BUSINESS

A Weblog tool for Intranet

THIS WEEK NetSpeak discusses a free tool that can be used to build weblogs quickly.

A Weblog, as mentioned several times in this column, is a web site that gets updated many times in a day with content presented in a reverse chronological order, that is, the latest content gets pasted on to the top of the page, then the second latest and so on. Most weblogs or blogs have features that enable the user to update the content via web. This means that for popsting the content a weblog owner does not need any knowledge on technical matters such as HTML or FTP.

One reason for the phenomenal success of this web technology is the availability of numerous free tools that enable anyone on the Net/Intranet to start a weblog quickly. Almost all the tools contain most of the features required by a weblog that include the facility to post via web, tools that let readers express their comments, calendar interface that allows visitors to directly access any day's postings and the facility to publish new content information through an RSS file. Here, we will explore the facilities/features available with a free weblog building tool "b2"

Weblog tool B2

Setting-up b2

To install the b2-based weblog, download the archive (https://cafelog.com/) and extract the files into a directory. Now, before moving ahead with installation, create a database for holding `b2' tables and edit the file `b2config.php' with the required parameters. Once the database creation process is over, access through your browser the file `b2install.php'. This will automatically create the `admin' user and generates a random password for the user. The weblog automatically comes out with the features supplied in the default template (index.php). Depending on your needs and taste you can alter/add various weblog features and customise it. For example, if you want to add a calendar option into the weblog interface, just include the file `b2calendar.php' into the default template.

The weblog can be configured in such a way that any registered user can post comments. To add content into the weblog, the user has to just login to the site, type in the various fields and press the `blogthis' button and the content will immediately appear on the page.

Updating of the weblog can be through the web-interface or via e-mail. For this, you need to create a POP e-mail account and ask the users to send mails with a subject that starts with `blog:'. Apart from this subject line restriction, the first line of the message body should contain the user's log-in name and password (in the format `log-in-name: password').

Awasu: A news aggregator

Most sites with dynamic content regularly publish their new content details in XML-format files called RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds or newsfeeds. To read the RSS files published on one's favourite sites regularly one requires the service of RSS readers, also called news aggregators. We have already seen a few of them and the program `Awasu' is another free news aggregator worth experimenting. To subscribe to a feed, access the `New Channel' option from the `File' menu and enter the RSS-feed address and other required details.

Apart from reading the subscribed RSS files, Awasu can be used to read the postings available on various Yahoo groups. YahooGroups is a free service that allows any registered user to float an e-mail based discussion forum. Tens of hundreds of discussion groups of this kind on various subjects are available. Generally, you need to go to the web site (https://groups.yahoo.com/) to read the postings stored under a specific group. The significance of Awasu is that it automatically downloads all the entries related to the groups subscribed by you and this way helps you avoid wasting time by visiting various group sites. To subscribe to a YahooGroup, select the `Plug-ins' option, access the `YahooGroups' and enter the name of the `YahooGroup' you want to subscribe.

You may note that if Awasu fails to start with an error message `Can't load BlackBox', delete the `BlackBox.dll' stored in the Awasu installation directory. For more details, check out: https://www.awasu.com/home.php

RSS-search engine

Fastbrowser

It is common knowledge that one of the tools that netizens love and use extensively is the web browser. Apart from the dominant ones like IE, Netscape, Opera and Mozilla, many browsers with innovative features are available on the Net. Fastbrowser is one such browser, which has many extra features. The browser has facilities such as tabbed browsing that enables the user simultaneously view several web pages in a single window; casual browsing that takes the user to unexpected sites and multi-language translation facility that lets you translate a web page to different languages.

J. Murali

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