A couple of Guys’ recent entries have been concerned with finding a good CMS(Content Management System, for those of you who haven’t yet seasoned their alphabet soup with this particular initialism) or a good online news aggregator which collect RSS feeds (RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, while RDF stands for Resource Description Framework.)
[If you want some good links to basic info on CMS, RDF & RSS, click the more link at the bottom of this entry.]
While following some of Guy’s links, I found my way to Abe Fettig‘s site and to his in-development application HEP. Abe describes HEP, saying
“Hep is a message server… it does things with messages, which as far as Hep is concerned are any little bits of text or HTML that you want to read, or save, or publish, or pass on to somebody else, or convert into a different format, or organize.”
It takes input from email, RSS feeds (and probably IM or any other text or HTML-based source), and converts it to a format which it then sends to your inbox. You can use all your e-mail client’s features to read, organize and search these messages. Finally, it allows you to send messages you’ve read or created to e-mail, Jabber/IM and to weblogs. And why not? Why should we have to load 5 or 6 programs just to read and create simple text messages?
HEP is written in Python and is currently at version 0.3.2. You can download a Zip file or a tarball to install it on any system that runs Python. (I’m gonna see if I can’t convince Guy to spend a couple of hours of his “spare” time installing it for testing.)
Here’s some of the links I mentioned to the basics on CMS, RSS, etc:
O’Reilly’s XML.com has a bunch of “Essentials” — articles introducing some of the protocols on XML, including
“What is RDF?” and “What is RSS?”
Digital Web Magazine has an excellent article on the concepts behind a content management system.
Step Two Designs, an Australian company, has a thorough, non-product-specific article on selecting a CMS for a medium-to-large organization.
Ronald Bourret, an XML developer “maintain[s] a (reasonably) up-to-date list of XML database products,” as well as a list of the somewhat-related category of XML-based CMS systems. The CMS page also contains one of the cleares, most succinct definitions of a CMS I’ve seen:
“Content management systems are systems for storing, retrieving, and assembling documents from document fragments (content). They generally include such features as editors, version control, and multi-user access. Although they are usually built on top of a database (some are built on top of the file system), this is generally hidden from the user.”
Two more articles   on the basics of CMS can be found at Intranet Journal‘s site, where you can also find an extensive (un-annotated) list of CMS products and vendors.
And we can’t forget that some of the simplest — but most capable — CMS systems are the blog systems themselves, including Movable Type, the software we use to host this site.