Weblog Archive >  2001 >  March Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 31, 2001. Saturday, March 31, 2001

Heads up: A key difference between SOAP and XML-RPC

Eric Kidd pledges interop with BDG in C/C++. Happy! 

I posted an update re soapware.org. 

Mr and Mrs Simmons: Favorite Books

NY Times: "..the time has come, in the long debate over music in the digital age, to stop discussing the actions and motives of those who produce and distribute music and to start considering the actions and motives of those who actually consume it." 

Take a programmer to lunch Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dan Gillmor comments on Michael Tchong's pathetic call to buy stuff on the Web on April 3. "Don't buy things just because they're online," says Dan. "Buy them because you need them."

I have a better idea. On April 3 take a programmer to lunch. Get him out and away from the keyboard. Show him that the sky is still blue and that sunshine feels good. Give him a nice meal and a pat on the back.

"Good job," you might say, "Surviving all that michegas in the dotcom period is quite an accomplishment!"

Inner-critic Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I have a very strong inner-critic.

Here's how it works.

I get a great idea.

He says: "Why didn't you think of that sooner?"

I get defensive.

I start to reason with the critic.

Today I got fed up.

"Because I'm a good person."

Nuf said.

More SOAP politics Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Key quote from yesterday. "I think I've offered [Microsoft] a sweet deal, a way to enable independent and open source developers to work to make Dot-Net an even greater success than it would be if it were a closed bathtub. Dead developers don't write code, and some of us would rather die that work in a Microsoft environment. (No disrespect to their software, but the price in freedom is too high.)"

There may come a day when engineers leave Microsoft to get people to use their software, because the environment is so polluted by Microsoft's various attempts to suck all developers in. Been around the block too many times. I said no to Sun, and I said no to Microsoft. I am an independent developer. I don't mind competition. But I refuse to be assimilated. Not a joke.

I like low-tech understandable interop. I don't like vague and complicated specs that have wild cards and aren't frozen. I want to offer my users choice. If they don't like our software, it's easy to switch to something else. (I want choice too, some of our apps are better implemented in other environments.) The only way to get rid of lock-in is to make it easy to be compatible. That's why we did BDG, because the full SOAP spec is so damned hard to implement it will probably only be implemented by Microsoft.

That's where the assimilation comes in. If the only environment that works with all the others is Microsoft's we're all fucked, including Microsoft. Not that it's my job to worry about Microsoft, it's not, but I'm willing to sell them (if only they were willing to sell me).

On the soapbuilder list, "I work so openly, the ideas just must be strange. How could I be willing to give them something for free without somehow poisoning them?"

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 30, 2001. Friday, March 30, 2001

DaveNet: Who are your gatekeepers? By Paul Andrews. 

The W3C published the agenda for the Web Services Workshop in April, in San Jose. 

Dan Lyke: "If I had the patience to go back and do it again, I'd go to the hardest-to-get-into school I possibly could, and party my ass off, doing just enough work to pass." 

Last night in the middle of the rush in SOAP-land, Conversant released an XML-RPC interface for their browser-based content system. Way to go, keep on truckin. 

Don Box: A brief history of SOAP. Don is a co-author. 

What a day. The phone is ringing off the hook. Swamped with email. More reasons for a slim SOAP, deploying in Flash and embedded systems. Keep the downloads small. Run with less memory. These aren't my major concerns, I want to lower the barrier to entry so my friends can play in the SOAP tub without fear. BDG struck a nerve. It's a change, but a lot of people were thinking the same thing, either afraid or unable to say it publicly. A sliver of SOAP is enough, for now, for many. 

But before I claim victory, I still want to get Microsoft on board. I had an offlist politics-only discussion with Marshall Goldberg, the funny DeKovenish diplomat at Microsoft. "We can get back on track quickly," I said. Not sure if he agreed or disagreed, but he was friendly about it. 

Last night we overhauled our SOAP 1.1 validator. I posted a heads-up at 8:20PM, by 9PM the validator was running again. Simon Fell's 4s4c validated right away, as did Fredrik Lundh's Python implementation and Paul Kulchenko's SOAP::Lite for Perl. I'm going to tweak the tests today, I expect to break Fredrik's code right away, unless he's really fast.  

At 9AM we were scheduled to close discussion on the Busy Developer's Guide, but we pushed it back another 24 hours to get more chance for bug-fixes and buy-in. The new drop-dead date for pushback is 9AM Saturday Pacific.  

If you're going to implement this subset of SOAP please post a note on the DG or send me a private email. (I've already gotten four private emails from important implementations pledging support for the BDG. Please, if at all possible, make your statement publicly, so everyone who's sitting on the fence can see the rapid support that's developing for the BDG.) 

Hannes Wallnöfer: "I'm working on a SOAP library for Java. I'm doing this based on the Helma XML-RPC library for Java I wrote, using the BDG as a guide." 

Roberto Brega: "We are going to have the full SOAP 1.1 implementation, server-side and client-side on XO/2, our real-time system for mechatronic products. We committed ourselves to the interoperability with Dave's SOAP subset. We will validate our implementation on Monday." 

The Apache Group has offered qualified support for BDG.  

Thanks to XML.Com for the pointer

What is identics.com

So far I've explicitly asked for support from Python and Microsoft. The offer is open to everyone, of course, by its nature. I wanted to specifically ask for the help of Python because we have a long history of excellent collaboration with Fredrik and Zope, and our languages are so close, as are our philosophies. It's a no-brainer.  

I explicitly invited Microsoft because they're The Main Gorilla in this space. I think I've offered them a sweet deal, a way to enable independent and open source developers to work to make Dot-Net an even greater success than it would be if it were a closed bathtub. Dead developers don't write code, and some of us would rather die that work in a Microsoft environment. (No disrespect to their software, but the price in freedom is too high.)  

There's no poison pill here for Microsoft, unless swallowing your pride and letting an independent developer have some influence on his destiny is too high a price. This is an acid test for MS. If they can't handle well-thought-out pushback from me, the co-inventor of the technology they're using to dominate the world, you gotta figure they won't take pushback from anyone. 

I also asked Microsoft for support because I, however unwisely, have a soft spot in my heart for the company and for Bill. I have a long relationship with Microsoft dating back to 1981. Bill helped me get going on the Internet, with his response to one of the very first DaveNets. He's often been willing to push back to me, and I appreciate that. That's what I call R-E-S-P-E-C-T. To Bill, it's time to ante up again, in the only way that matters. Let's have our software work together, without either of us swallowing a poison pill. That's true power. This may be a detour for your guys, but understand it's a detour for us too. We were ready with this stuff three years ago.  

To everyone, if you have questions, comments or suggestions on the BDG, please state them today. Thanks and I look forward to whatever comes next. ;-> 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 29, 2001. Thursday, March 29, 2001

DaveNet: Unstalling SOAP

I have no idea who's editing the Soapbox site, don't worry it ain't got nothin to do with SOAP, but whoever it is they have a clue. I read it every time it updates. 

David Touretzky: Gallery of CSS Descramblers

Johnny's in the basement mixin up the medicine I'm on the pavement thinkin bout the government.  

Paul Andrews: Who are your gatekeepers? We're planning tp run this as a guest DaveNet tomorrow.  

Paul spent many years as the Seattle Times technology correspondent. He knows intimately what the other side of the gate looks like. Now he's writing about the gate from the other side.  

It's taking time to get used to thinking and communicating outside the firewall. We rely on the comfort of rules imposed by old technology while we learn how to work with the new. It happens in software too. I have to make the browser feel to me like a development environment I'm used to. I have to make procedure calls work over the Internet so I can distribute my applications, using power that's new to me. However I never had to learn how to write outside the firewall, that's the only kind of writing I've done, except for one or two pieces I've written for Steve Gillmor.  

Perhaps this was the disconnect I had with Hotwired when I used to write for them. They were so set on me doing a weekly column that was turned in 5 days early so they could run it through their process. I hated that. By the time the article ran I'd have already moved on. All of a sudden I'd be getting email on something I was interested in 5 days ago. Oy. I wasn't there anymore. (Is there an echo in here?) 

We also missed a scoop that way. I had Steve Wozniak on the record criticizing Spindler's Apple. At the time this was newsworthy, and my story which had appeared on my personal website days before it appeared on Wired, had been picked up by the Examiner and ran on page 1 of their business section. Our pub was web-only. It should have been on our front page minutes after I had the quote, instead of the days it took to run it through the normal cycle. Don't get me wrong, Hotwired was a fantastic pub for its day. But you can see how weird that all looks now, 6.5 years later. 

Deborah Branscum: "Iím a big fan of accuracy and fairness but Iím not convinced that reporters can necessarily capture the truth in 800 words or less." 

I've been getting emails like this one all day. It's great to get the support of web developers and webmasters. 

I sent an email to Andrew Layman, Microsoft's top XML guy, asking for Microsoft's support for the BDG spec. 

I posted a status report (this morning) to the XML-RPC and SOAP mail lists.  

We're in the middle of a 48-hour period to create and freeze an interop spec for SOAP 1.1. If you're interested in either, please investigate and push back now, let's get some new validations over the weekend and make a public statement early next week. 

Scoble, who's not a developer, offers a perspective. 

Look at all the messages

James Vornov: "I continue to be rather impressed with Mac OS X." 

Interesting story on O'Reilly about Hypercard and OS X. I wonder why they don't offer to pay for the developer it would take to carbonize Hypercard? They say it would take no resources from Apple, but programmers cost money, and it's hard to find good people who can do this kind of work.  

I offered some avuncular advice for Young Aaron on Wes's DG. 

InformationWeek on XML. 

Dan Bricklin has pictures from Esther's. 

Three years ago today on Scripting News. (This is leading to the fourth anniversary, Sunday.) 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2001. Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Dave, Jake: A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP 1.1. Draft. 

NY Times: "Once you've found your way around, Mac OS X is filled with happy surprises." 

Joe Johnston: XML-RPC Middleware

Charles Cook: XML-RPC for .NET 0.1.3

Evan wants to know if you drink enough water

In case you were waiting for a joke.  

I found an application at Mozilla.Org in the referrer log for XML-RPC.Com. 

Scott Rosenberg: Microsoft storm warning

Three years ago today on Scripting News. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 27, 2001. Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Survey: When all is said and done, what will SOAP interop mean? 

Zeldman: "Last month, when my accountant figured all this out, I had about $900 in the bank. Which, by an odd coincidence, was exactly the fee he charged me." 

Eugene Pervago: Where is the Internet is going and why I am starting to like it

Here's what happens when you didn't think something through all the way and the echoes of your past mistakes haunt you and haunt you and haunt you and haunt you ad infinitum. I don't think I'm going to be using listserves to manage workgroups after all. Back to the drawing board! 

Dave's SOAP Journal, part 2. "I'm trying to make it understandable to people with non-technical backgrounds. We have a seat at one of the most interesting tables in 2001, perhaps the most interesting table. I want my experiences to be transparent, I want all the glitches, near-flames and full-flames to be out in the open so we can resolve our differences." 

Now I'm not a Republican, far from it, most of the things Republicans stand for are things I'm against. But there's something satisfying about the Bush Presidency, and for a time I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it is. Now I think I get it. If this guy could be president, anyone could. He bumbles along twisting around his mouth when he speaks, with his Texas accent that I don't believe. I imagine him on the scene of The West Wing, reading his lines, and sipping his coffee saying "Oh this is really good coffee, thanks." He gets his cues from Dick Cheney, but he could just as easily get them from a TV series director. Smile here. Say something nice about America. Good job Dubya. Excellent. 

Jakob Nielsen thinks HailStorm is the savior of the Web. I'm going to have to have a talk with Jakob.  

It's been quiet on the soapbuilders list. You gotta know IBM and Microsoft are talking in private. They want to spend money, but I don't have so much money. I prefer to do it low-cost and low-tech. We could define interop a la the interop we have for XML-RPC and invite them to support it in their marketing. Why did I let the money blind me? Geez, I fell for it. Hopefully it's not too late to fix this. 

A twisty thought re the BigCo's. Think of the Internet as the Intranet For The Rest of Us.  

The Free-Conversant guys, who are Frontier developers, have built a bridge between Radio and their server. It's now available for free download. Now that's a mind bomb for sure! Let's see what they have working. 

You should now be able to call Manila from Microsoft's Dot-Net thanks to Simon Fell for doing the WSDL file and Jake for writing it up, testing, and evangelizing. We jumped through the hoop. So if you've been using Microsoft's beta toolkit and wondering when an Internet "web service" would show up, the wait is over, let the scripting begin! 

Ooops, I spoke too soon. Jake found problems in the connection between Frontier and Dot-Net. Still diggin!  

Here's a story Craig Burton will like. In 1998, one of the companies I visited to invite to work with us on SOAP was Novell. I met with Eric Schmidt. He didn't jump on it. Imagine how different things would be now for Novell if he had. They would already have deployed Web services. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference, but why, in retrospect, not have given it a try? (Interestingly, the same could be said for Google, where Schmidt is the new chairman. I tried to talk with them last year this time, got nowhere. They responded as if I wanted to spam their database.) 

And don't forget NetDocs, which is sure to be the next HailStorm and aimed squarely at the market we're working in. We appear to have a zig to their zag, but we won't know for sure until they announce it. 

A product manager from Oracle asks for an explanation of the last PS on yesterday's DaveNet. I said "They would have to be replaceable as the service operator to be open in the way that matters. Subject to competition. It would be interesting to see Oracle play the role of Microsoft, and license a HailStorm-like server to the masses. I would have expected this strategy from your boss, not Gates." 

