Tuesday, April 14, 1998 at 4:38:02 AM Pacific

A Note to My Readers

This morning I'm working on some new user interface stuff.

It challenges a lot of my beliefs about where certain pieces of software reside.

Where do you think a web server belongs? Does it have to be on a machine that's far away from you, over a LAN or a phone line?

In my own head, it's hard to get rid of the idea that it has to be far away, even though now I routinely write software that assumes that it's right here.

This is a road that every serious developer is going to go down. I'm sure of it. HTTP is too valuable a protocol to only use it to connect with far-away things.

I used to think the idea of a personal web server was bogus. But I was experiencing a disconnect. I missed the idea that the web server could be used to connect with software running on the personal machine, that it wasn't necessary that anyone else be able to connect to it for the connection to have big value.

If there's value in this idea, and I know there is, then the skills of personal computer software developers will come to drive the Internet as it runs the desktop. Couple this with the PGML and Flash announcements, both within the last 24 hours, and the power of user interface developers becomes even clearer.

So, I'm working on a new suite that takes advantage of this idea. It's a direct result of the work we've been doing with Betty. The predecessors of the new stuff are the surveys, web-based admin experiments, and the RPC debugger. Of course it builds on the RPC stuff I've been promoting so heavily.

Anyway, you'll see this stuff soon enough. But that's not why I'm writing.

Why I'm writing

I just wanted to tell you that I always dreamed of having an audience that could watch while I work. Instead of shipping a finished piece of software, I wanted the process to be open, so people could see how the pieces fit together, leading up to an end result that's a gestalt, an aha, a new idea. I've always liked to explore new territory, but it was a lonely place to be. Now it's not that way anymore! This takes some getting-used-to.

With the web, and powerful new tools, and after a year of having a full T1 line, and a beefy LAN, and a Windows product that people respect, all these things, give me the power and credibility to achieve the dream.

I get scared by this! And there are still some jerks who try to confuse me with flames and disapproval, but I wanted the rest of you to know how much I appreciate the attention and support. From the bottom of my heart...


Dave Winer

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