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DaveNet 1997: Software

Cookies are not evil. 1/10/97

When I'm writing scripts I want to get the job done quickly and I like elegance and simplicty. Then I want performance and systems that don't break when things change, as they always do. I like it when someone has anticipated my needs, when the road is paved ahead of me. Only a powerscripter is going to be able to provide that kind of streamlining. 1/18/97

Toasters are nice things to have, but they are trivial. I like to make toast. It's nice, even fun sometimes. But I write at my computer. I do a lot of my thinking and creating here. I spend a lot more time at my computer than I do at my toaster! 2/14/97

When I was a kid I loved the library. I'd spend whole days reading, browsing, looking for something to learn. Talk with the librarian for new starting points. That's how the web works for me today. 3/3/97

We could turn the Internet into a neural net, a knowledge database that you can traverse using algorithms, not just web browsers. 3/8/97

The Internet, at its point of connection to the local system, only knows about files, it doesn't understand objects. Think of objects that live in shared environments, sometimes called sandboxes, not apps that live in structures of files and directories. 3/26/97

What are we doing about drunk drivers? Tires that blow out? Ice? Earthquakes? There's lots to worry about! I think computer networks should be as safe as they can possibly be. I think the roads should be too. 4/5/97

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. 4/9/97

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. 4/9/97

Let the best format win! I say. And let's have lots of new formats. 4/16/97

I've been doing increasingly complex websites since late 1994. I've learned that, like software, web development is a dance, not a head-trip. Short steps that you're willing to retrace with no regrets. 4/18/97

I'd like a small footprint, well-engineered, cross-platform web browser that implements the basic stuff, no emailer or plug-ins. Trust the OS to handle Java apps. Trust scripting to connect to email. No bookmarks. Just an HTML displayer and sound player with hooks for other apps. Built from the ground up to boot fast, be small, and run fast, and have lots of room for building stuff around it and on top of it. 4/25/97

I don't want the browser to take over my desktop! Please, a web browser is just a way to display formatted pages of text and graphics. It's not an excuse for engineers at Microsoft, Netscape and Sun to rewrite the rules on how I use my computer. 4/30/97

Churches and programming languages hide the real issues. We struggle to get rich and famous, and this masks the real question, who are we and why are we here? 5/5/97

Programmers have a very precise understanding of truth. You can't lie to a compiler. Try it sometime. Garbage in, garbage out. Booleans, the ones and zeros, trues and falses, make up the world programmers live in. That's all there is! I think programming is deep, it teaches us about the non-cyber universe we live in. There's something spiritual about computers, and I want to understand it. 5/7/97

When Frontier for Windows ships, an interesting loop will close. I think current and former users of Framework will find a lot to like in Frontier. We do outlines, text and scripting in a disk-based database and connect it up to the local OS and the Internet. 5/17/97

A procedure call is a name followed by a left paren, followed by a comma-separated parameter list, followed by a right paren. You can combine them to any level of complexity. That makes these languages scale up well. You don't hit walls as your programs get more complex. 5/19/97

All the smart web technologists I know are interested in this now. Forget all the hand-wringing about the push wars and Java virtual machines, this is where the next boom in Internet technology is going to happen. 5/21/97

Unfortunately, the computer press is a very crude device, they see the size of the company first, then they look at the software. They see conflict first and see collaboration with a suspicious eye. They believe in the big boys, not in breakthroughs, or new markets or garage shops. They gravitate to the faceoffs, turning leadership into dueling sumos or kamakazis. The world's pretty flat and unsegmented as the computer press views it. I've done countless experiments to see if anything has changed, and they all come up with the same result, no change. 5/25/97

Great websites are the result of collaboration between geeks, designers and writers. If everything's humming, there are a few geeks, a few designers, and lots of writers. Content separated from form. Dynamic elements on static pages. Low cost serving and lots of choices of transport methods. 6/6/97

Flash is perfect for a site that's basically a brochure. Text flies in from the right, gets larger as it finds its place at the left margin. A sun-like cloud moves to the right and up and gets smaller. A bit of text appears where it lands. It moves. More text appears. A picture fills in. 6/9/97

When I see C|Net pulling the GIFs off their home page so people with 28.8K modems can get to the stories more quickly, I see things shaking out as I feel they should. Rational voices are being heard above the din of gratuitous graphics. Design is the art of making things more usable, not in overwhelming you with prowess. 6/11/97

Is it content? That's like saying a great sunset is "light". Sure, oh yes, that's what it is. But it misses the point. It misses the movement, the inspiration, the soul-gathering and unification that comes from knowing that 80 million people are watching the same sunset, each in their own way all at the same moment in time, each from their own point of view. 6/11/97

Pushing bitmaps around the net is intolerably wasteful, but people still want things to look better. Today's personal computers are vast computing and data storage resources that aren't being well used. New flexibility, new formats, that's certainly coming. 6/12/97

The HTML browser interface will not be the only way to receive information and ideas thru the global network. There's the salvation for the rest of us. Stay focused on connecting powerful writing and design environments to fun and colorful user experiences, instead of forcing all our ideas thru the narrower browser pipe. 6/16/97

I don't know why they're so funny, maybe they're not always, but acronyms are cool. 6/17/97

"It's neat!" counts for naught. The geeks may dig Java, but unless they deliver a lot that can't be done better in C or Director or whatever, why should anyone care? 6/23/97

The net is clogged with bitmapped bits of text. 6/24/97

I have my own ideas of what would make a great search engine interface. Now that Wired is playing around with this, I want to play too. I'd like to use an outliner and database for my searching. I'm sure others would invent other interesting interfaces. 7/1/97

Software is a new art, the human race started running programs only a couple of generations ago. It's unlike all previous artforms, but it's having a huge impact on the other forms, borrowing from and remixing many (not all) forms of human creativity. 7/3/97

How big does Gates think? 7/3/97

Once you're dug in on a platform, it's so painful to switch. This is the lesson of computers. If you create using one, it really becomes personal. This is why Apple could spin in its spiral for a decade and still sell millions of computers a year. 7/8/97

Genius doesn't make your economics go boom. What does? Timing, luck, and changes in technological directions that are missed by your competitors. 7/8/97

We're going to Windows, not Rhapsody. It's so hard to switch. I want a safe place to build my little tree house. We've looked back several times, and wondered what was going on in our old home. But like the Okies in the thirties, there's no place for us there. So we look over the horizon and hope for the best! 7/8/97

We have many developers and users who have invested alongside us in Frontier for the Mac, and it wouldn't be prudent for us to not offer a smooth transition. To me that means at least one version that runs on both Mac and Windows. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess as to the future of the platform, and of course to the future of Frontier. 7/9/97

HTML -- great training wheels for net-based information. We needed HTML to get the networking boom to go commercial. We still need HTML as the lowest common denominator, the format that everyone can read. 7/22/97

The Internet is so pervasive in 1997 that every product, every new startup, is assumed to be completely embedded in it. It's not true of Trellix. It gains its Internet-embedding from the operating system, Windows; its inspiration comes from web browsers; but it serves a different purpose. 7/23/97

The often-cited VHS-Betamax battle had two winners. Let's not buy into black and white. Don't cry for Netscape and Marimba yet. They may have tapped into a big idea, especially if they have the courage to take the next step and open it up. 7/26/97

Sometimes when I ship something, the word Bonk! comes out of my mouth. I imagine my competitor being hit over the head! It's an immature idea, but it's also proof that my inner child is alive and well, and I dig that. 7/26/97

Everything that produces output should be available in HTTP server form. It would free up our over-burdened desktop machines. It would make things easier. Web servers in every device. It's a big growth business. 9/14/97

What makes scripting different than programming? It's higher level. The verbs do more. There's usually a database close by. The developer tools are easier and more highly leveraged and in some cases more complete than than those for Java. 9/15/97

You can't run a large website with a productivity tool. 9/16/97

I got an email from Bill Gates! That's exciting. Now... Did it really come from him? How can I tell? 9/29/97

Nowadays a website is about business. Get me to the new stuff quickly. Don't put a lot of gratuitous tricks in my way. If you keep it interesting, I'll reward you by returning. 10/7/97

I've become a full-time Windows user. 11/3/97

It's part of the digging process. We're building a big jet (this is how I visualize it) that can fly 500 people from New York to London. But first we have to fly from Houston to Austin with a small crew. 11/10/97

I was the biggest XML skeptic. Now I'm not. 12/13/97

Everyone talks in hushed tones about XML. Shhh. It's exciting! But what does it do? 12/15/97

We cloned sheep and we drove around on Mars. This is cool stuff. Did the software or Internet industries produce any really exciting stuff? Uhhh! Oooops. 12/24/97

From now on, Scripting News, in addition to being a HTML web page, is also an XML application. 12/27/97

© Copyright 1997 Dave Winer. This page was created on 12/28/97; 7:50:56 AM and last built on 8/22/99; 10:44:59 PM. Mailto: