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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 13, 2002. Wednesday, March 13, 2002

David Burrows went to a Macromedia Flash MX seminar. 

David Brown: "Now I want to start putting OPML front ends on everything I do." That would make me happy. 

Chris Gulker asks "What's wrong with this picture?" Indeed. 

Dann Sheridan: "I am curious if anyone in the Frontier community has developed or implemented content versioning for Manila." 

BTW, another reason I blog is patents. My weblog is my "lab notebook." I keep track of my art here, lest someone someday take a patent out on an idea I came up with. I also try to point to other people's innovations so they get on the record too. Keeping a public weblog helps protect our power to innovate. 

Wasabii is "an attempt to create a flexible, yet simple, API, running via XML-RPC & SOAP, for various web applications running on heterogeneous platforms to communicate and interact." 

BBC: Google hit by link bombers. Tempest in a teapot. Much ado about not very much. The term "Google bombing" was an unfortunate choice of words. The serendipity between the simultaneous rise of Google and weblogs is not a coincidence, imho. The weblog world would never support or even tolerate orchestrated manipulation of Google, it's too valuable a resource to screw with. The BBC article exploits fear, too bad, I hope Google sticks to its guns.  

Jon Udell provides instant analysis of the features we released this week.  

Daniel Berlinger posted an RFC for an XML-RPC API that supports Titles and Links. Daniel is presumably interested in this because he makes a desktop editing tool, Archipelago, that supports Manila-RPC and the Blogger API.  

blogBuddy, a Delphi app for Windows that implements the Blogger API, shipped a new version on Monday. "New features include spell checking and post editing." 

Pace of innovation 

Today Jon Udell remarks on the pace of innovation coming from UserLand. As I've been working on my next project, I can't imagine how stripped Jon's gears will be over the next one. This week's features were developed this week. The pace is impressive perhaps, except for two things.

First, we have changes distribution down. There's been a lot of talk about software subscriptions, but we really do it here. We have a good system for getting new parts out to users. That contributes to the ease of development for us, and the fast pace. The second factor is that we do development in a very high level environment. Having an object database integrated intimately in the scripting environment means we have to write less code. The hard part is figuring out what to do, not usually how to do it.

That said, I'm getting ready to release some software that early Radio users got a peek at, it's a very grand vision (even for me) of something I call The World Outline, that's parallel to the HTML web, a new way of webbing. I remember how excited the most intelligent Frontier users were when we gave them a glimpse of this concept, but then we turned to the Desktop Website idea, to the exclusion of work on The World Outline.

When I roll it out, Murphy-willing, next week -- I'll deliberately show it in a diminutive way. I'll show you how to get started. It'll appear to be much less than it is. Then the smart people will ask if it can do this or that, and the answer will be yes. Then the bomb will explode in some people's heads, they'll try things out and find that they work.

This bit of bombing will not be like the features this week. They will have been many years in the making. In some ways the software will be insufficient, but will point in a direction and invite competition. It will encourage people who make Web apps to put OPML interfaces on them. It's our job to deliver the users as an incentive to developers. We will do that.

But the art of the next bomblet won't be in the bombing, it will be in the smooth ramp, the seduction that gets people to try it without being overwhelmed by its hugeness. It will appear to be an evolution on instant messaging. But in fact it will be much more.

Why I blog by Dave Winer 

Sam Ruby has been blogging for almost three months, and wrote a rambling essay explaining why he blogs. Along the way he almost touches on the reason I blog. Back in a minute with first coffee of the day and an essaylet.

First, even if I wasn't a software developer I would probably have a weblog. I just wouldn't have been among the first to do it, because when I started you needed technical skills that are not necessary today.

But I am a software developer, and my weblog is all about that. Why do I need a weblog? Well, I want to get a true connection between people who use my software and myself. I want to talk directly with them.

When I started writing publicly on the Internet in 1994 that was the epiphany. I can get my ideas in front of the people who matter in my industry, without the middlemen. (Ironically I also want the middlemen to write about my software, so I'm a flawed human being, what else is new.)

And as a person who consumes information about software products, I was always frustrated that they wouldn't let the developer say in his or her own words what the purpose of the product is. So when a developer like Sam shows up in the blogging world, even if he didn't use my software, that's a victory for my profession. Another developer who decides to speak for himself. Since you can't lie to a compiler, eventually the truth pops off the stack, and I learn something, some new compatibility develops, I see someone else's point of view. When interop happens at a human level, interop at a software level can't be far behind.

So weblogs cut out the middleman. It's a collaborative development environment. A way of doing open engineering using the Internet. There's more to do here, but it's also worth noting that there have been some accomplishments.

BTW, the five year anniversary of Scripting News is a few weeks away. April 1. No joke.

The establishment? Nahhh 

Sam touches on a point I've wanted to comment on but hadn't until now had a way to do.

He says "As far as civil disobedience goes - does anybody else find it ironic that some self described aging hippie who pretty much is the establishment in this corner of the weblogging world mentions this?"

I know some people feel that way, but I wish they would lose it. It's not a cooool idea. When Manila was new, in early Y2K, we went through this too. Fact is, some of you will get more flow than I get. It's in the numbers. The more blogs there are the more likely someone is going to hit the nerve and become the next MattyG, or Heroes and Villains, Joel Spolsky or Wes Felter. Even Evan Williams of Blogger was reading DaveNets before he left O'Reilly to start Pyra. Robot Wisdom and CamWorld started with my software too.

So when success strikes, mazel tov, and I hope you remember old Uncle Dave, and send me some flow from time to time. In a way I'm a manufacturer, and you guys are (from my pov) distributors. It's okay for you to want a spiff, and look to me for approval, that's human nature I guess, but it's even better when you bring in fresh blood and point them my way with a few kind words. Tell them that I have good ideas, and that my software is popular. That's a meme I can support.

File this under "depressing" 

Microsoft's latest new direction is very interesting. Not.

BigCo web services blah blah blah. "For those people who did think that this was a flash in the pan, I think they can set that aside. But it's also not a silver bullet." OK.

Yet another BigCo's hype the web services thing but there's some meat there piece, this one from Business Week.

Puzzle. What's missing from this sequence. "SOAP 0.9, 1.0, 1.1, SCL, SDL, NASSL, WSDL 1.0, 1.1." Clue.


Last update: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 at 5:17 PM Eastern.

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