Weblog Archive >  2001 >  April Previous/Next

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

Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 30, 2001. Monday, April 30, 2001

DaveNet: Strategy Tax

Fortune: "But now that the Internet boom has flamed out and now that the economy has stalled, it may be that a tidy sandbox is not enough; it may be time, in fact, for Jobs to start sculpting a new sandcastle." 

NY Times: "It's a terrible thing to say that if I lose 80 percent of my customers it's a good thing," he said, "but they weren't customers really, they were visitors." 

SJ Merc: "Exodus must now fight perceptions that it will collapse all together." 

Press release: Microsoft Acquires a CMS. "NCompass Resolution 4.0 is a Web content management system that enables businesses to quickly and cost-effectively deploy highly dynamic and personalized e-business Web sites." 

Upside: Microsoft spends $36M on Web software company

Lawrence Lessig: Let the Stories Go

Survey: Based on what you know right now, if you were the Benevolent Dictator of the Universe, which would you choose as the standard for RPC across the Internet? 

Ken Dow's online introduction to Manila course starts next Monday. 

This is the kind of rivalry among BigCo's that I support. 

Register: "Leave it to Microsoft to sell submissiveness as a virtue." 

Wired: "When the recently sealed New York Times Capsule opens in the year 3000, curious new millennium dwellers may wonder what living in the late 20th century sounded like." 

Susan Kitchens, who has been writing about her 100-year-old grandfather's hip replacement surgery, has something to say this morning that was unexpected. Only click if you're ready for a surprise. 

Gary Krakow: Mac OS X Supports Flames! 

Lance Knobel: "I've become an unwitting observer of a Darwinian struggle that I suspect is being repeated in many places." 

Marek: "If your company is a steamship then go for the iceberg." 

Don't forget tomorrow is Tuesday. Take a programmer to lunch. Take two programmers for twice the fun. Act now, you never know, you might not get another chance. 

Apple on board Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I note, with pleasure, that SOAP and XML-RPC are on the agenda at Apple's WWDC starting May 21 in San Jose.

I hope the Mac developer community embraces these protocols, they're very good for the Mac, imho, because they allow lots of choice, no one knows what OS is at the other end of the pipe.

This is how the Windows monopoly can ease, by making it safe and easy to not use Windows.

Can't touch that Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Some people still think deployed formats and protocols can change. This is a major disconnect. People on mail lists think that "everyone" is here, and that they all can change their implementations just because some people think they know how to do it better.

However, in the real world, once code is deployed to customers, if you change the formats, you break the users. So there comes a point beyond which you cannot change the format, if you care about the users. If you're in business, you have to care about the users. Almost every mistake we make is when we decide our point of view is more important.

This happened last summer when some RDF people tried to take over RSS. I was left saying but but what about the users? Well the revolution didn't happen, predictably, and imho the revolutionaries did more to break RSS than Netscape did when they turned off their servers last week. We're still picking up the pieces from both breakage events.

9/2/00: "In the overworked world of Web development, there's no time to study, there's only time to do."

SOAP 1.1 deployment Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A breakage-related discussion is going on on the soapbuilders list. Some people think we should change the way we use the SOAPAction header. (Or do they? The messages are confusing.) Others think we should change schemas. Oy the breakage that would fall out from that. No way.

Meanwhile, as the arguments develop, Microsoft is deploying, which means very soon we must lock down our SOAP stack and say "This Is It," this is what we will support for perpetuity, so UserLand customers, please start deploying, and of course that will be good, even when new people come along and say we're doing it wrong, which according to Murphy's Law, which applies to protocol specs, they surely will. In my humble opinion, the time for that is passing quickly. We published a spec to explain our practice, and we think it's a solid basis for our software interoperating with others.

BTW, we're trying to avoid the situation where SOAP interop means "Works With Microsoft," which as I've said before would be a failure for SOAP.

RDF query Permanent link to this item in the archive.

What is it about the culture of RDF that says "All your spec belong to us." I saw a presentation at the W3C Web Services Workshop where a nice man from Colorado explained how SOAP could be RDF-ized. While he was speaking I was wondering why they don't create their own revolution, then we can support them. Instead they try to impose their point of view on us, they must wonder why everyone runs away when they show up.

Dinner with Docs Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had a lovely dinner last night with Doc Searls at Siam Garden in Menlo Park. I've been going there for ages, and Lee, the host, always greets me as "Doctor Winer" and I call her "Doctor Lee." (BTW, they have the best Thai food on the peninsula.)

I always introduce my guest to Lee, she has a fantastic memory, so I said, and this is my friend.. (Gulp. His name is Doc!) ..Doctor Searls. I had to explain that he's not really a doctor, and then Lee said she isn't either, and I admitted the same was true for me. We all had a good laugh and went on with our dinner.

Dotcom lunacy? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This morning I got a reminder to vote in the Webby Awards, not like any sites I care about ever get nominated. I'm tempted to say that this is a remnant of the dotcom lunacy. OK this one time I'm going to succumb to temptation.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, April 29, 2001. Sunday, April 29, 2001

WriteTheWeb: "Online marketing has never been this smart." 

Doc Searls has a tribute today to Bernie DeKoven. 

Watch Craig Burton work

They're discussing RSS on Slashdot. This post comes closest to my pov. Working together means not breaking all the developers who implemented 0.91 channels, regardless of how right you think you are.  

Zeldman: "You cannot reason with shrieking men." 

Cringely: "Ask Not for Whom the Internet Bubble Bursts, It Bursts for Thee." 

A new XML-RPC for Java called Marquée. 

Bruce Campbell dresses Bill Joy as a super-hero. I don't know if it works.  

Jakob Nielsen: "How can I apply the term 'nerdy' to a product named 'Eggy'?" 

Strategy Tax Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hey some people who write books have an idea which book I'm reading, and am almost finished with. Before you gloat too much, it became a great book around chapter 4. When it comes out I'm going to recommend everyone who wants to understand how the Web became a disaster read it so we can make sure it never happens again.

First, there were people at Microsoft, notably Ben Slivka and Brad Silverberg, who would probably have endorsed my proposal that the browser be in a separate company, and not tied to Windows.

According to the book, most of the mid-level managers, who actually met separately, would have endorsed it too. The "Strategy Tax" is a big issue inside Microsoft, and nowhere was the penalty felt as deeply as in MSIE. There's no doubt that lock-in is the Big Thing for both Gates and Ballmer and the product people are restricted from doing anything that could undermine Windows, even in subtle ways.

What else? Ballmer didn't understand how the Web worked until 1998. Get that. He's making big decisions for the Web, and didn't even bother to find out what it is. How humiliating is that? It's probably true of Gates as well. One thing's for sure, neither of them loved the Web, yet we're supposed to trust them with the Web browser. This is a source of much friction.

As I suspected they could have avoided the antitrust trial, easily. Gates is not much-loved in his own company (that was a surprise). What else did I learn? Well, I know this is just one point of view. But the story resonates with my experience. It's so funny that they want to get a developer thing going again, when they spent the last eight years undermining the developers. They're in for a rude surprise when we don't all flock to their latest lock-in strategy.

Bottom-line, the software industry, like every other industry, must have competition. Microsoft is a dead-zone for lots of former competitive categories. When a category gets sucked into Microsoft it ends up in Bill's mind, and dies. They can argue all they want (they do) but it's empirically evident. You'd have to be blind not to see it. They still want to own everything.

It's the most centralized system imaginable. All ideas die in Microsoft. Well enough of that. If the Microsoft people hate the strategy tax, what about the rest of us? Why should we pay that tax? I don't get it.

Now more than ever we have to work together. No lock in. Lots of good little companies. Goodbye to the death star. Become a bank, venture capitalist, consulting company, whatever. Sell your operating system. They wonder why the developers don't flock to Windows anymore. They poisoned the well. Geez. It's so obvious.

To the rest of us, they're only 45,000 people. If we ever started listening to and helping each other they wouldn't have a chance at domination. Interestingly the answer is right in our faces. It's called the Internet. They use it at Microsoft. They have to work with each other, a little. If we could do the same, outside of Microsoft, we could skip a few more years of fighting with them over our future.

PS: StrategyTax.Com is taken.

PPS: Don't think jumping into Sun's bathtub is any better. They have strategy taxes too. Two of em. Java and SPARC.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, April 28, 2001. Saturday, April 28, 2001

Eric S. Raymond: Why Python? 

Dan Anderson, the original "don't lock me in the trunk" guy, is back with a tribute and a tutorial on .NET programming. 

Maureen Dowd: "So now we have a whole new alliance with Central and South American countries simply because W. feels more comfortable at what USA Today dubbed 'amigo diplomacy.'" 

Here's a conundrum. In the last week I've reviewed two books, written the foreword for one, and in both cases the books are on Amazon, but I'm supposed to keep them secret. I've played along, but it doesn't seem right that the books already have a public existence, so aren't a secret, but I have to pretend that they are. One of the books won't be published until Aug 13, according to Amazon. 

eCompany: "Steve Ballmer suddenly rotates his burly right shoulder, driving a meaty fist deep into the green Naugahyde couch at a point about 12 inches from his visitor's kneecap. 'We just keep slugging away!' booms the Microsoft chief executive. He fires another punch. 'And slugging away!' Another punch. 'And slugging away!' Another punch. 'It's paid off for us!'" 

Hugh Pyle starts a thread on Jxta on the Decentralization list.  

More breakage due to the demise of My.Netscape. 

John VanDyk: "There are a couple of good times to visit Iowa. Late April can be a wonderful time. The insects are just waking up from their wintertime slumber, the trees are leafing out, and the sultry days of summer are only dimly visible." 

Michael Roberts: Zope for the Perl/CGI programmer

I'd like to see something like the Hero Machine for new web technologies. Create a customized super-hero out of any of the following: XML, HTTP, UDDI, WSDL, RDF, SOAP, Jabber, Jxta, XML-RPC, RSS. What logo would your super-hero wear? What kind of a shield? Maybe your super-hero would look like a Buddha, with a big belly and a relaxed grin? Maybe your super-hero would be a beefed-up Jim Allchin or Bill Joy? What kind of weapon would each of those carry?  

I have another question, on the eve of WWW10. What does all this have to do with the Web? That's a serious question. To me, the Web is about brain-dead simplicty at the expense of functionality. User interfaces of the 1980s were far richer, even in a limited environment like Hypercard, than the Web. The Web trades off all that richness for developer simplicity. The platform-specific RPC mechanisms were also much more complex. The Web cleans it all up.  

Apple: Introduction to Apple Events. Macintosh. 

Microsoft: Distributed Component Object Model. Windows. 

OMG: CORBA. Unix. 

Just for fun: Hyakugojyuuichi. Flash. 

Sjoerd Visscher: "Why didn't these simple solutions become popular before the web?" The first Inside Macintosh was simple and low-tech. Easy to program for. But as systems evolve they get more complex. Then a new generation comes along, forgets everything we once knew, and all of a sudden things are simple again. It's the breathwork of technology. 

