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The REST Report · We were talk­ing at work about Server­less: What’s the right tool­ing for de­vel­op­ers build­ing that kind of ap­p? One of the busi­ness­peo­ple in the room said “Won’t de­vel­op­ers need s spe­cial UI con­struc­tion kit for Server­less apps?” The tech­ni­cal peo­ple all looked blank, be­cause REST. Brows­er code doesn’t care (nor does a new-fangled Re­act thingie, nor an iOS/An­droid ap­p) what’s hid­ing be­hind that HTTP POST. REST is more or less to­tal­ly dom­i­nant among app builders to­day. Is there any prospect of that chang­ing? ...
 
Money and Ads on the Web · My good­ness, the iOS-9 ad-blocker tech is rat­tling cages all over the In­ter­net. Here­with some links, in­clud­ing a cou­ple you like­ly haven’t seen, and one to a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, from Google ...
[5 comments]  
Web Decay Graph · I’ve been writ­ing this blog since 2003 and in that time have laid down, along with way over a mil­lion word­s, 12,373 hy­per­links. I’ve no­ticed that when some­thing leads me back to an old piece, the links are bro­ken dis­ap­point­ing­ly of­ten. So I made a lit­tle graph of their de­cay over the last 144 month­s ...
[16 comments]  
</html> · Item: The W3C HTML Work­ing Group char­ter is ex­pir­ing.
Item: Dis­cus­sion on what to do is in­con­clu­sive.
Item: Things are pret­ty qui­et in the WhatWG.
Con­clu­sion: The best thing to do about HTML is noth­ing
 ...
[27 comments]  
World Cup Tools · I’ve man­aged to take ad­van­tage of my between-gigs sta­tus to watch just over half of the World Cup match­es. To sat­is­fy my cu­rios­i­ty, I reg­u­lar­ly need­ed an­swers to two ques­tion­s: “What are the group standings?” and “What’s on today?” You’d think that FIFA.­com would be the place to find them, but you’d be wrong ...
[1 comment]  
Trusting Browser Code · It would be use­ful if you could re­al­ly trust code run­ning in your browser. It’s not ob­vi­ous that this is pos­si­ble; but it’s not ob­vi­ous that it isn’t, ei­ther ...
[2 comments]  
LifeSaver Works on KitKat · The 4.4 re­lease of An­droid broke my LifeSaver 2 ap­p, which mi­grates phone-call and SMS logs from your old phone to a new one. It was my fault not Android’s, be­cause the API for the SMS database was un­doc­u­ment­ed and thus un­of­fi­cial. With KitKat, now it’s of­fi­cial. And slight­ly dif­fer­en­t ...
[2 comments]  
Hyphenation Lessons · I just made a bunch of changes to the site here, which should make it run faster with­out vis­i­ble ef­fec­t. The de­tails might be of in­ter­est to Web-tech and publishing-tech geek­s. Plus, words on be­ing sen­ti­men­tal about Perl code ...
[13 comments]  
Is This Page Safe? · What hap­pened was, Paul Hoff­man, Lau­ren, and I were sit­ting up talk­ing about pri­va­cy, look­ing at a WordPress blog, and this weird thing hap­pened: We typed in its ad­dress with “https:” at the fron­t, and it showed up as locked/HTTPS in some browsers but not oth­er­s. It took quite a bit of pok­ing around to fig­ure out ...
[5 comments]  
CSS Drop Shadows · In ear­ly 2006, I added drop shad­ows to all the pic­tures here at on­go­ing; to do it I had to con­struct a 500-line Ja­va pro­gram. At the time I re­marked that CSS should just sup­port drop shad­ows, and now it does. Here’s how it look­s: ...
[2 comments]  
FC9: Social Sign-in · This term gets bandied about quite a bit in the Fed­er­a­tion Con­ver­sa­tion. When it comes up, de­vel­op­ers tend to strong emo­tion­al re­ac­tion­s: On the one hand “We re­al­ly need so­cial sign-in to make our ser­vice work” and on the oth­er “Ewww, no way; I don’t want our users wor­ried about what’s be­ing shared.” I’ve been dig­ging around the sub­jec­t; some­times I think there’s no there there ...
 
Why the Obamacare Website Sucks · Not a great launch. Won­der how many peo­ple with se­ri­ous Web street cred are sur­prised? I’ll tell you: ze­ro. But it’s amaz­ing how many po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors are sud­den­ly over­flow­ing with site-building chop­s ...
