Leave it to me and my strangely-named sites to test the globalization preparedness of a Web 2.0 site.
Yes, I’m being difficult by giving my weblog a Japanese title with not a single attempt at Romanization, but my little bit of Asian text is enough to gauge whether site developers are even thinking that far ahead.
The latest subject of this test is MyBlogLog, to which Ryan introduced me. It’s a fascinating idea — social networks for your blogs. Of course, I signed up to be a member of The Transmission, HawaiiUP and HawaiiBlog. And I added this site and Musicwhore.org, among others. (My profile, in case your interested.) In using this site, I’ve run across some odd things that can get a bit annoying.
Like most sites, your profile page changes depending upon your login state. People see one thing when you’re logged in, another when you’re logged out. MyBlogLog does a nice job of keeping the two states fairly consistent on a profile page, but it makes one big blunder — it doesn’t allow you to view easily the communities to which you’ve joined.
When you’re logged out, the profile page has a convenient link to all your communities, but it disappears when you’re logged in. Instead, you’re shown people who joined communities to which you’ve subscribed. That’s not very useful.
It’s also fairly narrow in its support of RSS. The bottom corner of a profile page for a blog contains a number of links culled from the site’s feed. Now, I know I ought to have upgraded my feeds from RSS 1.0 to RSS 2.0, but I’ve been lazy. MyBlogLog found my RSS 1.0 feed, but it didn’t parse it.
My RSS 2.0 feed templates are a mess, so I edited them before I changed my blogs’ settings to point to it. In doing so, I found a weakness in Movable Type — MTBlogTimeZone isn’t formatted properly for RSS 2.0 — and a weakness in MyBlogLog.
According to the RSS 2.0 specification, the guid element serves as a unique identifier for an RSS entry. It’s designed to accomodate any kind of identifier, and a URI is only one of many ways to set guid. It even has an attribute, isPermaLink, to indicate if the text node isn’t a URI.
My RSS 2.0 feeds specified isPermaLink="false", and they used a Movable Type unique identifier, not a URI. MyBlogLog didn’t care — it considered guid, not link, as the link to my site. I had to edit the template of each feed and change guid to match link. I didn’t change the isPermaLink attribute because I don’t perceive guid doing the job of link. A feed reader shouldn’t perceive otherwise either.
As for globalization, the profile page for 「作譜」 can render the Japanese fine, but look at what happens you view the name on a subscriber’s page. Editing my settings for my Japanese-titled sites also renders them in mojibake. I had to change ã€Œä½œèœã€ to 「作譜」 to make sure the correct characters were saved.
I like the statistics tracking, and I like the idea of building a social community around sites that could already have social components. But it’s obvious MyBlogLog has much more work ahead of it.
[UPDATE, 11:59 p.m.] I refreshed my RSS 2.0 templates in Movable Type, and now all is well with the feed links. I’m not sure, though, whether that still mitigates the use of guid over link. I wish the Movable Type documentation site wasn’t so unnavigable — I would have discovered MtEntryDate supports RFC-822 as a format.