Look at the stuff that gets left behind. Did you bet on one of these? You have to be careful where you make your investments, or learn the hard way, that sometimes things don't turn out as many think they will. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 27, 2001. Friday, April 27, 2001

Good morning British journalists! 

Economist: A kinder, gentler gorilla? This was the piece I was interviewed for earlier this week.  

Tuesday: "But will Microsoft really be open with SOAP? The journalist I was talking with is a smart guy so I let him in on a subtle but poignant bit I had been saving for just such an occasion." 

This is not a gorilla, it's a chimp, who knows how to defend himself. 

The Hero Machine is very cool. 

Northern California native wildflowers

OK, speaking of the kinder gentler gorilla, I'm still reading the history book I mentioned yesterday. It gotten more interesting. Problem for Microsoft is, they got caught. They own the browser. The Web is this fantastic medium. Still. The last five years or so are kind of a blur. The book is more a timeline than anything. A way to review what happened. Channels, ActiveX, Active Desktop. It brings it back in focus. Here we are stuck with this gorilla, owning this thing they don't understand, and it's incredibly precious and important. All they want to do is sell Windows. Why couldn't they leave the Web alone, and sell Windows. Or if they had to get involved, why couldn't they make software that's good for the Web. I know I know I can hear them say "Well our software is better than Netscape's right?" Yeah but your software isn't better than the Netscape competitors that never had a chance.  

Speaking of Netscape, they're scum too. I want to see what the new My.Netscape looks like (see below) but I can't because I use MSIE 6.0. Have I ever told you about my idea for the Corporate Death Penalty? First, let me be clear that I'm against capital punishment for people, strongly so, but curiously I would have no problem with the death penalty for corporations that behave recklessly with resources that don't belong to them. For example, I would have put Exxon to death for the Valdez disaster to set an example for other would be rapers of the environment. And I would put AOL to death for holding the Web hostage to whatever stupid games they're playing. I told this idea to Scoble, in jest, talking about Microsoft, and he said "Dave then you'd have two Microsofts." I said "Scoble you don't get it, after the death penalty, there would be zero Microsofts, not two." 

Craig Burton tutorial: Radio Remote Access. "Once configured, you can manage, post and publish, and edit your Radio web log from a remote location in a browser." 

Brent McLaughlin: A closer look at SOAP

Susan Kitchens: "How exactly do you communicate with someone remotely when you need to tell a person that someone has died?" 

Register: "Google overnight yanked the Deja backup tape out from under the Foosball table, where it had been propping up that wobbly leg, and now much of Deja's historic Usenet archive is online again." 

John Beatty has an XML-RPC implementation for Jxta. Not sure what this means, but now perhaps we have the way to ask the question. I'm glad people are working on bridging all the new worlds that are being created. 

From the If-It-Weren't-So-Sad-It-Would-Be-Funny Department, yesterday when Netscape (apparently) deprecated RSS and broke all the links to their RSS stuff, they also broke people whose XML parsers require a DTD. The old URL for the RSS 0.91 DTD is totally 404 not found. John Munsch has a report from the field. I put a copy of the DTD into a folder here on scripting.com, and it will stay there, Murphy-willing, for perpetuity. 

Macromedia's roadmap for the future of Spectra. 

The bowl of cheese is gone on Bump

Salon: "The DMCA is being constitutionally undermined by the RIAA's own decision to try to gag a high-profile professor." 

Bijan Parsia: RDF Applications with Prolog

Michael Swaine has written an ode to Bill Joy, sung to the tune of Madonna's Vogue. "We have words that start with Js." 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, April 26, 2001. Thursday, April 26, 2001

eWeek: Foundation to promote Jabber. After skimming the Jxta docs yesterday I wondered why they didn't build on Jabber. It's open source (so is Jxta), it's been ported, Jeremie is a smart guy, and generous, so why reinvent what they've already done. Maybe I'm missing something, but I like the idea of working with Jabber.  

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

Is Red Hat using XML-RPC to do software updates? 

A Red Hat whitepaper (PDF) from Dec 2000 indicates that they are using XML-RPC for their updates service. 

David Singer, who I met last year at the WWW9 meeting in Amsterdam, is now in Hong Kong for WWW10. I hope he and others will let us know what's happening. Last year I was looking for the heart of the Web. I met TBL and Rohit, and went to Dam Square with Sanjiva and Andre (and Andrea) and the guys from Allaire. I had dinner with Edd Dumbill, and met with Martijn from ZopeLand, and Ken MacLeod, and saw some weird things. I wish I was in Hong Kong, I'm sure there will be some very interesting discussions about Web Services and such.  

The Standard: "Investment bankers have been parading a string of eligible acquisition targets before Microsoft – among them EarthLink, Interwoven, Macromedia, SilverStream and WebMethods. 'You name it, they've been shown it,' says one Microsoft insider." 

News.Com: "Sun Microsystems' Project Jxta is an interesting attempt to create a set of totally platform- and language-independent protocols for peer-to-peer networking, amounting almost to an operating system for the Web." 

News.Com: "Martin Garbus, a lawyer for the Margaret Mitchell Trust, said he asked eBay to remove the books. 'My fear is that the whole book is going to end up published on the Internet,' he said." Good idea! 

Yes Paul, there is sex at Davos. 

Chinese philosophers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Some Chinese philosopher said if you live long enough you will see the bodies of all your enemies floating down the river. I'm sure that's not an exact quote. But I thought of it when I read this Evhead note about the looming demise of iSyndicate.

Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards offers a clue: "The Chinese have a saying that if you sit by the river long enough, the dead body of your enemy will come floating down the river."

Speaking of dead bodies floating down rivers, apparently My.Netscape has lost its RSS capabilities. Andrew Wooldridge, who works at Netscape, is grateful that My.UserLand is still here, but it's seen better days too. Last night Jake and I were talking about fixing the problems, now it looks like we might have to push that closer to the top of the to-do list.

Computer industry books Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm reading a draft of yet-another history of Microsoft. I can't say who wrote this one or what the thesis is. But I can say this is a tired overworked genre. Is it the reporters who write the stuff that make these stories so boring and dry? Or is it that the subject matter isn't that interesting. Even a Stephen King novel has more twists and surprises. The subtext is more interesting. Nathan Myrhvold made gazillions of dollars because he tells good stories and wears a chef's outfit. Now that's interesting. Somewhat. (But they don't say it.) Another possibility is that there are so few women at the top of our industry, so there's little opportunity for sex (assuming the men are heterosexual). Regardless, these are sexless books. No sex? Hmm. Not very interesting.

My two favorite computer books are and probably always will be: Microserfs and The Next Big Thing.

Smart babes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got a little pushback on my reference yesterday to Kim Polese as a smart babe. I thought a lot about that. I think Kim deserves credit for making Java the juggernaut that it is, her off-the-scale intelligence coupled with her babeness made it work. I couldn't find a better way to express that as concisely.

I also liked the term because it rings of smart bomb.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001. Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Good morning Jxta fans! We're going to get the story here one way or the other. Bill Joy's latest creation. Will the developers flock to write code at Uncle Bill's altar? Will he breathe new life into P2P? Did they get another smart babe to push their technology? Inquiring geeks want to know! 

Wes Felter: So what is Jxta? 

Register: No Joy for P2P Vets

Slashdot thread on Jxta. 

Josh Lucas is working on Jxta at CollabNet. 

O'Reilly has several Jxta articles. 

Sun press release for Jxta. 

News.Com: "Sun wants Jxta, unveiled in February by inventor Bill Joy, to power a new generation of services on the Internet. Jxta would provide a foundation for running programs across a host of 'peers' -- potentially every sort of computing device from desktops to tiny cell phones to mammoth servers." 

NY Times: "Bill Joy is catching the tail end of a euphoria that never came into existence."  

Beta News: AOL Considering Dropping MSIE. "AOL holds the most power in the browser war, as its 30 million users comprise the world's largest online service. Changing the software's browser would dramatically shift market share, giving Netscape new life. Internet Explorer currently controls approximately 88 percent of the browser market." 

John Robb reads tea-leaves in the Greenspun-ArsDigita dispute. "Philip came back from his travels full of ideas and refreshed, but quickly got an earful from the other founders/key employees on how the company was being destroyed. He confronted the VCs. The VCs found him impossible to deal with and didn't want to return to open source software." 

FAQ page for Salon Premium. 

CBS Marketwatch: "For the first time in its 17-year history, computer maker Sun Microsystems will shut down operations worldwide for a week, company sources confirmed Wednesday, as part of a cost-cutting move." 

Is the Mac outliner market coming back to life? "Multiple columns per row — a first for any outliner that we've seen!" Wow. Takes your breath away. MORE didn't do multiple columns, but InfoDepot and In Control did. Imho, if you design it that way, it's more of a spreadsheet than a thinking or writing tool. Users beware, one of the lessons of the last round in outlining is that you don't want your ideas locked up in a proprietary format. That's why MORE had lots of import/export capabilities. Before you commit to Omni, ask them to clearly state that your work won't be locked up. OPML is the perfect solution for interchange between programs that understand textual hierarchies. Keep the market open. It's good to have competition. One more thing, be sure they have a good scripting interface. It's important. 

I got an email last night from Philip Greenspun with a pointer to a chapter of a new book he's working on about SOAP and XML-RPC. I guess they're going to be teaching this stuff at MIT. He asked for some more pointers, and I sent him links to soapware.org, the BDG, xmlStorageSystem, and Manila's scripting interface, with a suggestion that we do some work on getting the Ars Digita community system and Manila interoperating. Of course this assumes that his VCs and/or the Delaware court let him work on behalf of their users.  

Red Herring: What's it like to be a VC now? 

Dan Gillmor: "On Friday, a federal judge blocked the publishing of a novel called The Wind Done Gone -- a retelling of the 1936 saga Gone With the Wind from the perspective of a slave, a half-sister of Scarlett O'Hara. The estate of Margaret Mitchell, the Gone With the Wind author, had sued on the grounds that the book violated copyright protections." 

You can buy a copy of The Wind Done Gone on eBay. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, April 24, 2001. Tuesday, April 24, 2001

DaveNet: Amateurs and Prose

It's a two DaveNet day. Got 15 Minutes? 

Paul Kulchenko: Quick Start with SOAP. Perl. 

Boston Globe: "Venture capital funding can be a quick way out of a job." 

Philip Greenspun: From Start-Up to Bust-Up

I just noticed something gratifying. One of my DaveNets is recommended reading for a college class. Wow. Hey I don't even have a PhD. 

A week from tomorrow is my 46th birthday. Forty-six. Oy. It feels like I'm older than my father. Had lunch with Sands today. It's funny how the voice doesn't change, but he's got bushy eyebrows now, just like me and Chris Locke. I wish we were still young. Oh well, over that. Time to go for a walk. Still looking for the pleasure button.  

Yet another anti-blog article, but this one is noteworthy because it's by Zeldman. It's well-written, of course.  

