Wednesday, April 9, 1997 by Dave Winer.
When I get into a groove on a song, I repeat it over and over while I'm writing. A finite loop! The song repeats until the piece is finished.
Believe it or not, when I edit the piece, I change the cadence of the words, in places, to follow the rhythm of the music. The goal is to delight people who play the music while reading the piece, as if we were dancing together, to the tune of the Indigo Girls, or Bonnie Raitt, or Aretha, or, today, Peter Gabriel...
All you do is call me, I'll be anything you need. You could have a big dipper, or... you could have a speed train, or an air-o-plane flying, or you could have a bumper car, bumping. I want to be your sledgehammer! Why don't you call my name? I'd like to be your sledgehammer. This will be my tesssss-ti-mo-ny.
A jerky song! Shoulders get involved. Slam your butt against the wall. Bigggg bass. Raise your feet in a funky pattern. Walk on your heels. A great dancing tune! Smile. It's Wednesday!
Let's dance. Yeah! OK.
Welcome to DaveNet. I'm Dave.
Ohhhhh. Glad to have the music. Any day now someone is going to put up a music website, so I can point to the tunes, and you can hum while I weave.
What a mood I'm in today. Yeah-hi. Let's get some work done now.
How safe is the net? If you put the blinders on, it can be made safe. If you're a realist, you realize that the net is wide open. To close the holes, you'd have to take FTP links out of web browsers. Until that happens, trust is what we depend on.
The security debate is a good thing because it makes people aware of what can go wrong. Defensive surfing! Always check the mirrors, and look over your shoulder. Get a good idea of what you're installing before you install it. The human element is hard to defeat, especially if the human is paying attention.
Another positive thing about the security issue is that it gets us thinking about sandboxes. A sandbox is a safe place to build a castle. If it gets knocked down, no big deal. Sandboxes -- what a great name! It says that we use our computers for fun. I like that.
A sandbox is any computer structure you're willing to build and then lose. Cookies are a kind of a sandbox. And cookies are just like the Preferences folder on a Macintosh. You can always drag it to the trash and start over.
We'll build a firewall between a sandbox and your personal, safe world. A way to run scripts against the sandbox that synchronize between it and your private more protected world. In this one place, only a user request to synchronize, a request that can't be imitated by software, is required to start the process.
I want to make sandboxes richer.
I think that's where web browsers and servers and content software are headed. Since the technologists at the leading client and server companies don't do site management and workflow software, they probably don't understand how important this will be on the content development side of the pipe.
A picture, on one side of the connection, wants to assemble itself on the other side. That's what the web is about, that's what email is about. In a fundamental sense, that's all the net is about. Collecting stuff, and then using it.
Everyone's collection is unique. Everyone generates content, even if you don't think you do. Do you write email? Do you receive email?
Think of an emailer as a communication-aware content development tool. Boy, there are a lot of interesting places to go with that idea.
I've connected my sandbox to the web. A piece of my sandbox can be embedded in a web page. If you want to add it to your sandbox, choose a menu command, click OK to a confirmation dialog, and it's done, cleanly, with no crap left around on your desktop.
Informed participation with confirmation. That's how sandbox software will work. Fat Web Pages is a step in this direction.
The first versions of Fat Pages were spec-less, a spec is there now. Object types are now MIME types. We use Base 64 encoding to pack the objects.
The spec is wide open, I think, it should be possible for any database vendor to use it to distribute new parts. But it's for database users too, not just vendors -- but the users must look to the vendors for guidance on how to do it.
We made sure that the fat pages spec includes enough information so crawler scripts can visit a set of sites and get updated versions of already-installed software in a safe way.
I believe the idea will find its way into the right places just by putting a pointer in this DaveNet piece. So if you know a developer who likes the web and has database software that you use, please point them to this page:
Feedback is welcome. It's been an essential part of the process. The spec has evolved and will continue to evolve if people report deal-stoppers. We want this to work for all possible data types that could be transported via the web. Thoughtful, calmly-expressed concerns are appreciated.
More and more, DaveNet is just a part of what we're doing editorially. We've now got a dozen regular contributors and I believe we're covering some markets better than anyone else.
The umbrella for all our editorial stuff is called Scripting News. It started as a news site for people who do scripting. We learn about what scripting people are interested in. And we help define the idea of scripting, by including issues of web design, the tools we use, standards and proposed standards, politics and free speech issues. Crossing platform boundaries is essential. Lots of things are interesting to scripting people. We try to cover it all.
The tagline for the home page is "News and commentary from the cross platform scripting community." DaveNet definitely fits under that umbrella. Lots of other voices too. I encourage people to use this resource and help us develop it.
I'll be at the Seybold conference in New York the week of April 21.
I'm participating in the closing session, talking about where the publishing industry is headed, and helping set the stage for the San Francisco conference in September.
I'm also moderating a panel of experts talking about the future of Apple and the Macintosh, from a publishing perspective.
And I'll be doing the fourth DaveNet Live in an auditorium at the Javits Convention Center on Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30PM. It's free, open to the public, all you have to do is read DaveNet and be in New York on the 23rd.
As usual, it'll be a mixture of Donahue, Oprah, Barbara Walters and Dave. I'll start things off with a tune, and then a little talk, then me and microphone will join the audience. We'll chat. Got an opinion? Got a new song for us to sing? We have fun at these things! Want to dance?
I hear New York is a great town for dancing.
PS: A soapbox is an improvised platform used by a person making an informal, often impassioned speech to a street audience on a current, controversial issue.
PPS: A sledgehammer is a long heavy hammer, usually held with both hands.