Friday, April 17, 1998 at 5:05:53 PM Pacific

Karl Fast on Casbah and Frontier

I don't think the jab from the Casbah clan is a big deal, although I understand how it must fascinate you. It fascinates me too. Unfortunately, I've been too darned busy to do much more than follow the Casbah project, lurking in the background with insufficient time to contribute (my big client needs a 5000 page internal web site by the end of June and for a number of reasons I'm using Frontier and the xml verbs). It is indeed interesting to watch an open-source group at work.

Posting the Casbah quip to Scripting News was in your best interests, but based on the responses you've got it might cause more of a rift between you and some Casbah people (although one can argue that the rift is already quite large in some cases). Frontier users increasingly perceive Casbah as a "Linux version of Frontier", but I don't think that's quite fair. Yes, there are strong similarities, but since its inception Casbah has been moving away from being a "Linux version of Frontier" to a generalized content management system for Linux. Certainly Frontier has evolved over the years. I doubt you initially envisioned it as a cross-platform, networked, content management system. And on Windows no less. Casbah is, and will continue to evolve. I figure Casbah 1.0 will be along ways from "Frontier for Linux".

The problem is mirrored by a few Casbah people who view things the same way -- a Linux version of Frontier, only better. But I think that such a viewpoint is too limiting and will eventually fall by the wayside. To be succesful, Casbah must exploit the open source nature of Linux. I initially pushed the group to plan on delivering a cross-platform tool. I don't think it will happen. More importantly, I no longer think such a move is necessary. My advice now is that they should build it in Linux. Hook into everything you can. Use the Mozilla source. But make sure you've got open network connections to let other tools jack in over HTTP. Like the RPC-XML stuff you're developing.

The gem of the Casbah quip is stated at the end of the message. Submit the XML-RPC stuff as a standard. I like this idea. Build a working group and expand on your brainstorm. Use the collective energy of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Casbah and other open-source projects doing this very well, and when I see it happening it always stuns me. The energy surrounding Mozilla these days is amazing and I think it's going to surpass most expectations.

I'm not saying Frontier should become open-source. It shouldn't because as you and I discussed when this Casbah thing first flared up, there should be more than one development model and you've chosen one that works for you. But building Frontier is very different from building a mechanism like the XML-RPC interface.

Maybe the Casbah people would be interested in working together on such a beast. Agree to disagree on Casbah/Frontier and various development models, but work together on an open standard. Extend the olive branch. Zig when they expect you to zag.

It's just an idea. I haven't really thought this all through, but as I was writing this note it just seemed like a natural suggestion.

This page was last built on 4/17/98; 5:09:00 PM by Dave Winer. dave@scripting.com