Radio Userland

Radio Userland is the client-app version of Userland Frontier, the scripting environment by Dave Winer.

I suggested the product name ! This was at a time when the new use for this app (which had been called Pike up until then) was managing one's mp3 library (and sharing it with others: not passing the files themselves, but sharing the metadata so you could see what was on other people's playlist, etc.). I like the "radio" metaphor, and the glomming together with the |Userland gestalt Now it's used/promoted more as a tool for writing a WebLog (and aggregating other weblogs via their RSS channels) (in fact, Radio8 doesn't include the mp3 playlist-management features!). It can edit a Userland Manila site, or if you keep it running all the time (and users can get to you despite FireWalls and NAT) and it has its own built-in lite Web Server, so you can host yourself.

Dave is talking about this as the P2P replacement for Userland Manila (I don't think this works on Radio8 yet ). He says that centralized servers are too expensive to scale, and we should just use the existing capacity of everyone's desktop. (Though I believe most Radio-8 based weblogs are upstreamed to, which delivers the pages to readers. So for the moment the only load saved is the editing process. But I suspect the goal is to have that mix change...)

  • Mar'02 update: performance of the server is improved because it's actually delivering static pages via Apache, instead of running Manila. (Radio renders HTML pages and uses FTP to upload them to the target server.)

  • Apr'02 update: another step in decentralizing is the availability of Radio Community Server

When I've suggested that FireWalls and NAT make this unrealistic, John Robb (source of that thought) suggested that a combination of mirroring-to-cloud and Presence Detection and tunnelling courtesy of Jabber would do the trick. But that doesn't work yet.

Using Radio to edit a Manila site can be a pain, because it uses a weird custom format (OPML?) for the content it passes to Manila. And if you edit that Manila story straight from the browser, it gets completely messed up (at least it did in Jul'01). And I seem to recall that you didn't have GUI for basic styling in Radio, so you were writing and seeing bold tags and the such. Plus I found that running Radio seemed to slow down my machine (Task Manager said it was using 20% of CPU), even when I wasn't doing anything with it. And, as noted in Userland Manila, I'm hoping to get off Manila altogether.

Radio helps you digest other weblogs by tracking personal favorites lists of sites providing RSS feeds. Which is kinda cool.

Hmm, what if you built a wiki inside Radio (or Userland Manila or Userland Frontier)? The Wiki Name approach is not too far from the Userland Glossary... I wonder (a) how much new work you'd have to do to get basic wiki functionality, and (b) in that approach how much cool Userland stuff (e.g. upstreaming, RSS) you'd still get for free...

See Weblog For Collaboration Ware.

Great Idea! --RichardMacManus, 2003/11/30 19:45 GMT
Hi Bill, I use Radio Userland and I have been thinking about adding some Wiki functionality to my blog (or at least make it more topic-focused). So I am very interested in your idea of building a Wiki inside Radio! Keep us informed. btw, I had no idea you came up with the name Radio Userland - excellent!

  • whoops, that would be a Loose End from before I settled on turning a WikiEngine into a WikiLog, rather than trying to add Wiki features to a WebLog tool. But maybe you'll re-inspire someone else to do it. Among other things, I kinda like the Self Organizing web-of-topics model, rather than trying to maintain some Top Down hierarchy of categories. Note that a variety of people, such as Les Orchard, play with running a wiki on the side, and having their blog tool auto-render links to those pages... --BillSeitz

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