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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001. Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Good morning sports fans!

This is my pre-coffee post for the day. (Coffee is the next thing on my to-do-list.)

Of course I had a fantastic time in Colorado, but it's great to be back home, where the air is thick as soup.

Now I'm going to start announcing what we accomplished at JabberCon earlier this week. But first, the news..

Today's news 

Karl Martino: jEdit and Manila.

Screen shots that show Karl editing a Manila site.

Looks like I'm having lunch with Microsoft's Jim Allchin next Tuesday, 8/28. Also, reading tea leaves, it looks like he's going to be at Linux World. Hey this could turn out to be quite a photo op. Something like Nixon visiting China in 1972?

Today's song: That Lonesome Road.

Motley Fool: "A Southern District of New York Senior Judge threw out a class action lawsuit against Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker yesterday, calling it, among other things, in 'bad taste.'"

Do a view-source on this page to see the US House of Representatives in XML.

Rogers Cadenhead: "You might want to take a look at how often's robot is hitting your servers. Five percent of my hits on came from that robot, and it appears that I'm not getting any benefit at all from that bandwidth."

Doris Lessing: "We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men?"

Craig Burton has a narrative (with pictures) of yesterday's session at JabberCon. It's great stuff, except for one thing I'd like to set straight. I never had any doubt of the value that Jabber could bring to our world.

NY Times: "The shower's water droplets decelerate under the influence of aerodynamic drag, transferring energy to the bathtub's air, which begins to twist like a miniature hurricane turned on its side."

An artricle by Zimran Ahmed has Joe Mahoney riled up.


A new term, coined by Craig and quickly adopted by Doc.

To blognose is to brownnose, on a weblog.

brown-nose, verb: "To curry favor with in an obsequious manner; fawn on."

An example of blognosing can be found below.

Gotta love Google. Blognosing is already in their index.

Tunneling XML-RPC with Jabber 

We had a session yesterday, just a little over an hour, where we designed a new thing, a way of combining the power of Jabber to tunnel across firewalls and NATs with the ability to link programs across the Internet through XML-RPC.

It's almost as if the two protocols, XML-RPC and Jabber, were designed to be integrated. We share similar philosophies, simplicity comes first, and both are totally open, and most important, the people involved in both protocols have a let's-get-it-done-now attitude. Further, Jabber has not (to my surprise) evolved to include the functionality of XML-RPC, and XML-RPC, if it's to be as powerful as instant messaging, has to have someway to traverse NATs and firewalls.

So we came up with something called Jabber-RPC, which carries messages that are formatted according to the XML-RPC spec over a new transport -- Jabber.

DJ Adams says, "It's not that this hasn't been done before - it has, multiple times - but until now we have neither known about each other's work nor used the same techniques. So in order to be able to work together and have our code interoperate, we've come up with a formalisation upon which we all agree."

And that was the cool thing -- agreement was reached in a little over one hour!

What a community.

A new writing surface for blogging 

OK, the second thing we accomplished, which is not related to the Tunneling described above, is the connect between Jabber instant messaging and weblogs. Apparently, totally independent of the developments in Blogger's XML-RPC API, which started on August 8, this month the Jabber community discovered weblogs. Murphy works in strange ways. This lead to a one-off weblogging tool called Jogger, a proof of concept -- leading to the next step, a connection with the tools that are focused on weblogging -- Blogger, Manila, and (we hope soon) LiveJournal and others.

Here's the sequence of events. We have a very large XML-RPC interface for Manila which is the basis for the connection between Radio and Manila. It allows you to edit all parts of a Manila site with Radio's outliner. It's very powerful (and complex for newbies). In early August, Evan Williams at Blogger started putting a public XML-RPC interface on Blogger. It's quite simple (that's good). As soon as I got back from NY we started implementing the client side, so Radio could be used to edit Blogger sites. It worked, and we released the code, and others are using it now. Then late last week I started cloning the Blogger API so that any tools that were created for Blogger could also be used with Manila. I didn't get all the way there, but while I was in Colorado, Jake Savin finished it and deployed it on one of our servers. (We'll announce the location and put up a public demo site later today.)

On Monday night, DizzyD (aka Dave Smith), one of the Jabber developers, lead a team who made it so that Jabber's instant messaging user interface could be used to post items to a Blogger blog using this interface. This is the block diagram Jeremie and I put together that Craig documented on his site. Basically here's how it works. A connection is created in the Jabber server that knows how to post to a specific weblog. It stores the URL of the site, the username and password, and whatever other information is needed. Then when the user enters an item that begins with a magic string, it routes the text to the weblog. People who live in the IM interface, who see it as their primary writing surface, now have a totally comfortable way to post to a weblog.

Now, because we have also implemented the Blogger API for Manila, the same code in the Jabber cloud can be used to post to a news-item-oriented Manila site. Later today Dizzy and Jake, working together, will demonstrate this, and of course you'll hear all about it here on Scripting News.

Now a bit of philosophy. This is called bootstrapping. It's the way new functionality gets into all our products. It's the way the pure engineering mind works. It's how we create magic by working together.

A new slogan 

Doc gave a fantastic presentation. I had never seen one of his slide shows. I really hope we get it on the Web in some meaningful way so you all can see that not only is Doc one of our best writers, he's also one of our best public speakers.

After his presentation we had a public conversation, me and Doc, and as usual I don't know who to attribute this to -- call it a Doc-Dave collaboration. Here's the slogan -- Just Say Yes -- it's a flip on Nancy Reagan's admonition about illegal drugs.

When you get a proposal from another developer to be compatible, your knee-jerk reaction should be this: Yes.

We need this reminder, because so often the knee-jerk reaction is the opposite.

Now here's why I love the Jabber community: They didn't need to hear this. It was already their philosophy.

Now let's spread the gospel!

I love SOAP 

Already I have gotten an email saying "You obviously support XML-RPC, but seem to be cautious about SOAP - what it is about SOAP that you feel can't be implemented on all platforms?"

I love human minds. Absent facts they fill in the blanks -- and draw an incorrect conclusion.

The Jabber and Blogger communities both chose XML-RPC over SOAP. You can ask them if you want, but I didn't steer them one way or the other. I didn't say "You should do SOAP" when they chose XML-RPC. Either are great. I love them both, as a father might love both his children. I encourage everyone to use SOAP. I encourage everyone to use XML-RPC.

I have set it up so that my company doesn't care which one you use. But please wire up your Internet applications so they can be scripted in this manner so the magic can happen. Do it sooner than later.

Just say yes.


Last update: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 at 9:30 PM Eastern.

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