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Write The Web

Excellent new weblog: WriteTheWeb.Com.

Edd Dumbill, its editor, says: "I'm aiming to cross-fertilize, encourage and promote anyone involved in making the web a more collaborative, two-way, writable experience."

WriteTheWeb is a My.UserLand channel.

Edd was at WWW9.

XML-RPC validator progress

Frontier, Perl, Java, PHP, Zope and now Python validate.

Thanks to Skip Montanaro of Mojam for the Python validation.

5/29/00: XML-RPC Validation Suite.


Unexpectedly I found these pictures of Greenland on my camera. I must have taken them while I was half-asleep on the flight over from London. Isn't it weird that Greenland is one of the least green places in the world? England, otoh is quite green.

Wes at Big Blue

Wes Felter works at IBM now. "Today I rearranged my cubicle to make room for the new coworker Florentina. Somehow she ended up getting about 2/3 of it, but I got to keep my keyboard tray so at least I'm better off ergonomically."


Swamped with BlueMountainArts cards in appreciation of EditThisPage.Com, which had its half-birthday yesterday.

Just off the phone with Brent, talking about the new Themes feature for Manila sites. I said it's too bad we weren't ready with them yesterday, because it's going to change the way we develop as much as Manila did six months ago. But I'm sure we'll be doing Themes by the end of the week.

Early evening, I posted an overview of how Themes work, in the DG. Questions are welcome, this is a new thing, I don't think it's been done before on the Web.

Metadata Plugin

John VanDyk: Why the Metadata Plugin is Important.

More localizations coming online

Yesterday you got a sneak look at the Dutch localization of Manila by Robert Slotboom, today I want to show the Italian localization by Jerome Camus. Europe here we come!

Maps on the Web A Rough Road Trip to the Net.

"Venerable Rand McNally, the oracle of the road for millions of drivers, didn't bother to shift gears when the Net arrived. Now it's racing to catch up."

On the Internet, being too venerable can get you in trouble.

Like almost everyone else, I use MapQuest. And guess what, now they cover Europe too. Wow, I could have used that a couple of weeks ago.

Bill Gates Webcast

I caught the tail end of Bill Gates' keynote on the Programmable Web.

"We're spending $2 billion on developer support. We appreciate your being here." I guess so!

He's doing Q&A now over the Web, what questions should I ask?? It seems like Visio is their program editor. Interesting. Great screen shots, great demos for the PHBs.

OK, here's a question I submitted. "If you had to do it over again, would you have competed with Netscape differently?"

Bill answered a different but related question.

Dave Wascha is talking about how the whole thing works. I asked another question. "Is this stuff just for Microsoft developers, or can your XML be used to configure a server running on Linux or Mac OS?"

I was thinking that it's a really good idea to use a visual outliner like Visio to design business processes (whatever that means) but I'd like to have the choice of running my server on another operating system. I like Windows 2000, we use it on most of our servers. But someday some software may appear that only runs on Linux and I want to be sure that we can use it to run our Web applications. Also, I'd like to do the business logic routing in Frontier. I already have a license (grin) and it runs 24-by-7 with no bluescreens. Again, will your XML format be open and documented, or is it a Microsoft thing?

In all seriousness, this is the are-you-open question. Of course we're happy to build plug-ins, esp if they're willing to underwrite the development (I like the $2 billion part) but we can't support it as a standard unless we can compete with them for the central app that does the orchestrating. We have a robust server system that is up to the job. Does Microsoft want competition here?

And we'd also like to compete with the design tool. Our outliner isn't as pretty as Visio (I couldn't find any screen shots of Visio on the Microsoft site, for such a visual product that's a pretty big oversight) but it is quite functional and fully wired into the Web in ways that overload my mind with their power. So basically we'd like to compete at both ends, in the design tool and in the server that runs the processes. And of course if we can compete so can the tools vendors for other operating systems, such as RealBasic and AppleScript on the Mac, and Perl, Python, Tcl, etc on Unix.

If anyone from Microsoft is tuned in, where can I find screen shots of BizTalk Orchestration (is that Visio?) being used to design a business application?

Send email to

NGWS links

Microsoft's Dave Wascha sent this screen shot of the BizTalk Application Designer. Next question, what does the XML behind that design look like?

Sometimes after being briefed on a new technology I go to a whiteboard with an eraser and try to map out what's in my mind. That's what I did this afternoon with the story I heard from Microsoft this morning.

ZDNet: MS plumbing: The next generation.

WSJ: Microsoft unveils Net technology.

Tim O'Reilly

Tim has taken exception with a couple of things I've said about his company on the Web in the last couple of months. If you're tuned in Tim, check out the narrative above. I never once stopped and thought about Bill Gates's feelings as I wrote this. That allows me to be much more frank, and direct, and also offer a reasonably unfettered pov to my readers, who come first with me, and I'm sure you must understand that, being a public writer yourself.

I've had a very productive 20+ year relationship giving and taking with Bill Gates, on this basis. He has many times called me on my bullshit, without getting personal, and I've benefited from it. And the opposite is true.

If you re-examine my statements in that light, you'll see that I was pointing out bugs in your process. You can choose to ignore them, but if you don't, you'll learn something about your own company, how it's perceived outside the Open Source community, and how it can be more of a leader in areas that it clearly wants to lead in, such as content management and syndication.

You very much have a right to be part of this process, but you can't control how other people who are part of the process work, any more than Bill Gates can control how we we work with others, including O'Reilly. Scripting News and related sites are a huge part of how we work with others. If I accepted your control, and Bill's, then I would have no fun and I'd choose a different occupation, like making pottery or visiting ancient ruins in Greece.

Thanks for listening.


Something about me. I spend more time worrying about a couple of thoughtless flames from Tim O'Reilly than I do about the death of a teacher who had a profound influence on my life. I also am still fighting a cold, and the right side of my head is totally congested and I can't hear much through my right ear. I can hear my teacher's voice asking me "Dave, what is that you don't want to hear?" I'm laughing, I'm so weird.

David Brown: "I would bet that saying what you are afraid of hearing is very powerful, reducing what was once a very large monster into a tiny little flea. And then you can recognize it, laugh at it, and leave it behind." Smart man.

Divorce on the Web

A woman named Meredith is documenting her divorce on a weblog.

"We had a very good weekend together. Michael and I are perhaps getting along the best ever have, treating each other with kindness and love. How odd that we might be divorced soon."

Sometimes growth is so visible, it can be hard to look!

Early morning pointers

Microsoft: Web Services and the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0. "Although you can expose Web Services using any programming language, object model or operating system, Microsoft Windows, COM, and our tools make it a snap. The SOAP Toolkit automates all the key parts of creating a Web Service."

WSJ: Exhausted from a frenzied start, Internet leaders get down to work. “We’re in a marathon, not a sprint,” says Michael O’Donnell, chief executive officer of, the online magazine.

Oliver Breidenbach's WWDC trip continues in Seattle.


Last update: Monday, June 05, 2000 at 6:48 PM Eastern.

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