Hey they fixed the text selection bug in MSIE 6. Now I can select a sentence with the mouse. Relief! 

Evan Prodromou: "The next version of Freenet will have an XML-RPC interface built in to allow rapid development of Freenet-enabled software." 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 26, 2001. Monday, March 26, 2001

DaveNet: What is Hailstorm? 

SF Chronicle: "Dry cleaning is a killer app for the last-mile solution.." O days of yore. 

I installed MSIE/6 beta preview. Wish me luck.  

Today's slideshow is for The Birthday Boy. Mazel Tov! 

Kara Swisher: "..unleashing a hail storm on rivals is the wrong way to operate in a tech world already in the middle of a typhoon. Calmness is needed. After the clouds are gone, the landscape will be ripe for planting." 

John Dvorak: "Years ago Bill Gates said that he wanted to turn Microsoft into the IBM of software companies. At the time IBM was an incredibly boring company. I guess being boring was the target and it looks like Gates got his wish." 

Upside: Is Mac OS X half-baked? 

News.Com: "Novell's outgoing chief executive Eric Schmidt said Monday that he has invested an undisclosed sum in Web search engine Google and signed up for a part-time gig as chairman of the up-and-coming company." 

12/24/95: White Boy Welfare. "They move into something that's hot, and make it cold. They put out fires. They do this, and then they get another job, and put out another fire." 

Evan Williams: Killer Web App, Alias Manager

Oy times are getting tough. Salon is now worth $3.1 million. 

Doc is selling his house in Woodside: "Looking for a dramatic contemporary with decks off every room, walls of glass and spectalular views of the whole Bay Area from high in Emerald Hills, only 20 minutes from SFO? Lemme know." 

Richard Stanford: "We were originally planning to do a SOAP implementation of our API, but keeping up with the various complexities was more frustrating than I would have thought possible. Even working in a 3rd party SOAP implementation layer was beginning to get more complicated than rolling our own XML-RPC one!" Uh huh. 

I added a Why It's Cool section to the docs on betty.smtp. 

If you're interested in SOAP interop, there is a mail list you must be on. We may have an easy way for XML-RPC implementations to be part of the SOAP interop process. The whole thing is kind of a mess, with BigCo's having private meetings and paying huge money for marketing events. The important thing is to get interop and then if we want to honk the horn, slap each other on the back, and drink a beer that would be fantastic. But first let's get a spirit of cooperative development and teamwork. The beers will happen of their own accord when the time is right. 

Well even the Enterprise wasn't the first space ship (actually it's a fictitious space ship). Lots of pushback, most of it respectful, some not (got it, ouch). Simon Fell and others say they've sent SOAP messages via SMTP and Eric Soroos did it with Frontier last year. Eric has blazed many trails in our land, and for that he has my respect and gratitude. Thanks Eric! 

From the It's Even Worse Than It Appears Department, I got the part about the NG Enterprise being the first version that could be split in two, wrong. John Foster writes to say that the original one could split in two too. They just never exercised the power. It wasn't until Picard that they did the deed. Oh well. Zero for two. Whatever. Make it so. Beam me up.  

Davos: "There was a popular myth current in certain circles last autumn: it didn't make a difference whether George W Bush or Al Gore became president, since both of them were centrist politicians with few important differences. The barrenness of this logic is being exposed on an almost daily basis." 


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001. Sunday, March 25, 2001

Sanjay Parthasarathy: The Simplest Way to Define .NET

Dann Sheridan: "DNS was the first true P2P application." 

Edd Dumbill: "It should be made clear that UDDI is neither open nor a standard. It's a specification being developed by a closed consortium of vendors."  

Yesterday's experiment is today's source release

Dan Gillmor: "I hope we don't end up having to take literally the legendary admonition given by crusty old editors to green reporters: 'If your mother says she loves you, check it out.'" 

Phil Ackley sent a screen shot editing a Manila site on Mac OS X. It has a system-wide spell checker which OmniWeb appears to use. 

More news on Jake's SOAP Journal

PC Forum starts today. Our friends Rohit and Adam will debut there and Clay Shirky will do a panel on P2P. And Jeff Bezos closes the show. Remember him? He's the no-more-pesos guy. You know, the Internet piñata

Today is the anniversary of ManilaPalooza. It was a happy day. We got to see so many cool people. Susan, Matt, Ken, Phil, Sheila, Dan, Kate, Fredrik, Andre, Craig, Jim, Erin, Bryan, Jeff, Dan, Andrew, Jimmi, Raymond, Tom, Bierman, Brent, Faisal, and dozens more. 

They came from Ontario, Austin, Utah, LA, Germany, to hang out face-to-face. We had demos, talks, hugs, handshakes, pictures (lots!), margueritas. We had outages, oy did we have outages. But we had fun! Yeah, it was great. Let's do it again soooon. 

Following ManilaPalooza was Wiener Schnitzel, spicy noodles, Brent's birthday, the destruction of the KingDome, and more outages. 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 24, 2001. Saturday, March 24, 2001

In StarTrek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise got a new feature, they could separate the ship into two parts. This experiment is like that. XML-RPC is and always will be a creature of HTTP. But what about the payload format, could it be transported through other protocols? Of course it can. So today I boldly went where no one has gone before and started doing RPC across SMTP. 

Mac OS X buzz. Wes is caught, but Robb Beale hits paydirt. Young Aaron has a tip for Wes, who's praise is widely sung

In the meantime Our Man Jake has a mind bomb of his own, and Simon Fell seems to like it. 

Forbes: Microsoft's War of Attrition. "Cash is king once more, and Microsoft wields $27 billion of it. Talent is fleeing back to Redmond. The once uppity Yahoo! goes begging for white knight. Sweetest of all, those loudmouths Larry Ellison and McNealy have been gagged for a season." 

J David Eisenberg wrote a tutorial on SVG. 

The first in a continuing series: Dave's SOAP Journal, part 1

I just had a long phone conversation with Keith Ballinger of Microsoft on SOAP interop. He agreed that WSDL will not be part of interop for SOAP 1.1, and that we will not ask for or use WSDL in any way as part of the interop tests. We will use English docs and examples, in the way UserLand's validator does. He says that Microsoft's SOAP implementations all do RPC. He agrees that RPC will be the basis for validation. This is good. On the other hand, if it requires agreement with a representative of Microsoft to decide what interop means, then SOAP is not an Internet standard, it's a way to interop with Microsoft. To my fellow developers, please let's work together. It's the only way our work will be meaningful, imho. In the Interopathon plan, I called for a lot of things we seem to agree on. Public servers, hierarchic pairing of developers to create interop, and a conclusion to the process where we can say definitively that we all interop. Even though I withdrew as the Designated Hardass of that project, the plan remains and can be used, in part or in whole. 

David Singer: "Well, it's spring, and I'm in Paris." 

Pat Thoyts: SOAP for Tcl

David Brown compares Frontier and Zope. 

David also comments on my SOAP Journal. He used to work at Microsoft, many moons ago. 

Jonothon Delacour is having trouble FTPing. (Success.) 

Christoph Pingel sends a pointer to a German site that shares information between educators about Nazis and the Holocaust. It's a Frontier site using Manila and what Pingel calls "table magic" to get data from Filemaker into Manila. 

Rael Dornfest: "I trust my bank an awful lot with my money. Amazon.com knows at least a subset of what I like to read. Birkenstock knows my shoe size. Southwest Airlines knows when I'll next be in the Bay Area. And never the twain shall meet." 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 23, 2001. Friday, March 23, 2001

Weblogs.Com on the Desktop is a page in Radio UserLand's desktop website that reads the XML version of Weblogs.Com at 15 minutes past the hour and shows you which of your favorites changed in the last 24 hours. It's functionality is identical to the centralized version, but because it is decentralized, it is much faster. 

When reading a Joel Spolsky column, I'm always prepared to be enlightened and entertained. Well his newest is certainly entertaining, but I kept waiting for the explanation of why Excel is 146MB on disk, and he never got there (except to say they ship before optimizing for disk space).  

Jmikec: "I now have it running on my home PC all day (and all night), and have opened up my home firewall to my work IP address so I can access it from work to read headlines and post to my blog. It works great, even on my old, old PC (Pentium Pro 200, running Win95). It has been a long time since I have been this happy with a tool - free or paid." 

Here's the most interesting Radio Blog I've seen so far, but understand that I've been looking for something like this ever since we released the beta of the decentralized blogging tool in Radio. It's the zig to Blogger's centralized zag. (Or the blig to its blog?) As Blogger has grown, it's climbing a scaling wall, and the performance has suffered, much as the performance of Weblogs.Com has suffered as it has grown. So we built a blogging tool that runs on your desktop. It's more trouble to set up and keep running, for sure, but the bet we've made is that it's worth it, to at least some people who blog, for the reliability and performance it adds. Rob's blog tells the story, start at the bottom and read up. It worked for him.  

I like this Radio Blog because of its tag line, which would work for my blog as well. "One Jew's news and views." Try saying that five times fast!! 

WebReference: Hiermenus Go Forth XIV

Burli is a "powerful software package for the broadcast newsroom. It provides the most efficient and easy-to-use editing, organisation and delivery tools of any software in its class." 

Hey I was quoted in the Seattle Times coverage of HailStorm. Scroll to the end. 

Claude Bullard on Web Philosophy: "Thou shalt not deploy anything that has not been deployed before you deploy except if said deployment shall slow the deployment of the fastest among you." 

Sheila has been covering the demise of Mir. Last year at this time she covered the demise of the KingDome. 

The day after tomorrow is the anniversary of ManilaPalooza and the day after that is Brent's birthday. 

Interesting. Here's a SF dotcom that has a jobs page, but the only openings are in engineering.  

Glenn: "There are a lot of plans floating around to control media, and none of them benefit the artists or consumers, and all of them impose ridiculous burdens on manufacturers." 

Microsoft: Vectors and You

From time to time I post what I call Design Challenges. I ask a question that I don't know the answer to, a bit of a puzzle, and see if any of the technical minds that scan this site can figure it out. Today's DC is about Tree Charts. Here's a picture of one, produced by an ancient Mac software product that we wrote a long time ago at Living Videotext. Now here's the question. How close can you get to that using HTML and tables and perhaps a small number of GIFs? I'm not talking about the editing tools, just the rendered tree chart. If we can figure this out I'd like to make it so that Radio's outliner can produce these kind of tree charts in a Web page.  

Sebastian Delmont's tree chart in HTML. I've received pointers to hierarchy displayers and sitemaps, but I really just want to see if Tree Charts can be done with nothing more than HTML and a couple of GIFs. 

Hint: To get diagonal lines connecting table cells, all you need are these two gifs? 

Mike Wilbur has the closest rendering so far.  

And here's a super nice rendering from Scott Hunter. 

They just keep getting better and better! Here's one created by Sjoerd Visscher that let's you enter your tree as a script. Wow!! 

Mark Kennedy accepts the challenge too! 

BTW, I know this sounds ridiculous but please don't send me the website as an email attachment. Just a URL please. 

From the Being Kind to the Internet Department. People sometimes confuse Having Fun with Making Fun Of. The former is the best part of life, the latter is an ugly part of life. People also sometimes forget to give The Benefit of the Doubt, and to follow The Golden Rule. Or take themselves too seriously, or forget that self-deprecating humor is funny, but humor at other people's expense is mean (unless it's Jakob Nielsen). Kindnesses are essential to forward motion. We have such high hopes for the Internet, its amazing ability to improve communication between humans, but it also has an amazing ability to amplify our fears. As our communication tools improve, let's keep this in mind, find ways to reinforce cooperation, and dissipate fear. 

Timothy Wilken sent me a picture that explains how the Web works, when it really works. 

Financial Times: "Reuters, the business information group, on Thursday fired a shot across the bows of rival Bloomberg as it announced a tie-up with software giant Microsoft to develop an instant messaging service for the financial services industry." 

Craig Burton: "The Internet Services Model calls for a set of services that belong to no vendor. These services belong to the Internet and make up the Internet Operating System. The folks at Microsoft say they know this, but this is not what is happening. What they are trying to figure out is how to 'own' the services business while saying the obligatory 'open' and 'independent' words. Canít be done." Yep. 

NY Times: "Someone posing electronically as a [Microsoft] company executive had fooled VeriSign Inc, a provider of digital signatures, into issuing fraudulent electronic certificates in Microsoft's name." Oops. 

The Register went to Apple's press conference. "Apple is not even keeping an x86 version of Mac OS X warm in some distant lab somewhere: 'There is no chance!' he intoned gravely, and this is the man, after all, who killed the Mac clone market to save Apple." Ouch. 

ICEPick is an "open source peer to peer system designed to enable cross web site authentication and personalization services." 

Hey Powazek is updating again and the links don't open in separate windows and the urls aren't obfuscated, and it isn't in an eentsy-weentsy scrolling frame. The design is quite attractive of course. Nice work! 

BTW, I talked with Jakob at length at the Buzz conf. I asked him how he feels about being ridiculed at a personal level on the Internet, and his face just beamed as answered that he didn't mind. I asked "It's good for flow, right?" and he nodded his head in the assertive Jakob way. I suggested again that he do a real weblog, even suggesting that Lawrence might be willing to help. I also said that while I don't agree with many of his guidelines, I think it's great that he puts a stake in the ground, something for everyone else to think about. I wish more people did what Jakob does. I also asked if his name was pronounced Yakob or Jay-cobb. Chris Gulker says Yakob. I always pronounced it Jay-cobb. Which do you think is correct? 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 22, 2001. Thursday, March 22, 2001

Good morning Mac OS X fans! 