All is green in Jake's XML-RPC matrix. Four implementations interop with ours now. 

Top ten reasons to get Mac OS X. Humor. 

Soapbox: My name is Marek Jastrzebski

Doc says I'm the Goliath of scripting. I like that! 

Glenn: "An amateur can walk away from their work; a professional has to quit it." 

Dan Gillmor: "I lived in Kansas City for a few years in the 1980s. One of the great pleasures, if a guilty one, was eating fried chicken at a place called Stroud's, which doesn't appear to have a Website. They do have incredible chicken, and some friends and I are going tonight. I salivate just thinking of it."  

Lance Knobel: "It's remarkable that, despite the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion, people who question global warming still get a hearing in respectable circles." 

ZDNet: Sun prepares Jxta assault against Microsoft. This is the totally predictable ZDNet formula. A war theme. Pro-this, against-this. The real world is so much richer and more complex. I'm sure Stutz, who's a thoughtful and intelligent man, said other things about P2P and Dot-Net, but they quoted him as hurt and pissy. Rob Enderle, who I don't know, must have more intelligent things to say as well. Was InfraSearch really a hot startup? We never even saw their product. Edit out all the puffery and what is this article really saying? What's new here? 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 23, 2001. Monday, April 23, 2001

Good morning Chinese noodles fans! 

Check this out. We started matrix testing for XML-RPC. Jake's matrix is all green. Just one app so far, but it's a big one. Microsoft .NET. Ta-da. 

Douglas Rushkoff: "Experience this lightning-fast, user-friendly world for yourself." 

Jon Udell: "Most of us, I guess, don't try to eat the whole XML layer cake, and would get sick if we tried." 

John Taylor Gatto: "I teach how to fit into a world I don't want to live in." 

A gorgeous rose closeup from Strata Rose Chalup. 

Please don't forget. Tomorrow is Tuesday and that means it's time to take a programmer to lunch. I'm having lunch tomorrow with a college classmate of mine, Sandy Wilbourn. We were both Tulane math majors in the class of 1976, and get this, he also went to UW-Madison, and got a degree in math while I was studying computer science. He's now a VP at Rational, right down the street. For some reason Sandy and I always end up in the same place. Since we're both programmers we'll probably go Dutch

Scoble: "O'Reilly Associates -- a competitor of ours at Fawcette -- has an evangelist, Simone Paddock, that is kicking ass in the industry." 

This page was the #1 referer on XML-RPC.Com today. Eugene Pervago, whose first language is Russian, translates the section on XML-RPC. 

50 SOAP 1.1 implementations.  

Jay Rosen: Public Journalism

Synopsis of a Stephen King novel. Introduce characters. Something strange lurks. Introduce aliens. Aliens meet protagonist and capture his best friend (or child). A road chase from Maine to somewhere west. Conclusion. Lots of death. Earth is saved. 

If you're serious about Manila, check out Ken Dow's courses. His first on-line course starts on May 7. Go for it. Manila is a skill, and Ken is a great guy, knows Manila cold, and is a fantastic teacher.  

Amateurs and prose Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dan Gillmor is really tuning into the amateur writing thing. This morning he linked to an excellent Bill Moyer speech on journalism and democracy. But Dan, I don't buy the gifted part. It's a little condescending. Children are gifted, adults have respect for each other. (Of course kids deserve respect too. That's another thing you learn on the Internet.)

Here's some pushback on Glenn's most recent analysis. Once you get paid for doing something, you're not an amateur. The term has become dirtied by the assumption that somehow amateur is lower quality than professional. If you stop and think about the constraints that pros operate under (read the Moyers piece) it's clear that the opposite is true. "Before Mutual of America I had lost at least three corporate underwriters, who were happy as long as we didn't make anyone else unhappy. Losing your underwriting will keep the yellow light of caution flickering in a journalist's unconscious."

One more thing, a reader points out that I've been doing first-hand personal accounts longer than Bricklin or Williams. It's true, but never, until the Times piece, to balance press coverage, and generally as a solo act. Imagine if Bill Gates had written an essay to go along with one I wrote about SOAP. That would have been interesting. Two sides of the same story from different points of view, without intermediaries.

For some reason I'm still figuring out, that I wrote first-hand accounts meant I almost never got press coverage for the new stuff I was doing. Talking with a reporter last week I asked why. He said reporters don't like to do stories that have already been written. (I thought the opposite was true.) At some point that I'm not aware of they accepted me as One Of Them, so if it appeared on Scripting News or in DaveNet, the story had already been done, and they didn't want to do it. Huh? Oh my. Wrong!

There is indeed a difference between what I do and what the BigPubs do. I'm an amateur. I make software. I write because I love to write, and because I want to make sure that my side gets out there without interference. That's why, once the editorial weenies swooped in at Wired and started inverting my ideas, I was out of there like a puff of smoke in a Roadrunner cartoon.

But I loved writing at Wired. The respect was intoxicating. One company took my words of praise and pasted them all over their tradeshow booth. "Dave Winer, HotWired" it said in 80K point. It felt great. But I also encountered the corporate sponsorship thing. At a party, editor-publisher Louis Rosetto introduced me to one of Wired's biggest advertisers, an American vice-president of a Japanese company, Fujitsu, Toshiba, or something like that. I listened to his pitch for a minute, and interrupted with a question. "Don't you make a clone?" I asked. He gulped. Then I thought I saw a light go on. He looked at Louis, and Louis at me, with disapproval. They walked away. I felt owned.

To Dan, who is concerned about the business models for the BigPubs, they could ace us any day they want to change. Get rid of the nudges and winks, and really set us free. Perform an editorial function, add resources and distribution, even branding, but let the voices come through clearly. I'd say we're 25 percent of the way through a route-around. Embrace the change asap, find the integrity in business and work with it. The Internet makes it possible, even necessary, to compete with integrity. That's the sea change.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, April 22, 2001. Sunday, April 22, 2001

Good morning Chinese food fans! 

First some news.. 

James Gleick, in the NY Times, is inescapably connected. 

Doc is picking his nose with chopsticks. Doc stop doing that! "That's not the right metaphor," he explains. 

Guido van Rossum: "I've spent waaaaaaaaay too much time talking and listening to lawyers in the past year!" 

Dan Gillmor: "The gifted amateurs do more than create art in our world. They are also the true believers in politics and other fields. They do things because they care. We need them, and the Net gives them a megaphone the likes of which they haven't had before." 

NY Times editorial: "Consider the fate of the Bettmann archive, which began as a collection of images recorded on film smuggled out of Nazi Germany by Otto Bettmann and grew into a collection of 17 million historic photographs, now in the possession of Bill Gates. When Mr. Gates bought the archive, the plan was to digitize all its images. But the time it will take to digitize those pictures has proved to be longer than many of the pictures themselves will last, unless they are properly stored. As a result, the archive is destined for archival refrigeration 220 feet below ground in a limestone mine not far from Pittsburgh." 

I'm signing up for TV Turnoff Week, which isn't that big a deal since I haven't watched TV since Jan 1. 

I didn't know that Yahoo did server co-lo. 

Sjoerd Visscher has a new version of his OPML browser web app. "It should just work." 

Simon Fell's interop matrix is mostly green

I love that the Guardian has a weblog, but why don't they link to other weblogs in their left margin? 

Snookering Permanent link to this item in the archive.

For me, today's another writing day. I got snookered into a quick project that should be a lot of fun. I'm writing the foreword to a book that I believe in. It's my second in the last year. I wrote the foreword to Joel Spolsky's book on software design that must be coming out any day now. I look forward (not foreword) to that, because we'll be citing Joel's book in the future. The same for the book I'm writing the foreword for now, which is a secret project that I can't talk about.

12:12PM, I've finished the first draft of the foreword. 1599 words. A productive writing session. 12:46PM, after an edit, 1654 words. Second edit, 1445 words. Starting to converge.

There seem to be a lot of secret projects floating around right now. They're usually surprising things. If they come to fruition you'll slap yourself on the forehead and say "I can't believe those people are working together!" It's a thing to behold, eventually enough time passes, old animosities become less important, or the people change, or new people are in charge, history is forgotten, and there are reasons to make philosophies and software compatible, and that's what happens, again, given enough time.

Healing. What a concept.

Secrets. I hate them and I love them. I hate writing long-lead-time pieces, because I've never trained my mind to do them. As I'm writing a piece I wonder what will people say about this or that. I try to imagine a reader. Now when I'm writing real-time, as I am now, I know that as soon as I press Control-S, someone is going to read it. And if they have something to say they'll tell me. This is publishing at 800 mph. But if you've got a long lead time, as book authors do, it's much slower. Hey I'm a feedback junkie. I admit it. Can I break the habit? Yes. Do I want to? Hmmm.

Speaking of junkies, Doc Searls is a self-acknowledged outliner junkie. He says he has a black belt in MORE. This makes me happy because (I know this sounds sappy but it's true) I write software for guys like Doc. What a lot of loops close here. I'm learning about Knowledge Management, which is a hot concept in BigCo consulting. I'm learning that Manila plus outlining is pretty close to the core of KM. I dream of an outliners convention. I want to get a bunch of them in a room and talk about the future. That's what's cool about outliner people. They have a clue about the future.

BTW, Doc says that Stewart Brand is an outliner guy. I didn't know that.

People think I don't like BigCo's, hey sometimes I even think I don't -- but that's where the money is. They pay for software. Same old story. That was the upshot of the copy protection rebellion in the mid-80s. The software companies that survived were the ones who made products for people who pay. It sounds obvious, but sometimes the most obvious truths are the most elusive.

Anyway now I have to go write my foreword. Please stop me from procrastinating!

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, April 21, 2001. Saturday, April 21, 2001

DaveNet: Quoting Dead Presidents

I'm talking SOAP and Mac with Paul Snively on Wes's DG. 

Paul also corrects an attribution in today's DaveNet. "Johnson was quoting the Bible." 

Craig Burton tutorial: Taming the Radio Outliner

Rafe Needleman: "I had an interesting conversation with Dave Winer, author of the influential technology column DaveNet." 

One reason we need BigPubs, they keep our archives. For example, LBJ was Time Person of the Year in 1964. "Always mindful of the presidency's great power, Johnson put into effect a new relationship with the other 'co- equal' branches of Government, this achieving the truest partnership with Congress -- in the checks-and-balances sense envisaged by the Constitution -- in well over a century." 

Fortune's Peter H Lewis: "I installed OS X on three different Macs and experienced crashes and hung systems on all of them within 30 minutes. After that things ran smoothly for the most part." They also speak for newbies. 

HailStorm anew Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday Cameron Barrett had interesting comments about Microsoft's HailStorm on his weblog. Doc Searls has expressed an interest in this for a column he's writing for Linux Journal. For whatever reason, I seem to have a lot of links that relate to their interest.

Jack Russo, my longtime attorney and friend, gave a talk at Stanford on April 11 about Microsoft's user agreement for Passport, which is at the core of HailStorm, according to Microsoft. Jack's talk is available in Windows Media Player format.

