What Isa Bliki

26 May 2003

I've been watching the blog scene develop for a while, and it's impossible to not want to join in. But there are things I'm not so keen about blogs. For a start the name, as my colleague Mike Two puts it, "blog sounds like something I should pay a physician to remove". Beyond the name, however, there's the very ephemeral nature of blog postings. Short bursts of writing that might be interesting when they are read - but quickly age. I find writing too hard to want to spend it on things that disappear.

I have similar mixed feelings about wikis. I like the way they allow you to quickly put stuff together. But they can easily lead to long rambling sites. And I do like the fact that blogs make it easy to see what's really changed recently - thanks to the hooks into RSS and aggregators.

So I decided I wanted something that was a cross between a wiki and a blog - which Ward Cunningham immediately dubbed a bliki. Like a blog, it allows me to post short thoughts when I have them. Like a wiki it will build up a body of cross-linked pieces that I hope will still be interesting in a year's time.

I intend to use this to post ideas that are forming, but either too immature or too short for a proper article. Also as I see questions posted on mailing lists or newsgroups I'll try to provide a lasting answer here.

For those who use RSS, I keep one RSS feed.

Some have questioned the term 'bliki', since wikis allow anyone to edit while this is just for me. I think this reading misunderstands the nature of parenthood. After all, I'm a cross between my mother and father, but I don't inherit all my mother's characteristics.

(The term 'bliki' has been used by others - not surprising as it's a fairly obvious contraction. Currently SnipSoft produce a GPL'd bliki in Java. In my case I rolled my own in few hundred lines of Ruby on a flight from Boston to Bangalore.)