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"

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').

Another notable feature of this blog tool is the availability of a vibrant discussion forum (https://www.tidakada.com/board/) that can be used to clear doubts about the product. For more details, read the file `readme.html' that comes along with the `b2' archive.

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.

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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