Another longtime friend, Fred Davis, is the CEO of Lumeria, who has been working for several years on a non-Microsoft solution to the problem that HailStorm proposes to solve. Lumeria's software is, according to Fred, who I spoke with yesterday, cloneable, there's no lock-in.

Early in April, we released a SOAP 1.1 and XML-RPC specification for a server that we hope becomes a commoditity, called xmlStorageSystem. It's the inverse of HailStorm and Lumeria, it's for public information stored in XML in a cloud, with synchronization and publish-and-subscribe notification. It's a formalization of the back-end for Radio UserLand, which we have already deployed. Glue is available for Frontier and Radio users.

Evan Williams: "We are geeks — and the rest of the world is not. The truth is, there are millions (more like tens of millions) of people who wouldn't think twice about trusting Microsoft with their data (not that they'll probably even realize that's what they're doing)."

Sheila Simmons: "Many 'non-geek' people are Internet users, but still don't shop online. I think someone with more understanding of the technology that's being used to take their data is more likely to trust it and therefore use it."

Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 20, 2001. Friday, April 20, 2001

Zeldman: "I am wearing the pants of a much larger man." 

Branscum: "I'm scanning Craig's List for a more lucrative job." 

Cayce Ullman, of ActZero, is making a splash in SOAP interop. I had dinner with Cayce (pronounced Cay-See) and Scott Olechowski, at Jing Jing on Wed night. They have 200 servers at Exodus behind a big pipe and they want to do cool stuff with SOAP. They got first-round money last year from Intel and angels, but after the dotcom bust are switching models. They're smart and ambitious. They want to make a big bet on SOAP. We're going to help them.  

Simon Fell, who we've also been working with on SOAP interop, got interested in RSS and wants a new feature. Instead of going back to the Syndication list, a venue with much history, I started a new list with a simple charter. The focus is on meeting the needs of authors, tool-makers and content engineers while retaining compatibility with the widely deployed base of content. I opened a new document for notes on RSS 0.93. 

LBJ: "Let us reason together."  

Morning pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

John Dvorak: "I suppose now is as good a time as any to air my complaints about Microsoft's decision to make its next iteration of the operating system into nagware."

Lance Knobel: "The best things are resolutely amateur, but done with what we now call professionalism."

SF Gate: "To his credit, the soft-spoken Hertzfeld has never pitched Eazel as a get-rich-quick scheme."

Thomas Jefferson: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

William Randolph Hearst: "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

Ehud Lamm: "Real integrity (the kind you don't often find) also means weighing the facts, and [being] willing to change your mind."

Bob Dylan: "Well, I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants you to be just like them."

Firesign Theatre: "I think we're all bozos on this bus."

Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss: "Our company values are trust, integrity and teamwork."

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, April 19, 2001. Thursday, April 19, 2001

DaveNet: A challenging time for the pros

Craig Burton tutorial: Managing Your Radio Weblog

Reuters: Be mulls merger, sale. "While there is no specific timeframe, our goal is to conclude a transaction as expeditiously as possible,'' Chief Executive Jean-Louis Gassee said in a statement.  

Bob Dylan: "Maggie comes fleet-foot face full of black soot." 

Brent: "Welcome to space." 

As you might imagine, I've been getting emails and calls from all kinds of journalists working for big pubs and TV and radio programs, wanting to talk about Microsoft. I tell them that I like working with Microsoft, have had a relationship with them for 20 years, they're now a BigCo, and behave like one, we've had ups and downs, that unlike other BigCo's they tend not to hold grudges, and the Times didn't tell the real story. They go away. Conclusion, if there are any reporters trying to do balanced stories on Microsoft, they aren't calling me. 

Actually I filed this bug report in April 1997. "The press only knows three stories, Apple is dead, Microsoft is evil, and Java is the future." 

Joshua Allen verifies that Radio works on Windows XP. 

xmlhack: SOAP::Lite adds XML-RPC support. Perl. 

Doc is becoming a Radio user. This is so cool I can't tell you. 

What is K10K.Net

Another word that's lost a lot of meaning is amateur. I use the word to distinguish between those who practice an art professionally (it's how they make their living) and people who do it without compensation. Olympic atheletes used to be amateurs. College basketball players are amateurs (although this is a much-discussed topic). 

Tucker Goodrich: "Originally an amateur was someone who did something for love, rather than for money. The root is the Latin amare, 'to love'. How 'amateur' ever became a term of disparagement I can only guess: is must have been the professionals propagandizing against the amateurs, to improve the professional's fees." 

A bigger picture. A friend's mother is dying of cancer. In her last days. Then his father dies. Mom is still at death's door. Reminder. Enjoy life now. 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2001. Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Good morning Pulitzer Prize winners! 

UserLand now has a COO, John Robb. Having John on board means a major increase in bandwidth for UserLand. We finished the deal over the weekend, we're just getting started on lots of new stuff. 

Today's Craig Burton tutorial is on channels in Radio. It's by far the best docs on our software. I hope everyone runs his latest tutorial, it's a Java window, he presses all the buttons and narrates. Craig talks very slowly and explains everything. His tutorials are eye-openers.  

Jonas Maurus on Mozilla: "The software sucks, the code doesn't." 

WSJ: Surprise rate cut electrifies market. "Stocks rallied Wednesday after the Federal Reserve surprised investors with another half-percentage-point cut in interest rates." 

Dan Bricklin: "It was a misquote." Cool. 

Let's not limit the dreams of people who use our tools. That would be like saying no one could win a prize for writing they did with a word processor. When it happens, the tool is the last thing people talk about. It may not even be mentioned when the first web-writer wins a Pulitzer, because, by then, it will be so commonplace. "He won the Pulitzer without a website," will be more newsworthy.  

BTW, some people still write with typewriters, believe it or not. 

I also said this to Dan: "Philippe used to say you couldn't do commercial software with Turbo Pascal. I thought that was a huge mistake. When I went to Symantec, I immediately wanted to challenge him. It's a long story, but because of company politics we never got the chance. (Symantec bought THINK C.) It's the old integrity thing again." 

MacTech on THINK C 5.0. 

Borland's antique software page for Turbo Pascal. 

What the heck is Tom Fuerstner up to? 

Dan Gillmor: Be looks for another chance

Derek Willis: The New Journalism. "The barriers to entry still exist largely because of the requirements of doing journalism, not just publishing it." 

Marc Andreessen: "We not only closed the window," said the co-founder of former Net highflier Netscape Communications, "we blew up the bridge behind us. I think we might have nuked the whole continent." 

Rocky Mountain News on Jabber.Com. 

Integrity Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More pushback from the last sentence in yesterday's piece. Three people have asked if my view about writing is in conflict with my view of software. It may be, but that doesn't mean I don't believe the last sentence.

Probably the highest-integrity software is the stuff you create for yourself, to express something that's inside of you that demands expressing. Doing anything just to make money makes it all weird. We certainly have seen a fair amount of that in the last few years in the dotcom distortion. I don't think open source, as some people have said, equates to individual web writing. I put copyrights on everything I write, all rights reserved. You can't legally take my writing and put your name on it. This is about as far from open source as you can get, although there are enough different open source licenses to make almost any statement about open source null and void.

Anyway, on more reflection, my software work may not have as much integrity as my writing work. A lot of the software work I do is to make Frontier, Manila and Radio useful for other people, and to please them. I still work for myself though, so perhaps there's more integrity in what I do than there is for software people who work for others. Remember, integrity does not equal goodness.

However, a lot of the work I do in DaveNet is for the same cause. If I just wanted to express my own ideas so that I would benefit, I could write more quickly and be more direct. Maybe I should try that. Regardless, I wrote the last sentence of that piece carefully. Give it some thought, I think you'll see it's true.

BigPub's Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Like people who develop software for BigCo's, people who write for BigPub's don't like to think about themselves that way. I know, and I'm sorry, but there is a difference in attitude that comes from having a big brand behind you, and a different result comes out the other end. I must have a way of writing about this. If you don't like the label, find out why, perhaps consider switching jobs.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, April 17, 2001. Tuesday, April 17, 2001

DaveNet: The Web is a Writing Environment

I'll be in Copenhagen on May 23, no doubt Amsterdam shortly thereafter.  

Wow, I know I did good when I get a link from both Evan and Lawrence. Thanks guys! It means a lot to me. 

But you wouldn't believe the pushback I'm getting from the last sentence of today's piece from people who write for print pubs. I stand by it. It's called O-P-I-N-I-O-N. Your mileage may vary. It's possible. Maybe. 

BTW, before you flame me, look at the definition of integrity. I like the third branch. "The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness."  

Integrity is not goodness, although some people think it is. It's got a deeper quality to it.  

John Perry Barlow, a lyricist himself, says, about the famous last sentence: "This one goes in my quote file. Obvious, but very tight code nonetheless." Thanks! 

Glenn writes poetry: "Deep in the heart of venture capital winter, Dave sees millions of fires connected one to the other, blazing through the night. Will our flames warm the information planet, or ignite wildfires engulfing the world?" 

Reuters: "These are people who are writing for their friends," Bricklin said. "No one's going to win any Pulitzer prizes."  

Speak for yourself Dan, I plan to win a Pulitzer. 

Joel Spolsky: "When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all." 

2/18/95: Billions of Websites. "Every writer can participate in the Web. Someday, very soon, I believe, every writer will."  

OK, it depends what you mean by "very soon."  

Today's song: Dangling Conversation

What's new in Python 2.1? 

I spoke with Cayce Ullman at ActZero who released a Python SOAP 1.1 implementation last night. 

Look at all the SOAP validations. BTW, our validator has been updated as the interop work proceeds. It's a quick way to find out if your app is in the ballpark, before embarking on the more time-consuming matrix tests.  

SlashDot: How long can the free services stay free? 

Register: Yahoo gets new boss

Jeff Barr sends a pointer to a thread on Fark.Com where people dream up signs at the Canadian border. I haven't had this good a laugh in quite a while. Lots of funny stuff. 

Steve Bush is designing a new processor called The Wiz. 

Tuesday? Lunch with a programmer! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It's Tuesday and that means only one thing. Take a programmer to lunch. Give your friend the programmer a hug, a meal, some fresh air, and listen. Ask how it's going. What do you think of this or that. How could it all work better. Listen. There's a mind in there. Don't be afraid. Programmers can be friendly if you just give them a chance.

I had lunch with Rafe Needleman of Red Herring, outdoors at the Parkside Grille in Portola Valley. I didn't get a hug, but he did pay. Nice meeting. We talked about dotcoms, writing, the old days (he was reviews editor at InfoWorld in the late 80s) and other stuff. Today the weather was so gorgeous. T-shirt weather. Funky music walking weather. Yeah. Still a hint of perfume in the air.

BTW, all programmers want to tell you How It Works. In excruciating detail. As if you cared. Try to be patient.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 16, 2001. Monday, April 16, 2001

The State of XML-RPC, from my pov, as of April 2001.  

