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Permanent link to archive for Friday, April 19, 2002. Friday, April 19, 2002

A picture named peace.gifReading the blogs today it seems I offended some people in the last couple of days. Well, I don't particularly want to ruffle feathers, but it comes with the territory. My web writing has always evoked strong reactions, starting many years ago. To be clear, I love both SOAP and XML-RPC. But I also think Brent and Daniel make solid points. Listen to them if you can. I sincerely hope that SOAP vs XML-RPC does not become another My Platform Is Better arena that's so common in tech culture. Both protocols are fine. There is extra stuff in SOAP that's not present in XML-RPC. But the details are hidden in most scripting platforms, so the extra stuff isn't in anyone's way. Interop was in question, but a lot of the concerns were laid to rest with Google's interop. Now any reasonable person, no matter what their protocol preference, should be able to move on from here. Even the REST folk are fine, if it weren't for Amazon's patent mess, I'd be banging the drums for their XML interface too, but not to the exclusion of SOAP and XML-RPC. Onward. 

On a lighter note, from Wes Felter, "Some home-brewed Ethernet addresses I've seen: 0xFE:ED:BA:BE:F0:0D (describing Calista Flockhart?) 0xDE:AD:BE:EF:CA:FE (time for a steak?) 0xDE:AD:CA:FE:BA:BE (must be a Java-hater)." 

Steve Zellers: "0xC0CAC01A 0xADD511FE" 

David Johnson: Building an Open Source J2EE Weblogger. Hmmm. Kinda looks familiar.  

WSJ: "AOL Time Warner Inc., whose online service is struggling to hold on to customers who want high-speed Internet access, is rethinking its cornerstone strategy of promoting such broadband access nationwide. The move calls into doubt one of the main goals of the merger that brought the Internet and media colossus into existence." 

News.Com: "In yet another test of new services, Google is quietly wading into the expert-advice market, a lackluster business that proved too taxing for some former Net highfliers." 

Mozilla 1.0 Release Candidate 1. 

Sean Gallagher: "I just finished doing an immersion in the ebXML specifications for an article I've been working on." 

Talking with Jon Udell, he tells me that there's a white-on-orange XML icon for the RSS feed of O'Reilly's Safari website. It tells you when a new book appears on the Safari service. 

Seth Dillingham: "Customers who buy gifts for their vendors? Just six months ago, I would have said that such things don't happen, but Brian is the second customer to do it this year." 

A perfect demo of the problem with web services in this article in the SF Chronicle. The first eight paragraphs of the piece have to get all the BigCo bullshit out of the way. No mention of XML-RPC of course. Larry Ellison gets ink, but we don't. See why that might create some resentment? No good deed goes unignored. All good ideas get stolen and then tortured to death, by the Bigs. 

Russ Lipton: How to Add a Google Box to your Weblog

Abe Fettig: "I was thinking about a way to use the Google API that webloggers would find more exciting than the Google Box, and I came up with a little Python script that looks up a site's rank for a given search term on Google." 

Interesting sequence on Sam Ruby's weblog today. It's true, SOAP doesn't have to be much more complex than XML-RPC. (BTW, the problem is with the ever-changing maze of specs and schema and confusing press statements and weird consortia, not the wire format.) Let's keep it that simple and everyone should be OK with it. I remember how Eric Kidd left the SOAP process last year this time, being sure that it was a moving target. I feel the same way, not sure about Brent and Daniel. If the SOAP that Sam has on his blog today is all anyone has to do, then SOAP should enjoy great success with independent developers.  

BTW, why doesn't Sam support XML-RPC? Just curious. Maybe Brent, Daniel and Eric could teach him a thing or two? I support SOAP, why doesn't Sam support XML-RPC? Or does he? 

Paul Boutin: "For Web browsing -- still the biggest time use of home computers after e-mail -- the new iMacs are notably slower than a PC." 

Rob McNair-Huff says Mac OS X is to blame. 

Kenytt Avery did the Google outline browser I spec'd yesterday, in Python. Screen shot.  

Doug Landauer picks up on the legend of the cafe babe. "She later transferred to FirstPerson, the semi-secret Sun subsidiary that developed Oak, that turned into Java." 

Jon Udell says some things that I find puzzling. "There will be a semantic web," he says. How does he know that? He also says "Radio is not the endgame by any stretch of the imagination." Hmmm.  

Yesterday was the one week anniversary of the release of the Google API. In that week, we explored many of the nooks and crannies of the power it reveals, but certainly not all of them. That the experiments are so unsatisfying is not for the lack of interest among developers. We'll do it again and again, no matter what the naysayers say, no matter how silly the examples are, this is how you explore a new capability, this is how we get creative, as a community, by turning off the judgment and playing. It's like tennis. Google hits the ball over the net, we hit it back. Now we hope they respond by exposing more functionality. Edd Dumbill's rejection means nothing to users (what is /bin/dev/whatever anyway?) but the Cape Clear experiment he disses is interesting, even if it irritates him. (What about the email addresses they're accumulating, that worries me.) Anyway it's possible that somewhere in the small Google API there's a nugget we haven't yet found, an application that transforms the Internet in some way that's meaningful to someone. And we can hope that Google and other big centralized services see the power of interested developers and try out some more new ideas we can experiment with. 

Some people think that the vague roadmap that the W3C offers is the true path to wonder and enlightenment. We've been here before, maybe some of you haven't, but the big proclamations very often fail. (Actually, empirically, they always do.) For me, this goes back to the boom of Lotus 1-2-3, and the assumption by many that their follow-on, Symphony, would replace it in short order. It didn't happen. Magic isn't something you can invoke through planning and speeches, conferences and consortia and cover stories in the BigPubs. It only happens when the time is right. Old beliefs die hard. It's better to accept magic when it happens than to try to hold on to your old ideas. Radio is a rocket ship. To say it's not the endgame, well what is? Is the Web? No way. Someday it will look like an Apple II looks today. So to say Radio is not the endgame is a no op. As long as humanity survives there will be another iteration. But when you find something that has some of that magic, go for it, don't be a stick in the mud, and don't pay too much attention to people who are. 


Last update: Friday, April 19, 2002 at 10:56 PM Eastern.

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