About a month ago, I wrote a blog post expressing my disappointment with the lack of evolution in the IntenseDebate commenting engine. My disappointed was rooted in seeing feature after feature being added to competing systems like JS-Kit and Disqus. Most of all, I was bummed out that I couldn’t easily add Facebook Connect login options for comments. Mainly because I had some friends and clients that were interested in it and to whom I had previously recommended IntenseDebate.
As I just read on ReadWriteWeb, Intense Debate has announced a new Plugin API, that will allow third party developers to add additional features to the core commenting system. They are launching the APIs with plugins for PollDaddy, Seesmic, and YouTube.
First, the influence of Automattic (who bought IntenseDebate last year) is clear. For years, Automattic has been developing the core WordPress platform with a philosophy of focusing on making the core product excel at what it is supposed to do: help people easily publish content on to the web. Simultaneously, Automattic has nurtured a plug-in community that encourages the development of add-ons to extend WordPress functionality in ways I’m sure Autommatic never imagined possible. These plug-ins can convert WordPress from a simple blogging system into robust content management systems, even customer relationship managers.
So hopefully history will repeat itself with Intense Debate. Intense Debate will focus on making the core software excellent. A community of third-party developers can write software to bolt on functionality for Facebook Connect, Twitter (yes, there’s the obligatory Twitter reference required of every blog post about social media), Yelp, and whatever else can be imagined.
So what’s it really mean?
Near-term, I still think that systems like JS-Kit offer more immediate functionality. But with this development, Intense Debate positions itself to grow like a weed. I also like that you can control which features you want activated within your commenting structures and which ones you don’t. Not every site using IntenseDebate will want people to submit video comments with Seesmic.
Maybe I did pick the correct blog commenting system.