Terapad goes beyond blogging

I first started blogging in November 2002, using Dave’ Winer’s Radio Userland. The blog was called Second Thoughts and it covered topics such as web services, DRM, open source, start-ups, Microsoft and Google. Oddly looking back at some of the posts, nothing seems to have really changed, other than the fact I moved my personal blog to Six Apart’s Typepad in July 2003 and changed the name of my blog to Vecosys.

Right now I’m once again thinking of changing my personal blog provider. In the past, several blog platforms came along and briefly caught my attention but on further inspection they only flattered to deceive because they didn’t really offer a great deal more than Typepad and the hassle of moving didn’t justify the time.

What I was looking for was a blog platform that “natively” adopted and/or integrated some of the newer Web 2.0 features. e.g tag clouds, digg, flickr, delicious, ping-o-matic, microformats etc. Arguably having a Web 2.0 blog is eminently possible today using a mixture of plugins and/or raw xhtml code but sadly I once again haven’t got the time to set it all up.

One notable exception that I did briefly consider was Marc Canter’s People Aggregator which recently implemented a whole slew of new Web 2.0 features; federated ID, microformats, structured blogging, social networking etc. but sadly I found PeopleAggregator hard to use mainly because the UI design layout is a bit like Marc’s famous hawaiian shirts; very colourful but equally very busy, very loud and hard on the eye to look at.

[note: judge for yourself, Marc will be doing a demo of People Aggregator at Mashup London:September 21st at BT Centre, St Paul’s,London]

So in my continued quest to find a new blog platform, it was a nice suprise to come across Terapad last week. Terapad is a London based, self-funded startup which has clearly looked at the current state of the blogging market and concluded that there is still a space in the market for a new player.

“Blogging has been technologically very active recently, but feature-wise it’s been completely stagnant. We’ve capitalized on this and added all the features of major corporate websites to the blogging equation.” said Stephan Tual, CEO TeraPad.

Having used it for a few days, so far I like Terapad, its not just another blog platform. It seems TeraPad have successfully integrated a wealth of web 2.0 features into an easy to use blog platform, whilst managing to combine it with online shopping, web pages, discussion forums, an image gallery, a job search as well as a host of useful third party services, such as Google Analytics and Paypal. For the more technical user, TeraPad still provides them with the opportunity to directly manipulate the underlying XHTML and CSS source code to further customise the platform.

So have TeraPad actually managed to deliver the sort of next generation blog platform I’m seeking and at the same time convince me to replace my existing personal blog? I think, Terapad have gone along way and they could seriously challenge the likes of Live Journal, WordPress.com, Spaces and Typepad but I think they still need to address some of the following issues.

Firstly the hosted service is offered for a flat monthly fee of $18.00 per month which is more than Typepad and a lot more than the likes of WordPress.com? Secondly, although Terapad allows for multiple editors within one blog, it doesn’t allow for multiple blogs within one account. Thirdly it would be nice to import my older posts from Typepad and Radio Useland, so I could consolidate my posts and pictures in one place. Fourthly support for both Feedburner and Google’s AdSense would also be very useful. And finally it would have been great if TeraPad had taken the opportunity to implement support for microformats.

The good thing is there is still time for TeraPad because they have only just started the public beta and are very keen to get user feedback.