[12 comments]  
Canvas is Easy and Fun · I’ve been fool­ing with a favorite-color app as an Identity-tech testbed, and I want­ed to re­ward peo­ple just a lit­tle for mak­ing the ef­fort to pick and save and maybe share their own faves. I’d seen some of the flashy stuff that the cool kids are do­ing with HTML5 and even though I’m re­al­ly a server-side guy it looked like fun, so I poked around ...
 
IO in the Rearview · I en­joyed it more than any oth­er so far. More APIs, less hard­ware. More ses­sion­s, each short­er. One keynote ...
[16 comments]  
Springtime Tab Sweep — Tech · Ouch, some of these tabs are old. Uni­fy­ing the­me: none ...
[5 comments]  
How to Think About OAuth · I’m not a deep OAuth 2.0 ex­pert yet; at this point that la­bel is re­served for the (sub­stan­tial num­ber of) peo­ple who wrote the spec­s. But I’ve worked with a few im­ple­men­ta­tions and talked it over with smart peo­ple, and I have opin­ion­s. Sum­ma­ry: It’s a frame­work not a pro­to­col, it has ir­ri­tat­ing prob­lem­s, and it’s re­al­ly very use­ful ...
[8 comments]  
Ingress · It’s a new thing on the In­ter­net, a planetary-scale augmented-reality game be­ing played on a re­al plan­et: ours. It’s fun to play, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you have kid­s. And in­ter­est­ing, I think, for any­one who cares about is­sues of Life On­line, even non-gamers ...
[10 comments]  
Sending and Receiving · Yes, this is about “social media”; is that still a thing? I de­pend on this blog and syn­di­ca­tion feeds and Twit­ter and G+, all at once at the same time, and in a com­pli­cat­ed and messy way. But life isn’t ter­ri­ble ...
[6 comments]  
Statistics · Last night on im­pulse I spent a cou­ple hours script­ing and graph­ing and here’s a snap­shot of the brows­er and operating-system market-share num­bers as seen by this blog. The big trend is that there are no big trend­s ...
[2 comments]  
Rebuilding the Foundation · If you’re a geek, you know what “HTTP” is. If you’re not, you’ve still seen those let­ter­s, lurk­ing at the front of URLs ev­ery­where. It’s one of the two or three things that makes the Web ac­tu­al­ly work. It’s be­ing re­designed, per­hap­s. This telling of the sto­ry is most­ly for geek­s, but for the rest: If this ef­fort is suc­cess­ful, you might no­tice some things run a lit­tle quick­er. If it fail­s, you might no­tice some things run­ning slow­er, or get­ting more ex­pen­sive, and the Net grow­ing a lit­tle less pri­vate and safe ...
[6 comments]  
Browsers and Apps in 2012 · It’s like this: The browser’s doomed, be­cause apps are the fu­ture. Wait! Apps are doomed be­cause HTML5 is the fu­ture. I see some­thing al­most ev­ery day say­ing one or the oth­er. On­ly it’s most­ly wrong ...
[12 comments]  
A Million Lives Saved · Wel­l, not re­al­ly. But my LifeSaver 2 app has now up­load­ed over a mil­lion calls and mes­sages for a tem­po­rary stay in the cloud and (in the­o­ry) trans­fer to oth­er de­vices. This is not as im­pres­sive as it sounds since the num­ber of unique users is still just a few hun­dred; but it pleas­es me nonethe­less. I ob­serve that the num­ber of down­loads is quite a bit small­er; it seems that peo­ple up­load, and then it takes them longer than they thought to get their new de­vice brought up and LifeSaver in­stalled; long enough for the cloud scrub­ber to have erased their up­load, so they have to do it again ...
[4 comments]  
Tab Trick · A per­son watch­ing over my shoul­der asked “How are you switch­ing around so fast?” and I re­al­ized that while most read­ers here know this trick, some may not, and it’s aw­ful­ly use­ful ...
[11 comments]  
WebSockets Follow-Up · Back in ear­ly 2010 I wrote an im­mense­ly long piece called HTML5; a sec­tion called How To Spec? took a baf­fled look at one of the many HTML5 sub-projects, We­bSock­et­s ...
