There are two types of weblog software, or blogware: user-installable blogging packages setup and configured by individual, group or company bloggers on their own systems and servers, and blogging services requiring no installation by the user and generally operated from a central server administered by the systems developers. The latter are by far the easier for the novice blogger to get to grips with since very little technical knowledge is required other than the ability to use a mouse and answer a few quick questions about how the blog should look.
Still perhaps the more simple to use and immediate of the blogging services is Blogger. Since its inception in 1999 it has struggled through the dot-com bust of late-2000, been acquired by Google, has incorporated photo sharing software and emerged with a user-friendly interface and a remote update facility offered on the Google Toolbar (an Internet Explorer browser add-in). Recently – August 2005 – an add-in for Microsoft Word makes it possible to save documents directly to Blogger, a clever initiative since Word is by far the most ubiquitous word processing software.
Both types of blogging software usually offer users a number of templates with which to personalise their sites and frequently enable a behind-the-scenes programming language to further customise look and functionality.
Not all bloggers use free commercial blogware. Many create their own blogs using programming languages such as ASP, PHP, Perl, Ruby or ColdFusion behind which sits a database repository where comments, articles, dates and times and links are stored and retrieved. Certainly these are the more ambitious enterprises, undertaken by developers who have the necessary skills and determination to further stamp their individuality on the Web. In fact, this is exactly how the first blogware emerged, from individuals with programming expertise and the drive and vision to make the world a smaller place.
The variety and level of functionality of blogware varies from developer to developer. Some have multilingual support, some store content in databases while others as flat files (lists), some offer templates … the blogs feature lists vary although most budding bloggers will not be concerned with the intricacies but will plump for a simple solution or adopt a friend's recommendation.