Doc says that blogs are authority routers. Recursive! 

He also reminded me how much I like The US Blues. "Wave that flag, wave it wide and high." Still diggin! 

Soapbox: You are a byproduct of advertising

Jason Levine: "Some were elated, and others horrified, but starting in a few months, they'll all walk into hospitals across the country as the newest class of doctors." 

Brent Ashley: "I've been assimilated and I didn't even know it." 

Jake started a journal, documenting public discussion about interop in SOAP 1.1. Hey if you're a SOAP developer you can have a SoapWare.Org site just like Jake. 

Leander Kahney reviews Mac OS X. 

Be sure to check out last night's top story, The XML Files. It's important. 

MyCereal.Com: "Where cereals don't exist until you create them." 

Deborah Branscum: "The white paper is impenetrable." 

Checking out stocks, Vignette is worth $1.5 billion, Interwoven is $1.3 billion, but Allaire is only $185 million, Marimba $81 million. I see no rhyme or reason here.  

Scott McNealy: "People are feeling really wounded because they bought stocks at 100 times revenues, and they can't understand why their life's savings is gone.'' 

Glenn Fleishman: "Ralph, you've played the 'Nazi' card. That's the Internet tenet promulgated by Mike Goodwin, I think, that every debate on the Internet escalates until one party calls the other a Nazi, beyond which no civil discourse is possible." 

TrainedMonkey has lots of synthetic RSS feeds. 

There are now 41 SOAP 1.1 implementations. 

Brent Ashley rambles on HailStorm. 

InfoWorld: Visual Basic.Net makes demands on businesses

Logic Error: "Do you have a webpage that you'd like to see provided in RSS, a syndication format used by hundreds of programs and read by thousands of people? Now it can happen." 

Graham Glass: "When my company decided to create a high performance SOAP engine, we started by examining the existing XML parsers to see which would best suit our needs. To our surprise, we found that the commercially available XML parsers were too slow to allow SOAP to perform as a practical replacement for technologies like CORBA and RMI." 

Eric Soroos: "Don't advertise Henry Weinhart's 12 packs for $6.99 on signs that can be reached by high school students." 

Scoble continues to update the HailStorm directory. 

Timothy Wilken: "If you approach Radio the way you did your first Word Processor, your first Graphics program, your first Spread Sheet Program, you will be greatly rewarded." Thanks! 

News.Com: With HailStorm, think fee not free

Read the tea-leaves. Gore at KPCB? A natural fit. 

This is the kind of story that makes developers think "Hmm maybe I shouldn't create a product for this platform." It's probably not realistic, which is why we're still interested. 

Dan Lyke proposes a low-tech response to HailStorm. 

Walt Mossberg of the WSJ recommends that non-geeks wait before upgrading. 

Edd Dumbill interviews Tim Berners-Lee on the Semantic Web. 

On Hack-The-Planet: "Developers are rarely satisfied with their platform vendors.." 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2001. Wednesday, March 21, 2001

A year ago I said every content management system should export websites in XML so users have choice and can back up their data, and flow it out in other formats. Today we're ready to turn that corner. Manila is the first Web content management system to flow all your data out through XML.  

Part of The Two-Way Web: The XML Files for Manila

Good morning XML fans! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Heads up: ManilaSites.Com will be offline tonight at 10 PM Pacific tonight for maintenance for about one hour.

Here's an XML.Com article on representing whole websites in XML. Edd Dumbill started a thread on Web app storage on his weblog on O'Reilly last April.

Via Evhead. A mockup of a news page done Amazon style, and a whitepaper. Very nice!

The Standard: "The real challenge for Microsoft isn't surmounting privacy concerns, it's rallying the developer community to build applications that will make the .Net platform worthwhile."

Steve Gillmor interviews Mark Lucovsky, the chief architect of HailStorm. BigCo.

Deborah Branscum: "Then Dave Winer rode to the rescue of the CEO panel by attempting to explain, in his usual blunt, tactless and altogether charming (to those of us not bearing the brunt of it) way, that it was ridiculous to court reporters or the press and he'd done that a long time ago and wasn't about to do it now and that everyone should stop that nonsense too."

Wes Felter sent a pointer to a Google search which lead me to this page in the Scripting News archives, one of my favorite days. "Geez Louise! THE METS WON!!! National League Champs, Y2K. Philosophy rules! 7-0. Great pitching. Almost a brawl. More philosophy. Bring on the Mariners! You gotta believe." Those were the days..

John Robb: "Back in 96/97 I helped Firefly, Netscape, and Microsoft get together on the P3P proposal. Basically the proposal was a set of standards surrounding the collection and utilization of end user data. Unfortunately, the standard, as it now stands, looks like a deader."

Marty Heyman warns: "Radio is an Insidious Plot for global domination by Userland Software!"

Motley Fool: "The Bermuda Triangle, alien cattle mutilation, the lost city of Atlantis, and Microsoft's .NET platform are mysteries that have left the world dumbfounded."

WSJ article on the politics of privacy.

Talked with Scoble last night who in his day job is a conference manager at Fawcette. I asked why he thought the P2P conference scene is fading so quickly. Why was the O'Reilly conf in Feb such a success when the others are not even getting 50 attendees and the rest are being cancelled. Scoble said it was because O'Reilly got a lift from the weblogs and the others didn't.

That story reminded me of this article that Gillmor pointed to, about Hollywood wanting to recreate the Blair Witch phenomenon on the Web, by hiring designers to scatter amateurish "fan sites" around the web so it would appear that there was a Web community developing for a movie. I think we're just beginning a process where the Web creeps into everything cultural we do, the good and the bad (and the simulated).

I wish my ambivalently secretive friends at KnowNow would start a weblog to get their philosophy out on the Web. They have two excellent bloggers at the company, MegNut and Matt Haughey. The KnowNow founders, Rohit and Adam, are two very cool Web characters. At some point they're going to tell us what they want to do. We'll find it more interesting if we KnowHow KnowNow got there.

So I'm curious to see how tight-knit the Blogger-XML-scripting scene is. Here's a survey. It's a little tricky. Not sure if it'll reveal anything interesting. It's worth a try.

Wired: Hailstorm or Firestorm? "Microsoft insists it can be open, by using XML in developing Dot-Net services, and it can protect user privacy through Passport. However, one open source developer and author doesn't agree. 'Snaring everyone in some sticky spider's web or tar baby may be a seductive business strategy, but it's going to be a disaster when security holes appear, as they always do,' said Peter Wayner, author of the book Free For All." Excellent point.

On the Decentralization list, Ray Ozzie explains the technology in Groove.

I had a great time yesterday at the Buzz conference in SF. I met Glenn Fleishman for the first time, talked with Paul Andrews, Jakob Nielsen, and was on a great panel lead by Deborah Branscum. Dan Gillmor was there earlier in the day. Most of the conferences I go to are almost all male. It was nice to see so much feminine energy. Deborah and I have quite an act, like the old Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd ignorant slut routine in the early days of Saturday Night Live. It's just an act, for me at least, I've known her for many years, and have great affection for her. Great style, her stubborn cynicism makes a great foil for my ridiculously naive idealism.

After reviewing Jake's "folder of XML files" project, I want to make some tweaks, so we'll hold it until later today. The project is complete, it appears, but I want to make a few changes to the XML so it will be more easily parsed by other scripting tools.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2001. Tuesday, March 20, 2001

DaveNet: We Were Shocked

Heads up, later this evening Jake will release a Radio tool that exports a Manila site to a folder of XML files on your desktop computer. It's kind of the inverse of HailStorm, instead of the data moving to the cloud it moves to the desktop. From there, you can write software that converts it to other formats. One of my new friends at Microsoft, Keith Ballinger, suggested moving to eBooks. You could write a script that downloads a Manila site every night and builds an eBook and uploads it. Radio has all of Frontier's XML tools, and lots of sample code (look in myUserLand.root). Anyway I look forward to pointing to Jake's download page later tonight. 

Tony Hong has a list of SOAP 1.1 interop issues. 

Well, it was a short-lived if idealistic idea that Interopathon could work. The flames started almost immediately. The issue of course is whether the process will revolve around Microsoft. I insisted that it must not. It's not so easy to get people to give up their cherished beliefs, and I felt my acting as Designated Hardass of SOAP 1.1 Interop was getting in the way of interop, so I passed the baton to Glen Daniels of Allaire, who in turn may pass it to anyone he feels can lead the SOAP 1.1 community to interop. I'm staying on the list, as a participant in the discussion, and UserLand will happily participate in any process designed to create fair interop for SOAP, quickly. Back to my other duties.  

David Talbott: Announcing Salon Premium

One more HailStorm comment. On the feedback form they asked what they could do to make HailStorm more successful. I said "Lighten up on the World Domination thing." 

Another comment. There are a bunch of good ideas in HailStorm, and one very bad one. It's not open, it's not a level playing field. I ask the Internet what it wants to do and here's what I hear. "Design a spec for myHailStormServer, and make it run on inexpensive hardware. Make it lightweight and open and subject to competition. Bring it to AOL, Visa and MasterCard and the US DOJ. Take Microsoft to court and force (yes, that's clearly required) them to offer the user choice in Windows XP. We must not allow a repeat of the outcome of the Browser Wars here," the Internet said to me. 

Josh Allen (from Microsoft): "Too much testosterone. Why not just use the stuff? Oh wait, it's from Microsoft so it must be evil." 

Paul Andrews: "I'd favor cooling the rhetoric and letting Microsoft show us what they've got. Remember, this whole enchilada started as Next Generation Windows Services 18 months ago, and so far what has Microsoft actually got on the table? Time to ante up, guys." Andrews used to cover MS for the Seattle Times. 

Today will be a lite day on Scripting News. Lots to catch up on and I'm giving a talk in SF at Deborah Branscum's Buzz conference this afternoon. We'll be back swinging (Murphy-willing of course) tomorrow. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 19, 2001. Monday, March 19, 2001

DaveNet: Weblogs at Work

NY Times: Microsoft Confronts Privacy Fears

David Coursey: "Microsoft promises all your information will be perfectly safe from hackers and only given out with your express permission." 

Jacob Levy has the most coherent explanation of HailStorm, from the pov of independent developers, that I've seen so far. 

Transcript of the Microsoft press conference today. 

Washington Post: Microsoft's Strategy Shift Creates New Antitrust Concerns

MSNBC: Microsoft to charge for HailStorm

The Standard: Legal Storm Brewing over HailStorm. "It's kind of amazing that with this verdict sitting against them, they're getting more aggressive on this path," said Sun general counsel Mike Moore, who compares the current situation to Microsoft's browser wars with Netscape. "These people are reprobates. They never learn." 

For a few minutes on Saturday I said virtually the same thing on Scripting News. "What if you had a friend who had lost his drivers license for DUI and he had a couple of beers and decided to go for a drive to get a couple of six-packs. What would you do?" 

There clearly is no way Microsoft is going to be able to bundle the OS with their cloud without giving users choice. The startup screen must allow you to easily switch back-ends. And further, there must be a way for a user to get all their data on their local system in easy-to-parse-XML, so it's easy if you for some reason (as silly as it may seem) want to switch to another service. What Microsoft is proposing is crude and unfair, and unstatesmanlike and not open, and further is bad computing practice. Plus there's more I can't tell you (dammit) because of the NDA. Remember Steve Jobs' machine with no floppy drive? Well I think you need Bill's approval to ship software that runs against the cloud. I admit I'm fuzzy on this. 

On the other hand, yes, we want to connect our software to theirs. No doubt lots of people will use it. While I am entitled to my opinion as a citizen and a user, as publisher and a maker of publishing tools, the connection to their cloud is just too damned interesting to pass up. But hurry up AOL, do the same thing so we can work with yours too. 

5/6/98: "There once was a lady from Niger who smiled as she rode on a tiger. They returned from the ride with the lady inside and the smile on the face of the tiger." 

A fantastic discussion on Hack-the-Planet. 

Doc: "With Hailstorm, Microsoft is doing a beautiful job of being itself."  

Glenn Fleishman: "I'm holding my breath that we don't find out that they've proprietarily tweaked this open model, as they did with their first-generation HTML and XML products." 

What I love about what Microsoft did is that it allows people like Glenn and Doc to so fully express themselves. We needed a catalyst to get us all thinking and moving. Fan-tas-tic! 

Ben Franklin: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." 

I posted a plan for the Interopathon process today on the SoapWare site. If you know a SOAP 1.1 implementor please make sure he or she sees this page. It's very important that this process be inclusive, if it's to make a difference.  

Derrick Story likes the Entourage emailer for the Mac. 

Joel Spolsky on Passport. "If you really trust any Internet company to protect your privacy, I've got a bridge to sell ya." Joel is an ex-softie from the Excel team. 

An interesting discussion on the MS-Hailstorm mail list

Scoble has screen shots. 

Kevin Werbach: "Microsoft today launched its Hailstorm Web services initiative. Worth watching closely, if for no other reason than that it ties together virtually every hot topic in the computer industry today: distributed computing, component software, instant messaging, online privacy, the post-PC world, user-centric interfaces, you name it." 

Dan Gillmor: "[HailStorm is] the most centralized thing I've seen in years, from a company that hooted down the idea of the Network Computer until the concept suddenly seemed to translate into a multi-billion-dollar annuity income for our favorite monopolist." 