[6 comments]  
Network App Macroeconomics · A friend of mine is work­ing on a com­pli­cat­ed pub­lish­ing ap­p; the da­ta is XML, per­fect­ly ap­pro­pri­ate when your ob­jects are doc­u­ments. She told me they were think­ing about au­tomat­ing some of the work by run­ning XSLT trans­for­ma­tions out there in the client with libxslt. I said “Well yeah, as long as the client’s a PC not a tablet”. The cat­e­go­ry of “things you can do on a PC but not a tablet” is in­ter­est­ing ...
[13 comments]  
LifeSaver 2.0 · Way last fal­l, I took my old LifeSaver app and re-wrote it to store his­to­ries in Google App Engine back-end as op­posed to the SD card, most­ly be­cause lots of mod­ern phones don’t have SD card­s. Then I had an at­tack of fear about de­ploy­ing it, then I went on a world tour and got sick and took va­ca­tion and got dis­tract­ed. I just pub­lished LifeSaver 2.0 ...
[7 comments]  
Now With Schema.org Markup · If you’re look­ing at this in a Google+ link to its home on tbray.org, the snip­pet de­scrib­ing it should be ex­act­ly the same as the para­graph you’re now read­ing ...
[6 comments]  
Channel Choices · When I have some­thing work-related to tell the world, I have a lot of choic­es: This blog, @tim­bray, +Tim Bray, or (work-related, re­mem­ber), the An­droid Developers’ blog, @an­droid­dev, and as of this week, +An­droid Devel­op­ers. That last one, be­ing the newest, has a mere 25K cir­clers (although prob­a­bly more by the time you look); the cir­cler/­fol­low­er/­sub­scriber count of the oth­er chan­nels ranges up to the as­tound­ing 195K for @an­droid­de­v ...
[6 comments]  
Cloudy · I don’t spend that much time think­ing cloud these days, al­though there are in­ter­est­ing machi­na­tions here at Google that might suck me in should I get bored with An­droid. But the top­ic isn’t go­ing away just be­cause I’m ig­nor­ing it ...
[4 comments]  
Browser Sedimentation · I want­ed to hit my browser’s “home” but­ton and for a baf­fling mo­ment couldn’t find it. This re­mains a rare ex­pe­ri­ence, but I found it a wor­ry­ing symp­tom ...
[20 comments]  
HttpURLConnection’s Dark Secrets · If you’re pro­gram­ming in the Ja­va lan­guage and want to talk to a Web server, there are sev­er­al li­braries you can choose from. HttpURLCon­nec­tion is one pop­u­lar choice, and for An­droid pro­gram­ming, the en­gi­neer­ing team has now of­fi­cial­ly sug­gest­ed that you use it where pos­si­ble ...
[12 comments]  
Misscrolling · We ex­pect streams of text to scroll down in our browser­s. But al­most all of them scroll in­cor­rect­ly ...
[39 comments]  
Wrong on the Internet · I was ly­ing in bed this Sun­day morn­ing, check­ing the Net be­fore com­ing down­stairs to make scram­bled eggs (with mush­rooms and snap peas, yum) for the fam­i­ly, and ran across a bit of ran­dom snark from Aaron Swartz. Any Sun­day morn­ing is im­proved by a chance to ar­gue about markup lan­guages and how the Web work­s ...
[7 comments]  
Analytics · For some years now, I’ve large­ly ig­nored the is­sues of how many peo­ple read this blog, where they come from, what tech­nolo­gies they use, and so on. But to­day I took a side-trip in­to Google An­a­lyt­ics and I found the num­bers in­ter­est­ing, so maybe you will too ...
[13 comments]  
Android App Engine Client · Re­cent­ly I wrote a scary App-Engine back end for an An­droid app. I want­ed it to be se­cure, which should be easy be­cause An­droids have Google ac­counts and App Engine knows about those. I got it to work, but the pro­cess ir­ri­tat­ed me enough that I de­cid­ed to pack­age it up as a pub­lic ser­vice. So now there’s a lit­tle open-source li­brary called App Engine REST Client. It of­fers GET and POST meth­od­s, in­cludes an Authen­ti­ca­tor class, and tries to be as sim­ple as pos­si­ble to use ...
[4 comments]  
Cloud Lifesaving and Fear · Last year I built (and of course blogged) this nifty lit­tle An­droid app called LifeSaver, which would copy your telephone-call and SMS logs on­to an SD card, so you could move the SD card to an­oth­er phone, run LifeSaver again, and get ’em all back. Calls and texts aren’t mi­grat­ed by the ex­cel­lent An­droid back­up sys­tem ...
