Note In Full

Flock 'n' Roll

Being a die-hard Firefox fan I actively avoided Flock for quite a long-time. But once I had implemented the blog-enabled website structure, I started to investigate ways of posting without having to visit my Wordpress admin section.

A question of necessity

I originally looked for Firefox extensions for blog posting, the best of which was Performancing for Firefox. Performancing is a great product, but wasn’t quite what I wanted so I thought I’d best give Flock a whirl…

Flock is being touted as a social browser that allows you to conveniently manage your online properties from blog posts to photos and tags from your web browser. When I first fired Flock up, I was impressed by how easy it was to import my existing preferences, favourites, history and cookies.

The Swiss Army browser

In the setup wizard, I skipped on creating a Flickr account but jumped at the chance to sign up for Shadows - an online favourites manager like del.icio.us but with the option to save your favourites as private - I had never heard of Shadows before, but I now find it hard to live without.

Creating blog posts was still a clunky experience when I first used Flock, but I had become instantly addicted to my new “Star this” button - one click on the star button to the left of the navigation bar and you are presented with a modal window that allows you to create your own tags to describe the page and instantly store it to your favourites on both your machine and the web.

Onwards and upwards

Yesterday I was alerted to a new version of Flock which I opted to download and install as I was keen to see the much hyped new Mozilla Midas-based post tool. Unfortunately the new version had problems trying to discover my blog so I thought I would continue to use the standard Wordpress workflow for posting.

So when I saw that another upgrade had been released this morning, I had a feeling that the blog discovery problem might have been more widespread than I’d thought and that this was the fix that I’d assumed would take a while to get implemented.

So after a couple of quick tests, here it is - my first proper post using Flock :)

The future

I’m still having to do some editing in the source view to ensure that the markup is correct and I know that there are issues with nested categories and that accessibility is let down by the lack of a “title” field in the link modal window.

Update - Upon further testing, it appears that there are still some issues with HTML validity and nesting, especially with sub-headings within the post. These issues only arise after the post is published and are rectified by simply opening the post in Wordpress and then saving the post. Bizzarre - keep your eyes peeled.

Bearing in mind that Flock is still considered to be pre-beta software, I am very impressed with it’s stability, usablility and extensibility. I predict that Flock (or it’s descendants) will grab a fair old audience as more people shift from just browsing to using their browsers to browse, capture and publish content on the web.

Thursday, June 8th, 2006 - Reviews.