Friday, February 13, 2015 at 1:18 PM

Doors and extra bedrooms

Explaining yesterday, to Doc, in a tweet: "Ev built a nice house but didn't put a door on it. So I built one so I could have a door." This happens a lot in software, it turns out. Then I tweeted "This happened with Matt Mullenweg's house too. I needed a door, he wouldn't add it, so I had to build the whole house just to get the door."

That was necessarily abbreviated to fit in 140 chars. More accurately, I needed an extra bedroom for each post so the source code for the post could be stored alongside the rendered version.

Why the source code?

So what really happened without all the metaphors?

In the case of WordPress, let's say you want to make a great blog post editor, but you don't want to have to write a whole blogging system, or you want to let people use it with WordPress which is incredibly popular.

So the user creates a post, saves it, we render it, then send it to the blogging platform, WordPress. The author makes some changes, and it's still good, we just tell WordPress to update the post. But what happens if two weeks from now, the editor is long-closed, or the user is on another system, and they need to update the post? No can do. Because I don't have the source code for the post.

I can get the rendered version from WordPress, but we were working at a higher level. If we had had a place to put the source, alongside the rendered version, we would have been in business.

I asked, nicely I hope

I asked that WordPress allow me to store a bit of data along with the post. They did consider the idea, but explained that this might create security issues, so they couldn't do it. So I build a whole CMS, so I could have the editor I wanted. This post is written using that CMS.

The missing front-door on Medium

Re Ev's product, Medium -- I wanted a front door so I could hook their great rendering engine into my writing environment. I really shouldn't be doing what I'm doing with, they should just provide an easy way for other tools to hook in.

What I have is 90 percent of the effect people are looking for, and it's good for the web. An ecosystem could develop around it. I know Ev doesn't believe in software ecosystems. Fine. Let's see if he's right.

I know there are great CSS guys out there who don't work for him. is open source, so anything can happen. And maybe writers will help this part of the web stay free from Silicon Valley siloization. I know it's a dream, but I'm a dreamer.

Last built: Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:07 AM

By Dave Winer, Friday, February 13, 2015 at 1:18 PM. Reallll soooon now...