[26 comments]  
Browser Breakup · For some years, Sa­fari has been my de­fault browser. I gen­er­al­ly pre­fer its choic­es in fram­ing and er­gonomics and short­cuts over all oth­er­s. But I’ve had to stop us­ing it ...
[26 comments]  
Tisa · A cou­ple of days ago I switched the Neu­ton type­face in­to this space, via Google Web Fonts. I liked it but a lot of oth­ers didn’t, and it turned out that for some rea­son, on Win­dows it just didn’t work as a body font; I sus­pect it’d be fine for dis­play pur­pos­es (as in, for head­li­nes). So, on to Plan B: FF Tisa Web Pro, from Typekit ...
[13 comments]  
Somewhat Dutch-inspired · The full quote reads “Neuton is a clean, dark, some­what Dutch-inspired serif font which re­minds you a lit­tle of Times.” I just now stripped the old ser­if/sans choice out of my blog (less margina­li­a!) and dropped in Neu­ton for all the body tex­t ...
[15 comments]  
“Web” vs. “Native” · Back in Fe­bru­ary of 2010 I in­ter­viewed for a new job. It was the typ­i­cal Google hiring-process siege; I talked to six or eight peo­ple over the course of the day. At least half of them asked me “Native vs Web apps on mo­bile; what do you think?” ...
[37 comments]  
Reading Feeds · NetNewsWire and its au­thor Brent Sim­mons have been much in the news re­cent­ly. NNW’s fu­ture is a mov­ing tar­get, and that mat­ters be­cause the app mat­ter­s; it’s one of the bet­ter rea­sons to use a Mac ...
[20 comments]  
+1 · The of­fi­cial state­ment is: The +1 but­ton is short­hand for “this is pret­ty cool” or “you should check this out”. This blog now has ’em. If you’re one of the (vast ma­jor­i­ty of) peo­ple who are look­ing at this in one feed-reader or an­oth­er, you can’t see them, but you might want to glance at the home page to get the feel. Or just open this ar­ti­cle in a brows­er and look down at the bot­tom ...
[38 comments]  
Me and My Browsers · I use Sa­far­i, Chrome, and Fire­fox si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly. But I’m not sure I’m do­ing it right. Here’s why and how ...
[13 comments]  
Reflowing · Last month I re­jig­gered the pub­lish­ing sys­tem here, mak­ing the text larg­er and wider and hy­phen­at­ed and jus­ti­fied. Now more: a bit of cos­met­ic change, a sig­nif­i­cant stylesheet sim­pli­fi­ca­tion, and a sub­stan­tial gain in ro­bust­ness. Plus, a les­son re-learned about the We­b ...
[8 comments]  
Reshaping · For the first time in years, I’m work­ing on chang­ing the look of this here blog. I’ve been bored with it in re­cent years, then Blaine Cook’s Beau­ti­ful Lines pushed me over the edge. As of to­day, if you’re read­ing this at tbray.org rather than in one feed read­er or an­oth­er, the text is jus­ti­fied on both sides and hy­phen­at­ed as nec­es­sary. There are side-effects, and I’m not sure I’m 100% hap­py with the re­sult­s. I am sure there’s lots more work to do ...
[33 comments]  
More on Baking · There’s a flur­ry of con­ver­sa­tion among those who build and host blogs on the sub­ject of “baking”, i.e. caus­ing your blog’s pages to be served us­ing of or­di­nary “static” files stored on disk, as op­posed to as­sem­bled at re­quest time with calls to a database. Brent Sim­mons is sort of driv­ing; see A plea for baked we­blogs and More on baked blogs ...
[11 comments]  
Broken Links · I’ve been get­ting mad­der and mad­der about the in­creas­ing use of dorky web links; for ex­am­ple, twit­ter.­com/­tim­bray has be­come twit­ter.­com/#!/­tim­bray. Others have too; see Break­ing the Web with hash-bangs and Go­ing Pos­tel. It dawns on me that a word of ex­pla­na­tion might be in or­der for those who nor­mal­ly don’t wor­ry about all the bits and pieces lurk­ing in­side a Web ad­dress ...
[62 comments]  
Referral Information Loss · Late Sun­day I pub­lished Ten Th­e­ses on Tablets; it picked up a few high-profile links and re­fer­rals and went mild­ly vi­ral and as of now has been read (in a brows­er as op­posed to a feed read­er) 13,911 times. Who do you think might have sent those peo­ple? ...
