Radio UserLand, by UserLand Software, is a desktop blogging tool. You build your blog using the Radio UserLand software (henceforth referred to simply as Radio) that runs on your computer, and then Radio publishes it to a web server for the world to read. Because Radio is a desktop blogging tool, a writer can take it with him and blog wherever he is ? the beach, a coffee shop, a plane, anywhere. For many writers, this alone is a compelling reason for using Radio over other blogging tools.
Radio can be downloaded for free, and from download to your first blog post takes only a few clicks. Your blog source text is stored on your computer, but blog pages are served from an upstream server ? a server out on the Internet to which your copy of Radio can send files (upstream them). UserLand Software provides hosting space on its upstream servers for every Radio UserLand customer as part of the license. You can start to use this immediately. Alternatively, you can use any web hosting account with FTP support to serve your Radio UserLand blog. Radio provides many options for connecting to other servers, including acting as an upstream server itself; thus, Radio "power users" can control every stage of blog publishing from their own desktop.
Radio provides an integrated News Aggregator (see Chapter 1). This is a powerful tool for monitoring web sites of interest to you. Radio can automatically capture news from subscribed-to sites as it is published, add it to your blog with one mouse click, and publish your own RSS feed to which other bloggers can subscribe. Overall, Radio provides exceptionally powerful RSS capabilities both for reading blogs and publishing your own blog.
Given Radio's powerful RSS capabilities, people tend to use Radio in two different ways for blogging. You can create original content in your blog ? this is referred to as a "writer" blog. Or you can comment on existing content in your blog ? this is referred to as a "router" blog, because it usually ends up sending or routing people to other places on the Web.
Because Radio can be used both online and offline, it is an ideal tool for writers ? they can work wherever they are. And for people who are commenting on content, the News Aggregator is a tremendous convenience.
Although you download and run your own copy of the Radio application, you don't have to reinstall this when Radio is enhanced (or when bugs have been fixed); you can enable a UserLand automatic software-update mechanism, which can upgrade your Radio installation while you sleep.
In this chapter, we're going to discuss how to download, install, and configure Radio, then walk through publishing your blog and using the News Aggregator.
Some powerful features of Radio ? themes, macros, and content management ? will be introduced in this chapter and then described fully in Chapter 7.