A Sweet Suite for Bloggers

News syndication and Web logs are two of the hottest technologies on the Internet today.

Syndication commonly referred to as RSS or Atom, has become a significant vehicle for delivering news and analysis directly to information hounds and for sharing intelligence within corporations.

Web logs, popularly known as blogs, have matured from navel-gazing nests for narcissists to Petri dishes for the propagation of a new kind of personal journalism unfettered by the hierarchal restrictions choking conventional publications.

Symbiotic Relationship

Since their arrival on the electronic landscape, syndication and blogs have had a symbiotic relationship. Bloggers have used syndication to stay in touch with their audiences. Syndication has provided a means for individuals to keep abreast of the latest postings at their favorite blogs without traipsing from site to site.

While blogs and syndication have been on a first name basis with each other, the software for the technologies hasn’t been. Some syndication readers will let you post to your blog from within them, most will not.

That gap between readers and posting software bugged me until I discovered an open-source program called IMHO.

The program, developed by Italian software writer Andrea Boschin, is a forms application that allows you to quickly and remotely create postings for your blog. Used in combination with a browser like Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer and an excellent free syndication reader called Omea, IMHO can be the core of a powerful blogging suite that won’t cost you a penny to put together.

Multiple Views

Initially, working with IMHO can be a little confusing. That’s because the interface appears as two windows rather than a single window with multiple panes. You edit your posts in one window and manage them in another.

The edit window has three views: design, source and preview. You can speedily jump between views by clicking tabs at the top of the window.

The design view is essentially a WYSIWYG editor. You can create your post from scratch or edit items imported into the window from other sources, like a syndication reader or Web browser.

In the source view, you can see the HTML code underlying your posting. That can be valuable for making the tweaks that always seem to be necessary when working with WYSIWYG editors.

The preview view lets you see the posting as it will appear in your blog.

Superb Support

Before you can send a posting to your blog, however, you need to configure the program for your account.

A number of blog engines are supported by IMHO: Meta Weblog, which includes Blogger, Nucleus and TEXT; Community Server Basic; and Moveable Type, whichincludes dasBlog and wordpress.

Although I followed the instructions for configuring the program, I ran into some difficulties. But after a few e-mail exchanges with Seignor Boschin, the application was working fine with my Blogger account.

It seems my service URL, which I began with an http, should have been https — the “s” designating the site as secure.

Launch Pad for Blogging

Getting IMHO to work with the Omea reader was simply a matter of installing one of the program’s files (Elite.IMHO.BlogThis.dll) as a plug-in.

Once installed in Omea, you can right click on items in the reader, choose “blog this,” and they will be sent to IMHO, where you can comment on them or send them directly to your blog. However, IMHO must be running for the operation to work.

From a browser, you can select any text, right click on it and send it to IMHO with a menu choice. Internet Explorer support is built into IMHO, but you’ll need a free plug-in, available from the program’s Web site, to make the program work with Firefox.

If you blog or want to start blogging, Omea, IMHO and Firefox can be used asa firm foundation for your endeavors.

John Mello is a freelance business and technology writer who can be reached at [email protected].

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