[26 comments]  
How To Sell Apps? · I’ve been in­ter­est­ed re­cent­ly in An­droid Mar­ket; it, and its peers such as the Ap­ple App Store and Ovi and (in a slight­ly dif­fer­ent fla­vor) the Google Apps Mar­ket­place are all re­cent ar­rival­s, try­ing to do a new thing. And I don’t think any of them are do­ing it very well ...
[16 comments]  
Starting To Be Wrong · Every­body knows that de­sign­ing for the Web is not like de­sign­ing for print: The shape is flu­id not fixed, the font se­lec­tion is lim­it­ed, and there aren’t enough dots-per-inch to do prop­er ty­pog­ra­phy any­how; the ef­fect is that you have to give up fine con­trol over lay­out. Which was true un­til 2010 ...
[21 comments]  
Publishing Video in 2010 · My nifty new Canon S90 shoots rea­son­able video, and it comes to mind that I’d like to video-blog from Google I/O next week. So I em­barked on an HTML5 video ad­ven­ture, and am here to tell the tale ...
[12 comments]  
Statistics Redux · For a few years, end­ing in ear­ly 2007, I used to do a month­ly (maybe even week­ly) up­date to a post en­ti­tled Statis­tics, which had pret­ty graphs sum­ma­riz­ing which browsers were vis­it­ing on­go­ing, and re­lat­ed in­for­ma­tion. After sup­per this evening I for some rea­son got in­ter­est­ed in this prob­lem again and made an­oth­er graph. There are tricky is­sues both of form (how I built the graph) and con­tent (what it says) ...
[5 comments]  
HTML5 and the Web · I am an un­abashed par­ti­san of the Web — its ar­chi­tec­ture, cul­ture, and con­tent. I’m proud to have played a very small part in shap­ing bits of the ma­chin­ery and hav­ing con­tribut­ed prob­a­bly too many words to that con­tent But as for HTML5? It’s a good enough thing to the ex­tent it turns out to work. But noth­ing ter­ri­bly im­por­tant de­pends on it ...
[35 comments]  
Flash History · I’m a lit­tle ir­ri­tat­ed that all those preach­ing about Flash are ig­nor­ing the history — how we got here — so this is by way of fill­ing that in ...
[45 comments]  
Invisible Flash · Sup­pose you want to use Flash on your web­site. I think this is a bad idea, but I ac­cept that some are go­ing to ig­nore my wise ad­vice and do it any­how. If you do this and you’re not care­ful, you can make it ab­so­lute­ly im­pos­si­ble for some peo­ple to see your show ...
[9 comments]  
HTML5 · It’s all over the news these days, be­cause it’s A Good Thing: the Web will be smarter and faster and bet­ter. And for oth­er rea­sons in­volv­ing pol­i­tics and vi­tu­per­a­tion. I love parts of HTML5, but it’s clear that oth­er parts are a sci­ence pro­jec­t. And as a some­time stan­dards wonk, I’m puz­zled by as­pects of the way the spec (not the lan­guage, the spec for the lan­guage) is put to­geth­er ...
[30 comments]  
Dailyshoot Mashup · For the past cou­ple of weeks I’ve been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Dai­lyshoot project, a gift to the world from James Dun­can David­son and Mike Clark. Now I’m feed­ing that pho­to­stream in­to this space. Apolo­gies to sub­scribers for the 16-picture back­log; in fu­ture it’ll be a dull rum­ble. This rais­es some in­ter­est­ing is­sues in pho­tog­ra­phy and pub­lish­ing pol­i­cy and mashup tech­nol­o­gy ...
[3 comments]  
Google vs. Gmail · We’ve had our Tex­tu­al­i­ty.­com do­main since di­nosaurs stalked the earth, and I’d like tbray@ to be my per­son­al email han­dle right in­to the grave. But our cur­rent ISP/host is kind of lame and slow and has fourth-rate spam fil­ters that get in the way. So Lau­ren sug­gest­ed Google Apps for Email, and the buzz around it seems good. We’re about to pull the trig­ger, but it seems to be hard­er than it should be ...
[25 comments]  
Power Web Site · I pro­pose a new def­i­ni­tion. A site which is de­signed as the pri­ma­ry Web prop­er­ty for a per­son, place, or thing is a pow­er site if the per­son, place, or thing has a Wikipedia en­try but, in pop­u­lar search en­gi­nes, the site ranks above that Wikipedia en­try. There aren’t very many. But they fol­low sim­ple pat­tern­s ...
