Trying Ghost, A Blogging Platform [en]

[fr] Je teste Ghost, une plate-forme de blog (mais rien que de blog!). WordPress c'est génial, c'est puissant, ça permet de faire toutes sortes de sites, mais par la force des choses, c'est devenu un peu une usine à gaz.

This spring I backed a Kickstarter project for the development of a blogging platform, Ghost.

Wait– A blogging platform? Isn’t WordPress enough? Well… to be honest, it’s too much. Don’t get me wrong, I love WordPress. Chances are I’m going to continue using it. But WordPress is much more than a blogging tool. By now, it’s become a full-blown CMS you can build all sorts of sites with.

For somebody who just wants a simple blog… It’s a little bit overkill. I think it’s good that there is a little “competition”, and I also think that starting from scratch once in a while is not a bad idea.

So, I’ve installed my copy of Ghost on my mac and played with it a bit. It’s very bare-bones right now and a little geeky — for example, is a blogging platform with no visual editor really viable? — but I think it looks very promising and I’m looking forward to the hosted version being open to the public.

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More on coComment Advertising [en]

[fr] Malheureusement, coComment et moi sommes partis pour une "Séparation 2.0: quand les 'social tools' que vous aimiez ne vous le rendent pas." Le choix de leur distributeur de publicité est vraiment malheureux (un cran au-dessus du spam, à mon sens), et clairement, il n'y a pas de dialogue entre coComment et ses utilisateurs, malgré les déclarations acharnées "d'ouverture au dialogue".

A la recherche d'une solution de remplacement pour la saisie des commentaires, donc. Le suivi des conversations m'intéresse beaucoup moins que la centralisation de tous mes commentaires en un endroit.

I was alerted to this a few days ago by [Nathalie](, and after witnessing it [with my own eyes]( — well, I’m going to go to bed a little later to blog about it, after all.

After [preparing to slap ads in our comment RSS feeds](, [coComment]( is staying on the same ugly and obviously slippery slope by inserting ads in the cocobar:

coComment blog ads in cocobar

So, slightly more discreet than the [big banners placed in the RSS feed](, but not in very good taste either. Here are some examples of scrolling ad text:

– “Want fast fitness results? Click for free info, revolutionary products.”
– “Walk on the well placed warmth of radiant heating. Click now!”
– “Free comparison of top car rental companies. Click here!”
– “Click to create your dream holiday trip now.”
– “Easy-to-use, advanced features, flexible phone systems. Click for more info.”
– “Visa, MasterCard, AMEX & Discover. Compare Offers & Apply Online. Click here!”

Reloading a cocobar-enabled page will provide you with hours of endless entertainment. (I’m kidding — but there are more out there, of course.)

Now, I understand that [coComment needs to “monetize”](, though one could question a business model which seems to be based on revenue from scrolling ads and blinking banners. (I can’t remember who said “if your business model is putting ads in your service, think again”.)

There are ads and ads, though. Here’s a sample of banners from the coComment site:

coComment blog » Blog Archive » Advertising, Revenues and harsh realities

Commenting is sexy. HotForWords is the talk of the party at Geek Goes Chic

Commenting is sexy. HotForWords is the talk of the party at Geek Goes Chic

coComment blog ads

The screen captures don’t render the blinking quality of most of these ads, but I guess your imagination can fill in. Now, does anybody else than me feel that this kind of advert is just about one step above spam? Based on a few of the comments I can read on [the post Matt wrote about the “harsh realities” of advertising](, it seems not:

> With all honesty, the banners displayed on the cocomment site are awful and are making the service look VERY unprofessional – totally agree with “disappointed” on this one. Few will argue that perception is 99% of reality, so with those banner ads making the site look like crap, the whole service becomes questionable. I felt like I was about to get a trojan into my computer when I first saw

> there are other advertising partners that don’t crap up your web site with ads that flash in your face. most opensource projects are using google ad sens now (just an example) that displays relevant ads that look very subtle.


> I agree with some of the commenters here about the ad selection. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were unobtrusive AdWords or… something a little classier. It cheapens your brand. Think upscale! Or, at least, more upscale.

