Reading Ted Nelson on an iPhone

Yesterday I wrote I was doing stuff with XML-RPC, but didn't say what I was doing.

I hit a conceptual stopping point on a user interface project I've been working on, inspired by Jay Rosen's use of Fargo as a presentation tool in his talk last week in Austin. I needed to move from the UI to the machine room, to plumbing and wiring and some of it, in computer networking terms, quite ancient!

Sometimes that helps clear the mind, switching what kind of puzzle you're working on. So if you hit a conceptual wall working on the user-facing stuff, switch gears and do some work on the plumbing.

My interest is in letting people use Fargo to edit whole WordPress blogs. So I started breaking the problem up into bits, and found that there really isn't a whole lot to it. Fargo can already create WordPress blog posts, and edit them of course. All I should have to do is 1. create the data structure that Fargo creates, and 2. effectively fool it into believing it had created it too. And that led me to creating a WordPress-to-OPML utility app, in JavaScript, of course (I already have lots of stuff like that in the OPML Editor).

And that led me to various approaches for talking to WordPress from JavaScript clients, but I hit CORS walls, and decided that it would be better to put this code on a server, esp since I've mastered the setting up of new node.js apps on Heroku. At first I found several packages that use XML-RPC to communicate with WordPress. I smiled when I saw the MetaWeblog API calls from the late 90s in a node.js wrapper. I suppose that's like reading Ted Nelson's book on an iPhone. Amazingly it not only works, in both cases -- but works really well! Some bits of technology move forward into the future, others don't.

It was so gratifying to come back after having left the world of XML-RPC, basically when I started doing app development on top of Twitter, I was using it as a I used to use XML-RPC. Now I find not only has WordPress continued to support their XML-RPC interfaces, but they have enhanced them. I was expecting a long slog to get the connection working, but it happened so quickly, just a few minutes, that it threw me off-balance.

Now I'm working my way through various example websites. I have it completely working with my concord test site.

I'm looking at all the WordPress blogs I have close at hand to see if they work with the new utility. I hit some problems with the Rebooting the News blog, which brings me full circle back to Jay. There are problems, so I'm reading the old posts as I work through it. More memories. Funny how there's a time for digging new holes, and then there's a time for going back to see how the ones I dug years ago are doing. Happy to report, everything still appears to be there.

Last built: Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

By Dave Winer, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 8:29 AM. What a long strange trip it's been.