February 05, 2002

Radio killed the Blogger star?

Chris Gulker recently had great things to say about Dave Winer's new weblogging tool Radio. So decided take it out for a spin, considering the fact that Chris always writes and reviews technologies from the viewpoint of an average user.

What is Radio?

Radio is a weblogging too that should look very familiar to users of weblogs.com, manilasites or any other weblogging community that uses the Frontier like publishing system at its core. After the 2.74 odd MB download [30 day free trial and $39.95 if you decide to keep it, which shall include hosting too up to 10 MB], the familiar click-click-click Windows set up routine is used to install the software and it takes about 15 MB of your HDD space.

On firing up the application once the installation is complete, you are presented with a local page that instructs you to get a login done at the radio.userland site after which the familiar Frontier site administration panel opens up in the browser window, but this time with a lot more of options, since the application is a local server that [presumably] uses XML RPC to communicate with the radio server.

How is it?

Frankly the Frontier UI initially put me off very badly because it does a good job at confusing people than making things clear to them and fiddling around with anything on it requires at least the pedigree of a wannabe geek. But, gradually the power of the underlying XML based technology starts showing its real face and gradually I started liking it because of the sheer number of bells and whistles that comes with it. To put it in a few words it is a hack's paradise and the amount of tweaks possible are mind boggling! For a more elaborate, but simple description of what all is possible using radio u can check this intro by Winer himself.

The Verdict

Radio is a geek's hackpalace but unfortunately for the average user other than the install procedure the rest is not any easier to comprehend than astrophysics. But the again for the average geek it is way much easier to run Apache+PHP+MySql locally and have fun than paying Dave Winer. At the same time it has all the features ManilaSites, Blogger and Livejournal put together but not the ease of use.

Shouts and Boos

(s)+ Easy to set up
(s)+Infinitely flexible
(s)+Data is available locally
(s)+Filled with truckloads of features like:
            Archiving in XML
            RSS NewsFeed
            Different templates for different views

(b)-It is not free ;)
(b)-Horrible UI
(b)-Makes very high demands on the local hardware to run it