Jake posted a set of sample scripts that bring the interop matrix tests we're using in SOAP to XML-RPC. He also posted a message on the mail list inviting developers to work with him on these new tests. It may be confusing at first, but it's worth it, imho. Please ask questions. We want to build a set of matrices like the ones we have for SOAP that show results of pair-wise interop testing. Bugs show up this way, it leads to interesting discussions, new questions about what interop means, and ultimately better software. 

Craig Burton has a fantastic Java-based tutorial for creating directories with Radio and Manila. 

MacWorld: "If everyone's so committed to OS X, exactly where are all the products?" 

Globe and Mail: Firms underestimate power of blogging.  

One year ago today we were wondering if it was just a correction.  

Matt Goyer is looking for a job. 

Chris Langreiter did an XML-RPC interface for an online image database.  

Michael Montague is doing a version of Emacs that can edit Manila sites through XML-RPC.  

David Detlefsen is working on connecting Python to Manila through XML-RPC.  

The XML-RPC Man gets his own page. Arf arf! 

Evan Williams explains his deal with Trellix. 

Devxpert: Introduction to WSDL. For VB programmers. 

A weird idea Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here's a weird idea. Let's be nice to someone today. Ask them how they're doing. What's up with you? Listen. Tell someone you like them. Did I ever tell you how much I enjoy talking with you? Go for a walk. Look up, what do you see? Greet a stranger. Hello there. Pet a pup. Hello nice doggie. Want to fetch something for me? Good job. You're a smart dog, yes yes. Make this day about someone other than you. That's my plan.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, April 15, 2001. Sunday, April 15, 2001

Good morning all you Easter bunnies! 

Today's Song: You turn me on, I'm a radio

Beautiful California wild flowers today on 2020 Hindsight

Lars Pind: "The MetroCard Vending Machines in New York's subways are a classical case of programmer-directed hierarchical menu hell, forcing the user to make choices without knowing the consequences, and throwing the user off altogether at the smallest problem." 

Aldrin Leal: "XML-RPC is cool, but it would be really a killer tech if someone promotes some kind of database interface over it." Yes. 

Dan Gillmor reports on a deal betw Blogger and Trellix.  

Metafilter thread on the deal. 

Wes says "It ain't bragging if it's true." 

Tkoutline is an outline editor written in Tcl/Tk  

Sally Khudari: "I have joined KnowNow to head up communications and will be moving to Silicon Valley shortly after my treatment is complete." Mazel tov! 

Glenn Fleishman: "Jousting with Dave Winer is fun and exhausting. The man has an infinite number of interesting ideas, and can play the range of interest like piano four hands." Thanks! 

Craig Burton: "SOAP technology is not necessarily better than XML-RPC technology. The approach Microsoft takes to new layers of technology is to control them through manipulation and deception. I am not saying this is a 'bad' thing that should end. It isn't going to end. I am saying this is a behavior you can count on and use to an advantage." Zig-zag. 

The second screen shot in a series, showing how content management is coming together in Radio. 

Editorial note Permanent link to this item in the archive.

To new people coming here from various articles that have been written about us in the last few weeks, here's a brief explanation of how it works.

My name is Dave Winer. I write here in real-time. I make mistakes and correct them, when I see them, but sometimes they stay. All the back issues are archived, accessible through the calendar in the right column on this page. Every night at 10PM the contents of Scripting News goes out via email to several thousand people who subscribe. And several dozen people receive Scripting News via RSS syndication, and I expect that will grow over time.

Scripting News is where my ideas get a chance to be refined before (when I have the time) I write a more formal essay about them, in DaveNet. Sometimes things are moving so fast that I just write real-time in DaveNet, but that's pretty exceptional.

DaveNet is our oldest editorial product. It started in 1994, and was the beginning of something that's become much bigger than just one guy keeping a log of the ideas he wants to give away for free.

Let a thousand flowers bloom Permanent link to this item in the archive.

At the Web Services Workshop on Thursday in San Jose, at lunch I sat an incredible table. Bob Sutor and David Fallside of IBM. Andrew Layman of Microsoft. Sanjiva, the IBM guy who wrote the SOAP for Java that's now part of Apache.

One of those magic moments. So many smart people. A basic disagreement. How many SOAP stacks will there be? I want (picking a number out of the air) one hundred. Most were not agreeing with me. I looked at Andrew but said to the group, how well is it going now that there's one browser?

Every great creative market has a cacophony of diversity. I've been lucky to be part of several booming markets, the Apple II, IBM PC, Macintosh, and the early Web. The thing they all had in common was a constant stream of surprising products. Customers lining up to buy stuff. Pacts between gorillas never lead to this kind of creativity.

So, not knowing what the killer app of SOAP will be, or even if there will be one, I trust cacophony. I don't trust gorillas.

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, April 14, 2001. Saturday, April 14, 2001

Sjoerd Visscher's OPML Loader web app loads OPML docs and allows you to browse them in outline style, with expand-collapse, in the browser. Screen shot. Nice. 

Glenn Fleishman: The Pen is a Sword. Glenn suggests that the Times' involvement may have shifted the outcome of the interop work. So, what if it did? Perhaps having reporters at a baseball game shifts the outcome. Does that mean they can report a different score?  

Did you ever think you could be this happy again?  

I've been thinking about next steps in SOAP 1.1 interop. We seem to be getting through the wire level, so the next thing is to have a set of criteria for application-level interop. I understand that there are lots of potential uses for SOAP, but our interest is in the Web as a writing environment. I also understand that the world revolves around Microsoft until we prove otherwise. So here's the benchmark I propose. First, deliver a multi-vendor SOAP-based writing-publishing system that uses no Microsoft software. Then switch out the non-Microsoft components with Microsoft pieces, where they exist, one at a time, and have it still work. 

Scoble is examining issues of integrity. "If I cheat on my wife, and don't tell her, and she never asks, isn't that just as bad as lying to her about it if she asks?" 

Bill Appleton: "Over 15 years ago MacWorld sent a photographer all the way out to Tennessee to get a photo of me for some reason. The photographer was nice and we took some pictures, and then he wanted me to pose next to a 30 foot cow in front of a local milk company. He said it was just for fun and they would never use it. Of course, they did. The caption was: 'Bill Appleton: A step ahead of the herd.' The lesson here is: if you don't want your picture in front of a large cow, don't stand there." 

Bill is the author of SuperCard

When you use a piece of software that isn't being updated, every time a new version of the OS comes out you wonder "Is this the one that won't run my favorite program?"  

MORE, which was last released ten years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, has become something of a Methuselah. Takes a lickin, keeps on tickin. (Thanks to Lee Hinde for the screen shot.) 

Paolo Marcucci has a Visual Basic script that converts a Word document to OPML. He says "Next step is importing a OPML file in Word, rebuilding the document format, and using Simon's function to pack it into a SOAP message." 

After the article in the NY Times has sunk in, I no longer read the editorial page of the Times with any idea that there's a philosophy behind it, or any integrity. After the dust has settled, after talking with one of the other people who was interviewed by the Times for Monday's article, I know that in this case, the thesis, the "news" was entirely a Times invention. Glenn Fleishman, who I respect, makes excuses for them. I don't accept the excuses. The article was about my views. It wasn't an accurate reflection of my views, and there's no excuse for that. 

On April 4, I wrote a public piece where I said: "Last week at this time I was uncertain of SOAP interop, now I'm optimistic. It's been a fantastic week of negotiation and cooperation, with ups and downs for sure, lots of misunderstandings, but we seem to have gotten through it and arrived at the ending I was hoping for -- software running in widely different environments, some open source, some commercial, some from Microsoft, and all of it working together."  

That piece ran five days before the Times piece and totally contradicts their thesis. Clearly they were reading my pieces (the Times piece was a stitched-together set of quotes from my essays). They should have changed the theme of the piece, or they should have dropped the story. The path they took had no integrity. It is so frustrating that the mission we're on has so much integrity, and that the Times, which is supposed to be a source of integrity, took a serious chance at screwing it up. For what purpose?  

I sent an email to Markoff. "I want to bring integrity back to software, and your integrity is part of this. How can I get Microsoft to play fair when you give them all the ammo they need to say the system isn't fair. They're right about that. I gave it some more thought and dammit, I agree with Charles, you are carrying an axe, and I have no faith that you would report on the good news when we really deliver it, which it looks like we're doing. If Microsoft pulled a stunt like the one you did, I'd be all over them. I decided that I can have no integrity if I don't call you on this." 

The cynical view is that they spelled my name right and the ink is good for my company. Well, I'm not a cynic. Sue me. I hate cynics. A publication with a lot less rep than the Times ran an excellent piece about my philosophy in this area. Check it out. This truly reflects what I think is going on.  

Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 13, 2001. Friday, April 13, 2001

Good morning Killer Apps fans! 

Simon Fell hit paydirt. He has Microsoft Word uploading to Manila via SOAP 1.1. Bonk! 

Rob Fahrni, who works on Visio at Microsoft says: "Once Visio 2002 ships you should add it to your Killer Apps for XML-RPC. Visio will now save files as .XML natively if you choose to do so, we call them VDX's." I asked Rob to send me an example of a VDX file and he did. It is XML, and it looks like we'll probably be able to do some interesting stuff with this, perhaps generating these files from our outliner? 

Jake's SOAP interop matrix is lookin pretty green!  

Ken Dow is teaching Manila courses in Toronto in June. In May, for the first time, the introductory course will be offered on-line. 

James Hong: From Hot Concept to Hot Site in Eight Days

CamWorld: "A few years later I learned that the old man had died a year after that incident and that his house was being demolished to make room for a new strip mall." 

Sometimes, to make things simple, you have to go all the way back to the beginning. 

At yesterday's W3C workshop, during the discussion, one of the W3C guys took notes using the Amaya editor. After compiling a flat list of topics people wanted to discuss, he tried to reorganize things into categories, and all of a sudden everything got slow as he copied and pasted text to do the reorgs. To an old outliner user like me, it was painful to watch, and even more painful to think of how many people are doing face-to-face meetings this way.  

Thanks to Evan and the Financial Times for the link to Speedle. Interesting idea. Their mission statement: "Speedle develops word-of-mouth technologies that enable people and businesses share, manage, and discover information." 

Paul Andrews: "Once you give people the notion they can have something for free, it is very hard to all of a sudden start charging." 

Brent: "You have no idea how much pure joy I get from turning computers off." 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, April 12, 2001. Thursday, April 12, 2001

Released: Beta versions of Frontier and Radio for Windows and Mac that interop via SOAP 1.1 with lots of other software.  

Lots of ideas in the Killer App for XML-RPC thread. 

Killer app #1: Add XML-RPC to AbiWord, an open source cross-platform word processor. 

Killer app #2: The Group PIM. Right on. That's why we did xmlStorageSystem, to be the backbone for all kinds of groupware apps. 

