Top > Dave's World > Weblog Archive > 2002 > March > 17Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 17, 2002. Sunday, March 17, 2002

Thanks to Alan Reiter for spreading the gospel of weblogs at the Wireless conference today.  

Major Bing! Dave Babbit wrote a format driver for Radio to read this feed from Macromedia. It has the basic elements of RSS, but it isn't RSS. I'm dropping everything to get his format driver working. Fantastic

Later. It works. Format drivers prove their value. Yehi. 

But wait there's more. Bill Humphries has a format driver for the XML version of his weblog. This was a bona fide good idea. Who knew! Rogers Cadenhead is working on a format driver for Amazon. I had to make a small fix in xml.rss.compileService to skip over its doctype element to find the catalog.  

Radio 8 support for the MetaWeblog API has been released. 

A picture named broadway.gifIn this release I also wired up both the Blogger API and the MetaWeblog API to Radio's SOAP interface. It would be interesting to see a blogging tool in .Net or other environments that have strong SOAP support. Maybe this is what the SOAP world is waiting for -- something to work on that has clear benefits to users. All the consorting and sparring among the Big's has yielded little utility so far, mostly science projects. Let's see if a great blogging tool is possible in .Net. If not, we'll help you do it. 

Business 2.0: "Web services. The name alone is enough to induce fits of narcolepsy." Another all-BigCo piece. 

The 802.11b weblog is #1 on Google for 802.11b. Cooool. 

Hannes Wallnöfer has a proposal that combines the Blogger API and the MetaWeblog API. 

PostNuke: "We implemented support for the Blogger API." 

Jeremy Bowers: "Ask your local psychologist whether men and women are different." 

Protocol 7 is working on OPML to SVG.  

Last year on this day you could have bought Salon for $6.1 million. Today, you could buy them for $2 million. (Tony Bowden points out that they probably have $1.5 million in cash, and prepaid advertising, and other assets, so you actually need just a few thousand to buy them. He says "their share price implies that the markets expect them to just waste the rest of their cash.") 

Alas my googlewhack is not a whack anymore. All good things must pass. 

Side-effect of Yahoo Groups being down is that I have to remember to go to the recent hotspots on our discussion groups to see if there have been new comments.  

How much extensibility? 

A fascinating discussion is developing between Daniel Berlinger and Sam Ruby about extensibility in APIs.

How much is the right amount? You end up chasing your tail. If an API is perfectly extensible then it says nothing about interop. Something has to be nailed down. Always at the cost of extensibility.

Imho, interop and extensibility are two opposing forces, like time and space. If you want your code to run faster, you can always burn memory. If you want your code to be smaller, it's very likely that it will run slower.

So we look for the sweet spot. What are people ready to agree on now? That's why the Blogger API was so important when it came out last summer. It was something the server vendors and the tool makers could use. The proof is in the result. Lots of tools got made. The sacrifice was extensibility. No longer were all our options open. Not all eventualities were forseen. If you had asked me then if I knew this, I would have said yes. But I went for it anyway.

Simon Fell said he prefers SOAP to XML-RPC and RSS 1.0 to RSS 0.92, because they provide more extensibility. Of course I don't agree. XML-RPC is a means of implementing interfaces. The only way to use it is to extend it, without extension it is nothing. But it's got a frozen transport. Yeah you can't change that. That's why we get more interop from XML-RPC than we get from SOAP. I think that's clearly demonstrable.

A picture named capitalist.gifNow to RSS. Almost immediately after RSS 0.91 came out, developers independently added elements that were not in the spec that they needed in their applications. Some of them made public statements, and some probably didn't. Key point, it didn't break any of the aggregators. So in any real sense, just because a spec says it's more extensible, doesn't mean that it is. Watching the developer's list for RSS 1.0 since it started, I see the same problems surfacing that were in the way of evolution for the supposedly non-extensible flavor of RSS. But as long as the processors ignore elements they don't understand, there's no real advantage to using the other flavor. They traded off complexity and interop to get no additional extensibility, imho. Not a good deal. Not a sweet spot. Even 0.92, which (to my knowledge) is only supported by Radio, dwarves the installed base of the older 1.0 format. (An irony of the breakage in the community, 0.92 is newer than 1.0).

One more example, and then a conclusion. The developers of Conversant boast that they've gone so far towards extensibility that their interface is all structs, even the name of the procedure that's being called is encoded in a struct so presumably if the way of expressing the name of the procedure requires extension there will be no breakage. But have they actually done anything other than replicate XML-RPC? It appears to me that they've just pushed the stone one step up a staircase, and now have to deal with all the problems all over again.

Now the conclusion. We have to agree on something, for better or worse, in order to move forward. You can't keep all the options open for all time. This means there will be corner-turns. So far the Weblog API world has been very collegial and has produced real results at a very low cost. I believe we will be able to move forward, and the protocols and formats will evolve in a market-driven way, and when the corners are turned we will look to the tool developers to insulate users from the bumps. As long as we work together, it will work. That's what matters.

Vive la difference 

A frequent correspondent, a man, writes: "Do you really believe those myths about men and women being different?" Heh. Tricky question. Yes, I believe what I write. That's rule #2. A less twisty, and more respectful way to say what I think he was actually saying: "I don't believe men and women are different." Funny thing is, when discussions turn to gender, all reasonableness goes out the window. One of the differences between men and women is that women are right and men are wrong. And a lot of men believe it. A lot of women too.

Last night I went to dinner with Scoble and Son, and Chris and Gretchen Pirillo. We talked a lot for a long time about a lot of things. Patrick, who is now 8 years old, left one of his toys at the first restaurant. Gretchen and Patrick went into the restaurant to look for it. It took a long time to find his toy. When they came out Patrick said "It was right in front of their eyes." I said often that's the last place people look.

Obviously there are differences between the genders. What's going on when an otherwise intelligent person says it's a myth that there are differences?

The beginning of respect 

Now, I want to go further.

In no case should an individual be limited by generalizations. That makes it safe to theorize and share points of view, and to learn and grow. Understand that there are exceptions. While many men are solitary and prefer to work alone, surely some women are like that too, and not all men are. And one day you may feel different, and we all have the right to change.

5/7/97: "Just when you think you know someone, they change."

The door should be open for every person to be unique, because that's also obviously true. But most important, every person, no matter what their gender, should be given the same opportunity to speak. This is where women have been fucking up in a major way, and men have been acquiescing to it, because it's easier to say nothing, than to say hold on a minute, you're not listening to me.

No doubt the women who are speaking have valid points to make, and experiences with sexism that are real. But that does not justify shutting out an entire gender from the discussion. It's totally unfair and it's not even pragmatic. If you won't listen to others, if you won't even include us in the conversation, you shouldn't expect much in the way of help.


Last update: Sunday, March 17, 2002 at 6:11 PM Eastern.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

Click here to view the OPML version of Scripting News.

Morning Coffee Notes, an occasional podcast by Scripting News Editor, Dave Winer.

March 2002
Feb   Apr

Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog.


© Copyright 1997-2005 Dave Winer. The picture at the top of the page may change from time to time. Previous graphics are archived.