I have been mulling over why blogs are not used very much anymore and one issue which seems to be important is that blogs are boring to read. It is therefore not enough to build better ways for writing blogs but we also need to deliver better ways for reading blogs and that means – I think anyway – bypassing the web altogether and allowing word processors, such as Author, to open native documents through links in the native documents – if I am reading a document in Author and it refers to another native Author document I should be able to open and read it in Author.
The web should be a web of connections, not a set of fixed document standards.
In order to improve digital, linked publishing it needs to be easy for the average user to post online and there needs to be a way to protect against link-rot.
The link mechanism used on the web is suitable for many users and uses, but it is essentially an address pointing mechanism, not a linking mechanism. If the address ceases to host the document, the link becomes useless.
DOI, ISBN and other Handle Systems are as good as the organisations that support them and are not available for casual documents in general use.
The proposal here then is to ‘make public’ the document in a different way, by posting it to whatever internet host the user has access to and which can be indexed by the search engines and assign a unique name to the document at the time of making public, in the format of the document format, the exact time and date plus author and document name, with the extension .html for the reason described next:
The published document will have three components: An HTML document for wide compatibility, a native document for the word processor and a zipped archive where the hash of the contents of the document is part of the name, for basic tamper verification.
When opening such a reference through a web browser the HTML file is seen and presented. When opening up a reference in the word processor, such as Author, the document is searched for (using Google fx) and a list of locations appear, unless there is only one, and the user can choose which location they trust and the document opens as a native document and the word processor does a hash check on the included archive for basic verification checks.
The benefit of this is that word processors which are focused on the writing and reading experience, gets to continue to improve in those areas and offer the most efficient reading experiences and regular users have access to publishing on the web, through dropbox or whatever is available to them.