Sam DeVore wants to get Word files to flow through Manila. This is a killer app for sure. First we have to figure out how to parse an HTML file produced by Word to strip out all but the text. 

Brent Sleeper: Why UDDI Will Succeed, Quietly

Edd Dumbill: "Being so large, Microsoft practically has its own industry within itself, and it's run up hard against the problems of non-interoperability of SOAP implementations among the three SOAP stacks that its developed internally. Add to that the varying degrees of completeness of implementation in SOAP stacks external to the company, and there's an obvious problem to solve before SOAP can be proclaimed lingua franca of the web services world." 

NY Times: "The whole thing about same-day delivery is that they run ultraefficient operations on paper-thin margins," he said. "Even if you could corner the entire market, you could never get enough to be able to get a return on an investment of $280 million."  

Back from the W3C meeting. I shook TBL's hand again, put in a good word for the Web as a writing environment, asked for cooperation betw search engines and content management, and for simplicity in Web Service interfaces. Had a long pleasant talk with Andrew Layman of Microsoft, thanked him for helping Jake, and talked with David Fallside the working group chair for XML Protocol. Noah Mendelsohn of Lotus went to Bronx Science two years before I did. He had a career at IBM, then quit to join Lotus, then IBM bought Lotus. Anne Thomas Manes of Sun said she had the Markoff article pinned up in her cube. I told her that didn't surprise me. Had a good time, great politics, great schmooze, now back to work! 

WSJ: Tech industry aims to kill MP3. Bad bad bad! 

Evan is back and teasing again, and using my lyrics, which is fine since he gives me credit.  

Jason Levine: "..it hit me fully that this had ceased to be a visit for mom, and turned into an emergent visit for her son -- he needed to get to an emergency room, quickly." 

Morning stufff Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Glenn Fleishman picks up the ball (thanks) in the ongoing argument with reporters talking about weblogs who think the world revolves around Blogger and Evan's friends. As I said on Tuesday, weblogs have changed the technology world far beyond what reporters are comfortable writing about.

In an email to Glenn last night I explained how what we're doing will percolate up to offer choice and freedom from lock-in, not just to people who develop server software, who are mostly invisible to the average reporter, but as word processing offered choice to writers in the 1980s, to writers. (Reporters are writers.) This is an oft-told tale on this site, but now the reality is coming closer and perhaps we can tap into their dreams of freedom now that they're interested (theoretically) in what's going on in weblogs. This is where the "irascible gadfly" thing really stings. They're not taking us seriously, and this makes our work harder.

Markoff: "The shift in the market has created an unfamiliar paralysis among Silicon Valley's venture capitalists, many of whom have a dazed look as they watch previous bad investments crumble and try to figure out what the next hot investment will be. As a result, the area's venture-capital-to-entrepreneur ecosystem has abruptly stalled, at least temporarily."

MattyG is back on top of the daily rankings, a position he has consistently enjoyed since we started keeping track, and DaveNet has fallen back to #6 (it's usually in the teens) but check it out, Radio is a strong #2. I guess something is happening. I like it I like it.

Steve Gillmor via Sean Gallagher: "Just because it's true doesn't mean you have to say it." That's a bug.

Anyway, it's going to be a short day. I'm off to San Jose to participate in the W3C Web Services Workshop.

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2001. Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Looking for the Visicalc or MacWrite-MacPaint of XML-RPC? 

In progress: Uses for our XML technology

Sean Gallagher: "There's something almost comically futile about trying to market XML software." 

Mike Donnelan did the XML-RPC man graphic. We have an informal system -- I can run any graphic from Mike's site and link back to him. That's how a graphics-impaired fellow like me gets such excellent graphics. I was so inspired by Mike's graphic that I came up with a song for The Man. It goes like this. "Arf arf! Ahhh choo. I am The XML-RPC Man. And I have a call for you!" He's a super-hero, for sure, but he barks like a dog with a cold. A modern super-hero, warts and all. 

Jake's SOAP Journal: "Apparently 6.96799993515015 == 6.968, through some sort of logic I know nothing about." 

NY Times: "A new campaign celebrates the demise of Clippy, Microsoft's obnoxious on-screen paper clip." Coool! 

I was emailing with Charles Fitzgerald at Microsoft today. I've known Charles for quite a few years, I think of him as Microsoft's PR gunslinger, and he does that job well. One of Charles' frustrations is that he has never been able to get a reporter to run this quote. "You can't spell LARRY ELLISON without L, I, A, and R." Anyway, Charles sent me the pointer to the Times article linked above, and I told him it was a great idea and would be hugely popular. It's not as if everyone doesn't already know that Office is bloated and the paper-clip is not user-friendly, but user-humiliating. Then he pointed out that Gates uses self-deprecating humor effectively in his speeches, and I agreed, referencing the video with Ballmer and Gates in the car nodding and humming to the nerdy tune. Then I thought, wow, when we get interop in SOAP and want to market it to the press, after they've read the Markoff article (which they all did, apparently) we can do a video with Gates and Ballmer trying to stuff me into the trunk of the car, and me refusing to go. (I'm bigger than Gates, not sure about Ballmer.) 

I think Charles also came up with the memorable NOISE acronym, which stood for Netscape, Oracle, IBM, Sun and Everyone else. 

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know you guys aren't an easy sell, remembering as I do (and often cite) that Tim O'Reilly beat me in a popularity contest here last summer. I consider that a badge of honor. I like to be appreciated, for sure, I'm just human, but I like it even better that so many people keep coming back even when they don't agree with everything I say or do. That means you have minds and make your own decisions. Those are the kinds of people I like to work with. 

Peter Merholz: "Hypertext creators tend to have Extremely Noble intents for their technology." Correct. But don't dismiss TBL or Doug Engelbart so quickly. Both see beyond the limits of current technology. Engelbart gave us a complete roadmap of the development of PC technology way before any of it happened. The Web does augment human intelligence. It can do more. We are building apps that do more for people, as TBL encourages us to do. Dreaming about the future is a good thing, it give us ideas for things we can do today. 

A business model for Yahoo? 

Ooooh what's that smell? 

Dr Dobbs interviews Microsoft's Andrew Layman.  

Jon Udell: "For Web developers, supporting the Netscape browser has become a thankless chore." 

Eazel published a whitepaper describing Reef. PDF. 

MSNBC: "China said Wednesday it would free the detained crew of a US spy plane after receiving a letter from President Bush saying he was 'very sorry' that an American spy plane was forced to land in Chinese territory after a crash that apparently killed one of China’s fighter pilots." 

DaveNet was #1 again yesterday, but by not such a wide margin. I like the way it feels to be #1. Look at Radio and XML-RPC climbing the chart. Nice. Gotta get Frontier and Manila up there too.  

I bought the issue of Wired with the profile in it, got as far as the table of contents where they call me a "dead software guy" and didn't go any further. Honestly, I'm afraid to read what they think. The "irascible gadfly" thing is still reverberating within me. Dead software guy? Hey I'm still diggin, thank you very much. It's a good technique to get honorable people to shut up, say they're irritating you, in the NY Times, for god's sake, and then say they're dead. Wow. I'll tell you what -- this irascible dead software guy doesn't want to irritate anyone. If people would stop behaving like greedy idiots, I'd be sweetness and light every fucking day. (I'm starting to sound like Dennis Miller or John Dvorak. Go figure.) 

Hold on, Marc Canter, my friend, says that the "dead software guy" thing is a quote of me talking about me. Oy. Marc adds "Us multimedia guys were really disappointed with HTML."  

Survey: How am I doing? 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2001. Tuesday, April 10, 2001

DaveNet: The amazing story of SOAP and Microsoft

Markoff, re the last paragraph of today's piece: "I'm waiting breathlessly to write that story over at BigPub." You da man. 

Pedro Dorio: O maior dos críticos

How the directory on XML-RPC.Com works. 

What is rendezvoo.net

Brent's time-savers. "Here are a bunch of small tips, mostly keyboard shortcuts, for working in Frontier and Radio." 

Deborah Branscum: "Why is business so eager to turn the Web and PCs into TVs? We have TVs, dammit! When is it going to sink in that the Internet is different?" 

Paul Andrews: "It's all about interoperability, folks, not kill or be killed." 

Glenn Fleishman: "He chose Dave as the centerpoint around which to swing the dead cat and see what it hits." 

Dan Quayle: "People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history." 

Happy 23rd birthday to Wes! 

Hah. DaveNet was the #1 site yesterday

XML-RPC boxcarring in Frontier/Radio. 

32 implementations on XML-RPC.Com. 


Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 09, 2001. Monday, April 09, 2001

As you might imagine I did a lot of communicating with Microsoft people today. Before closing for the night, I want to say that well before the piece ran I told Markoff that I thought it would all work out and that we would get fair interop in SOAP 1.1. It was his choice to present the quotes in the order he did, and to omit that. As soon as I saw the piece I wrote an essay to clarify. In all the emails and talks with Microsoft people, I said that I feel that the best way get the press to write the story we want is to go the next step and make sure this really is a free market. It's worth the effort. 

Jeff Veen on IE6 and standards. 

A new test results matrix on Jake's SOAP Journal. 

I'm implementing Eric Kidd's spec for groups of XML-RPC messages transmitted in "boxcars." Interesting work, I think it will speed up some of the apps we run behind the firewall at UserLand. Here's a screen shot of the server code. 

I'll be at the W3C Web Services Workshop on Wed+Thu. 

O'Reilly has an interesting spin on the Markoff piece. 

Glenn: "Dave Winer has become ubiquitous." 

Shilad Sen has a new Python XML-RPC client/server that he says is up to 100 times faster than PythonWare's. I added it to the list of implementations, which is now up to 28. 

XML-RPC for Guile is #29. 

Brent: "Seven-year-old American boys are prepared for sudden violence against the British anytime, anywhere. Sorry, Brits, don't even think about taking back your colonies." 

Mail starting 4/9/01

It took a while for this to sink in. I was surprised that the Markoff piece essentially was a weblog piece. I wonder if the Times realizes that? So many of the weblog pieces are trivializing "Lonelyhearts Club" stories. Here's an example of a weblog making a difference. Clearly XML-RPC was created on the Web. And it wasn't until the work came out in the open on SOAP that the problems could start to be addressed. XML-RPC never had the problems, imho, because it only had a short private gestation. If there were fatal flaws, they would have been discovered quickly, flamed over, and probably corrected. Sometimes it works. 

I'm getting too much mail from self-proclaimed "Microsoft Haters." I am not a Microsoft hater. And Mitch, who to this day (according to Markoff) holds a personal grudge against Microsoft says I'm too tenacious? What ever. In the end, if this stuff we're doing works, there will be a new free market for software, without lock-in. If you can get behind that, we could use your help. If you think this is tilting at windmills, join a local Microsoft Haters club, they're all over the place, apparently. 

John Brockman: "Dare to be great!! Cut the crap, eat your Matzoh, and enjoy! It doesn't get any better than this." 