The Register is the first to catch the irony of Microsoft pushing to centralize the Internet. Indeed one would have thought that Microsoft would emphasize decentralization, given that they dominate in desktop operating systems. I asked about that on Thurs, they said they tried it with Microsoft Wallet, and people didn't want it. I asked when, they said at the beginning of MSIE. I think it deserves another look.  

Motley Fool: Internet Honeymoon is Over. "Time to pay up?" 

News.Com: Microsoft's HailStorm Unleashed

Dan Gillmor: "I'm in Redmond to for the official briefing on Microsoft's HailStorm project, which appears to be a major step in its effort to turn the Internet into the MicrosoftNet. If everything I've been told off the record is true, this is ambitious, fascinating, audacious and downright scary -- not just for Microsoft's competitors but users, too." 

White paper: Microsoft HailStorm. "Support will also be included for integration between Windows authentication and Passport authentication of users, so that a user logged onto Windows XP will also be logged onto Passport and therefore able to receive their HailStorm services." 

DaveNet: Preparing for a HailStorm

NetWorld: "Microsoft will include Passport and MSN Messenger services in the upcoming desktop operating system Windows XP. But Hailstorm extends the services, especially MSN Messenger, letting it become a development platform instead of just a single application." 

Radio press release: "It provides information distribution power that was previously centralized on services like Yahoo and eBay. Radio is as familiar and easy to use as the popular websites, and since the software is running on the user's desktop, it offers unprecedented performance and security. Having control of your data means that you can easily switch to new services, and your data is safe on your computer under your control." 

Renderings: PRNewswire, Yahoo

We've also sent the press release to the Mac announcement lists. If you know of others, send me a pointer. 

2/19/01: Internet 3.0

Jabber.Org: Integration of full support for XML-RPC and SOAP

MSNBC: Dot-coms pull back on Net freebies

News.Com: "AltaVista will automatically produce the top stories related to search requests. Clicking on a news center at the top search page will provide a complete index of all the latest online stories about the requested topic. The new feature, licensed from San Francisco-based Moreover, addresses a glaring shortcoming for even the most powerful search engines." Good move. 

Joel Spolsky: "When I go to the website today and read that they 'maximize value for the end-user,' I think of that dazzling, exciting kid you knew freshman year, who jumped from varsity squash to journalism to drama to campus politics, and was all fired up to change the world. But he got married, has 2 1/2 kids, took a job as an insurance agent and wears a gray suit to work every day." 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 18, 2001. Sunday, March 18, 2001

The Standard: "Microsoft will offer a free suite of end-user Web services that it believes will draw a global Internet membership numbering as many as 100 million within a year. The prospect of this massive audience Ė not mere passive Web surfers but users of services, and not only consumers but also corporate users Ė will be the bait to draw developers and Web site operators to the platform." 

Sites covering HailStorm: Sheridan, Scobleizer, Dananderson, DotNetWire. And don't forget to reload Scoble's most excellent Hailstorm directory. And sing along with Jackson Browne.. 

Tonight's song: Lawyers In Love. "Among the human beings in their designer jeans, am I the only one who hears the screams, and the strangled cries, of lawyers in love." 

Everything but HailStorm Permanent link to this item in the archive.

DaveNet: Just a potpourri.

What is Pepper?

Bob Lyons: Turing Machine Markup Language.

Looking forward to Tues, speaking at the Buzz 2001 conf in SF. The purpose of the conference is to whip PR people into shape and teach them how to pitch to the professional journalists. My job is to tell them to find better products to pitch, make their own news flow, and help the journalists earn their paychecks.

Introducing Keith Ballinger, a program manager on Microsoft's .NET team. I asked him to start a Manila site to get the ball rolling on new interop stuff we can do, and thanks to Keith for comin out to play. Brent and I spent a lot of time talking with Keith on Thurs evening after the festivities broke up. We found a big disconnect. He's a "schema head" and I'm a "rpc head." He says we look at the world differently, but when I read what he said a schema head is, I found myself nodding my head. Go figure. Here's how I look at it. I write software in scripting systems. The software runs websites. Inside my apps I make procedure calls. To me it's most logical if I use the same idea to connect up processes running on different machines. Sometimes it gets so transparent I forget they're running on different machines.

For tomorrow's release. "Radio UserLand is at the sweet spot of the next generation of the Internet, bringing together XML-based web services, a decentralized approach to computing and the power of software," said Charles Fitzgerald, director of business strategy in the platform strategy group at Microsoft. "This next generation of the Internet promises more control for end users and renewed opportunity for developers." Nice!

Bookmark this for tomorrow. Robert Scoble is doing a directory of all the sites that are covering Hailstorm. If your site is, don't be bashful let Robert know so he can link it in.

The Almanac profiled Doug Engelbart in February.

Simon Fell started a WSDL issues site.

Survey: Does your company or the organization you work for have one or more weblogs for internal use?

Dan Gillmor got an email from Yossi Vardi of AOL pointing to a site where they document the API for ICQ. This is quite interesting. They have a long license agreement, so it's not exactly an open spec. I posted the agreement here so it's easy to read (on their page it appears in a tiny scrolling text box). I'm curious to know if their API is XML-based and if it is implemented in SOAP and/or XML-RPC.

I submitted the ICQ note to SlashDot, and it was accepted.

Jakob Nielsen: Stationary Mobility.

Sam DeVore's wheels are starting to turn around OPML. He wants to know how to get Manila to cough up the OPML rendering of a bit of content (otherwise known as a DG message). I showed him how I remember this difficult to remember way-of-working.

An early morning ramble on programming, users, arrogance and academia. "To me there's nothing more inspiring than a user who decides to learn how the machine works. The most powerful programmers are the ones who came to the computer with a problem to solve. The least powerful are the ones with something to prove, about themselves or the unique rightness of their way of thinking."

Oliver Wrede, amazingly, is on the same wavelength this morning. He's provided a philosophical backgrounder for Radio and Frontier newbies. Thank you so much Oliver!!

I started a new directory folder on UserLand.Com for press releases and stories specifically about UserLand. I expect this folder will get more full over the next few months. Please use the Suggest-A-Link feature if you find an article that's not linked in here.

New feature. You can subscribe to Paul Andrews via email. The emails are HTML-only, and reflect the contents of Paul's home page at 10PM every night. If it hasn't changed, no email goes out. It's an XML-RPC app, of course, that's how it gets the contents of Paul's home page, no screen scraping, and Paul's site is on a different machine from the email sender app.

I then realized it's even worse than it appears. The machine that runs the mail sender doesn't actually send the mail. It XML-RPC's the message body and the list of recipients to a third machine which specializes in batch mail sending. All our machines route through that app to get onto the SMTP network. Behind our firewall it's all XML-RPC. This makes it easy to reconfigure mail sending, and there's a single exit point for logging email that flows out of our cloud.

Reminder to self. Sometime in the next week gather all the docs for our XML-RPC-based Prefs distribution system publicly. Write a backgrounder that says, clearly, not to trust the system with information you don't want others to see. I know many users don't want to hear this, but they have to. If you want information to remain private, you must not enter it onto your computer. I'm always relearning this lesson, no matter how fastidious and careful you are, eventually information you want to be private will leak out. Assume it can happen and prepare for the worst.

There is no written code of ethics in software, but if there were, this would be a required disclosure to users, that there really is no way to guarantee privacy. This is a more important issue than it might first appear. Remember the story about IBM and Hitler. It can happen here.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 17, 2001. Saturday, March 17, 2001

Got $6.1 million? You could buy Salon

Interesting. Apple bought a company that makes software for teachers. 

Andreas Bolka may have found a glitch in the XML-RPC spec. 

Tim Bray: TAXI to the Future

Talking with Paul Andrews today, we came up with a new term for what we do here. Micro-publishing. Of course this is not the first use of the term. 

It doesn't look like Microsoft got HailStorm.Net, HailStorm.Com or HailStorm.Org

Robb Beal: "Man, it felt like the 6 and 11 PM local news didn't run or they decided not to print the NYTimes for a day. I've been a reader for six years." 

Doc: "If a child were born in this room right now, its Indian name would be Place Where Nothing Works." 

The Register: "Verio's sweeping acceptable-use policy prohibits open relays. When Gilmore refused to put fetters on his mail server, the company's security department slapped a filter on Gilmore's T1 net connection Wednesday, blocking outgoing e-mail from his network." 

Paul Andrews: "I remember when my daughter told me excitedly about a new program called Napster. Yeah, yeah, I thought. Then I tried it. After that it was months before I could persuade editors of its significance." 

Glenn Fleishman: "I've installed Radio UserLand and I'm already blown away. I feel like I've entered an entirely new world. This is akin to running Mozilla back in April 1994. Wow. For me, being speechless is an odd condition."  

What to do when one angry user dominates a mail list for a product that you love? This is one of life's great mysteries. 

Glenn has an instant response to the question above.  

1/4/95: "By the way, the person with the big problem is probably a competitor." 

Early morning notes on non-disclosures. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 16, 2001. Friday, March 16, 2001

Good afternoon sports fans! 

Microsoft and IBM: WSDL 1.1

Scobelizer has speculation on HailStorm. Hmmm. 

I was wondering why Mary Jo Foley didn't have a HailStorm story out by now, now I know why. "If you thought Microsoft was devious in embedding its Internet Explorer browser in its operating systems and other products, you ain't seen nothing yet..."  

Intelligent Enterprise: Untangling the Web

News.Com: "I don't think the VC community is out there right now selling dead parrots."  

Only 1258 email messages to read.  

What is GotDotNet? 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 15, 2001. Thursday, March 15, 2001


Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2001. Wednesday, March 14, 2001

I'm interviewed in this month's InternetWorld on XML-RPC and SOAP. There are a few typos (SOAP doesn't run over IIOP, for example) and there are some things I say that I have no idea what I meant. Also the interview was done in December and some things have changed, but for the most part it still accurately reflects my point of view. Best line: "Can we date before we get married?" 

Julian Bond: "There's a revolution going on beneath the surface of the internet. This revolution already has a name, 'Internet 3.0' and protocols, SOAP and XML-RPC." 

David Strom: Weblogs, a Window on the Influential. "Now e-mailing a writer is common, and weblogs represent the next step." 

BTW, if you or your company have a story about The Two-Way-Web, please post it in the discussion group on the site. Read the home page to get an idea of what I'm looking for. White papers, thoughtfully reasoned and possibly self-promotional pieces that explain where you see the Internet going as a writing environment. I'll run the most interesting ones as stories on Scripting News. 

Via Dan Gillmor, here's Andy Hertzfeld's list of things that Nautilus does that haven't been done before.  

Note: I'm flying to Seattle late this afternoon to attend the Hailstorm briefing at Microsoft tomorrow. Updates will be sporadic between now and the end of the week. 

Moving forward with SOAP and XML-RPC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

While I'm gone, Jake is going to work on the SOAP interface with Manila.

First, he's written up a problem we've encountered with WSDL. A common practice is to use structs to return a variable amount of information from a procedure. Apparently WSDL has no way of representing procedures that work this way.

Second, he's written sample scripts that allow a workstation to emulate Radio's outliner in editing a Manila site. We'd like to see two specific projects come from this. An editor that runs on Unix, perhaps emacs or vi, that through Apache, allows a user to create and edit stories and update the home page of a Manila site in the same natural way that Radio works with Manila. The other project is to write a .NET application that allows the CLR to be a great editor for Manila text in the same way. Do they have text editing tools in .NET? Would you like to use them to edit a Manila site? This is the next wire in the bootstrap process that leads to interop.

What's interesting about this is that you don't need to implement the whole ManilaRPC suite to get this very important level of functionality between server-based content management and better-than-the-browser text editors on workstations.

All you'll have to do is emulate the functionality in other scripting environments. Then we'll have a very important kind of interop, between writers on all these platforms. That's when we become transparent, when the technology ceases to be the most interesting story, when we're delivering benefits to real people. This is what Internet 3.0 is about.

Gratuitous product shots Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If you scroll up and down Scripting News you'll see shots of all our products, Frontier, Manila and Radio. Our designer Bryan Bell has done an inspiring job in adding reality to these all-electronic products. Now, a final shot of all three products together. I guess this amounts to advertising. I hope it's not too crass or commercial. Enjoy!

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 13, 2001. Tuesday, March 13, 2001

2 DaveNets: You can't beat Murphy, Which Way Internet? 

Amazing news. As Eazel rolls out Nautilus, they also lay off more than half their staff. Things are changing quickly in Silicon Valley.  

Bruce Perens: "Fortunately, unlike most software businesses, if Eazel doesn't make it, their software will go on." Dig in and see the reality. Ask around, most open source leaders say that you do most of the work yourself. It might be hard to find programmers to work on Nautilus, as it was hard to find programmers to work on Mozilla. 

It's not hard to find programmers to work on Radio, though. This evening I added a feature for our friends the bloggers, making sure that it's easy for people to credit their sources. This should emit a loud sigh of relief in Radio UserLand and perhaps elsewhere. The Supremes are singing You can't hurry love, no you'll just have to wait. We're figuring this stuff out in real-time, as always.  

I got an email from another developer working on XML-RPC in .NET. Right on right on.  

This is very interesting. There are more and more Manila sites created by .NET developers. Here's another one. They're all interesting. I wonder if they know that every Manila site has a SOAP interface and therefore can be controlled by .NET? How do you do glue for .NET? Our WSDL file is in limbo right now, waiting for Jake to make some changes. How do we bootstrap this?? 

