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Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 09, 2002. Thursday, May 09, 2002

Wired: Blogging Goes Corporate

Why is Dave happy this afternoon? We just closed another deal like the one with the NY Times. Yes we can dance with the BigCo's. Details next week, Murphy-willing. More great content for the Radio aggregator. Yehi!! 

Burning Bird spills the beans on O'Reilly's weblogging book, due in September. It's going to have two chapters on Radio, written by Scott Johnson.  

A picture named hammersley.gifHere's some exciting cross-pollination. Ben Hammersley, writing in the Guardian, explains how Web services are the province of the little guy. Analysts who follow the BigCo's, please read this piece and consider the point of view. Blogger's competitors (including UserLand) have adopted and even extended the Blogger API, so the same tools can be used to create content for the centralized Blogger app, or for Radio running on the desktop. This is the process by which new technology enters our culture, also known as bootstrapping.  

Hammersley is also writing a book about RSS for O'Reilly. A brave man. Lots of politics in RSS, which is still stuck in a weird place. We're doing what we can to unstick it.  

Radio 8: Multi-Author Weblog Tool

I'm pleased to report that my last essay is rising on the Daypop Top 40. Blogging tools don't know or care if they're being used by an amateur or professional; just like word processors or page layout programs. They're just tools. The philosophy of the Web creates a different kind of writing environment. We should all be using it, whether or not we get paid for writing. 

In the piece I promised to help pros-with-blogs get flow. Here we go. Dan Rosenbaum, who has written for NetGuide and Time Digital, and covered my company for MacUser in the 80s, has a Radio weblog. Welcome! 

Platform is Chinese household 

Many years ago, in 1994, I started writing for the Web, about developers and platforms. These are just symbols, of course, for me to write about human relations, which is what everyone is writing about all the time every day.

In one of the two seminal DaveNets published in 1994, I theorized that a platform is like a Chinese household. I had just read Amy Tan's novels about Chinese culture in the US, and was convinced that she also described developer culture. Even though most developers are men, in relation to platform vendors, we have the needs and wants of Chinese wives. And in the strange world where applications are also platforms, if we're successful, when working with our developers, we are the husband, the provider and protector. The dual roles help us do both jobs better.

UserLand is a developer. We create software for the following platforms: Windows and Macintosh. SOAP and XML-RPC. HTTP, SMTP, and now (in development) AIM, Jabber, ICQ, and other instant messaging transports. We are also a platform vendor, other people develop software that runs in our environment. We hope to see more of that. We also promote platforms that we also develop for. Like OPML, RSS, SOAP and XML-RPC.

A few days ago as Apple was announcing Jaguar, I read a comment on Rob McNair-Huff's weblog about the problems it creates for Mac developers who push the envelope in chat clients. I wanted to give Rob and other Mac users some advice then, based on what I've learned about developers and platforms, but waited a few days to let the dust settle. Here's the advice.

First, accept that Apple has the right to bundle a chat client. Even welcome it, if possible, but you must accept it because it exists. And at the same time, double your support for the independent developers. Pay the shareware fee. Send them encouraging email, let them know that you appreciate them. Don't make feature requests in these emails. Just say thanks and include a check.

Developers have simple needs. They need to feel appreciated and heard. They also need money to make payroll.

And if Apple wanted to build positive energy in the developer community, they would also send a similar message to the developers who created such amazing tools for their users.

"Look at these great developers," Apple would say. "They pour their passion into our platform."

A small change 

Last night we released a small change to Radio that may have big implications for syndication technology. Here's the scoop.

radio.weblog.writeRssFile is the bottleneck in Radio that writes RSS files. This is the place Jon Udell and others experiment with new stuff they'd like to see in the XML version of their weblog.

Yesterday we released a change to this core routine that allows the user to completely replace writeRssFile in an update-safe way. Before generating the RSS, we check We loop over the table, calling procedures, passing the parameter list we received. The first one that doesn't scriptError gets to speak for us. (If the table is empty, we proceed as we normally would.)

This allows people to experiment with different formats and encoding, and see how those changes interact with aggregators, including the one that's built into Radio. This makes it possible for developers to experiment, learn, and perhaps will allow the formats to evolve. This new hole-blast pairs off nicely with the aggregator driver architecture released in March.

We also added a change that encodes names of categories in the output feed.

Daniel Berlinger says this is "More oxygen from Dave." I guess that's the opposite of cutting off the air supply.


Last update: Thursday, May 09, 2002 at 5:33 PM Eastern.

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