Ed Cone: "Read it already, it ain't so bad. Markoff clearly liked it." (Cone is the author of the Wired profile.)  

Clarification: I got credit for the "stuffed in the trunk" line, but it wasn't mine, I was quoting Dan Anderson. 

The referers page on DaveNet. 

What is this? (Chris Langreiter says it's a summary of the Times piece.) 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, April 08, 2001. Sunday, April 08, 2001

DaveNet: Internet Critic Takes on Microsoft

Sprezzatura: "Cheer up! The worst is yet to come!" 

I created a directory for XML-RPC and edited the home page

Wire dumps: "This table shows an example request and response for each of the xmlStorageSystem calls, in both XML-RPC and SOAP 1.1." 

ZDNet: "The fierce battle between Microsoft's powerful Office team and its fledgling NetDocs challenger is over, with the company's top brass christening Office the winner." 

Jake: "I own my data." 

Eugene Pervago writes a motivation for xmlStorageSystem

Newsweek: "'I just hope you have enough runway,' said Kapor. Bezos unleashed his famous laugh. But Kapor hadn’t been joking." 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, April 07, 2001. Saturday, April 07, 2001

NY Times: "Con Edison engineers say they have been taken aback by the fact that the 46 server farms have asked for a minimum draw of 500 megawatts of electricity — roughly the amount of power required by 500,000 homes." 

Salon: "Like Firefly, Media Unbound is offering a personalized recommendation system that will suggest bands you might enjoy, based on ones that you already like. Unlike Firefly, Media Unbound does what it promises to do: introduce new, obscure bands you'll actually like." 

Want to know what floats my boat? Simon Fell is using Manila's SOAP interface to record the results of his soapbuilders interop testing. Now we're getting to the interesting stuff.  

Google now has a translator. (Beta.) 

Here's an RFC for a spec I'd like to participate in writing. 

David McCusker: "This post doesn't qualify as hacking the planet, and it's meta material at best." 

Programmers: "A programmer is a rigorous scientist determined to coax the truth out of the ones and zeros." 

Here's an unqualified hack, but not on a planetary scale. 

Glenn Fleishman started an 802.11b Manila weblog. 

Eric Kidd, open source programmer par excellence, has an XML-RPC Hacks page, with lots of cool hacks, of course.  

Josh Lucas: "Looking at some of the code in the Reef module, I was able to create an HTML widget which loads the home page for this site via XML-RPC." 

DocServer page for a new Frontier/Radio verb that flattens the client interfaces for XML-RPC and SOAP. The server side was already flat, any XML-RPC handler can become a SOAP handler, by linking to the script in the user.soap.rpcHandlers hierarchy. 

I cross-posted a note to the XML-RPC and soapbuilders mail lists, cc'd to the Frontier and Radio developer lists. "I'm wearing my asbestos raincoat, so go for it, let's have fun!" 

The soapbox guy is writing about Napster.  

A pic of Meg at KnowNow. She looks happy! 

A new entry-point for xmlStorageSystem. 

One foot on the platform Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's this great Little Feat song, like all great Little Feat songs, it says something at a dozen different levels.

"My baby calls me up, why don't you ever take me out?" So he takes her out. "The music was hot, but my baby was not." He's got a rocket in his pocket. "She's got one foot on the platform and the other on the train."

So visualize one foot on the platform and one foot on the train, and you can appreciate what it's like to be working on SOAP interop while remaining true to the XML-RPC community.

Neither community really wants to recognize the other. XML-RPC says "Who needs SOAP? It's complicated and messy and likely to be dominated by Microsoft." On the other hand, SOAP, for some reason, doesn't want to embrace XML-RPC. Why? I've never had this adequately explained to me.

So which is the platform and which is the train?

Only time will tell..

Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 06, 2001. Friday, April 06, 2001

Interesting story in the WSJ about MSN and NetDocs. "Microsoft said the NetDocs team would be shifted inside the larger Office organization, effectively ending those separate efforts." I was paying attention to NetDocs because it seemed to be in similar space to the combination of Radio and Manila.  

Two emails in three minutes from Red Herring, offering a discount on a conference. But the discount went down by $305 in the three minutes. Heh. 

Looks like O'Reilly is doing free weblog hosting? 

Paul Andrews called to say that the new issue of Wired is out with the profile in it of me.  

Well I guess the Wired profile must be OK, I just got an email from Paul Baker, a roommate from Madison, 20 years ago. It's funny I imagined he would be the same as he was then (clearly not from the pic), and that he got a PhD is pretty amazing, if you knew him then. It's so nice to hear from him though, I can't tell you.  

More good news, Sally Khudari, who's the closest thing to the soul of the Web, has had a successful treatment of her cancer, it's in remission, and she started a Manila site to talk about it. Nice!! 

All the servers are back on the air now, thanks to Brent's round-the-clock work over the last few days. We had crossed a bunch of scaling walls, and did not respond in time. So we paid the price this week. Sorry for the downtime, we learned a bunch so hopefully it won't happen much more. But if we get more press, uhh well, we'll see what happens.  

Epinions released open source XML-RPC implementations for C/expat and PHP. Thanks! 

Deborah Branscum quotes a PR flack quoting Marc Andreessen: "The malleable UI and the cascading business logic turn isolated corporate data silos and Web data into relational databases that are easily managed by the business professional who needs the information." Nice! 

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." 

An edited version of Don Box's history of SOAP appeared on XML.Com a couple of days ago. 

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

And welcome to xmlStorageSystem, the storage backbone for Internet 3.0. It's a refinement of the back-end services for Radio UserLand, but open and documented, so that it can be implemented in other environments. Please do.

Jacob Levy asks questions about xmlStorageSystem, and I answer. Should we add more features or leave it alone? I'm inclined to add more features.

Frontier and Radio users, glue was released late last night. Update Frontier.root or Radio.root, and jump to xmlStorageSystem. There's also a new verb, xml.rpc, that hides most of the differences between SOAP and XML-RPC.

If you come up with new or innovative applications of this technology, or have an idea of what you may do with it and are excited, whether you use our technology or not, please post a note on the XML-RPC discussion group. Reporters ask for examples of users doing happy stuff with Web Services, and so far the users are confused (or like Radio users writing for a Manila site, don't even know they're using web services). So here's a win-win, if you're doing this stuff for real, let's get the word out.

Will we do a validator for xmlStorageSystem? Good idea. It would be quite straightforward.

A few days ago a note appeared on a mail list about Eazel starting work on something that sounds like what we're doing. Here's an open invitation to work together.

The XML-RPC mail list is a good place to coordinate.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, April 05, 2001. Thursday, April 05, 2001

DaveNet: Call it a shakeout? 

Chris Kwak, an analyst at Bear Stearns asks "Is decentralization over too?" Oy. Sorry for introducing confusion. No of course not. It's the opportunism that's over.  

In case you want a new meme, I have one ready.  

Jake hits paydirt. Interop with MS .NET beta2. 

Wired: The Hot New Medium is Paper. Really? 

Soapbox: "I hope you enjoy my rambling about this." Yes! 

A little evangelism of OPML on the soapbuilders list. 

I added structure to the Communities section of the SoapWare directory. 

Register: Napster downloads rocket. "Napster usage is on the increase again after its post-filter dip, online entertainment market watcher Webnoize has reported." 

Planet RDF: "Adobe is introducing a new metadata architecture to PDF, one based on an RDF-compliant DTD. Metadata can be attached both at the document and object level, and the DTD can be extended, opening up interesting possibilities for defining and embedding metadata other than the basic set supported in Acrobat 5." 

WSJ on Microsoft's acquisition of Great Plains. 

ThoughtLog: "Microsoft: Please crush them already. Thank you." 

Again, I'd like to see a transition off Yahoo Groups. I think it's totally imprudent of us to build these fantastic communities, and rich archives, with no way of knowing that they will be accessible a year from now. They must be, we must make sure of that. I imagine that Yahoo has no knowledge that their service is being used to plan the next layer of the Internet. Operating that service has got to be profitable, we must make sure of that. 

Larry Wall: "Many of you know what happens when the size of your Perl process exceeds the size of your physical memory — you start thrashing." 

Can you believe someone whined at me about the bit last night about the NY subway. Hey, I'm not responsible for the tunnels that connect the subway lines in NY. I live 3000 miles away. They were built before I was born. I don't want to invalidate anyone's feeling of disempowerment, but there's a router error if you think I'm the Dept of Complaints for the NYC subway system. However, when I rode the subway last October I couldn't help noticing how much cleaner everything is. I watched a guy wash down one of the tunnels with a high power water hose. I asked how often he does it. "Every night," he said. Now that's a change for the better! 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, April 04, 2001. Wednesday, April 04, 2001

DaveNet: A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP 1.1

Today is the third birthday of XML-RPC. Excellent interop. Frozen. Lots of happy developers.  

Joshua Allen: "A few years ago, when it became clear that XSD spec would drag on for a couple of years and be very complex, Microsoft (and Andrew Layman) decided to make a simple subset called XDR, that we could use for interoperability while waiting for XSD to be finished, and that would also be completely compatible with XSD when it finally was finished. Still to this day I have customers who tell me that a Microsoft competitor told them that 'Microsoft doesn't support XSD, they made up their own incompatible schema language.' And the standards bigots flamed away about XDR." 

Interesting. I didn't know that. Some standards are rock solid, and for those, I am definitely a standards defender. XML and HTTP are two solid standards. SOAP 1.1 needs the shakeout we've been doing. Look at the archives of the soapbuilders list. Anyway, I don't mind taking the heat, as long as we continue to run the interop tests, then it'll be safe for developers to do the BDG functionality, just forward the nasty emails to me.  

In an interview today I compared SOAP to the NYC subway system, specifically Queens Borough Plaza. The cool thing about QBP is that you can switch from the IRT to the BMT there, cutting a corner off a trip to the Bronx from Flushing. Originally there were three subway systems in NY, but sometime before I came online (ie before I was born) they got their interop act together so you could freely switch from one line to the other, combining features of two or three lines to create your own customized trip. I imagine that they had a mail list for their interop work, like the soapbuilders list, where the BMT guys thought the IRT guys were a bunch of bozos, but they had to work with them anyway; and the IND guys were worried about getting stuffed into the trunk. 

The editor of soapbox, which I admire, posted a newbie intro to Radio as a weblog tool. Gotta love it. 

Garage.Com: "Act I of the Internet may have been mostly cute—Google and Yahoo and sock puppets, disrupting mostly late investors. But if history repeats itself, Act II will be a vicious killer of established brands." 

We're doing customer profiles of people using Frontier, Manila or Radio in a business context. If you have an interesting story, please send us an email at pr@userland.com. Thanks. 

John VanDyk reviews Mac OS X. 

WSJ: Peer-to-peer party comes to a halt. "We clearly rode the p-to-p wave, but the sooner we move the conversation beyond the technology, the better." 

Long before Sun rolls out JXTA, peer-to-peer is a fading memory. There was enough juice to keep the idea alive until the O'Reilly conf, great party, now it's over. 

