Friday, August 27, 2004

Testing a new trackback system for Radio

With this post, I'm helping to test a possible new trackback system for Radio UserLand.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Cooking up a theme for Radio

In the iceplant lab, located in Berkeley, California, I've been busy creating a new Radio UserLand theme. It's my version of a web standards based template that was made available under a Creative Commons license by the CSS Gods at WestCiv.


A few hours have past and I've made good progress. At first I thought I'd just throw in a few Radio macros, add some sugar and spice, and poof! A new Radio theme. Ha! Well, it's not that it's terribly difficult to create a Radio theme. It's more that, as I started working on it, I realized that I really want to release something useful and well done, with little bits of style here and there. So, that's the hold-up. I'm busy digging in. Hopefully I can crank this out before I hit the playa. If not, you'll have to wait till I'm back to see the fruits of my pre-labor day labor.

Looking for more Radio themes? Check out the theme library at UserLand.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

David Brown's MailEdit is a powerful Radio tool

David Brown is hoping that MailEdit makes it into the Radio product. David is the author of this powerful Radio tool and I think it would be a fabulous addition to Radio as well.

As a selfish desire, I'd like to see some of the functionality of MailEdit make it into the main Radio product. I think many people would find it useful. Well, I know I do.

MailEdit allows one to post and edit weblog entries to a Radio weblog via email. Posts can contain images too! It does even more than that but you'll have to install it to see for yourself.

Add your shortcuts to the glossary

I'm tired of typing the same URL over and over again. Aren't you? You know the drill.. Start a weblog post in Radio, create a link to the same web address that you've typed a hundred times before, hope you got all the HTML correct, and post your entry. Fortunately, Radio allows us to save shortcuts for those URL's that we refer to often, so that instead of typing out all that bothersome HTML code every time, we simply type a special word that we get to create and be sure to enclose it in double quotes.

For instance, I refer to NetNewsWire, the RSS news reader by Ranchero Software quite a bit. I got tired of type the HTML code every time I wanted to make a link to their site. So, I added a shortcut to Radio called 'nnw' and then entered the HTML code that makes it a link. Now, whenever I type those letters, enclose them in double quotes, and post to my site, Radio will automatically convert that shortcut into the full HTML code that creates a link to Ranchero's site. Let's test it. This should produce a link to "nnw".

Here's how you do it. Start up Radio. From the Tools-Developer's menu, select Jump... or Command-J for the Mac users like me out there. Enter user.html.glossary and choose OK. You'll see a bunch of entries which are existing shortcuts.

Try adding your own shortcut. Hit Enter to start a new entry, add a shortcut name, tab to the next field, enter the HTML for that link (follow the example of another shortcut to be sure you get it right) and hit Enter. Now, the next time you enter a new post in Radio, just enter your shortcut in double quotes and Radio will expand it for you, automatically.

There's more to know about Shortcuts, if you find this helpful. Perhaps I'll talk more about them in the future. Until then, take a look at the shortcuts page on the Radio site for more info.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Layout-o-matic tool idea

On Steve Kirks Radio wish list, he writes about Theme Generation for Radio.

Imagine a Radio function that asks you questions and helps you build your theme. How many columns? What colors? What graphics? You answer and then Radio builds simple themes using CSS. It sounds like that's a neat little $19.99 add on to me.

I like that idea. Perhaps one could mimic the Layout-o-matic site, including the base set of Radio macro calls, of course.

Morning Radio Notes

Lately, I've been hanging out on the Radio Discussion Forum, helping where I can, learning what I can, listening. To make it easier to keep up with the amount of traffic, I have subscribed to the Discussion group rss feed in my news aggregator of choice, NetNewsWire. You might subscribe to the feed in Radio or any number of news aggregators available.

One hot item people are talking about originated with Steve Hooker. I'm looking forward to Steve releasing a Radio tool that contains many of his scripts. As he is releasing these currently, they are just too hard for average Jane Radio user to install. As a tool, perhaps it will be an easier process. I use a few of Steve's scripts and they are quite handy. For instance, suppose you make some changes to one of your category templates and you'd now like to see those changes rendered to all the pages in that category. How are you going to do that? The Publish menu in Radio doesn't offer that option. I can do it with one of Steve's scripts that allows me to choose a folder and everything in that folder will be touched, causing Radio to upstream the pages to the server. Touching a file updates the date and time just as if you had opened the file and saved it, which is exactly the flag that Radio uses to know whether or not something has changed and therefore needs to be uploaded.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Radio enclosure tool

On Adam Curry's blog, Steve Kirks left a comment:

In my new role as product manager for Radio, I'm hoping to find a developer that will build a tool to sync enclosures. Care to give UserTalk a try?

