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Twitter and OAuth, interesting brew Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named keet.jpgAs far as I know Hueniverse was the first to notice that Twitter's support for OAuth put it in direct competition with Facebook Connect. This is a good thing because two-party systems work, and one-party systems don't.

Now it would be great if:

1. Facebook would make OAuth their default way to hook into their identity system. They have the power to ratify this as a standard. If they do, everyone who follows will have to use OAuth. I'm not crazy about OAuth, but one way of doing something is better than two, no matter how much better the second is. (That's a version of the brilliant always-applicable Postel's Law.)

2. One or both of them should swallow hard and use some of their investor's money to provide developers with an open storage system to go along with their OAuth support. This is the YouTube-like opportunity of 2009, the first to do it will get all the developers building on their platform and will set a standard as powerful as HTTP (if it's as simple as that, which it could easily be). This goes along with my longtime request for Payloads for Twitter, it's what we're all waiting for, in order for Twitter apps to stop being the demos they are, and start entering killer app territory.

The sign of a platform, its gravitas, macho-ness comes from the possibility of developers eclipsing the platform itself with utility and coolness. If you look back at all the really successful platforms of the past they all had this quality.

The Apple II had VisiCalc and Choplifter. The IBM PC had Lotus, dBASE, a host of word processors. CP/M had WordStar. Mac had Pagemaker and Quark. The web had Yahoo and Google, Blogger, YouTube, eBay, Amazon, Skype and on and on (probably the biggest and best platform so far).

Maybe it won't be Twitter or Facebook, but whoever builds the next consensus platform will have open data storage APIs in addition to identity. It's a vital part of identity. We've been waiting too damned long for this.

A source of inspiration: Jon Postel Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I love doing the weekly podcast with Jay, because he's so damned smart and he surprises me with his stories. Not many people do that as well as he does.

This week his surprise was the idea that we could tell stories of inspiration to help get over the hurdles the future is throwing in our path. His example of Max Headroom was brilliant and new to me, I didn't watch the show in the 80s, I was too busy running my always-on-the-brink startup.

A picture named postel.jpgSo he's going to bring us inspiration from media, and I expect I'll do some of that too, but I think my first tale of inspiration should come from tech, and I think it's probably going to be Jon Postel and his great law that came from experience in guiding the Internet through its early days. In all of the layers we've built on top of Postel's work, we've never found a situation that wasn't covered by his law, and never really found another law to stand alongside it. Every time I think I've figured out something I want to pass on to future generations it's always turned out to be a variant of Postel's Law. That's the sign of something profound and deep, and it's simple.

"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send."

People keep trying to break the law, but when they do, it always ends badly. Maybe someday they'll stop trying.

I suspect when the fullness of the new Land of Journos reveals itself it will also be an instance of Postel's Law. ;->


Last update: Monday, April 20, 2009 at 11:26 AM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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