Allan White, in comment

Yes, there are ads and ads. These ones definitely make coComment look very cheap and dodgy, and I’m not sure it would encourage users to hand over credit card details to pay for an ad-free version. Also, what’s with the [Hot For Words]( thing? I’m sorry, but this is not my world. coComment has obviously moved into a space which is very alien to my beloved blogosphere.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to [state]( that you [want]( to have a [conversation]( to actually be having one (I guess that for starters, that last post would have pointed to [the post of mine]( that [contributed to prompt]( it). A conversation starts with listening and caring, and obviously, despite their efforts to prove the contrary, the coComment team sadly don’t get this.

What could they have done? Well, I’m not going to launch into a session of full-blown strategic consulting for an ex-client of mine (who didn’t seem to value my advice much at the time), but simple things like taking up issues such as the arrival of advertising *with* the people who use the service **before** actually dumping ads in their feeds unannounced could be a way of showing you care a little bit about how they feel. Understanding that [apologies and justifications]( when you mess up do not erase the past also seems like a good idea. As my friend [Brian Solis]( put it:

> Making mistakes in social media is a lot like sticking daggers into a wooden fence. Just because you apologize and pull them out, they still leave the scars for others to see, and feel. Sometime apologies help people feel better, but they don’t fix perception. This is why thinking before engaging is critical to success in the world social media marketing. This is after all, about people.

Brian Solis

So, as I told Brian, coComment and I are headed for **[Breakup 2.0]( when the social media tools you loved don’t love you back** (yes, you can quote that one, it’s from me).

At the moment, I’m only using the service to “save” the comments I make, because I like keeping a trace of my writings (I used to collect stamps). Sadly, I’m not even sure coComment will allow me to walk out with all my data in an XML dump — I don’t see anything obvious in the interface for that, so if I am able to, it will probably be due to my relationships with the people who have access to the server. (I said “if”.)

The tracking feature is too confusing and overloaded for me to use — I can imagine using something like [co.mments]( to keep an eye on the small number of conversations where I’m on the lookout for an answer. But I don’t have an alternate solution for “capturing” the comments I make. Copy-paste is a bit of a bore, and doesn’t capture the comment content — just the fact that there is a comment.

I’ve been thinking up **an idea involving a Firefox add-on**. It would have a bunch of algorithms to detect comments fields (maybe would support some microformat allowing to identify comment feeds or forms), have a simple on/off toggle to “activate” the field for capture (some right-click thing, much more practical than a bookmarklet or a browser button, because it’s always there, handy, wherever you click), would colour the field in something really visible when capture is on (red! pink! green!) without disrupting readability (I need to see what I type). It would capture the comment, permalink, blog post name (it knows I’m the commenter, I could fill in that info in the add-on settings), and dump the info in an XML or RSS file, or in the database of my WordPress installation, with the help of a WordPress plugin.

It’s a half-baked idea, of course, and I don’t have the JS skills to actually code anything like this. It should probably be a week-end project for somebody with sufficient Javascript-fu — if you’re interested in bringing it to life, get in touch.

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Jeremy Keith: The Beauty in Standards and Accessibility (Web2.0Expo, Berlin) [en]

*Here are my notes of [Jeremy Keith](’s session. He’s somebody I always appreciate listening to, and he also happens to be the creator (and provider) of [Buzzword Bingo]( Play with your neighbour when keynotes or sessions go down the buzzword path.*

*My notes are as correct as I can make them, but they may be missing bits and pieces and I might even have misunderstood stuff.*

Web 2.0 Expo 6 - Jeremy Keith

First define. Who knows about beauty? The poets.

John Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urn. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

William Blake: Auguries of Innocence. “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”

Looking deep beneath the surface. Close-up sketch of a flea. Micrographia. Beautiful. Viewing source. This is how we see the beauty of things.

This whole web2.0 stuff is not about details. We’re not using microscopes, but telescopes, looking at the “big picture”. Telescopes can be good: think “Galileo”.

He brought upon the world an *a priori* change. A new way of looking at the world, though the world had not changed. The earth revolves around the sun, and not the opposite.

Darwin: the world didn’t change from one day to the next when The Origin of Species was published, but our view of the world did.