Steve Kirks

I too have been thinking about a Radio enclosure tool that I call Radio Activate. I am brushing up on my UserTalk, but I've a long way to go before I can actually code this thing. Whoever creates this tool, I know I'll be using it.

Radio Newbie Tips

Lots of useful information for Radio users on Sexy Magick: "Newbie Tips : Various tips on how to use to radio, documentation, faqs, links for other tips, etc.."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Radio UserLand: A Real Life Scenario

I've always appreciated a technical book that contains a personal account of how the author uses a particular tool in daily life. In that spirit, I'm going to outline the steps I took recently to create a site, in Radio, for a good friend of mine. I'm just getting started on this so please stay tuned for a more official announcement of the final result. If you are interested, take a look at what I've got so far..

Shawn Reifsteck, a good friend of mine, wanted a web site to help his campaign to become San Francisco District 7 Supervisor. I'll explain how I used Radio to quickly create his site, taking it from concept to launch in less than two weeks.

Shawn's site is a category in Radio that is upstreamed to it's own server via ftp. This is how I create and render many of my sites these days and it's one of the smartest features of Radio that I recommend trying.

More on this case study later.

Steve, how's the Radio update coming along?

Steve Kirks, Radio Product Manager, passes along some of the interesting things he's learned while tooling around under the hood of Radio, prepping for the pending upgrade, slated for September 1.

Did you know that the preference system is just a rendered outline? Seriously! One outline handles the core text and Radio inserts checkboxes, textboxes and editors based on macros in the outline. It's part of Radio's localization infrastructure, allowing UserLand to write versions of Radio in many different languages by changing a few outlines.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Location tool for Radio UserLand - Geotag your posts

The Location tool for Radio Userland enables geotagging of individual weblog postings.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Atom 0.3 Support for Manila and Radio UserLand News Aggregators

Wow! UserLand supports Atom. UserLand, I like your style. Update: I just tried it out. It works. Cool.

"Yes, its here -- Atom support. It will be interesting to see how people react to UserLand's support of Atom."

(Via Scott Young's Radio Weblog.)

Radio Reading

On my new blog, Radio: The Missing Manual, I'm slowly building an outline of Radio UserLand links.

The first complete section is called "What's in my toolbelt?" and contains a list of Tools that I regularly use. What's in your toolbelt?

By the way, I'm using Radio to maintain the outline, and my favorite tool, activeRenderer, to turn that outline into a web page.

From Napa, California, Jeff Evans is blogging away with Radio UserLand.

What does napaloka mean? Jeff says "loka means place napa means residence of dharma or where dharma resides or is found."

Monday, August 16, 2004

New version of Radio around the corner

Steve Kirks: "We are heading in to the turn on our way to the home stretch for a Radio release.

(Via house of warwick.)

iPodder syncs mp3's to my iPod for me automatically

Adam Curry finally released his AppleScript named iPodder today. I immediately grabbed it, made a few configuration tweaks and then my computer successfully, with one click, scanned some RSS feeds known to contain MP3 enclosures, downloaded the MP3's and then added them to iTunes. All I have to do now is sync up my iPod and all the new tracks are ready for listening. Just what the doctor ordered.

There are some refinements to make of course since this is basically a beta. I'm looking forward to seeing where Adam takes this thing.

Now that I've actually run this myself, I immediately thought that I'd like for this to be a Radio Tool. Drop it in my Radio Tools folder, configure some settings on the Tools prefs page, and forget about it. Since Radio's aggregator can already handle enclosures, I'm getting these files in my Enclosures folder anyhow. Why not tap into that which is already handling the subscriptions and the downloads?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Radio UserLand: FTP functions

Over on the Radio discussion board, I'm engaged in a discussion on how Radio ftp functions work.