On SlashDot, Matt Evans says he can explain .NET. He says it's Microsoft's next platform, after Windows. 

InfoWorld: Microsoft to unveil .NET software for non-Microsoft platforms. "Do we have a way for people who host Web sites on Linux to build on [.NET]? Yes we do. That's not to say our overall strategy is not to get those Web sites over to Windows, but we will provide a way for those Linux servers to use .NET," Ballmer said. 

It's time that UserLand had a directory. Ever since we've had more than one site I've always wanted to have a structure that all our sites are linked into.  

BTW, Radio is my directory editing tool.  

Dan Gillmor says that Eazel's Nautilus is as much about Web services as it is about UI. So much hype and replay. Most (all?) of these features are already in Mac and Windows. Maybe it's doing something neat with printing. RSS in web pages? That's old news Dan. What does it do that's new? 

Scoble: "No boss. No HTML gurus. No editors. No gatekeepers." 

Glenn Fleishmann: "A study recently showed real evidence that the less competent someone is, the more competent they think they are." 

I found an ancient loop in my life today. When I was 3.5 years old, my brother Peter was born. According to family legend my first thought expressed about brother was quite selfish. "Why did you bring him here?" I am supposed to have asked. Ever since I've been there (where ever) first, and pissed off when someone else comes along and gets all the credit and has all the fun. Of course this is just my movie, no one else sees it this way. But it is a repeating loop in my life. Totally. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 12, 2001. Monday, March 12, 2001

Charles Cook: XML-RPC for .NET. Mind bomb!! 

WebReference: Interview with Dave Winer

DaveNet: What is Radio UserLand? 

Mary Jo Foley: "It's a lot easier to defend a position that there is not now and never was a 'browser market' when you erase the word 'browser' from your approved vocabulary list." 

News.Com: Microsoft's Ballmer touts XML Web standard

Dann Sheridan wants to talk about Hailstorm. 

WebDev: Statische Websites mit Radio Userland

Hey Scoble is interviewing people at the Fawcette Marketing Conference, using his blog. Now is that viral or what? Do you think he's sneaking a demo in there. If marketing people discover Manila, watch out. Maybe we'll get some marketing! Seriously. There's a lot of hungry Internet marketers out there. Pssst. We have something you can market.  

Ever notice something new in a song that you've listened to for decades. That just happened. Listening to Lola by the Kinks. "Well I'm not dumb but I can't understand why she walked like a woman but talked like a man." The cool thing is the way he sings "dumb". Heavy emphasis. Big pause. Kind of fruity but angry. But sheez, get a clue, he is totally dumb, in a nice British sort of way. That's what's so funny. 

Tonight's song: Fast car. "We leave tonight or live and die this way." 

Jeff Bezos: "It sure is easy to go from the Internet poster boy to the Internet pinata." Yeah if you act like a pig. 

Speaking of pigs, let me know when the VCs get a clue.  

Edd Dumbill: "Clark, the technical lead for XML 1.0 and author of influential XML open source software, noted that he was reluctant to hurt the feelings of the XML Schema Working Group, but then expressed his view that the XML Schema effort was 'little short of a disaster.'" 

The W3C has asked us, as part of participation in the Web Services Workshop, to write a position brief on our interest in Web Services. Here it is

At one point I was thinking of doing a SOAP-based protocol called P2PTP. Get it? 

Adam Curry is using Manila to help his daughter's class.  

Happy 50th birthday to Chris Gulker! (Belated.) 

Thanks to Chris Pirillo at LockerGnome for the great review and pointer to Radio. "Stream news onto your OWN WEB PAGE from a plethora of sources, add your thoughts to the mix, and become a part of the peer-to-peer phenomenon. Organize the clips through the client and you'll never need to know anything about HTML. How's this: the software is simple and fun... kinda like me. Only cool." 

Microsoft and eBay Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Reuters: "[eBay] will support Seattle-based Microsoft's new Internet effort .NET and will be one of the first Web sites worldwide to offer its community-based commerce engine to Web developers as an XML-based Web service."

I'm on the eBay-Microsoft conference call now (9:18AM). Meg Whitman: "Blah blah blah one step closer build out our API, to allow third party developers to incorporate eBay's, Microsoft's extensive network of developers..." Steve Ballmer (9:21AM): "Next generation of the Internet, the XML generation, even more transforming to the user experience, faciliatating connections, people talking to people, websites talking to websites, people talking to websites. Launched dotnet in June, getting our act togethere. What would be the one company to get behind dotnet? (Hmmm. Let me guess) eBay eBay is at the top of the list. Then I got an email from Meg, let's do something pretty important and pretty strategic, a gift from the gods, we've really been working, a shared version. eBay is about community, people and businesses, and smaller businesses, shared vision, facilitate third parties putting things on eBay. End-users use Windows. Log into Windows XP, you'll be logged into eBay and any other website that wires into dotnet. The XML Generation, eBay born of the Internet, pleased and honored, we look forward to handling your questions." Meg: "Sun runs our backend. We can upgrade our front-end to Win2K so we can access the developer community better. Sun is still very much a partner on the backend." Meg: "Dotnet enables developers to create tools for eBay, those developers will be able to import the eBay market place into their content sites." Dave: The services work just as well with IBM and Sun and UserLand. Steve: "4 million developers." I asked my question. If this is SOAP, isn't it just as open to Sun, IBM and independent developers. Steve: "It is SOAP, which as you know, is open."

Good morning sports fans!  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I love that line. It's my placeholder. By mid-morning something comes along to be my top story at least for a few hours, and off goes the sports fan greeting.

When Garret Vreeland moved his site he wrote an essay about how he was tired of living on the web to please other people. I don't know where that essay went, but the thought remained. It's the same feeling that a wife uses when divorcing a husband, or a husband divorcing a wife. But of course on the Net, as long I just express my own ideas, so what if I don't please some people? Some people are darned difficult to please! And we're not married so I don't have to go to court to get a divorce. Happiness.

Anyway, I have a little experiment that I'd like to suggest to people who have close friends who like to explore human nature. Go for a walk, a relatively long one, with your friend. At the outset, suggest playing a game. "I'd like to ask you, sometime during this walk, why you said or did something. It may not seem significant to you, but I'd like you to answer truthfully. I will ask the question when I am sure I know the reason why you did what I saw you do, or heard you say what you said. The only reason I'm going to ask you why is to learn about myself. To find out if I'm truly omniscient or if I am projecting my own movie onto your life."

Now, my bet is that you'll learn a tremendous amount about yourself when you do this. Your friend will say "I am doing this because xxx," and you thought it was yyy. Or maybe your friend won't even know that he or she actually did anything.

Such an experiment can only lead to good things. You'll learn the value in asking instead of assuming you know. What makes me think of this? A conversation with a friend a few weeks ago where she commented on something I did, in fairly accusatorial way, but not terribly so, because it left room for me to explain. "I didn't do that to hurt your feelings," I said. I wasn't even thinking about her when I did it. I know this is true, because I didn't know she was involved in what I was talking about. But my friend was assuming it was about her. It was not.

Another little story. Yesterday I was on my daily walk. I carry an orange ball with me sometimes, and throw it ahead of me, sometimes it lands in the bushes and I have to go digging around to find it. A car passed me as I was walking off the road into the bushes to look for my orange ball. "He must think I'm getting out of his way," my movie said to me. "But the joke's on him (a la Ole) I'm just going to get my orange ball." What a conversation. For all I know it was a woman driving the car, and perhaps she didn't even see me, or she was telling her kids to shut up, or driving her mother to the hospital and thinking about how she was going to pay the bills.

The "I am the center of the universe and I know everything" bug is quite pervasive in human discourse. Compare reality to your perception and all kinds of goodness happens.

And so we begin another week on Scripting News..

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 11, 2001. Sunday, March 11, 2001

Why Matt Goyer's idea to run a Napster-compatible server in SeaLand might not work. 

Doc gets bandwidth. "Pages load instantly. Two hundred fifty emails came down in seconds. And tomorrow I jack into a T1 at work. Wheee!" 

Chris Adler: "'What? Not even the peas? But you love peas!' I reasoned with him. 'Oh, that's right!' he replied, and proceeded to shove the whole plate dangerously close to the edge of his tray." 

DJ Adams: What is a Jabber client? 

Mark Watson: "I may be too optimistic, but I do believe that the SOAP platform will transcend the Microsoft-only world of Windows and will provide a universal platform for building web based applications and platform independent clients." 

Dan Anderson is running a .NET news site here

WebReference.Com: RSS News Feeds

My inner-child loves the XML Bastard. He makes me laugh! 

I'm working on something speculative. Gotta do that every once in a while to keep the gears oiled. My goal is to come up with a simple to implement groupware application that can be coded in any SOAP-aware environment, and uses its object serialization power. The application is inspired by The Hong Brothers, Tony and James. AmIHotOrNot in a hierarchy of users and workgroups and groups of workgroups, an Internet-based pyramid scheme. In the bootstrapping sense, the first cable across a body of water. So light that a small bird could lift it. No guarantee it'll ship, that's how speculative projects go. Here's a screen shot of the work in progress. 

Here's the second screen shot. A little simpler and more stuff works. 

Brent: "They're young, in their teens, 20s, or 30s. They answer every question. They volunteer answers even for questions they haven't been asked." So much to say about this. I talked with Sheila for an hour yesterday. It's true that a lot of men are totally self-absorbed, and not much fun to hang out with. It's the rare person, of either gender, who has an interest in what's going on inside other people. Most of us act like we're the whole universe. That's not fun (because it's so not true). When people insert themselves in an unwelcome way in your life, what do you do about it? There's not much you can do, except turn in another direction and welcome more positive attitudes. With 9 billion people on the planet, you can't be friends with everyone, you can really only be friends with about 5-20 people depending on how close you want to get. Choose your friends where there's fun and respect, breathe deeply, and keep on truckin. 

Another way of looking at the same thing. On any given day of the week, there's always someone who is angry with me, has an issue with me, wants me to stop doing something (I might not even be doing it), or is otherwise having an emotional outburst that for some reason involves me, in their mind. If I always stopped and dealt with each one, I would never have any time to live my life, and work out my issues, with other people, who may not happen to be this person. In other words sometimes a neighborhood kid comes knocking at the door to see if Dave can come out to play, and sometimes the answer is sorry, he's busy now. 

It's been a few days since I added a song to the Grateful Dead channel. Now that there are all these new Radio users, some of whom are tuned into this channel (it's #16 on the hotlist of upstreaming Radio users, there's no way of knowing how many non-upstreaming users are subscribing, have to do something about this..). Anyway, tonight's song is a live version of Weather Report Suite from Dick's Picks Volume 7. It's wistful music. Of course a beautiful song, oft-quoted here on Scripting News. "A little change, the wind and rain." 

A new look for UserLand.Com

From Brian Lenihan, in honor of the new design. "What does the Buffalo say to his boy when he leaves for school?" Bison. 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001. Saturday, March 10, 2001

DaveNet: We're not so different

DizzyD talks about Jabber as middleware. As I understand it, we could use Jabber to transport XML-RPC and SOAP messages. Instead of sending a procedure call to an IP address, or domain name, you'd send it to a Jabber user. This would allow us to design groupware applications that reach any desktop Jabber can get to, and it would allow you to move around. (You'd have to have the groupware software on every machine, though.) 

Eric Raymond: "Most of these products had nothing to do with the development of the Internet. Come on, Dave, you can do better than this. Building bridges is all very well, but when you start naming things like PhotoShop as Internet building blocks you're going off the deep end to make a point for which there are much better arguments." 

Eric's comment shows how much work we have to do to get the respect commercial developers deserve. To leave PhotoShop off a list of Internet development tools is to miss that graphics are a big part of what makes it work. Even programmers need to edit GIFs. Designers couldn't work without PhotoShop or something like it.  

Michael Neumann: XML-RPC for Ruby

Giles Turnbull: "I'd like to see some corporate sites that are more like weblogs." 

Simon Fell: "So, following all the fuss on the SOAP list over WSDL, I thought I'd have another look at the current WSDL tools, to see if they've improved at all since last time I looked, here's a brief summary of what I found." 

NY Times: For Rock Bands, Selling Out Isn't What It Used To Be. "All this soundtrack and advertising work creates a musical middle class that's not dependent on selling records at all."  

Note that yesterday's News.Com article about SOAP gave us credit. Thanks. If it was worth noting in absence, it's worth noting in presence. 

Black Hole Brain may be The Void of Knowledge, but it's funny! 

Scottish Lass: "Dave's product announcements always make me feel like it's Christmas and there's a treat under the tree waiting to be unwrapped!" Nice. 

Next step in Radio. Jake has been working on a way to grab a Manila site and turn it into a folder of XML files for import into other content management software. I see this right at the edge of what we do at UserLand. Ideally, a group of users and competitors in content management should be doing this work with us. But it's important so we're going to get the process started. Hopefully other CMS vendors will offer their users freedom of choice as well. 

I had a great meeting yesterday with Jeremie Miller of Jabber.Org. Our talk was wide-ranging. I don't want to speak for Jeremie, so I won't say "we" in any other context other than this -- we're going to write some software, and I think it's going to be of interest to people in XML-RPC and SOAP. I want to open some closed boxes, to move stuff around between people no matter where they are. Jabber has solved problems that we never attempted to solve, and vice versa.  

