When I started blogging a little over 5 years ago, blogs were a relatively new concept in my part of the world. Most people didn’t know what it was for, and to be honest, I didn’t really know what I could do with it aside from turn it into a public journal for my own self gratification. It wasn’t long until I discovered Project Petaling Street and little did I know then that it would be the platform that would launch the majority of Malaysian blogs into the world.
To those unfamiliar with it, Project Petaling Street or PPS as it’s more commonly referred to by the people that use it is a local blog aggregation site for Malaysians and was launched on the 12th of June, 2003. In its heyday, it was the prime site to go to in order to open your blog up to the masses. It was open to the public and anyone could manually or automatically “ping” the site to inform others that they have updated. Back in the days when RSS feeds was a blip in very large world, PPS gave everyone something they needed. Something people could look up and read the latest postings from various local blogs.
Of course today, PPS is hopelessly outdated. It still uses a legacy trackback system on Movable Type as its backend. Needless to say that it’s a system that can be exploited and has been. Compared to other platforms out there that use feed based aggregation system, PPS is light years behind.
At one point in time though, it was decided that PPS needed a revamp. While I mean no disrespect to the people that took the time and effort to redesign the site, but it was one of the ugliest, most impractical things I have ever seen. It was as if someone took a quick look at Google’s original front page and went “Mmmm…this could work as a design for an aggregation site”. But in its own defense, they tried to expand on what it could be with forums, RSS support, a directory, featured blogs and even a wiki. Unfortunately, that was also a short lived revamp as well. Relying on Movable Type 3.1 had its drawbacks and after being overloaded with spam, a little more than a month after the redesign, the site was shut down for awhile, and the layout reverted to a default Movable Type theme losing all the changes that was meant to be implemented.
Until today, PPS still sports the same layout and same features as it did all those years ago. Even the quality of the content has been called into question over the years due to the wildly fluctuating blogging phases (from popularity complexes to money making schemes) as a result of blogging becoming ever so popular with Malaysian locals. Regardless of that fact, it still remains one of the prime sites for Malaysian blog aggregation despite other local alternatives. Its popularity stemming from the fact that it still gives people exactly what they wanted ever since the beginning. A place for people to read and publicize their blogs.
To that end, even if I have a bigger blogging world in which I explore now, PPS would still be the first place to look to catch up with what goes on back home. It’ll be the first place where I remember being introduced to the infinite world of blogging. A place where I first looked to home my ability to expand the words I now write. It’ll be the place where I got to know the people who blog which eventually became my friends even after all these years. A place where there is always have local flavour and community that I love and hate, forget and miss, all at once.
After half a decade and still showing no signs of disappearing despite its aging architecture, I’d have to say that Project Petaling Street has become part of the Malaysian Blogging community through all the people that makes it so as it also is Aizuddin’s brainchild. For that, short of the site actually going down the count, I have a feeling it’ll stay with us for as long as there are Malaysian bloggers around. Hopefully it’ll give an opportunity to open a whole new generation of bloggers to the infinite world of blogs, just like it did for me.
So here’s to another 5 years of being constant aggregation. Come June 12th, Happy 5th Birthday Project Petaling Street.