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The SDN Weblogs, something like 500+ webloggers registered, well over 1000+ weblog entries, but not a huge percentage of active webloggers, you tend to see the same names all the time.

Now the the weblogs were my first real start at being known as a contributor on SDN and I’ve written well over 70 weblogs since then. So for me the weblogs are a special area, but in order for it to remain special all of you SDNer’s out there need to put some effort into it. The content should be well thought out, structured and checked not only for accuracy but also for grammer and spelling. I’m a native speaker but I still make tons of mistakes in English and therefore I have two tools I use (depending on browser) to help ensure my spelling is not so bad.

In Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) I use a plugin called, ieSpell, and it’s just great! For FireFox I use RiteOfTongue which also works very well. For grammar well, I just read each weblog printed out on paper one or two times before I mark them as ” style=”font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;”>FINAL”.

As for accuracy and structure I usually ask someone to read through the weblog and ask them if it makes sense, usually someone with no technical background. If it seems to flow to them then I should be OK with everyone else as well.

Content of course is the biggest problem, the other items there are small potatoes in comparision. What exactly is good content, and how much is enough and when is it not enough? Those are questions you should ask yourself when writing up your weblog. Brian wrote a weblog, The 1-2-3 Steps To Producing a Weblog, this is an invaluable resource when composing your weblog and should be read throughly by each person writing a weblog or wanting to write a weblog. You’ll find in Brian’s weblog a link to one from Weblog formatting Tips and Tricks, also a must read. Oh, and for those of you who have requested to be a weblogger don’t forget what Why don’t they let me blog? told everyone.

OK, so you’ve read all those things, installed your spell checker and been approved to be a weblogger. So now what? Well you log in and go to “Weblogs” then in the bottom left you click the magic link, “Post a Weblog“, and you get the lovely form on the screen.

style=”font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;”> New Feature Alert: Points to Developer area – You select the area you want your weblog 40 points to show up in.

Well after a little bit you’ll notice the form is not the easiest or nicest to work with, so what can you do about?

“I’ve been there and done”, that is all I can say to trying all the various ways. There are some great ways there but which ones?

Now Eddy made some weblogs about this topic as well:

and who can forget Brian’s weblog on The 1-2-3 Steps To Producing a Weblog. However, for me I wanted a solution either on the website itself or in my own browser, mainly the browser.

Now being someone who enjoys, the entire OpenSource market, I did some searches on the net and found the following link. It’s a collection of OpenSource tools available either for integration into the browser or the website to enhance a standard HTML textArea. I’ve used several already in applications and I’ve not had any problems. But again, what I want is a browser integrated solution.

style=”font-weight: bold;”>Enter Maxthon…

Maxthon, is a wrapper program for IE and it contains some great plugins. Some of those plugins that can help make your posting or weblog writing easier are:

Now these work quite nicely especially the “TextAreaPro” as you can then just type away and do your formatting and then submit. However, you might notice that “TextAreaPro” does not always work in the weblogs, forums yes, weblogs not 100%.

style=”font-weight: bold;”>Enter Firefox…

Not to leave the little guy off to the side to long, FireFox has some nice features as well to help you get your messages and weblogs in there:

Again these are all well and good but not truely what I was looking for. Therefore I took a look at the following:

Now this is quite nice and works well with my mobile FireFox and therefore it seems to solve all of my problems. OK, not all of my problems, I tend to have to use combinations of the above tools to achieve everything I want but then again you can’t have everything. Oh and it has one bug I should mention, when you use the link command it does not give the target option therefore all links open in the same window. Some like this some don’t, I would rather have new windows open for my weblogs.

The basis of the cuneAform is a tool called htmlArea, which doesn’t seem to be supported anymore at least not by InteractiveTools. However, if you open up the cuenAform.jar file from the extension you can go and modify the various features of htmlArea (htmlArea.js) and thus customize cuneAform to suit your needs better.

style=”font-weight: bold;”>The Ultimate Dream

What I (and others) are hoping for though is that SDN takes a look at some of these tools, and then perhaps finds a chance to play around with one or two and sees if one of them works out for them. Personally I would recommend, Cross-Browser Rich Text Editor, I’ve had lots of luck with it inside of various websites and applications.

Cross-Browser Rich Text Editor is a very nice and simply to use tool that uses standard JavaScript to enhance the textarea also allows to remove the enhancement. I think this is something that could be easily integrated into the weblogs, although it’s just my thought as I don’t know the programming behind the weblogs.

The idea of it being in my browser is great but sometimes I’m in a situation where I have no access to my PC or my USB stick and therefore it would be nicer to have the feature as part of the website itself!

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7 Comments

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  1. Anonymous
    Hi Craig,
    nice summary of how to write a weblog that is easy to read and “looks good”.

    I want to emphasize another point when writing weblogs, one that this weblog is a great example for:
    In our time it gets more and more important to know WHERE to find related information, and what Craig showed here is one good example for that. Many links to other relevant articles, this increases a weblog’s worth tremendously, being able to to further reading with just one simple click.

    This goes to all webloggers:
    When you write a weblog, don’t think of this as a pain in the a** when you feel like “oh, I want to quickly finish this weblog, I won’t include links, just mention them in the text”.
    Think about the hundreds (or thousands) of people that will read your weblog, you can either annoy them (by mentioning web information without linking), or support them in the process of gaining further information (by linking to it).
    It’s only a minute’s effort for you, but it makes the difference to let the others remember you as one hell of a weblogger!
    (“You read that blog? Man, what a great article, and all those links in there!”)

    Hope this gets read by some webloggers 😉
    Max

    Also want to close with two remarks:
    P.S.: Weblog writing is encouraged, but think twice of the content you want to write about. Is it worthy enough to be covered here on SDN?
    P.P.S.: Do not copy (or steal) information from others to make it up for your own weblog. Create some content of your own, and _link_ to the information that others spent their energy in providing. Pay tribute to them while creating new information, that’s the way to gain respect (who cares about them points anyway?) 🙂

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    1. K K
      nice weblog Craig….

      ur weblog will be great for newbies and also for those who are already an active Webloggers at SDN.

      Atleast now no one has to mail sdn@sap.com, as i mailed sdn more then 10 times, and finally u were the one who guided me for my first weblog….

      regards,
      kamaljeet

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  2. Harsh Chawla
    Hi Craig,
        Thanks for the links, they are really helpfull. I agree with Maximilian, adding links to resources helps the readers a lot. Sometimes pointing in the right direction is more important that creating new content, its good as long and its done openly with links and not plagiarism.

    In school one of my teachers used to say: “If you want to learn good English, watch the professionals do it on the news channels”. Well if you want to learn how to write a good blog, watch the big guns(Craig,Thomas,Mark,Mario) do it on SDN:)

    Regards,
    Harsh

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  3. Scott Barden
    “In Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) I use a plugin called, ieSpell, and it’s just great! For FireFox I use RiteOfTongue which also works very well. For grammer …”

    Isn’t it ironic that grammar is spelt incorrectly… :-p

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  4. Anonymous
    most of the links I tried are broken, only one of the tools mentioned is running on firefox 2…Now I have to install 3rd party software just to edit a SDN weblog ? my private wordpress blog does not require this!
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    1. Community User
      Most are all broken? Which ones? Quite possible that were never updated for FF2 (this blog is old)

      No you don’t need to install a 3rd party tool and lovely that your wordpress blog does not require it however did you know that thousands who use wordpress also use tools like MS Live Writer? Another point for another topic.

      Feel free to contact me directly I’m in the address book.

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