Amongst the many interesting things that were discussed at the Repositories and the Cloud event on Tuesday was the plans for ePrints to offer what Les Carr referred to as a ‘Blogger’ like option. Now I can only assume that Les has a long held fondness for Blogger as he hosts his RepositoryMan blog there as it seemed to me that actually what they were talking about was much closer to the WordPress model.
The ability to fire up a hosted ePrints instance by just signing up via a webform like a million social web apps is a pretty great idea – would certainly take the mystery out of Repositories for a lot of people as they would be able to create them so much more easily. I believe the more like standard web services things like repositories behave the better understood they will be by regular users and I think it will also push usability issues forward as more people use the tools and feedback to the developers.
Alongside this is the move to creating a suite of plug-ins to extend ePrints (apparently at Open Repositories they tried out the ‘ there’s an app for that line’ but have thankfully seen the error of their ways!) which I seem to remember was going to be called the ‘ePrints App Bazaar’ but that might be totally wrong..
I’m interested to see whether they are able to offer things like themes to the options offered and I know there are existing analytics plug-ins and it would be great if they were a part of any standard package.
Also the flexibility of the admin interface will be important – will it offer the control a self-hosted option would? If so does this open up the opportunity for people to use the tool as a kind of white-labeled Slideshare?
I think it was the mix of options and the plug-ins that made me think of WordPress so much. A hosted option, a free self-hosted option if you want to run things yourself (in the Cloud or locally), the opportunity to bring in professional support services and an active user community contributing and supporting the software all looks and sounds very much like the ecosystem surrounded Automattic and WordPress just their version is writ a little bit larger 🙂
I’ll be watching the development of this in the future – I can’t help but be more comfortable with things that seem more at home on the web and the more web native tools like this become the easier it is for me to understand them and considering my job these days that is a good thing!!