We want to think about structure. How is the house built? It’s when you understand the structure that you can build solid houses. Same with web pages. This is where web standards come in.

Separation. Before: all mixed up (html, css, js). Now: separate. (cf. Progressive enhancement. An a priori change to how you design websites.

a) begin with your content
b) structure it (HTML)
c) think about how it’s going to look (CSS)
d) think about the behaviour (DOM Scripting)

Web 2.0 Expo 5

If you remove any of these layers, it will still work. It won’t look pretty, it won’t behave as well, but it will still “work”.


# in a separate document!
p { }
#foo { }

Then, add rules using selectors. From general to specific.


Very similar approach. Make it external. You don’t put it in the document. The vocabulary is different, but you also reference elements in the page pretty easily


School of thought called “unobtrusive scripting”, “unobtrusive javascript”


First structure, then presentation. If you catch yourself doing this…

# wrong!

If you put behaviour in here, you’ve wasted a hyperlink.

Slightly better… but still bad

# JS equivalent of using the style attribute

*steph-note: I’m learning stuff about JS! yay!*

Bandwidth benefits in doing things the right way. Process benefits, you can separate the work. And also… the beauty of it. Flexibility. See how it reacts in situations you haven’t accounted for? It won’t fall apart if somebody accesses with no CSS, no JS, no images…

So, is this about making site accessible? Kind of. Note: go to the talk on accessibility Thursday morning.

Jeremy is talking more about universality. You’re not shutting out devices. Mobile. Search bots. Screen readers.

W.B. Yeats (April 1916) “All is changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”


Wonderful, beautiful, but can be terrible depending on how it’s used. *steph-note: reminds me of what we said of JS in 99-00*

The key to Ajax is about asynchronous communication with the server. XmlHttpRequest.

Jeremy’s definition: “A way of communicating with the server without refreshing the whole page.” Just part of the page.

Buzzword Hijax.

Here is how Jeremy thinks we should build an ajax application.

a) build a website in the old-fashioned way — buttons, links, for interaction with the server
b) then, come along with ajax — which parts of this page benefit from just being refreshed separately, and intercept the links/events. Hijack the requests. Bypass the whole page interaction.

Progressive enhancement rather than a terrible beauty that locks people out. Switch off JS, and everything still works.

Where? When?

Patterns: when I click a link/form, and when I submit it, I return to the same page with almost nothing changed.

– registration forms (specially for user name availability)
– comments on a blog/forum
– add to cart
– *steph-note: sign in links*

“Web 2.0” is not about web applications versus documents in the old “Web 2.0”. It’s a sliding scale. Most sites are somewhere in between documents and application. Applications work with documents! It’s not an either… or thing.

This kind of Ajax is more on the document side of the scale, roughly mid-way to the application end. Doesn’t scale to “more application”.

But at that point, why the hell are you building that with HTML, CSS and JS? The reason to use them is that they degrade gracefully. If you decide that all three are required, maybe you need to use another technology, like Flash. These technologies have their place for applications which cannot degrade gracefully. Flash is made for building web applications! But there is an insistance in building “2.0 Apps” in HTML/CSS/JS.

Maybe hesitancy because Flash isn’t a standard in the same way as HTML/CSS/JS?

Standards: you know your stuff will work, you know there’ll be support there. The best thing that Adobe could ever do in Jeremy’s opinion is to open it up truly (*steph-note: if I understood that correctly*).

History of standards.


Open data. API. RSS. XHTML.

If you’re going to release and API, look at what Google and Yahoo are doing and copy. Build upon existing conventions. Your own format is not going to make it.

If you allow people to access your data like that, you start to see emerging patterns.

Microformats! *steph-note: yay!*

Machine tags! *steph-note: yay again!* There is a [machine tags wiki](

Jeremy, like many of us, really hates the “Web 2.0” label/buzzword. It had its place a few years ago, but now it’s really putting us in a box. Ajax is a good buzzword, because it allows to talk about a certain technology in a snappy way. Whereas Web2.0… ask ten people, and you’ll get 10 explanations.

Web2.0: people.

But we don’t need a buzzword for that. We already have a word for “leveraging collective intelligence”: the WEB!

Combine looking through the microscope and looking through the telescope.

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