Multi-blogs, or as I prefer to call them, blog farms, are not so widely spread that a common terminology exists. And where the words are missing, communication is difficult and prone to misunderstandings, and unilateral communication (i.e. writing) even more so. Here are the terms and concepts I found helpful when thinking about and developing in a multi-blog context, and which I intend to refer to in future posts on this topic.
Here are some basic terms first that serve as foundation to multi-blog-related terms:
A blog consists of two major parts, the blog files, and the blog database tables, or blog tables for short.
From the outside, a blog is accessed via the blog URL. The server maps the blog URL is mapped onto a blog file system path, where the blog files reside.
The blog files consist of blog code files and static files.
The blog stores data that is regularly modified by the user in the blog tables, but for example CSS data, which is modified at least once when adjusting the blog to your needs, is stored in static files. Hence some of the static files are really blog data files.
Many of you have been probably quite familiar with the above concepts. Now for the more specific ones (I borrowed many from the Wiki world):
The triplet (blog files, blog tables, blog URL) is called a blog instance. Changing any of the three yields a new blog instance. Standard WordPress is capable of running only one blog instance. Enhancement technologies like WPMU and Virtual Multiblog enable running many blog instances.
Commonly, a blog instance is what is perceived as a website, so the terms website or site could be viewed as synonyms for blog instance.
A blog farm is a collection of blog instances that share their blog files, but not their blog tables or their blog URL.1
The major benefit of sharing blog files is sharing code: You only need to maintain one code base.
The major drawback of sharing blog files is the inability to have individual blog data files per blog instance.
That’s all for now. I will include more terms and concepts here as the need arises.
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- In theory, blog instances may share some blog tables too, but I don’t know of a WordPress-related technology that supports this. This is because WordPress currently does not provide a good foundation on top of which such a feature could be implemented. Some other CMS’es, like Drupal, do support this. [↩]