Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The missing link

Learning to be concise is invaluable, but sometimes I want to say more. Specifically, when I want to write more copy to publish on the Internet, I need some other platform. I've decided to consider Google Blogger.

If you've used Blogger, you're probably feeling bad for me right now. Don't worry, the features of Blogger that make it so horrible will benefit my project. I want to use Blogger as a content engine, and create a content consumer and front-end that can be published to AppEngine.

The new app will handle all of the modern features that Blogger is lacking, like the ability to choose specific Facebook Open Graph or Twitter Card templates on a post-by-post basis. The app can poll my single Blogger content engine or YouTube channel for new content, and provide a simple way to publish to one of several topic specific front-ends using tags. You could also syndicate content to other blogs or publish to LinkedIn.

Content creation will be simple, just use the Blogger editor, I'm writing this post on an iPad mini. The app will notice new content, and send an email (or some mobile alert) with various options; grammar and spelling suggestions, stock and uploaded image choices with crop and enhance, user lookup and tagging, etc. Blogger and AppEngine are free, and other users will be able to add whatever features they want to their own app instance.

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ provide distribution channels. The front-end can also provide a modern blog interface for RSS and ATOM feeds. Blogger seems to be in complete feature freeze, so the APIs will be stable. The app can collect all your information, and generate (or upload) a hobbled Blogger XML template.

I got started thinking about this side project when I realized there was no way to generate a description snippet for Facebook from Blogger. There is also an absurd hack that lets you render a 200x200 thumbnail for Open Graph and Twitter summary cards by bouncing the generated URL off a remote website that redirects to an altered URL. I should evaluate tools like FeedBurner and Buffer to see if some of these features are already handled.

I just want to be able to say more, be a bit more thoughtful about the content. I may want to have a title, tags, photos and video, and then select how best to present and distribute the content. I should be able to do it from my phone or tablet.

I'm going to check out Medium.

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