stuff on the web page.

  4. Kent Sharkey says:

    Well, those are all do-able additions. One of the nicer ‘features’ of RSS is that it is extensible. All you really need to do is convince people of the value, and away they go. For example, the .Text RSS feed uses extensions from Slashdot (<slash:comments>0</slash:comments>), one Chris Sells suggested, and a few others. Create a schema, and start convincing people.

    On the media thang — you can leverage the same mechanism WMP9 uses, even if you don’t use it. Just create the same Registry items from MusicMatch (I did something comparable for LaunchCast before they killed their desktop client), and read them from WordX…

    The Pet Shop Boys are still alive? 😛

    TTFN – Kent

  5. I love the idea of a "what am I listening to" plug-in, but as ALL of my music is now coming from my Creative Nomad Zen, I don’t know how to trick it up.

  6. Stephen says:

    Do you mean some kind of auto-update client that talks to your blog service, and provides useful info the reader, but doesn’t spam their RSS feed?

    Like http://chumbo.blogspot.com? 🙂

    I have the source on my machine but I’m hesitant to publish it as I don’t know where to publish it 🙂 Where did you publish the source to dotWord or WordBlogX?

    My client app is currently WinForms based in C#, but I’m hoping to port to Longhorn/Avalon/Sidebar Tile at some point…

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