how do I build web pages people can annotate
October 6, 2004 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I want to create a website which visitors can "annotate" with something more than a simple commenting system. Basically, I'm looking for Flickr's photo annotation capabilities, but for html documents instead of jpegs. My instincts say this could be accomplished with some fancy CSS and javascript, but I would prefer not to start from scratch if something already exists. Any ideas?
posted by sanitycheck to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by annotating, but it sounds like you want a Wiki.
posted by revgeorge at 4:23 PM on October 6, 2004

Sounds like you want something like this:my page.

It shouldn't be too much trouble to whip up something that lets your users tag pages on your site using the API.
posted by Caviar at 4:23 PM on October 6, 2004

The easiest thing would probably be to use Firefox and get the wikalong plugin. This doesn't let you set up a priviliged group of commenters, AFAIK--it's open-season. The actual wiki pages live on a wikalong server; I believe it is possible in theory to set up your own wikalong server and have any other people in your group refer to that.

If you want this to be collaborative, it would require a lot more than just JS and CSS. If you want it to be for your notes only, it might be possible, but sounds pretty ambitious.
posted by adamrice at 4:29 PM on October 6, 2004

If I understand you correctly, you could either go the way of bluishorange and her javascript comments (example: go here click on the linked "your mama"); or you could just link what you want to annotate with something like <a href="#" class="annotation"> then use CSS to style it as you will. Here's to hoping that all that made sense.
posted by bitpart at 6:40 PM on October 6, 2004

Oh wait.

What you want is a lot more complicated that what I answered. Nevermind what I said.
posted by bitpart at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2004

Response by poster: I know what wikis are and that is definitely not what I want. Nothing mentioned so far sounds like what I am looking for, so I guess I wasn't clear enough in my original question.

I want people to be able to add comments to *specific locations* on a web page (kinda like sticky notes). I don't want them to be able to displace or edit what is currently there, or to add links (unless they want to include a link in their comment).

As I said in my original post, think of flickr's fotonotes, but for an html document instead. i.e. mark off a specific area on the page and add a note to it. Mouseover and the note comes up.

We only really need this for one or two html pages, so it doesn't have to be scalable. I know my way around php a bit, and I think if I sat down and spent a great deal of time on it I could come up with a php/css/javascript solution, but I am hoping someone has already solved it for me. :)
posted by sanitycheck at 6:43 PM on October 6, 2004

Well, if you look in these two Ask MeFi threads, you'll find some things that might be what you're looking for. At least I think they're closer.

iMarkup and PC Magazine Web Highlighter do pretty much what you want. You can annotate a web page. The annotations are stored locally in an XML(?) file and you can share that via email,im,etc... The problem is you'll need some kind of version control for that annotation file.
posted by stuart_s at 10:43 PM on October 6, 2004

The Zope Book has paragraph-level hooks for comments, which can be toggled on or off. Example chapter. I'm not sure what product they're using to do that, but a little Googling should turn it up.
posted by revgeorge at 9:03 AM on October 7, 2004

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