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Permanent link to archive for Monday, November 21, 2005. Monday, November 21, 2005

Russell Beattie: "I'd like to see them embrace a simple data formatting spec as well, so that arbitrary data (like dates, strings and numbers) could be embedded into an RSS Item and syndicated as well." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jean Paoli (of Microsoft): "Together with Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel, NextPage, StatOil and Toshiba, we are co-sponsoring the submission to Ecma, the international standards body, of the Microsoft Office Open XML document formats." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Hey I have a Wordpress blog now. It was pretty easy to set up. And the price is right.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Congrats to John Palfrey, who was just appointed as a full professor at Harvard Law School. Such a young man, so many accomplishments, not the least of which is he's my former boss (though he doesn't admit it) at Berkman.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Adam Green: "Microsoft and Google are being maneuvered into a massive game of chicken. I'll show everyone my Office data if you'll show your search data." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Adam asks what's next. I'll write about that tomorrow.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mike Arrington: "New companies will be built on the back of SSE." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sebastien Laye: "Developers deserve an API to build applications on top of the next generation search engine." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sharing at so many levels! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Microsoft has unveiled a new proposal called SSE, which stands for Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS and OPML.

In 2005, RSS-based aggregators have been around for six years. They come in all sizes and shapes, some inspired by mail readers, others are "River of News" stream browsers; some run on the desktop, on laptops; some are centralized, some decentralized. Some run on PDAs and cell phones. If ever there was an idea that there would be one way to read RSS feeds, one application that would be right for everyone in every circumstance, certainly that time has passed. People need to share lists with others, and with themselves. When you subscribe to a feed at work, the aggregator at home should know about it too.

So we need some way to share subscriptions between different applications, between vendors -- we need an way to do that that works when the lists are small, and one that works when the lists grow large. Most important, it needs to be open, and in order to be really open it has to be simple, so that no vendor can use their large size as a way of keeping smaller competitors out of the market. We've seen that when this happens innovation stops. Let's learn from our past mistakes, and not make it so easy to dominate a market. Compatibility should never be a reason to choose one product over another. Let performance, features and price drive the market, not the obscurity of the wires connecting the apps together.

Amazingly, this philosophy is taking root in the software business, thanks to the leadership of wise people like Ray Ozzie, who I've known for almost twenty years. As you can tell from reading the archive on Scripting News, we haven't always seen things the same way, but I've always had enormous respect for Ray as a technologist and because he's a gentle and thoughtful person. There was an outliner in Notes, but I remember very well sitting in an audience hearing Ray tell people about it, and then calling me out as one of the people who blazed the trail for his work. It's so important to recognize each others' accomplishments, because that's how you build trusting relationships.

In technology, so often the technical solution is completely obvious to everyone. Why then is progress and cooperation so elusive? Because so few people take the time, as Ray does, to listen, and then to appreciate the contributions that others make, even those who work outside the organization you're part of. That's the spirit of the announcement we both are making today. I can talk about how Ray and Jack Ozzie, and the people at Microsoft, have taken something I created, and have created a solution to a problem we all have today, one that's going to get more serious in the future. Listen up, and see how they did this, because this is technology at its best. This is is technology working.

This is how I got into XML in the first place. It was another Microsoft person, Adam Bosworth, who persistently and gently nudged me into working in this space. The result was what we're working with today, now the ball has been picked up by Ray and Jack Ozzie. They didn't work at Microsoft when Adam was pushing me. Now he works at Google, who could, with a single act, ratify this work and instantly make it a standard. Such power! One wonders if it will be used. The same power lives at Yahoo and Apple.

In 1996, I wrote: "Here's an invitation to truly embrace the creativity of others. Instead of beating your breast about how great you are, try saying how great someone else is. Look for win-wins, make that your new religion. Establish a policy that nothing will be announced unless it can be shown that someone else will win because of what you're doing. How much happier we would be if instead of crippling each other with fear, we competed to empower each others' creativity."

Now, in 2005, almost ten years later, we may be grown-up enough to actually work this way. Microsoft's new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie's earlier work, and keeping the "really simple" approach that's worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use. It's a proud moment for me, I hope for Ray and Jack and the rest of the people at Microsoft, and perhaps for the open development community on the Internet.

Here's Ray Ozzie's introduction and FAQ.


Last update: Monday, November 21, 2005 at 9:55 PM Eastern.

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