Tag Archives: cms

Personal publishing via web services

Jon Tan and Jon Gibbons recently launched a website for Denna Jones. It’s a great-looking site, and it makes no use of a (single, local) content management system. Rather, the content is pulled from several web services, such as Flickr and Magnolia.

This is an interesting idea, but I’m on the fence about the approach. While the site is a coherent whole, it’s an *automatically generated* coherent whole; the author herself may not even be aware of the state of her site at any given moment in time. In effect, it seems to me to be a very well-designed, well thought-out feed aggregator. A fan of Jeremy Keith‘s approach, I’ve always tended to see these services as *extras*, at most supplemental bits of not-necessarily-related content.

On the other hand, this isn’t a bad thing. If the aggregated web services are often used by the author, then it’s most likely no chore for her to log in to four or five sites instead of one CMS: one to add photos, one to add bookmarks, another to blog, etc. While I’m so busy doing other things that I don’t have time to attend to this site [I haven’t even really *designed* the thing yet], Denna is creating bits of *microcontent* which are combined into something bigger, perhaps more meaningful in surprising ways. Her site is updated as she tweets. That seems quite effortless.

Perhaps I need to get over the fear of the fragility of web services, the idea that they can and sometimes do hiccup, burp, vomit or completely self-destruct. The *dependency* on these sites. Maybe it’s a matter of choosing the services owned by the big players, just to play it safe. But wait! We want *control*. Our own favorite content management system, tweaked just so. Argh.

Web 2.0 is about reusing information, and Web 3.0 will be about making information more meaningful by defining and discovering relationships between all these bits of information. The Jons are onto something with Denna’s site. There’s a transition here. And now others will follow.

It’s such a logical, natural approach. It’s the gorilla on the table. I like it. I think.