I've actually known him for a lot longer than I thought. He wrote one of the first XML parsers, back when we were trying to figure out what XML is. His parser was written in JavaScript and ran in the browser. I remember what a unique idea that was at the time. And here it is

Next week I'm going to the Microsoft Hailstorm event. I don't know what it's about, and it's a non-disclosure event, so I won't be able to tell you until they announce it publicly. But I haven't signed the NDA yet, so I can speculate. First, I like the name Hailstorm. It's aggressive. I wonder whose head the hail is supposed to fall on. Hail is annoying, but rarely deadly. That's good. I'm always up for a good hailstorm. Why not.  

OK, when Sun was getting ready to announce their answer to Dot-Net I said that either it was SOAP or it was irrelevant. Same with Hailstorm. Further, it's got to be about instant messaging. Therefore I conclude it's a SOAP interface for instant messaging. That's kind of what Jeremie and I talked about yesterday. So we can have an insurance policy, possibly a common API, and we (developers) get choice and can pass that on to users and feel good about doing the right thing. Maybe we should call our project Hail Harvester? 

BTW, if you're a Microsoft person who reads Scripting News, come over to Building 33 on Thursday at lunchtime and tell me what you're working on.  

This morning we're up to 49 upstreaming personal aggregators in Radio UserLand.  

BTW, did you notice the product shot near the top of the page? We had some fun. Radio doesn't actually come in a box, but if it did, that's what it would look like. 

You can include the box on your UserLand-hosted Manila site by entering "radioProductShot" including the quotes.  

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 09, 2001. Friday, March 09, 2001

Once upon a time, a very long time ago I said that one day I would ask you to run a Web server on your desktop. I promised it would it be interesting and fun and simple. Well, today is that day.  

Radio is shipping. It's not beta anymore. When you boot it up it'll read a set of default channels and present you with a rush of news. A nice toolbar at the top. Leave it running. Every hour on the hour it'll do another scan. Read the news, route it to your blog. Check out the hotlist, see what everyone else is reading. Click a checkbox to subscribe to any channel. When you see a white-on-orange XML button on the Web, get the URL it links to and add it to your subscription list (only if it's RSS of course).  

Radio is also a blogging tool, it's got all the easy-to use-features a blogger would want and the data is on your computer. Create your own RSS channels. Route stories by category so people in your organization can follow the news that you point them to. The publishing tools are in your hands so you can get the news where it needs to go. There's so much more to say. And you can be sure I'll say it.  

You can put the Radio coffee mug on your UserLand-hosted Manila site with "radioCoffeeMug". (Include the quotes.) 

Tip for Radio newbies. If you want your channel choices to be reflected in the Top 100, you must turn on upstreaming.  

Another nice Radio feature I use all the time is Weblogs.Com on the Desktop. It's linked into the Tools page. Every hour at 15 after the hour it gets the changes from Weblogs.Com (in XML of course) and presents them (in HTML of course). Why is this better than just using Weblogs.Com? Well, it's a lot faster, for one thing. Maybe that's the only thing. Well, that's a good one. You can grow old waiting for our server to render the list through your favorites (and everyone else's). Radio is fast. Because you're the only person it's serving. This is one of the key advantages of decentralization. 

Now, perhaps the best feature for the geeks is that you get the source code for the desktop website in Radio. And there are lots of places you can customize, or if you want, do you own desktop website in Radio and teach us how this stuff really works. There's XML-RPC, SOAP, HTTP, SMTP, POP, FTP, OPML, RSS, you name it we got it, all in an easy scripting enviornment with an outliner-based script editor. The other guys are years behind. Radio is a developer's friend, geeks can have fun and please do. (Did I mention it's got a content management system too? It does.) 

And who ever heard of a Web server with a built-in text editor and object database? We did.  

Now business details. This release of Radio is free. It works. When we come out with 7.0.1 we'll have a for-pay version. It will also be able to be a workgroup server. The Radio we're shipping now is limited to 5 simultaneous net connections. This works really well for a personal server. However if you want others to use your copy of Radio we'll make a version that can do that, and that version will be for-pay-only -- still haven't decided on the price. This will be our long-term sustainable business model. If you like Radio and want us to hire more programmers to implement the features you want, faster, dig in and find the money, but not yet. Let's build a big base of users first. 

Some have asked What About Frontier? Oh yes, we have major new stuff in Frontier 7, that's next on the plate. No change in price. Frontier is the server for huge numbers of Manila sites. Radio is a desktop tool. We've been talking about the "workstation product" for a few years. That's Radio. It's for people. Frontier is for big groups of people. They work together well, by design.  

And I'd like to extend a big hearty Welcome Back to people who are using free versions of Frontier on Mac OS from 1998 or earlier. We've been working really hard, adding features and fixing bugs, it's worth moving up to Radio. It's a real 7.0. (Isn't that confusing!)  

Meanwhile Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes on.

News.Com: Open-source firm dips into services SOUP.

I just discovered that Joshua Allen has been updating through RSS. I missed his pithy comments. Now I'm a subscriber. Cooool. It's even more interesting, now that Radio is a community, and I'm in the top 10 most-subscribed-to channels, presumably a lot of people will figure out how to subscribe to Josh too. This is where the viral-ness comes in. I wonder if it's going to work? (Some of the techniques of the busted dotcom philosophy survive.)

OffShoreMp3s.Com: "Our goal is to establish a Napster server (OpenNap running on a server provided by HavenCo) in a jurisdiction (the Principality of Sealand) beyond the reach of the major governments of the world (and of course the RIAA)."

Wired: Lessons learned from Loudcloud.

I like thoughtful criticism: "Here. Is that a wound? Let me rub a little salt into it. But dangit! After writing hundreds and hundreds of pages and a few books, I must confess that I'm pretty comfortable with the way that Word's outliner works."

AP: "A reporter for Wired News has been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of a tax protester charged with stalking and threatening two federal agents."

Important but small changes in the ManilaRPC interface, remove the requirement for base64 encoding and decoding in client apps.

Hey Paul Andrews is back. Yippee! (Not oy.)

Paul asks for a definition of Oy. It's not in dictionary.com. OK let me give it a try. "An exclamation of frustration and annoyance." That's not too bad. It's short for Oy vey iz mir.

Bob Atkinson sent a link to the Alternate Yiddish Dictionary. It says Oy means "anything you want, generally expressing a negative emotion Can express anything from tiredness to sadness to martyrdom to anger to annoyance and so on."

I'd like to buy a hard drive that has all this music. It'll never happen. Oy.

Earthquake art. Very nice!

As always, the flame-level goes up when we ship. Some say we rushed the Final Candidate process, a scheme to soak users for money we don't deserve. We actually spent 60 days debugging. Ask anyone on the Radio mail list. BTW, when we say something is a FC we really mean it. Some software companies don't. We do. (Not that any of this matters. We'll probably fix more bugs next week than we did this week. That's how it works. You know, Murphy and all that.)

Benjamin Franklin: "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worthy reading, or do things worth the writing."

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 08, 2001. Thursday, March 08, 2001

2 DaveNets: A tip for Yahoo, Wishin and Hopin

Microsoft: SOAP Toolkit Beta 2.0

Evidence of webness in SoapLand. Today MS started pointing to us from their SOAP and Web Services pages. Thanks! 

Now, what is Hailstorm? "One developer who plans to attend the meeting.. said Microsoft is looking to extend the capabilities of IM as a standalone application and turn it into a software infrastructure that can be used to build many types of applications." Gotta get some of that. 

Dann Sheridan: "I believe that Hailstorm is the .Net serivces cloud that captures all six million Microsoft developers and doesn't let them go." 

Update: I will be at the Hailstorm briefing next Thurs. 

Meanwhile, I'm meeting with Jeremie Miller of Jabber tomorrow afternoon. Lots of interesting rumors flying around IM in the next few weeks. I hope to learn more from Jeremie tomorrow. 

Intuit is operating an XML-over-HTTP programmable database called QuickBase. It's free. Interesting.  

Evan Williams has a screen shot of the new Word. It looks just like what we want. If only it could send SOAP messages, we'd be done. (Email doesn't turn out to be enough. You have to be able to easily edit a document in Word, to have it fit into a content management system.) 

Globe and Mail: "A 21-year-old Canadian Web entrepreneur is planning to circumvent the imminent demise of Napster Inc.'s controversial Internet song-trading system by setting up a clone of the service on a so-called 'data haven' platform off the coast of Britain." 

DJ Adams: "In this article, I'd like to show you how easy it is to put together a simple system for pager-style notification of incoming mail, using some standard tools, Perl and, of course, Jabber." 

The Snowcrash plug-in "runs a mini HTTP server inside WinAmp." 

The RadioShack 2.4GHz Wireless Room-to-Room Audio/Video Sender "allows you to use your home stereo and theater components in any room of your home." $99. 

Tech Interview is realllllly groveling for the links. Gotta admire their style.  

Here's a disgusting and pathetic idea.  

This is disgusting and pathetic and funny

Danny Goodman: "In March 1981, I quit my last job to become a freelance writer. Twenty years later, I'm still at it, so it's time to celebrate." 

Caterina explores happiness in re the subconscious.  

News.Com: "..Koogle lamented that Internet companies had erred by giving away too much content to consumers in the dash to gain market share and notoriety. Consumers have been loathe to pay for any Internet content, from news bulletins to stock tips to downloadable music and software." 

The cool thing about my life is that I get to meet such smart people, and lots of the thanks for that goes to the Web. When I was interviewed for the Newsweek article about weblogs a couple of weeks ago Deborah Branscum asked what practical use weblogs serve. Good question. I told her that there was no way XML-RPC and probably SOAP could have happened without weblogs. Community projects require good communication, and the Internet, if it does anything, is an unprecedented communication enabler. Mail lists are fine, but they can easily get locked up and frozen, unable to move. Weblogs are different, it's possible on a weblog to speak and not give equal weight to every point of view. This begets more weblogs, giving people choices, they gravitate to the places that make sense for them. With this, movement can happen. Ask a question, get an answer, move on, ask another. After a few years, the results are visible. 

Perhaps I got to the bottom of the controversy over WSDL. SOAP w/o an IDL is 404 Not Found all over again. You call a procedure and it's not there or its interface changed and your script fails. What does an IDL do to prevent such an outage, or to help you debug an outage that a thoughtfully worded error message wouldn't? Of course in this debate I'm taking the side of linkrot. It's our friend, it makes this stuff implementable, and keeps the gorillas from swamping and crushing The Little Folk. 

Speaking of thoughtfully worded error messages, at UserLand we have a template for messages, which we always (Murphy-willing) follow. It goes like this. Can't xxx because yyy. The first part is important because the user must be told what the software was trying to do when it failed. When there's an error, part of the "user model," like it or not, is the idea that each user operation is decomposed into thousands or millions of procedure calls, any one of which could fail. So the xxx part of the message gives you a clue which one of those internal procedures is the one that couldn't do its thing. The yyy part is supposed to give you a clue how to cure the ill and get on with your life. So a good error message includes both bits of information. By having a default structure for the message, it saves the programmer from having to be creative, in English, while he or she is being creative, in code. And it causes the programmer to worry about the poor users, how will they know what went wrong? 

BTW, it's totally true, theoretically, that every procedure could fail, but does this mean that programmers must check every operation to see if it worked? No. But I've seen people try. The code goes like this.

   x = y + 5
if x != (y + 5)
scriptError ("Can't xxx because yyy.")
Well, that's ridiculous. If the CPU isn't working your test isn't going to work either. And the user probably has a few other clues to this, like the OS doesn't boot up. 


Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 07, 2001. Wednesday, March 07, 2001

IBM: Getting Started with XML-RPC in Perl. Cooool! 

A frequently asked question. What's the connection between SOAP and Jabber? It would be great to get a comparative review of these technologies by someone who's knows XML. Could Jabber have a SOAP interface? If so, what would it look like? Does it make sense from the Jabber developer point of view? What would be the win? I don't have time to dig into this myself at this time but am interested in reading a comparison of the technologies. 

On the SOAP mail list, Noah Mendelsohn provides a twist to the usage scenario for IDLs. He suggests using them to generate scripting interfaces on the server side, not just the client side. This could work and might be useful. I'm going to post a pointer to the XML-RPC DG. 

Now, you too, can be part of the P2P2P2P2P2P2P trend. 

The world's best-kept secret. There's SOAP 1.1 support for Mozilla. Update. We now have 37 SOAP 1.1 implementations in the SoapWare directory, maintained by Paul Kulchenko. And now I don't have to count them by hand, each page on the directory says how many items it contains. A small convenience. Also each page links to its OPML source through the white-on-orange XML icon.  

The first source release of OurFavoriteSongs.root, the software that runs the cloud that connects Radio users. It's a Frontier 7 application. Lots of cool stuff here, including vestiges of our music cloud. High praise from Russ Lipton. Thanks! 

Smart Reseller: "Simply open sourcing software doesn't guarantee that anyone will ever actually work on the program. Open source programmers are volunteers, and if a project doesn't interest them, it will remain as dead as it would still locked within a company without funding." 

Press release: Yahoo looks for new CEO

News.Com: "Loudcloud, the Internet consulting firm founded by Marc Andreessen, delayed its planned $180 million initial public offering until Thursday because of a snowstorm that buffeted the northeastern United States." OK. 

1/12/01: "A couple of summers ago I got a Cobalt Qube as a gift from a good friend, and it changed the way I looked at the Web, software and operating systems." 

Doc quotes the Dead *and* Little Feat today. Truckin! 