[14 comments]  
On the Blankness of Google · To­day, with­out plan­ning to, I vis­it­ed the Google home page, then al­so Ya­hoo and Bing. They don’t look like each oth­er at al­l. I think, first of al­l, that Ya­hoo is the past, Google the pre­sen­t, Bing the fu­ture. And sec­ond, that it doesn’t mat­ter much ...
[17 comments]  
RESTful Design · In ful­l, that’s the First In­ter­na­tion­al Work­shop on REST­ful De­sign, ab­bre­vi­at­ed as (sigh) “WS-REST”. It’s next April in Raleigh, NC, co-located with WWW2010, and I’m on the pro­gram com­mit­tee; the call for pa­pers is now open. I wish I’d been the one to think of set­ting this up, and I’m hap­py to be part of it. In the REST space, there are a ton of peo­ple out there Just Do­ing It, and I’d be hap­py to see a lot of sub­mis­sions which re­port on lessons from that, rather than div­ing in­to hy­per­text ca­su­istry. Get ’em in.
[1 comment]  
PubHubSunday · Which is to say, It’s Sun­day and I just wired up my lit­tle pub­lish­ing em­pire here to the new hot­ness in Web syn­di­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy, PubSubHub­bub. If you’re run­ning a hub and you’re not evil, let me know and I’ll ping you ...
[12 comments]  
Ravelry · Pos­si­bly you’ve nev­er heard of it. But if you know any­one who knits or cro­chet­s, ask him or (more like­ly) her about Ravel­ry and chances are you’re talk­ing to an ac­tive mem­ber. It’s big. This is an in­ter­view with Casey Forbes, who con­sti­tutes the whole en­gi­neer­ing staff ...
[6 comments]  
Twitter Injection · Re­cent­ly in Blog & Tweet I ex­plained why I want­ed to make my Twit­ter his­to­ry a part of the pub­li­ca­tion you are now read­ing. Along the same lines, read Dave Win­er on the im­por­tance of the his­toric record and the gen­er­al good­ness of stat­ic files be­hind an Apache server. This post out­lines how it work­s, with source code, and draws a con­clu­sion ...
[9 comments]  
Cloud API Revised · I put in quite a few hours this week slav­ing over a hot Wik­i, and the re­sults are re­flect­ed in a bunch of re­vi­sions to the Sun Cloud API spec ...
[4 comments]  
The Sun Web Stack · Boy, there’ve been a lot of re­leas­es go by, but of­fi­cial­ly, this is Web Stack 1.5. The Web Stack is a prod­uct I’ve been en­cour­ag­ing and cheer­lead­ing for quite a while. What’s in­ter­est­ing, of course, is the list of in­gre­di­ents, es­pe­cial­ly in­clud­ing the Continuous-Integration Suite Former­ly Known As Hud­son ...
[3 comments]  
Tab Sweep — the Web · I’ll follow-up yesterday’s most­ly po­lit­i­cal tab sweep with one that’s a lit­tle clos­er to home for (I think) most read­er­s: Pieces about the Web and how we do and should live on it and use it ...
[7 comments]  
Blog Spam · I have com­ments, but no spam in my com­ments. Here’s why ...
[20 comments]  
The Web Curriculum · I pro­pose that the World Wide Web would serve well as a frame­work for struc­tur­ing much of the aca­dem­ic Com­put­er Science cur­ricu­lum. A study of the the­o­ry and prac­tice of the Web’s tech­nolo­gies would tra­verse many key ar­eas of our dis­ci­pline. Fur­ther­more, there is a nat­u­ral way to struc­ture such a traver­sal to sup­port a course of study stretch­ing over many semester­s ...
[22 comments]  
Slow REST · We’re work­ing on a fair­ly sub­stan­tial re­vi­sion of the Sun Cloud API, mo­ti­vat­ed by this prob­lem: In a REST­ful con­tex­t, how do you han­dle state-changing op­er­a­tions (POST, PUT, DELETE) which have sub­stan­tial and un­pre­dictable la­ten­cy? ...
[26 comments]  
Ben and Dion and JavaFX and Ajax · Last Tues­day at JavaOne, Dion Al­maer and Ben Gal­braith staged a mock-debate: Ajax Ver­sus JavaFX™ Tech­nol­o­gy. I say “mock” be­cause it wasn’t a de­bate, it was a mug­ging ...
