Posted by Steve on Sat, 11/22/2008 - 10:45pm

I've been neglecting my blog, and my house for that matter, but for a good reason.  This summer a client and I were chatting about an idea for networking public health-related blogs.  He described his concept as a clearinghouse for blogs on a given topic, such as child health, where users would have a single point of access to selected RSS feeds on a given subject.

"Wait," sez me.  "That sounds like HouseBlogs for the wellness community." So I sent him to HouseBlogs and he told me it was similar to what he envisioned. He wanted a few additional features, like a Wiki, a virtual "home page" where the publisher could talk about his organization, answer user questions, post links to other resources and manage his own feed, and a Slashdot-type of ratings system. Okay, the last idea was mine.  No harm in up-selling an eager client.

I've got a shopping list of other features, some of which are still in the head jamming phase (like a micro-donations subsystem and taxonomy filtering that would allow several different topics to coexist on the same site).

And two more demands: it had to be written for the Drupal CMS software so non-technical users could maintain it and publish to it.  And he wants to see it in action on a live site so he can use it as a demo to raise money from his folks before deploying it to his community.  My first three topical choices for the public beta were Brooklyn blogs, motorcycle blogs and bass player blogs.   But for various reasons having mostly to do with "appropriate content" and their respective wild west communities, I ruled them out.

So I fell back on the blogger community I know best: house bloggers.  This weekend I began limited public alpha testing of...


You're all invited. Initially, I need to test account and home page creation, image upload and general navigation.  Secondarily, the Wiki needs work (for now, you have to manually set the editor's Input Format to "wiki" for it to process the post as a wiki page).  I've also run into an occasional problem with Internet Explorer and cookies which is bugging me.

There are some beta test forums set up for feedback. You'll need to create an account and respond to the opt-in email to get full access.

PS: this isn't an effort to poach on Houseblogs' turf. There wouldn't be much point to it. My client's organization is a .gov with a strict Open Source policy for its contracted software so the Drupal module I built which enables 80% of HomeOwnersLike.Us will probably be released under the GNU General Public License after he launches his site.