Heads-up on the shipment of Radio. I think we're there. It's not perfect, there are bugs, but we believe that it will install and start reading news on almost everyone's system, Murphy-willing. From there it's quite stable. I've been using it without a hitch for over a month. I'm starting to use it in new ways, which is a sign that we're out of the bleeding-edge zone. It's still for technically savvy people, but you don't have to understand its innards to get the benefit.  

To be comfortable with Radio, you should have a basic understanding of how the Internet works. If you know the difference between a Web browser and server or know your IP address, or (even better) know how you got it, you should be fine. We have a friendly mail list and discussion group. There are several hundred people using Radio to read, write and route news. In the next few weeks I hope to grow that to several thousand. 

With this release we're going to redefine what we do at UserLand. I feel we now have a complete platform. We have hit the top of the tree we started to climb in 1996. Sure, we'll add more ornaments, but our most important work will be grooming, fixing bugs, improving performance and docs. With the focus on desktop websites, and the growth of SOAP and XML-RPC, the position of Radio is clear now -- it's our outpost on the desktop in the new distributed network that's growing so quickly. This is a good strategy because we're leading in this area. The product fits our role in the industry, after years of patient waiting and developing, I think we're now in our "zone". We have the best application development platform for SOAP and XML-RPC. It's here now, ready for developers.  

Note: When it's ready for you to download I'll put the coffee cup on Scripting News as a permanent fixture. 

Scoble reviews Microsoft FrontPage XP. "FrontPage XP's strength (and some say its weakness -- although I don't see it that way) is in its integration with Office. Whenever you copy and paste now from another Office application you have a choice of whether or not to keep the formatting that was applied in that other application." 

The latest SOAP 1.1 implementation comes from BEA Systems. Welcome! 

Jeff Shelton reports from the Python conference in San Diego. 

From the Why Don't The Rest Of Them Do This Department. Apple's newest commercial is on the Web. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 06, 2001. Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Brent says he had fun writing this RFC

Tim O'Reilly: "Although the software business was a profitable one for OíReilly, weíve realized that itís not a strong strategic fit with our other efforts. Itís time for us to focus on our core mission of providing information on emergent technologies through conferences, online resources, and books." 

Evan Williams: "Back in 1997, I was one of the 25-or-so people in O'Reilly's software division. I had more than one debate during that time with Tim and others in the company about whether or not O'Reilly should even be in the software business." 

Here, "PC Magazine reviews six reasonably-priced packages that offer an off-the-shelf solution for under $100,000." I remember the good old days when PC Mag reviewed software that cost under $100. What happened?? 

Chris Gulker has a couple of notes on his blog about our breakfast yesterday. He's still using Frontier 5. Hmm. I've got some work to do here.  

I always wondered what Hack the Planet was about. "In the late 70s, an engineer named Steve Wozniak decided that every person should be able to afford a computer. This is now known as the 'personal computer industry'. Woz hacked the planet." 

If only Josh Lucas weren't under an NDA. 

Take a tour of NYC in 360 degrees. Remember this so you can tell your grandchildren that you remember when people poured huge amounts of time and money into web tricks and did it for free. 

Question: How many Ray's Pizza's are there in Manhattan? Answer. Now how many of them are the original? 

Phone rings. A stranger. "According to our records you have still not voted for Proposition A." I say "Sorry, I'm busy," in an offended voice. Now I wish I hadn't hung up so quickly. I'd like to know exactly how they know I didn't vote. You can be sure I'd vote for a proposition that made that illegal. 

Megnut is doing something innovative. Hint: View Source. 

Lots of discussion about my Little IDL. Thanks. I've made some small changes this morning, then I want to pass it on to my friends at the BigCo's. I also wrote a little background on the politics of SOAP and XML-RPC in 2001. Yeah, I like politics, as long as it's working.  

I'm a big believer in A-B comparisons. So here's the WSDL version of the Manila interface, graciously authored by Simon Fell. It's not exactly an apples-apples comparison, Simon's spec describes the interface for all copies of Manila, the ALIDL version shows all the interfaces supported by a single machine. You'll find Manila in there alongside a bunch of other pieces of software running on the machine. 

One of the neatest things about the human mind (or at least mine) is that now that I've done an IDL, I understand Simon's WSDL file! Yoahahow. What I stared at with incomprehension a couple of days ago now evokes "Oh that's a good idea." Go figure. However I'd change the names on some of the elements to make them enter the mind more easily. complexType is not a good name. It unsells me quickly. Complex? Uhh no thanks. I've already got plenty of complexities. Try again. 

MacEdition mourns the passing of MacWEEK. It makes my skin tingle to remember how much I used to look forward to the weekly dose of MacWEEK in the late 80s and early 90s. Back then we called it the "sweaty palms" phenomenon. In its heyday PC WEEK was the same way. When it arrived everything stopped, and I read every damned article. I wonder why. The Mac was good then. At breakfast yesterday with Chris Gulker, a former Apple person, he pointed out that betw 1990 and 1995 they didn't ship a new Mac OS. What were the thousand engineers working on? Cloning Photoshop and Quark. Oy gevilt. Maybe that's why the excitement passed. Maybe it's because immediately after shipping System 7, Apple started promoting Pink. Maybe it's because the developers didn't hang together. Maybe it's because the users didn't support the developers. Maybe it's because Apple resisted the Web? Maybe there's no reason, maybe all good things pass. MacWEEK sure was a good thing. BTW, the first MacWEEK editor was Jon Littman. Stephen Beale was the last. 

Paul Snively takes issue with the idea that Apple started promoting Pink shortly after System 7 shipped. I think basically what happened is that Sculley talked about it with a bunch of reporters, and that made headlines, and created a permanent issue for Apple. Pink is late, the stories would say for years to come. He was the CEO at the time and had that kind of power. One of the funny things about Apple is that the lower-level people never accepted the authority of the execs, so if Sculley said something they didn't have to acknowledge it. It was a funny company, because I don't think the execs ever accepted the workers' point of view.  

Anyway, the disconnect made Apple a strange company to deal with. No one was in charge, so silly projects like cloning Quark and Photoshop could get staffed and when JLG wanted a scripting language for the Mac in 1988, he had to go on a press tour, perhaps to prove to his people someone else cared about what he thought. My theory on the cause for the disconnect was the lurking shadow of Steve Jobs, no one took these "new" guys seriously (Sculley, Spindler, Amelio, so many weird un-Apple-like people showed up at the top). Apple people bought the Legend Of Steve, and since he wasn't there at the time, every one of them had a chance to be The New Steve. Lots of very opinionated people, just like Microsoft, but unlike Microsoft, they didn't seek outside opinions. And look at how they slip in new versions of the OS without killing old ones. It's not that hard. Hey, Sculley didn't know jack about software. I think we all agree on that. 

Caterina: "Something I read online yesterday has been haunting me. It said something to the effect that marrying someone for love was a luxury that the poor could not afford, something we here in the first world take for granted." 

More from Caterina: "So much good mail today from Dave's readers." That makes me feel good! I'm glad that Scripting News people are so thoughtful. Excellent. 

The Nation: Liberation Musicology.  

I'm reading a book on the start of World War I written in the 60s. Russia, France, England and Germany spent a few decades planning the war. I don't think they understood why they wanted war. It reminds me of the war of the music industry with its users. I don't think they have a clue that their argument isn't with the users, it's with the past. The Internet is here. All their users have it. It's like trying to fight a war after the technology of war has changed. They always plan to re-fight the last war. It doesn't end up working out that way. 

BTW, since Microsoft is rushing Office XP to market, it's fair to assume that it doesn't have any meaningful SOAP 1.1 support. Why? Because we are still working on interop. They may say they have SOAP support, but it would be like the XML support the previous version of Word had. So deeply Microsoft-like as to be irrelevant. Has anyone done any development on Word's XML support? I've never heard of anyone doing it. Maybe I missed something. It was so bizarre, perhaps it was in some way XML. But interop is the reason for XML. So if you don't interop, why bother? 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 05, 2001. Monday, March 05, 2001

RFC: A Little IDL. "I decided to define a simple interface definition language in XML that's suitable for scripting environments, and see if people find holes in its functionality, or if it's useful, or something we want to do. It's little and human-readable. The goal is to have it work with scripting systems that are wired up to XML-RPC or SOAP 1.1." 

PC Mag on Office XP: "..the best [feature] may be the ease with which users can switch off the in-your-face automation features from the previous version. Features like automatic formatting that inserts headlines where you donít want them, or Web site publishing that uploads a whole site instead of a single page can be axed with the click of your mouse. Even the animated-paperclip help system is switched off by default." 

Christopher Phan: Why The Paper Clip Sucks. "Of course, you can always get rid of him. This is what I do every time I start up any Office application. But before he disappears from the screen, he takes a second to wink." 

Oooops, sometimes even a friendly paperclip gives an unfriendly message. Oh la. 

WebReview: XHTML Roadmap for Designers

WSJ: "This time last year, Silicon Valley was all about ego. Now, itís all about blame." 

JMikeC: "Entries may be sparse while I play with Radio Userland. Or, there might be more since it is so easy."  

Late night, late start. First thing today -- check in at various places. There are now 39 personal aggregators running, according to the Top-100 list on OFS, up from 20-something last week. Last year at this time there were two. 33 SOAP 1.1 implementations on SoapWare. More validations.  

Joel Spolsky: "This week Jakob Nielsen posted an article that's supposed to tell you how to retain key staff. Now, I read the article again and again and it just doesn't say anything. All it does is list a bunch of things and then asserts that they don't work." 

Interview: "Three cannibals and three anthropologists have to cross a river.." 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 04, 2001. Sunday, March 04, 2001

DaveNet: The next trend: B2R

A fascinating story by Bruce Perens on the complexities of open sourcing a commercial product.  

Lessons from Perens' story. 1. Non-disclosure agreements and cross-licensed patents severely limit options. 2. MAPI was Microsoft's invention, I don't know the history, but it would have been better if it had never happened. 3. Re SOAP, in the end will interop mean "Works with Microsoft?" Should we banish that concept or should we continue to be driven (and limited) by their vision, ship process and Windowsisms? This was a disaster for the HTML Web and is (apparently) taking a decade to unwind in email. Now we have a chance to avoid it altogether in SOAP. 4. Benjamin Franklin: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 

Mrs Petrie's class: The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

I've started working on ALIDL, an acronym for A Little IDL. I'm designing it for both XML-RPC and SOAP. Writing the docs first. It's scripting-centered. It's becoming clear to me that there are at least two philosophies to net programming. The scripting approach depends on loose coupling and easy coercion between types. Further, when I return a I don't want to fully specify it. I can't generate a struct spec by parsing the handler's source code, it would have to be hand-coded. Further we generate structs with variable complexity. I doubt if you could define a schema for it, and if you could I can't imagine what use it would be. Better to just call the handler and see what it returns. It's possible (I don't know) that there's no way to browse structs in other environments. Depending on the ability to do that might be a Frontierism. Anyway, like the XML-RPC process, we'll learn about other environments. The goal is to find out if it's possible to have an IDL that works for many if not all scripting environments. I think the key to success is to keep it realllly simple. 

BTW, just a few minutes after posting the above paragraph I've learned a bunch, so it already seems out of date. Consider this an OTP, or Open Thought Process. What the USPTO likes to think of as a "lab notebook". Now for today's Ole and Lena story. 

Ole is taking Lena out on a date. He gets home, goes upstairs where Lena is standing in the middle of the bedroom naked. "Lena, why are you standing in the middle of the room naked?" asks Ole. "Ohh Ole, I have nothing to wear!" Ole walks over to Lena's closet and opens it. "Lena! You have nothing to wear? Here's your white dress, here's your black dress, here's Sven, here's your orange dress.." 

Scoble: "Hey, a geek has to love a product that comes with a Web server built into it."  

Correction --> Radio *is* a Web server.  

If you want to know where Radio is going, Scoble has a great idea. He's where The Class of 2001 (yet to be formed) will be in mid-late summer.  

I decided that it would be too hard to sell an outliner with a built-in Web server. People wouldn't understand, or a very small number would. So I put the Web server up front. That people understand. It's a very good Web server, high-level, it brings you news and makes it easy to write and route news, all in a browser, the perfect companion for a server. 

I'm interested in techno info junkies with minds (people like Scoble). Then, later, guess what -- it's got a built in text editor. And it's a neat structured text editor. Text on rails. Think about it this way, would it be interesting if Apache had a built-in text editor? I bet you could do some neat stuff with that. Go ahead and give it a try.  

Oliver Wrede: "I have no exact figure of how many Manila sites I am handling now, but they may well be 15-20." 

In the future a website will be more like a document. You don't think too hard before choosing File/New. Websites are still too hard to manage. They can be simplified further. 

Jim Roepcke tells me that there's no way for "little guys" like him to get WebObjects hosting. This is a bug. Jim is a relentless innovator. There's a business opportunity here. The geeks love WebObjects. If you provide them with hosting I guess you might get a few of their customers to pay the big bucks when it's time to deploy. (I have an objective of my own here, I'd like to see a publicly-accessible implementation of SOAP for WebObjects.) 

Peertal is a fine source for news about P2P apps, and I had not pointed to it, but I thought I had. Many apologies for the oversight. 

ICSC.Org: Apple to open retail stores. (Via AppleSurf.) 

NY Times: "Transmitting intelligence instantaneously to any distance. What hath God wrought?" 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 03, 2001. Saturday, March 03, 2001

AP: Napster Still Full of Users

Red Herring: "Over the past year, Loudcloud's head count jumped from 71 to 586." 