[8 comments]  
The Web vs. the Fallacies · Here at Sun, the Fal­la­cies of Distribut­ed Com­put­ing have long been a much-revered lesson. Fur­ther­more, I per­son­al­ly think they’re pret­ty much spot-on. But these days, you don’t of­ten find them com­ing up in con­ver­sa­tions about build­ing big net­worked sys­tem­s. The rea­son is, I think, that we build al­most ev­ery­thing on Web tech­nolo­gies, which lets get away with be­liev­ing some of them ...
[12 comments]  
Cloudy IT · There’s a study out from McKin­sey, Clear­ing the Air on Cloud Com­put­ing; many read­ers will have seen the com­men­tary here & there around the We­b. I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing the time to page through the 34 well-put-together pages of the orig­i­nal. Its con­clu­sion is deeply wrong ...
[7 comments]  
Minimal Rack + JRuby + GlassFish Recipe · I’ve been work­ing on a lit­tle piece of Ruby-and-Rack-based Web in­te­gra­tion goo, and it’s done enough that we have to fig­ure out de­ploy­men­t. One rea­son I picked Rack is that it’s ad­ver­tised as de­ploy­ing on any­thing. The en­vi­ron­ment where this will live has some of this and some of that, and we’re us­ing GlassFish to tie it all to­geth­er, which seems like an ap­pro­pri­ate choice. So, the prob­lem is: How to plug a sim­ple Rack ap­pli­ca­tion in­to GlassFish? ...
[2 comments]  
Al3x, Meet Ted · Alex Payne is known by thou­sands as al3x. He’s a de­vel­op­er at Twit­ter. I’ve been a fan since he wrote what I con­sid­er to be the sin­gle great­est tweet ev­er by any­one. He just pub­lished Mend­ing The Bit­ter Ab­sence of Rea­soned Tech­ni­cal Dis­cus­sion, which is good, but wrong in an es­sen­tial way. Ted is Theodore Stur­geon ...
[13 comments]  
Cloudy Days · I see the much-ballyhooed Open Cloud Man­i­festo is now on the air. IBM’s Bob Su­tor says some un­sur­pris­ing things in When you choose your cloud­s, don’t make fog­gy choic­es. The stan­dard­iza­tion drums are throb­bing in the po­lit­i­cal un­der­growth; does it mean any­thing? ...
[9 comments]  
On Rack · I’m re­fer­ring not to an in­stru­ment of tor­ture, nor in­dus­tri­al fur­ni­ture for com­put­er­s, but to the in­creas­ing­ly pop­u­lar Rack Web serv­er in­ter­face. I’ve found, first, that the ex­pla­na­tions of what it does aren’t that great, and sec­ond, that it’s ide­al for my cur­rent at-work pro­jec­t. I bet it’d be use­ful for lots of oth­ers too, so here’s my shot at an in­tro­duc­tion ...
[16 comments]  
RESTful Casuistry · Here it is Fri­day af­ter­noon, and my ef­forts to lash my brain in­to ac­tu­al tech­nol­o­gy cre­ation are be­com­ing less and less ef­fec­tive. So let’s dab­ble in meta-REST in­stead, shall we? ...
[25 comments]  
The Sun Cloud · To­day at Com­mu­ni­tyOne in New York, we’re an­nounc­ing a bunch of Cloud-related stuff. Some of it has my fin­ger­prints on it. This is my per­son­al take on the in­ter­est­ing part­s ...
[22 comments]  
PDML + Twitter · I made a Twit­ter feed called @PDML. The let­ters stand for Pentax-Discuss Mail­ing List, which I read with plea­sure; a high-volume, row­dy, en­joy­able gag­gle of cam­era geek­s. One of the things they do is post nice pic­tures, which are iden­ti­fied with a sub­ject line start­ing “PESO:” for Pic­ture Every So Often (and some­times “GESO:”, G for Gallery). @PDML has those posts’ first hy­per­link and as much of their con­tent as can be stuffed in­to 140 bytes. It’s a nice low-volume Twit­ter feed, less than five pix a day on av­er­age. I be­lieve this is what the cool kids call a “Mashup”. A very slow one, but stil­l ...
