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Apr. 26th, 2010 02:42 am
kigs: kigs (Default)
[personal profile] kigs
Dear Internet,

Let's see the different between Livejournal and Dreamwidth.

I see the same format, a similar fan base, and the same posting ability.

What's the difference?


Date: 2010-04-26 11:34 am (UTC)
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Hi! I saw this float by on the latest page and thought I could help out with your question.

Dreamwidth is a fork of the LiveJournal code that branched off around 2008 or so and went into open beta around May 2009. That first year was spent doing a lot of backend work; the LJ code couldn't run on Apache2 with mod_perl2, only on old versions, and that had to be fixed. The other big, major project was splitting up the concept of "friends" into "subscribe" and "access". That means that you can subscribe to someone without giving them access to locked posts, or give somebody access without subscribing, etc. It sounds simple, but took a lot of work. And other parts of LJ aren't open source and had to be reimplemented, like that latest page I linked to above, or the invite code system, or a payment system (that ended up having to be implemented three times due to trolls complaining PayPal and Google about adult content).

Another thing that had to get implemented to start with was interoperability with LiveJournal; lots of DW users are also LJ users, naturally, and so it was a big goal to make it pretty easy to mirror content there for the people you knew that weren't on DW. That currently consists of two parts: importing a LiveJournal (or from another LJ based site) into a Dreamwidth journal (including icons, profile, friends groups, etc), and crossposting to a LiveJournal (which edits the post on LJ if you make edits on DW), and you can reimport to get new non-crossposted entries and new comments without making duplicates. You can refer to LiveJournals like this, too: <user name="foxfirefey" site=""> makes [ profile] foxfirefey.

There's been a decent amount of work on the style system. We don't have an embarrassing lack of native styles anymore (like we used to, because we didn't use any of LJ's styles), although we could definitely use more, and almost all of the styles follow certain guidelines we wanted them to have, like having modules built in to the style system natively. And all journals and communities, regardless of layout, can have a "sticky" post that stays at the top of the journal without hacks like forward dating a post. The CSS classes are also a lot more complete and standardized, which makes things like this entry collapse/expand Greasemonkey I wrote possible.

One paid feature Dreamwidth has that LJ doesn't is full text site and journal entry search--including locked and private entries. All users can search the site, and paid users can search their own journals and other journals (if they have permission to), and free users can use search for paid communities. (Paid users and communities also can add Google Analytics to their journals, but LJ has that and Stats, so it's not as exciting as it was back when LJ had neither.) Paid users also get access to fancier subscription filters, so they can make a filter that, say, only shows posts that have certain tags from this group of people.

Many of the changes are little things. Dreamwidth has some light-on-dark site schemes (Gradation Vertical is the current one, and Gradation Horizontal will be available next code push), for instance. The length limit for posts and comments is around 4x longer, and usernames can be a max length of 25 characters instead of 15. Comments have a field for comment and a description that gets used as alt text, so you can make your icons more accessible to people using screen readers. (Accessibility is a factor in development here; there's a team that works to find ways to make things more accessible.) OpenID users can become members of communities. Community admins can make admin-only posts to communities. If you give access to an OpenID user, their comments are not treated like anonymous comments are. You can upload more than one icon at a time. If you have an NSFW or 18+ adult content warning, you can give a reason for it. If you're a paid user that has comment editing, you can add a reason for why you edited the comment. There's a "preview" button on the QuickReply comment box. RSS feeds have a "cut" level where they have the cuts like reading pages have. The nav strip has links to let you reload an entry page in the light style or your style. The link to the archive page is now /archive instead of /calendar (and /calendar forwards).

And actually, the posting format you're talking about is [personal profile] fu's big project right now. The update page is going to go through a big revamp so that it can accommodate draft and scheduled posts--so you can save a post for later, or write it ahead of time and tell it to post at a certain time automatically.

Culturally, Dreamwidth is much more open source; almost all of the features that have been implemented are in the open source portion of the code. There's an open bug ticket system and there are code tours posted about what changes have been made lately. There are free hosted coding enviroments called Dreamhacks for people to learn DW coding on, and lots of volunteers submit code patches. And we're participating in Google's Summer of Code, so some fun projects should come out of that--one of the big areas we got applications in, for instance, was for a "named guest" commenting level, so anonymous commentors could give their name/website and have it attributed to them like in blogging systems like WordPress.

Date: 2010-04-26 01:27 pm (UTC)
frith: (scribbler rabbit)
From: [personal profile] frith
Sweet! [profile] firefoxfey is most informative. 8^)

Welcome to DW, [personal profile] kigs.

Date: 2010-04-26 09:11 pm (UTC)
foxfirefey: Look at this wee octopus! LOOK AT IT! (squee)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
I really love this project, and it's been a while since I made a big long list like this so I figured it was about time to do a revamp. Your question comes up a lot, which is why I am SO excited about the upcoming update page revamp--it's will be up front and obviously different in a good way. And also, draft and scheduled posts are love.

Some communities you might like based on your interests are: [community profile] disobey_gravity, [community profile] common_nature (like snails!), [community profile] fantasy, [community profile] art


kigs: kigs (Default)

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