All you bloggers out there.. how do you keep your posts backed up? I'd like to know.

Before the blogosphere came about, I bought my own domain (its no longer active.. too busy to keep it).  Back then when Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, LiveJournal, MovableType, etc were still merely buzzwords, I started to create my own blogging tool.  What it does is mere basic posting of articles where most of the entries are typed away from a box and published in HTML (inserting of images still had to be done via the raw HTML format).  Soon enough, of course, I felt the need to have my thoughts published online.  Blogging has somehow gave me the reason to be stress-free.  I used it as my sounding board. 

At first, Friendster's introduction of blogging service was just good enough for my use.  This is the second public blog I had.  I never knew many of my friends were already reading my posts, since it didn't have any kind of tracking tool or post ranking feature; but the feeling that somebody was actually into reading it gave me the reason to post more sensible stuffs… something people might want to come back for and see what else they can learn from me and my blog.

What is blogging?

A blog is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of most early blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual although some focus on photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media. The term "blog" is a portmanteau, or, in other words, a blend of the words web and log (Web log). "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Taken from Wikipedia

Blogging soon became a very interesting service for anyone.. and I mean anyone.  There was no limit as to what you can say and publish publicly; and the Blog-o-sphere came about.  At this rate, RSS was still young and not everyone was into it.  You have to stay on top of your favorite reads by visiting their pages individually.  This was kinda tedious and constraining for those at work (whose access to certain sites containing "blog" and "friends" as keywords.. you know what I mean.. ;) ).  During these times, you can simply export all your posts into XML format, and save them all for backup.  I've been doing this with my own hosting before.  Now, all blogging sites have had RSS readily available for all their subscribers.

What is RSS, and Atom Feed?

RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. Users of RSS content use programs called feed "readers" or "aggregators": the user subscribes to a feed by supplying to his or her reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user's subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user. The initials "RSS" are variously used to refer to the following standards:
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
RSS formats are specified in XML (a generic specification for data formats). RSS delivers its information as an XML file called an "RSS feed," "webfeed," "RSS stream," or "RSS channel". Taken from Wikipedia
The name Atom applies to a pair of related standards. The Atom Syndication Format is an XML language used for web feeds, while the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP for short) is a simple HTTP-based protocol for creating and updating Web resources. Taken from Wikipedia

Was there any chance by which you wanted to export your posts, but didn't have the ability to do so?

If you have an account at Blogger, I'm sure you've already come across "how to create a backup of my entire blog?" in their Help Section.  You can also try their standalone software which is still in alpha version (meaning, it may still be buggy).  WordPress too, allows backup of your blog.  LiveJournal has many efforts for backup (is this official??) too.  But, what about if you have a blog somewhere out of Blogger, Wordpress, and the others?  Okay, I'm sure you'll say.. But, I've got my RSS, won't that serve as backup?  Well, it can, but it does have limitations.  The thing with the most popular web blogging services are that they use a certain blogging API (format) that is standardized.  For the others, we can only rely on RSS.

Yes, you can use RSS for backup only when you get the full article version.  Ever seen posts with "More" as a link?  The RSS readers cut off your article at the point where you asked them to.  In this case, you curious reader may have to click to the actual link to visit the whole article and/or see images and other binary contents of the post.  You may want to see some stuffs on this for yourself.  I'd recommend for you to visit RSS2HTML.com.  This site offers for you to use their service and give you a link that you can use to point your readers to an HTML version of your articles; OR, if you're a techie and have your own domain, you can do this by putting the code in your server and run it from there.  Thing is, you cannot get more than 10 most recent posts for export, and sad news, it trims your posts to a certain number of characters.. ergo, still not a solution.   There are more of these stuffs that offer you to export RSS to another format.  There is one good option though, but its a premium service.  Lab Asprise has a software called BlogCollector.  With this, you can simply inject your RSS url and it can even export all your articles into a book!  (Some kinda similar to GMail Paper, huh?! :D )  Of course, with all its glory, it has got to amount to something.. and it does.  The Lite version will only allow you to export a number of most recent posts, and without the images.  Sheez..

The search didn't end there, of course (or I won't be posting now.. lolz).  I tried to find more ways of backing up.  I came across this service called BackupMyBlog , but was never able to try it.   I was kinda lazy to do so.. :P But, I found this instead.. its  a  hackish  way of backing up.   It's actually backing up your entire blog URL.  It parses all the links found under your  blog URL (follows only the URL rules you define) and then exports everything to HTML, so you can view it offline.  Its called the drumroll please..  " Web site copier".  Its free for download and use.

Sigh, and so, if you'd ask me, in what order I recommend trying out these stuffs, here they are:

1.  HTTP Tracker, or the Web site copier
2.  Lab Asprise's BlogCollector (make sure you get the premium one for a full backup).
3.  Get into a standardized blogging service (Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, etc); or
4.  Try suggesting to your blogging service provider that they provide another way of backing up.  I'm sure they'll love you for that suggestion.  ;)