XML Magazine: Peering into the future

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, April 03, 2001. Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Good morning citizens of the universe

A good day is getting quoted on Paul Andrews, who in turn was the starting point for Glenn Fleishman's daily column. I'm making a fresh pot of coffee, sports fans, it's going to be a long night. I have to review a business plan, get the first release of xmlStorageSystem out, and dream of what an OS would do if it wanted to fully embrace XML-RPC and SOAP. For a guy who likes to complain about not being in the eye of the storm, actually being there is a little disconcerting. 

Doc: "It'll be interesting to see what happens when folks look up your 'brand' on Google after a few weeks of screw-Earthlink blog coverage." 

Something seems to have changed on the soapbuilders list. We're getting suggestions on how to tweak up the BDG so that implementations that do more will be happy to talk to BDG-level implementations. I wish I could think of an analogy for this, maybe I will later. Suffice it to say this is Good News and evidence of Working Together, interop at a human level. It was always my hope that BDG would not specify a Balkan State in SOAP-land, to make that work, we need help from the broader implementations, and that help seems to be coming now. Andrew Layman even posted a message to Jake suggesting a specific fail-case and Jake is right on it. I sent Andrew an email saying "I'm starting to like you again!" He said "I think you will respect me in the morning." Whatever that means, it sounds OK. I like to respect people, morning, noon or night. BTW, now might be a good time to mention that I've known Andrew for 14 years. We worked together at Symantec in the 80s, he lead a product team and so did I. We gave him the outlining religion. It showed up in a later release of his project management software. I think that outlining was a big win for him. And of course I didn't mind because I owned a lot of Symantec stock. Whatever. That's history. Onward! 

Eric Soroos got a free lunch today from his boss and a co-worker. I got a free lunch from Scoble. I like this tradtition. Until further notice Tuesday is Take-A-Programmer-To-Lunch Day. 

A mode-change for me re all discussions in the open. 

A heads-up to the people using free hosting on UserLand servers, we're hitting some kind of scaling wall or getting pounded, or a combination of both. Brent is working on what he calls the Spring 2001 Cleanup. It's going to take a while to get back the performance. We're busting out on all sides, sorry for the downtime/outage. 

A guy named Duncan appears to be building a Python-to-Manila library, using XML-RPC. Gotta love it. 

A note to Microsoft people who read Scripting News. Reading this site allows foreign thoughts to enter your mind. If you read other sites, more foreign thoughts. This is a good philosophy, imho, because it helps make your ideas relevant to other people. It's easy to get sucked into the internal drama of Microsoft and think that's all that matters. That's the trap-door all gorillas eventually fall through. They get so big that no one can exist inside it and outside it. Eventually the world moves on. There's no precedent for it working otherwise, afaik. Also you have my gratitude for considering my point of view.  

Andrew Layman, the top XML guy at Microsoft is clearly planting the seeds for Microsoft's disapproval of what we're doing with the BDG. They have been so resistant to it, so fearful of it, so fear-provoking of it. I don't know what their internal plan says about the future of SOAP, and how many "full" implementations there will be, but I suspect the number is 1, maybe 2 (gotta keep up the appearance of it being open). I want to open the door wide, and make it an inclusive club, so there can be lots of SOAP interop, so if Microsoft plays games with the market, we have choice. 

Further, I truly don't like having my positon mis-stated in such a Microsoft-serving way.  

I like SOAP. They ignore XML-RPC, that would be an easy way to get interop with lots of software, including ours, I guess that's a bug. So we say "OK, let's get interop with SOAP." Then all they do is give me grief. I've not heard from a single Microsoft person a single note of gratitude and acceptance for the hard work we've done to make SOAP understandable. 

I have spoken with some ex-Microsoft people to get their perspective on how Microsoft parses this situation, and they have no doubt that world domination is the goal. Please understand that I am as opposed to that as Andrew is opposed to anything less than "full" implementations, and I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. That was my "contract" with SOAP, that it would open up the networking interfaces from now on. "Impossible to implement" is not open, and neither is "Whatever Andrew says." 

Anyway, assuming the best of Microsoft, they're simply surprised, and perhaps like Apple's reaction to the Web in 1993, they truly don't like what we're doing. Well, imagine how surprised I was to find out that HailStorm is a closed box. Surprise is fun. Accept it, and if you want to, challenge it, but do it in a way that befits the stature of your company. You can handle something a little different from what you planned. If you can't you have no business being in the software business, as Bill Gates always reminds us. So what if there are thirty interoperating SOAP 1.1 stacks. Why assume that Microsoft's engineers can't produce software that has value, even when there's competition? 

If you want "full" implementations I think your best strategy is to work hard to make the BDG-level implementations roaring successes, make the implementors feel like kings and queens, and show them how much you appreciate what they've done to help make SOAP a success. Gush with praise, instead of threatening to condemn. Act like a representative of a truly great company. And please include UserLand in that, we have worked hard on this and deserve success. 

Anyway this is a colossal waste of my time, and I don't appreciate it. Being put on the defensive, constantly, by a company with so many resources, it's just not fair. What did I do that was so terrible? I'm trying to bring more developers, including UserLand, to SOAP. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, April 02, 2001. Monday, April 02, 2001

Tonight's song: Creatures of Love. "It's okay to be afraid when the blue sparks hit your brain. We can love one another, I've been told that it's okay." 

A new section for the BDG. "That there's a need for [A Busy Developer's Guide] surprises some, considering that the S in SOAP stands for Simple. In fact, SOAP is simple, as this document shows, even though coaxing its simplicity from the myriad of related specs and RFCs requires a patience and dedication that most BDs don't have." 

Dan Anderson: "While technologies such as SOAP require major players like IBM and Microsoft to foster their growth, there is a difference between riding in the car and being stuffed in the trunk."  

Craig Burton: "I am still very puzzled about a post by Dave Winer’s Scripting News last Saturday." 

Craig, SOAP is what it is. We have lots of forks in our code base. Mac and Windows. Frontier and Radio. XML-RPC and SOAP. Lots of little irritating differences. Two buttons on a Windows mouse, no Tools (yet!) in Frontier. Named params in SOAP, and by-order params in XML-RPC. That's the price we pay for diversity. It's worth it. 

Reminder, tomorrow is Buy-A-Programmer-Lunch Day. And don't forget to tell them about the BDG.  

Doc: "As I've experienced before with people who know traditional markets intimately, markets are conversations delivers the news impact of skies are blue." 

PHP Builder: XML-RPC as a standard for distributed processing

News.Com: Will the refresh button become obsolete? 

JavaWorld: Clean up your wire protocol with SOAP

At 10AM we started an almost two-hour conference call with the leading lights of the soapbuilders list and some newbies. I yearn to get back to writing apps. I'm not a good standards body type person. But there seems to be a lot of support for BDG. Maybe that's all we need.  

I'm going to take a break and a walk and think think think. In the meantime check out Jake's SOAP Journal. It's authoritative!  

My break lasted until 6:40PM. I'm going to start a fresh pot of coffee and get back to xmlStorageSystem. It's good for the Internet. The docs are writing themselves in my head. It will be good for my friends, the soap-newbies. It will be good for my friends the Frontier developers. 

9/12/99: "There is no single operating system, nor is there a single programming or scripting language that suits every developer or every application." 

7/7/99: "Having witnessed the Internet turned into a battlefield, and assessing that at least half of the blame for that belongs to Microsoft, I am in no mood for another contentious, irrelevant do-or-die battle. This time around either Microsoft grows up and learns to be the statesman of the industry that it could be, or we'll do a Linus, and keep doing the work we love.." 

xmlStorageSystem Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Even though there's confusion, we're still shipping SOAP apps, the things that others call Web Services. You gotta know we were ready for this. For example, we shipped a SOAP interface for MailToTheFuture over the weekend. The work was mostly in docs and a table of glue scripts for Frontier and Radio scripters. All we had to do to implement the SOAP interface was put an address to the table of XML-RPC handlers in user.soap.rpcHandlers. One line of code turned our XML-RPC support into SOAP support.

Now, the next SOAP app is called xmlStorageSystem. It's like HailStorm with one key difference. Instead of being private, the content you store is public. It's publishing. All our interfaces will be publicly documented and clonable. This is not a business model.

And like the MTTF interfaces, the hard work is already done. The code for xmlStorageSystem is the back-end of an already-deployed Radio feature called upstreaming. I'm simplifying the interfaces, writing docs, testing, etc. The delivery will be in the same form as MTTF release -- docs for non-UserLand developers, and a glue table for people who work in our environment.

BTW, what falls out of this, almost for free, is a low-tech SOAP-based pub-sub system, also implemented and documented. There's no time like now to move, before the BigCo moves, let's get some software deployed, let the boostrap proceed to the next step, before the FUD gets too heavy.

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

It's still not frozen. Microsoft has not reviewed the spec, as far as we know, in any official capacity. We want confirmation that the subset the BDG defines will work with Microsoft's SOAP implementations. It spooks me that they will not say one way or the other. I remember the XML support in Word, useless as a basis for interop, but the hopes were there anyway, prior to its release. I'm concerned that we're pouring effort down a bottomless hole, and that's gotta stop sometime, and if it's not going to yield interop with MS products, we should stop now. What a shame it would be to have wasted so much effort only to find out that there was never any hope of interop. It could happen.

On the other hand, after a rocky start the soapbuilders community has been wonderful to work with. We're getting to know each other, and the goals seem to match.

And there's some good news this morning. Fredrik Lundh of PythonWare says he supports the BDG. This is a continuation of a long friendship between the Python community and UserLand. We're very pleased to get their support, and look forward to many more cool things we can do to help each other. This is the true spirit of the Internet, imho.

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

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, April 01, 2001. Sunday, April 01, 2001

Good morning April Fools! 

And welcome to Year Five of Scripting News. 

It was four years ago today.  

Uncle Davey taught the band to play. 

They've been going in and out of style. 

But they're guaranteed to raise a smile! 


Now the news.. 

Forward motion in SOAP-land. 

MailToTheFuture now has a SOAP interface

And we released a table of glue scripts for Frontier and Radio that make it easy to call the MailToTheFuture interface. It's so much like scripting on the Mac, if it weren't for the Net connection, you wouldn't know it's on our machine, not yours. Check it out, it's sweet!  

Hey if you think that's big news, STEVE JOBS just showed up on Wes's DG! 

Glenn Fleishman: "I started blogging in November 2000 and quickly developed blogorrhea, a condition that can be cured only by more of the disease, and the imposition of a kind of external discipline on a writer that depends on the growth of actual readers of one's blog." 

I really think the BDG will be ready for freezing tomorrow at 9AM. I like the way it's lookin. 

There's a great new RFC out today, Sunday. Go figure. 

Jerry Pournelle has pics from InternetWorld. 

Wow, the Scottish Lass is geeking out with XML-RPC, PHP and Radio. Nice. 

April fools. Oh yeah, I know it's lame.  


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