What the Flock!

About a month ago I read about a new project called Flock whose apparent aim is to build a browser aimed at bloggers. They decided to use the existing Mozilla Firefox code base as a starting point and leverage XUL to integrate blogging, social tagging networks and RSS news readers. The project was still in beta but I downloaded and installed anyway. The feature set truly was useful. I found that tagging a web site to del.icio.us was as easy as a right click using the Star feature. Simply click the Star in the URL bar and you’ve flagged a page. The favourites manager doubles as an RSS reader.

Just like Firefox, Flock puts an icon in the URL bar when a site has one or more feeds. In Flock, you can click that icon to get a feed view of the page. Flock includes a blog editor that works with WordPress (and the new WordPress.com hosted service), Movable Type and Typepad (and shortly also Live Journal) and Blogger. Simplye Click the feather blog icon, enter the setup information for the blog, and enter the post into the text editor. Flock!also allows selecting and posting text from a web site with the “Blog This!” function available from the “right click” menu.

Flock also integrates Yahoo!’s Flickr photsharing application. One can drag and drop pictures from the Flickr topbar right into a blog post.

Most, but not all, of Flock’s functionality is available from any of a number of Firefox extensions. In fact when Firefox 1.5 was release I found that I could do everything that Flock did with a combination of the Google Toolbar (for posting to Blogger), the del.icio.us Firefox extension, and Performancing for Firefox, a full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox. My Firefox extensions solutions may not be as slick or as well integrated as those in Flock but I did not find too much in Flock! to recommend my switching at this time. The Flock blogging function also supports more blog API than my Google Blogger only extension. The post from Flickr functionality also saves time by providing a view into the photostream directly from the blog post editor. Flock has promise despite what may seem to be a feature war with the Firefox development crew and extension developers. I’ll keep Firefox as my blogging tool for now but I ‘ll keep a close eye on Flock as it develops.

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