From the Rube Goldberg Would Like This Department, Bill Kearney has AIM connected to the Web through Radio.  

Dylan Tweney: "Copyright law is fast becoming irrelevant, thanks to the Internet. It's time to start figuring out how to replace it with something that works." 

A Jabber developer who's exploring SOAP. Interesting combo. 

Freshmeat: "Does working on the adult part of the net mean I'm a scumbag?" 

More RSS sources on Newsfeeds

Seattle Wireless is "a not-for-profit project to develop a community wireless network in Seattle and end recurrent telco fees." 

Simon Fell is doing a WSDL validator.  

I just spent a half-hour trawling around through search results on WSDL on Google, and scanned a few articles looking for a concise newbies explanation of what WSDL is and why a script writer would be interested in it. I found a lot of puffing and politics, but very little in the way of motivation. What is it for? Who is supposed to create the WSDL? What are they supposed to do? I think these people whoever they are, don't have a clue how Web apps are deployed. I drop a script in a folder basically and call it. If I want someone else to call it I write a page of docs. If I want to remember why I did it, I put comments in the code, and if I want other people to understand why I did it, I put those comments in the docs. It's work, but I understand that kind of work. I have no idea what these folks are up to. Now it could be just the workflow stuff I wrote about last weekend, if you yell at me, that's OK, but be sure to explain why anyone would want to take the time to do WSDL and where can I go to find out what the heck it is. End of rant. (Inspired by the XML Bastard.) 

Thanks to Simon Fell for the thoughtful response to my What is WSDL question. I guess the main benefit is that you can generate stubs, once there is some WSDL content to parse, automatically; and the main problem is that the language is underspecified so it's not possible at this time to support WSDL and when it's finished being spec'd it will be quite complex because it already is quite complex. 

I wonder if any of the BigCo's are getting the message. The complexity in XML has gotten out of hand. I've been talking lately about RISX, an acronym for Reduced Instruction Set XML. Factor and trim until you can go no further. The Google XMLization is an overboard example of this, they use one-letter element names and no schema, RDF or namespaces. But I bet I could figure it out without any docs in about 20 minutes. (Whether they want me to is another question.)  

Other RISX formats: NASDAQ's stock quote service, RSS, OPML, XML-RPC

There's a difference between the kind of XML a theoretician produces, someone who isn't concerned about implementing or supporting the stuff, a wonk with a PHB, someone who likes to fly around the world to committee meetings, and takes sabbaticals and long vacations; and the kind of XML an engineer designs, a 24-by-7 guy (with a beeper) who never gets to take a vacation, who knows that he's going to have to pass the code off to someone else, who's going to break it if he doesn't understand what the $*@#$ is going on. I obviously am in the latter category. (And even if you get the code right for the committee-designed spec, they're inevitably going to change their minds and produce an incompatible version of the format and use the same name, so everyone will think your code is broken.) 

I also spent a half hour on the phone yesterday with a friend who's on the UDDI committee. Same story, of course. 

Simon gets the closer: "If WSDL in its current form continues to be the only way to manage metadata about web services, then the future for current SOAP community looks bleak." 

A golden spike Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I've come to know Paul Kulchenko through his frequent posts to the SOAP weblog, announcing new versions of his SOAP for Perl. He's steadily improved the software over quite a few months, this is a good sign, the lights are on over there.

Paul has also been maintaining a list of SOAP 1.1 implementations. Paul's list was more complete than mine, so I asked if he could produce an OPML version so I could include it in my directory.

There were a couple of glitches on both sides, but we worked them out quickly, and he's got it working.

I linked it in. And here's the new implementations page on SoapWare.Org. Scroll to the bottom. Paul is the editor. And if you suggest a link, the email goes to him. When he updates his OPML file, within an hour our server will reload its cache.

This is the first time I've used our directory software, developed in late Y2K, to bootstrap a community. It comes at a time when the various SOAP communities are finding out about each other. (I hope!)

It's a good place for OPML to get exercised, people in various SOAP worlds are knowledgable about XML, and they're do-ers, not talkers. That's what it takes to get bootstraps going.

BTW, there's an OPML developers mail list.

SOAP in critical section Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had an interesting conversation with a couple of Gnutella developers at the P2P conf in Feb. They like XML-RPC and could see the difference between it and the broader SOAP protocol. I told them the story of how it forked from SOAP in 1998. This is something I couldn't talk about publicly at the time, because Microsoft's involvement was up to them to announce. The Gnutella guys said it was a good thing I did the fork at the time when the ideas were so simple, before it went through the political process inside Microsoft. Well, something like that is happening again. When it's done, I hope Microsoft and the other big companies live up to the spirit of yesterday's piece. Through no fault of any single person, the natural way to proceed at a big companies is not necessarily the open way.

I don't want to scare anyone but it is a little scary, SOAP is in what we call a "critical section" in programming, what happens between now and the summer will determine if it's a revolution in open software design. The key here, imho, is for everyone who has a SOAP implementation that they're interested in validating against other implementations do it in the open, with public servers, outside firewalls. Let the community work on this, not the companies. There's a lot of heat right now, but Microsoft is again, excelling at listening. This is their biggest strength, and in my experience, is unique in this industry.

What happens next must tap into the minds of the people who are implementing SOAP, some of whom are talented hard-working individuals, and others are small companies hoping to make a name for themselves by making an excellent technical contribution. There are medium-size companies, and others are huge, the largest technology companies in the world. They all deserve a chance to define what interop means for SOAP, we must have the expertise of all of them if it's going to be a market with lots of independent development. How these things gets started forms the genetic encoding of the community. At some point the standard-setting must stop, so it's safe to develop applications. The consensus seems to me, to be that that time is getting close.

9/25/99: Dave's Story of SOAP.

Random news bits Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Forbes: "Yahoo's chances of remaining independent are beginning to look slim to none."

AP: Taliban Destroys Ancient Buddhas. "The two Buddhas, 175 feet and 120 feet tall, are hewn from the side of a mountain in Bamiyan. The taller statue is thought to be thought to be the world's tallest standing Buddha."

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 02, 2001. Friday, March 02, 2001

DaveNet: Me and Microsoft

News.Com: "Napster said it has created a way to screen individual file names that would likely go into effect this weekend. Potentially millions of files will be blocked at that time, Napster attorney David Boies said." 

Tim O'Reilly interviewed Microsoft's Jim Allchin. Here's the gist of Allchin's statement. Microsoft is opposed to the US government investing in software licensed under the GPL, since it would not allow Microsoft, a US company that pays taxes, to use the software. He didn't say it's un-American to do so, but I do. It's a simple obvious point. Software created by the public must be accessible to the public. 

Andrew Gore: Requiem for a Magazine. A bit of our youth goes poof. I remember when MacWEEK started up. For 10 points who was the founding editor? No, it wasn't Dan Ruby or Dan Farber.  

Dan Gillmor found this wonderful one-month old story about Jeff Bezos. It begins "One of the great mysteries of the day is why any investor anywhere would continue to listen to Amazon.com, Inc. chairman, president and CEO, Jeffrey Bezos, about anything anymore.." 

Hey I got Slashdotted again! Yow. Thank you thank you. 

Seems like Tom Bradford is sticking with the XML Bastard theme.  

I knew I'd get pushback from today's piece, but it's my truth. It took me a long time to realize how deep the resentment had set over Microsoft control of the Web. Now that doesn't mean I don't want to work with Microsoft -- I do. But before that could really happen, I needed to let them know who I am and where I stand. A lot of the discussions lately have been unrealistic.  

See yesterday's piece for a metaphoric version of the story.  

Also, as the SOAP communities develop, let's get connected. The tendency at large companies like Microsoft is to work within their own boundaries, and to value relationships with other companies their own size, and for indies that's basically a one-way flow. That's OK of course, but if they won't budge, the only chance we have, the independent developers, is to work with each other. 

BTW, I just read the SlashDot discussion and it's fantastic. Learning a lot. 

Mail starting 3/2/01. 

Remember when we debated What is .NET? 

Hilary Rosen: "If there is a vacuum in the marketplace, it will be filled by pirates." 

Steve Jobs: "We're going to let them grab it out of our hands." 

David Wheeler: "Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of indirection." 

Guy Kawasaki: "Suddenly I've been portrayed as Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein all rolled into one!"  

Queue: "A long braid of hair worn hanging down the back of the neck; a pigtail." 

Evan Williams: "I guess we'll probably be blogging from hovercraft and wearing shiny suits." 

UserLand's inner-Microsoft? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Radio has Blogging tool (its name changed to "Weblog" late in the process, which makes me sad, but it was the right decision). So I'll continue to call it the Blogging tool for a bit longer. Maybe I'll never stop!

Anyway. Radio can save your blog to your local hard drive, in the www folder, and this works because Radio is also a Web server, and if you have a high-speed line and a fast computer and like to live close to the edge, this can be fun. There's no simpler way to run a Blog.

You can also upstream your blog to a UserLand server, which gives you a long-but-free URL. You can also FTP your blog to any server you want. And as a bonus, you can mirror your blog on the home page of a Manila site. And it's not an either-or thing, except for the first rendering to the local system, they are all optional.

Now, focus on the last option, blogging from Radio to a Manila site. This is actually our own inner-Microsoft speaking. Every platform vendor feels as if the world revolves around them, and of course it's not true, although it can seem that way. Let me be the first to puncture our little balloon. Our marketing people (me) decided to call this feature "Mirroring to Manila". Now our lead designer (also me) wants you to know that this connection is done with XML-RPC. So, that means if you write a server that mimics what Manila does you can plug your server into Radio.

In fact, I think this is what Mike Krus is doing, his Handsome Radio Blog is running in PHP. Even if he's not doing it this way, I thank him for giving me the idea.

Postscript: Mike is not using XML-RPC, he's using FTP to connect Radio to PHP. That works too!

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 01, 2001. Thursday, March 01, 2001

DaveNet: Chinese Housewives

An open source "hierarchical notebook" which is of course another name for an outliner

Visualizing Radio: "Imagine a river, with lots of tributaries." 

Don Marti: "Watch the HP executive who does the most to kill the open-source release of OpenMail." 

Next week is the Python conference in Long Beach. I wonder if it's worth a day trip. I'd love to meet Guido. I see Fredrik and Paul Everitt will be there too. Hmm. 

ActiveState: PerlEx 2.0. "Easily build and deploy Web Services that utilize SOAP." 

Microsoft: Web Services with ASP.Net

BTW, thanks for using the Suggest-A-Link feature in the SoapWare directory. I've added six suggested links since it went up. And it's also generating content for Scripting News (see above). Win-win. 

EuropeMedia: Content syndication heats up in Europe

Boston Globe: "Having given the world the most gorgeous desktop computer ever, Apple Computer Inc. now has matched the feat by producing a ravishing new laptop - fast, powerful, and sheathed in sexy titanium." 

Chris Gulker: "Peer-to-peer is about the folks out at The Edge learning to get by without the centre." 

I'm looking for the UDDI spec, but sorry I don't read specs in PDF or in Word doc format. I like HTML. I'd also like a one or two sentence explanation of what it is. Google to the rescue. It has a text version of the PDF doc in its cache. 

From the I Hate It When This Happens Department. We seem to have lost the Red Herring RSS feed. It now redirects to an error page. The person we worked with there is probably long-gone. Oy. 

From the It's Even Worse Than It Appears Department, Lawrence Lee reports: "Now the entire site is burping this up: HTTP/1.1 Application Restarting." Maybe they'll come back and share their love with us once again. 

A friendly future? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We struggle for our point of view to prevail, for no good cause, because it can't. I had an insight into that today. I'm afraid, like many others of the unknown nature of death. Then I realized that's bullshit. I'm more afraid of tomorrow. I have no idea what will happen then, any more than I have an idea of what happens after death. Why do I think I know what will happen tomorrow? By extrapolation, by looking to the past, and using it to predict tomorrow. But here's the bug. I'm using my perception of the past to lull me into believing I understand the future, right up to the point of my death, after which I have no idea what happens. But! There is no such thing as the past. Now you say, oh what bullshit that is. "Of course there's a past," you say. But can you touch it? Can you in any way experience it? How do you know it exists? And if you think it does, tell a story about an event that happened in the past to someone else who was there. Why does their account of what happened differ from yours? If it could be appreciated, at a scientific level, then wouldn't you tell the same story? (And of course I'm not really afraid of tomorrow, that's just an excuse for not paying attention to now.)

Early morning stuff Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Good morning sports fans!

Happy March. Where is the year going?

First there was B2B, then B2C, then P2P, then P2P2P2P..

Today I'm working on M2B.

Hint: The B in M2B is Blog.

Another clue is just a click away.

Question: Can Word send email? If so how does it format the output? Do you get plain text? That would be a godsend. We could do some serious stuff with that. (Postscript, Word *does* send email. Wow. Have to investigate. Apparently it only sends it in RTF. Oooops.)

Random thought. If platform is Chinese household, to have happy house, respect must go both ways. Husband must buy flowers for wives, and wives must not try to change husband.

Another random thought. To people who say Blogs are nothing new, right on. What's really going on? Web writing software is maturing, getting easier and more accessible. It's the natural progression of technology. Refinement and ease of use. Once, a long time ago, we were confused about what the Web did. As we got less confused, we could narrow the functionality, make easier to use software, and bring new waves of people on board. The software industry merged with the Internet community in the mid-90s. That's all that happened. (I guess that was a lot though.)


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