FAQ Weblogs

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FAQ Weblogs

What is a Weblog, anyway?

A weblog is a web page that features new information. It's updated a lot: many weblogs are updated every day. Weblogs are sometimes called Web journals, news sites, 'blogs -- we don't think the name is very important.

Today, there are popular weblogs about hundreds of topics. CEOs have weblogs. Schoolkids have weblogs. Novelists have weblogs. Scientists and scholars have weblogs. Indeed, in some fields, weblogs are becoming one of the most important ways of publishing research.

The idea of the weblog is important: it's the essence of the Web. Individuals and small groups, communicating swiftly and directly.

Why is Tinderbox important for weblogs?

Tinderbox lets you make notes easily, and a powerful environment. You don't have to talk to a server to make a note with Tinderbox. Your data is yours.

Tinderbox helps automatically index and categorize your notes. Traditional weblogs keep your old notes in musty archives, but Tinderbox can automatically arrange notes by date and by topic.

Tinderbox templates give you the power to control every aspect of your site. You control how things look. You determine what gets published now, what gets held for later, what stays private. You determine how everything looks and where everything appears on the page. (There are plenty of pre-made template kits for you to use as starting points, too!)

Can I still use Blogger?

Absolutely! Server-hosted tools like Blogger are great when you need to work with a bunch of people at different locations -- especially if they're on the road without a laptop. Use Tinderbox to organize the rest of your site, and let Blogger (or GreyMatter, Radio Userland, Movable Type, or whatever server script you like) handle the "group weblog" on the server.

What if I already have a site?

You can start using Tinderbox right away to enhance your existing site.

Tinderbox is so powerful, many people assume you must start from scratch. Nothing could be farther from the truth! It's easy, for example, to take your current Home Page and make it into a Tinderbox template. Then, add a place to your page where new notes should appear. Add a placeholder thats says "put my new notes here", and begin writing in Tinderbox: it's that easy!

To get more power from Tinderbox, you may want to move some items from your old Web site into Tinderbox itself. That way, Tinderbox agents can see them (and you can easily find them for future reference). There's no need to do everything at once.

How do Tinderbox archives work?

Some weblog writers like to keep old items on their own pages. Others like to assemble a week of posts, or a month, into an archive. Tinderbox lets you adopt either style (or both!), tuning things exactly as you wish.

What about syndication?

Syndication lets different sites share headlines. This helps people keep in touch with their favorite sites, and lets them know about updates. It's a great way to attract (and keep) readers.

You can easily use Tinderbox to create RSS files for syndication. Tinderbox will automatically create syndication files (also called "news feeds") for you.

Tinderbox can also read RSS files from other sites, so you can present the latest headlines from related weblogs and news sites on your page, automatically and effortlessly?

Which RSS format does Tinderbox use?

Different sites use different syndication formats: RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92, and RSS 1.0 are all currently popular.

Tinderbox can easily generate any of these formats. And, thanks to Tinderbox's powerful XML template system, you can customize Tinderbox to adapt to any XML format, today or in the future.

Can I back-date items?

Your data is yours: you can assign any time you like. Tinderbox even does date arithmetic: it understands expressions like "yesterday" and "today-1 month".

Some Tinderbox date fields (like the lastModified attribute) are updated automatically. But you can easily add new date fields (perhaps PublicationDate) that are completely at your control.

What about weblogs that aren't in English?

We've worked hard to make sure that Tinderbox is polite to Web writers who work in other languages. Dates and times can appear in your local language in your Web page. We respect non-ASCII characters and export them as HTML entities.

Do I have to use tables for layout?

Only if you want to! When Tinderbox builds your Web site, it uses your templates according to your design. Your data is yours; you can follow whatever Web standard you prefer.

(Of course, if you'd like to use our templates, that's fine with us!)

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