Thursday, January 17, 2008

Triggit: WYSIWYG Content Insertion Tool and Platform

Triggit has created a very interesting tool. The problem they are trying to solve is that many people want to muck around with their websites, but don't want to grok HTML. They want to integrate with services (mash them up in a manual one off way) such as insert their videos from YouTube, photos from Flickr, and other publishing items. One big one is being able to add advertising to the site.

As techies we often think that things are easy enough, "What? You just put in some embed code.... how hard is that!" Triggit allows you to go meta and put in only one embed code, and then offer a toolbar for users to add content in WYSIWYG style.

How does this all work?

When you put in that script code on your site, it has a hook back to the Triggit platform. Say you want to add a photo from Flickr: In the tool you find the photo and place it on the screen and hit save. The action is saved back to Triggit 'add this photo to that location with this style'. Then when a visitor hits the site, the page is loaded, the JavaScript is run, and the action is sent down to the browser and the DOM is changed to add this image. Zach said that one of the biggest challenges was getting this working across the various browsers, so when you put an image at some place using Firefox (the first browser that is supported for the editor side), it ends up in the right place no matter which browser is used from the visitor perspective.

This means that you now have a logical page, but content is split between you real backend, and the Triggit servers. The advantage to this method is that you can integrate with anything. You don't need to have special code that groks a particular backend service, it is all generic.

So, this is a little out there. You are balancing between making it incredibly easy to update pages, and adding complexity by having content in separate places. The page could jump a little depending on the amount of information coming down, if Triggit gets dugg, or what have you. If successful though, you can see as developers that you could write plugins for the system and allow John Doe to easily tie in your content. That is the future promise.

Fancy giving it a go? Zach gave Ajaxian readers 300 invites (as the product IS in beta!). Head over to the signup page and use the code "ajaxian" and if you are in the first 300 you should be good to go. Oh, and for coolness factor, I believe that Rails, Erlang, and crazy JavaScript skills were used to make this happen.

I got to sit down with Zach Coelius and he discusses the product, and gives us a walk through:

I also have a short demo of it running on my own blog:

And, finally, they have their own screencast of the tool at work.

Press Release

Triggit, a San Francisco based startup, with the aim of making life a lot simpler for web publishers, today announced the beta launch of the first ever WYSIWYG web application for integrating third party elements into websites.

With Triggit, any web publisher can now drag and drop advertisements, Flickr pictures, YouTube videos and more, directly into their site without any skills in web programming. Triggit is free to use, and works on any site that accepts JavaScript. It does not require any downloads, access to FTP, or APIs, and installs easily by pasting one small piece of code in the site.

“Triggit is here to help anyone who would like to take full advantage of the resources of the web for their site who isn’t a programmer and who doesn’t think in code,” says Susan Coelius-Keplinger, Triggit’s COO.

At a time when more and more non-technical publishers are coming online, Triggit is focused on removing the complexity of using code to add third party objects to a page. Whether it is widget, a video of a dog skateboarding, or a banner ad, current technology still requires the use of embedded code to integrate these elements into a website. For publishers accustomed to using graphical user interfaces for all their computing, it can be a daunting task to modify and integrate code into their websites. One area where this is a particular problem is for online advertising networks who continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars of potential earnings annually to web publishers who can’t integrate and optimize their ad units.

Triggit’s goal is to serve as a feature-rich tool whereby publishers can quickly and easily integrate all manner of widgets, content, advertising units, APIs and data from third party sites. In doing so, it operates as a distribution arm for companies seeking to spread the reach of their advertisements, widgets, content and data on the web. By making it easier for web publishers to integrate these objects into their websites, Triggit helps to expand the ability of these companies to reach larger online audiences and add new revenue streams. Ryan Tecco, Triggit’s CTO says “It is really early days for this technology. There are a lot of things waiting in the wings that we haven’t yet put into the tool. We are very excited to see where this goes”.

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