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Triggit: Weird but handy blogging tool

Triggit can modify your blog or site without opening up your authoring system. How? It's magic.

Triggit is a new publisher's helper going into private beta today. It makes it extremely easy to embed pictures from Flickr, videos from YouTube, affiliate sales links from Amazon, and several other types of links. Except for one thing: You don't actually embed the links in the page itself, and you don't have to make any changes to your publishing system to use it.

Instead, the Triggit system works through a tiny snippet of JavaScript that you insert in your blog or site's main template. On the authoring side, once you log in to your Triggit account, you get a simple menu on your live site that lets you select a content type from the Triggit menu as well as corresponding text or an on-page location. Again, this is from your live site, not your CMS or blogging tool. Triggit then pops the link or media file into your page, and if necessary flows text around it.

Adding an affiliate (or other) link is done on your live site, not in your authoring environment.

How is this possible? Because Triggit doesn't actually modify content on your server. The JavaScript you have in your template makes a call to the Triggit servers, which then flows your content or modifies your HTML in real-time to display what you want to your users. It's like Greasemonkey in a lot of ways, except for your entire audience, not just you.

It's a weird, weird tool, and I don't know if I'd be comfortable using it on a major site, for three reasons: First, since the content is served outside of a publishing system, it's not searchable by the site's engine (and I'm not sure if Google would pick it up, either). Second, if Triggit goes down, your links and media content would go with it. See the CoverItLive fiasco to learn more about that. Third, who wants to have to use two publishing tools to create one site?

But Triggit has some things going for it. It is incredibly easy to use. It is much faster and more enjoyable to create affiliate links or to embed Flickr pictures in a post using Triggit than any native blogging software or other authoring plug-in I've seen. Second, it's a very interesting platform for future publishing tools. Since Triggit can publish (or more accurately, appear to publish) content to any platform or CMS, a content widget provider, like Amazon, eBay, or NewsGator, need only need create one tool for authors, and it will work on all sites that use Triggit.

I added this Flickr image to the Triggit sandbox.

I would not bet on Triggit taking the world by storm, since it's a very unusual product and there's a chicken-and-egg problem with it. It's not all that compelling without a large library of widget partners, and there's no reason to write a Triggit widget until it gets a lot of users. But it does represent an interesting movement in the ongoing widgetization of content. It illustrates how easy it can be for publishers to assemble their sites from pieces and parts from all over the Net. The major blog platforms already have native support for widgets, of course, but this puts that kind of power at the item level, and using an incredibly simple visual interface.

Triggit authoring currently works in Firefox only. We have 300 invitations to the private beta being held for Webware users, and video demo from Triggit, after the jump.

Use the invitation code "webware" on the signup page to nab your invitation. The service will be open to the public at some undetermined date in the future.

Here's Triggit's demo reel: