Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He 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 New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"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.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
Just read a press release about Mitch McConnell and what he will and won't let the government do about taxes and jobless benefits.
This is a guy who has only been elected to represent the state of Kentucky, and leads the minority in the Senate. But he's talking as if he has the absolute last word. And given the ineptness of our President and his party he's probably pretty close to being right.
A chilling thought. We now live in the McConnell Administration. He's the boss. Here's a big picture of our new leader. Brrr.
But if he makes a mess, he should be held responsible for it.
I wrote a bunch of web content management tools in the mid-late 90s and early part of the last decade (we still don't have a name for it!) that turned into what we now think of blogging tools. The category that's led by WordPress, Typepad and Blogger (and Posterous and Tumblr and certainly others).
Along the way a bunch of features fell by the wayside. One of them in particular is so important I'd like to pitch all the vendors of today's blogging tools. If one of them does, I'll put at least a year (Murphy-willing) into developing tools that work with the feature. I think that's a pretty good deal, when you realize how little work the feature will take.
Here's the deal. You all support the MetaWeblog API. That's great. When I save a blog post using newPost or editPost, allow me to include in the struct a new element called postSource, which contains the source code for the post. This is not executable code like Java or Python or C, its structured text in XML form that the post was rendered from.
That's the punchline, now here's the background.
There's a lot of power in separating content from the rendering of the content. All of today's blogging tools have that concept to a degree. A series of posts flows through a set of templates and is rendered into a set of pages that are part of the blog website. But the posts themselves don't have the separation. When you write the post you're writing in HTML. For most people, most of the time, that's what they want. But if we have the ability to make tools that have the separation, we can build higher-level, more powerful editors that are also easier. In fact, I already have such an editor. I just can't use it with your blogging environment.
You just have to store the XML text along with the HTML text, and when I getPost, send it back to me. It's a black box you don't have to look into (but you should probably verify that it's just XML and not executable bits).
As with RSS, podcasting was not invented.
But with podcasting there was an Aha! moment, in a hotel suite in NYC, listening to a rock star ramble incoherently (or so it seemed) about media technology. The rock star was Adam Curry. And behind the confusion was a brilliant idea, which I explained in this piece, written on Halloween in 2000, a little over ten years ago.
I remember when it clicked for me, as if it happened just the other day. Once I understood it, and went back to California, it was less than two months before both ends of the system were working, using RSS as the transport format, and Radio UserLand as both the authoring and podcatching tool. A few years later, by the fall of 2004, lots of content was flowing across this pipe.
There are always three parts to every standard: reading, writing and content. It's also true of the process: dreamer, tech, media. (Sometimes one person plays two roles, sometimes all three.)
Who knows maybe there's something here.
And while podcasting didn't make anyone rich, it certainly made our lives richer. Every day I go for a walk in NYC listening to Chris Lydon or Terry Gross interview someone, or the Radio Lab guys teach me something. Or Selected Shorts entertains me. Or whatever. "Rich" is the way I feel about the medium. It worked.