Podcast: Allen Wirfs-Brock
by Dave Winer Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A second Portland podcast, this time with Allen Wirfs-Brock. The topic, how JSON came to be and the back story about how Tim Bray came to be interested in its evolution.

First, I should say, and as will be obvious in the podcast, I have history with Tim. He was one of the original designers of XML, and I was working in XML starting in the late 90s and extending into the mid-00s. Tim was also one of the authors of the Atom spec, which was an attempt to replace RSS. My software supports both formats, but I was skeptical of the need to replace RSS. I felt that the people who were behind Atom didn't understand what RSS was being used for, or how widely deployed it was, and how unlikely it was that it would be replaced.

Now Tim wants to change JSON. I first heard about it in a recent blog post of his. I knew I'd be seeing Allen in Portland, and since he has been involved in JavaScript for quite some time, I asked him what he thought of Tim's post. He said there's a story behind it. And that's what we discuss in this podcast. 

Along the way we get a lot of interesting tidbits about how JavaScript and JSON evolved. 

Allen was the author of the Ecmascript 6 spec, and has been a longtime language developer at Microsoft and Mozilla. It was Allen's idea to get Ward Cunningham and myself together last year in Portland. And we all got together again at the meetup at Mozilla last Friday night.

The podcast is 31 minutes. We did it at a picnic table in a forest in the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland. You'll also hear from Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, Allen's wife, a noted expert on software methodologies.