Brent Simmons, the creator of NetNewsWire (which I can’t use since it’s a Mac only app) talks about the need to make writing to the Web easier in an interview at WriteTheWeb (which looks to be going through a relaunch.) About the ease of use issue, he says:
I put up my first website in late 1994, and it’s almost ten years later, and I’m utterly surprised that we’re still working on getting people writing for the web. Part of it may just be education, letting people know that hey, it’s okay to write for the web, it’s fun, it’s not hard, you won’t get struck by lightning.
But maybe it still is too difficult… Check out the weblog preferences in NetNewsWire Pro. It asks for a bunch of settings. Ideally it should just ask you where your website is — that should be all it takes. We’re not there yet, but with things like RSD we’re getting closer.
And maybe it’s not just the settings that make it difficult. You have to get a website first, after all. And then you have to figure out how the browser or your weblog editor works.
Ideally writing for the web should be about as easy as writing something in TextEdit. Create it, write it, save it. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Create it, write it, save it. Sounds like a plan. After spending the last few days setting up and tweaking student Web logs, I have to say two things: a) As I have gotten more and more used to Manila, it’s gotten easier for my kids to correctly get through the create it part. But, b) it’s still too hard. I spent a full 88-minute block on it. It should take 8 minutes. I know that Pat sees greener pastures just around the corner. I’ll be patient. I’m going to try to stick to the first part of the pull quote above, the it’s ok to write to the Web part. It is fun. It isn’t really that hard, and none of us has been struck by lightning…yet.