Radio makes it possible to upload any of your categories to it's own ftp server. That's how this Radio Missing Manual site and my Coral Reef Report site are configured. They are just categories in Radio that I have created. After I created the categories I set them up to automatically ftp to their own server, which means they can now be accessed via their own URL, not like this /categories/coralReefReport/.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Creating a backlog of my RSS feed for better search results

Steve Hooker makes some interesting Radio tools. Today I installed his tool, backLogAllRSS. What does it do? Well, you wouldn't know it after reading the page on Steve's site unless you really dig around. So, here's what backLogAllRSS is doing for me.

I want my weblog, iceplant radio, to rank better at Feedster, an RSS search engine. You see, I've been weblogging at iceplant radio since 2001. Feedster came along in 2003 so there are a lot of posts on my weblog that visitors to Feedster don't know exist. What to do? Well, if you are running Radio UserLand just install Steve's tool and generate a backlog RSS file of your entire weblog by pressing one button. Then, index your entire blog with Feedster by telling them the address of that new file.

Now Feedster knows about the entire history of your weblog and will automatically pick up where it left off with your next post. A human will inspect the feed you submit first to keep the spammers away. Thanks for a very useful tool, Steve.

My Radio Enclosure Aggregator

Radio has a news aggregator but I've not used it for a long time. I use NetNewsWire to read my RSS feeds instead. Unfortunately, NNW doesn't handle enclosures. Enclosures are files that can be attached to RSS feeds and automatically downloaded by an enclosure aware aggregator, such as Radio UserLand.

There are some interesting feeds with enclosures that I want to tune in to such as Dave Winer's Morning Coffee Notes, Christopher Lydon's Interviews and Adam Curry's Daily Source Code.

So, I've added those feeds to my Radio subscriptions list. I've configured Radio to accept and download enclosures. And finally, I turned my Radio aggregator back on so it can check for RSS feeds with enclosures that have been updated recently. If there is an enclosure, Radio will download it at night when I'm asleep, ready for listening, viewing, using in the morning.

What next? I intend to watch Adam's enclosure to iPod project closely and implement it myself when the time is right. That way mp3 enclosures will not only be downloaded to my computer, they will automatically be added to my iTunes list and synced up with my iPod.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Radio: The Missing Manual

Why another weblog/site about Radio UserLand?

  • I use Radio daily so I could benefit from this as well.
  • I believe there is room for another site about Radio.
  • UserLand just reinforced their commitment to Radio by hiring Steve Kirks as Radio Product Manager.
  • Because I want to.

After explaining how a Radio tool called radioEditThisPage works, I got this response from Hetty, another Radio UserLand user.

Some time ago I bought that Radio Kick Start book. The only problem is, people like me need something like The Missing Radio Manual. What we now have is a sort of a descriptive 'grammar' of radio for people who already learned and know 'grammar'. I don't mean a book 'for dummies' (I'm not a dummy, as I had in my windows days, installed Linux on the HD), but a book that explains things the way you just did.

Gee, thanks Hetty. Here's how I explained it.

You install the tool. You add a macro to your #itemTemplate.txt file like this:

<%radioEditThisPageSuite.myRadioEdit ()%>

And then you publish your home page. Now, you'll notice two little dot's were inserted where you placed the macro. Click on one of those dots and Radio will come to the front, with the post all ready to be edited. Make your edits, save them and then the post will be pushed to your Radio site.

I hear you Hetty. As a Radio user, I've been plugging away at this amazing little engine for a few years and I'm still learning new things. Thanks to books like Frontier: The Definitive Guide by Matt Neuburg and Radio UserLand Kickstart by Rogers Cadenhead, as well as the various Radio self help sites floating around the web, and most importantly, the community of people who help answer questions, I've been able to get quite a bit done on the web.

Of course, I've got plenty of web bookmarks for Radio sites. I've got little notes stashed here and there that I refer to when I want to extend Radio in some fashion. I'll bet you and other Radio users do as well. Since this is the web, and I've adopted Radio's tagline as my own, I'm going to move those tidbits from my computer, into this site, created in Radio, of course, and do my part to contribute to the world of Radio users who have the power of Web publishing on their desktop.

How will this site be different? We'll have to see but I am going to do my best to think like a newbie and keep it simple. What's a newbie? A person new to something, such as Radio or spelunking. I am not a Radio newbie. I am not a Radio programmer, either. I'm a Radio user. And I'm hooked.