[17 comments]  
Technically Silent · Gosh, it seems like I’m not writ­ing any­thing here about Web tech or servers or clouds or pro­gram­ming. That’s be­cause I’m in the un­usu­al po­si­tion of not be­ing able to talk about what I’m work­ing on. But not for long; un­less some­thing goes ter­ri­bly wrong we’ll be able to de­cloak some things at Com­mu­ni­tyOne East on the 18th in Man­hat­tan. Peo­ple who know my opin­ions will be un­sur­prised I think. But they might well be pleased. This Cloud thing; the hype is be­yond ex­treme but there re­al­ly is a there there, I’m pret­ty sure.
[5 comments]  
On Paper · I got a book in the mail to­day that made me very hap­py. But the fu­ture of any­thing on pa­per is ob­vi­ous­ly lim­it­ed. My feel­ings about this are com­plex ...
[17 comments]  
Un-Flash · Believe it or not, I didn’t know about Flash-blocking un­til re­cent­ly. If you’re Fire­foxy, you need FlashBlock. Sa­fari­ers want click­toflash. I’m one of the few, the proud, the Camino user­s; for us it’s just a tick-box in the stan­dard pref­er­ences. (And what is this “IE” of which you speak?) It’s amaz­ing, first of al­l, how many lit­tle gobs of Ph­lash Ph­legm there are all over com­mer­cial pages, and sec­ond, how much lighter-weight the whole brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is when you just Turn ’Em All Of­f ...
[17 comments]  
State of the World · There’s a lengthy (31:58) au­dio in­ter­view with me over at JavaWorld; it’s en­ti­tled What’s next in Ja­va Web de­vel­op­ment but ends up cov­er­ing most of the things I wor­ry about, from con­cur­ren­cy to the Cloud. Peo­ple who’ve been read­ing this space for a while will be un­sur­prised. Thanks to An­drew Glover for tak­ing the time.
 
On Production Systems · Lau­ren re­cent­ly post­ed Re-routing, sketch­ing out how we re­con­fig­ured our home net­work. The re­design wasn’t ter­ri­bly deep or in­ter­est­ing in and of it­self, but it made me think about the char­ac­ter­is­tics of “production” sys­tem­s ...
[1 comment]  
Name-Value Pairs · I was asked to help out with work on a bunch of Cloudy APIs and nat­u­ral­ly I’m try­ing to make them REST­ful. It dawns on me that, very of­ten, client-to-server mes­sages can be ex­pressed as name-value pairs, and that do­ing this is on bal­ance A Good Thing ...
[19 comments]  
HTML5 Pain · Sam Ru­by is al­ways worth read­ing; to­day his Half Full took me on a (rare) vis­it to HTML5-land. Among the many things I feel guilty about, not hav­ing the strength to fol­low HTML5 is promi­nen­t. Ian Hick­son and his posse have re­peat­ed­ly proved that they can ef­fort­less­ly over­run my in­put buffer; I won­der how W3C stal­warts like Dan Con­nol­ly are hold­ing up un­der the strain? ...
[5 comments]  
Comparative Web · Check out Olio over at Apache.org; it’s a sam­ple Web ap­p, three im­ple­men­ta­tion­s, a load driver, and an in­vi­ta­tion to build more. So all of you who are talk­ing up your hot new Web frame­work­s, about how they’re sim­pler than Rails and faster than Java: Prove it. On a lev­el play­ing field. What a great idea.
[5 comments]  
Web Geeks on the Bayou · Some words and pic­tures about ApacheCon 2008 in New Or­lean­s ...
[3 comments]  
How Fast is Fast? · In prepa­ra­tion for my mod-atom pre­sen­ta­tion at ApacheCon next week, I’ve been run­ning some per­for­mance tests with the help of a gag­gle of client ma­chines rus­tled up by some good peo­ple in the Sun engineering-lab group. The first num­bers are trick­ling in, and I’m a bit at a loss both on what to mea­sure and how to eval­u­ate the re­sult­s. Is 180 POSTs/sec­ond on a T2000 good?
[Up­date: Make that 320/sec­ond; have some bet­ter da­ta pre­sent­ed in a table.]
 ...
[7 comments]  
Inside mod_atom · This is a lengthy note to my­self. I ini­tial­ly want­ed to cap­ture the think­ing that went in­to the con­struc­tion of mod­_atom while it was still fresh in my mind, and dumped out the first dozen or so sec­tion­s. Then as I ex­pand­ed and refac­tored the code, I find that I’m keep­ing this up to date. This most­ly by way of putting it in a place where I won’t lose it. I can write stuff for on­go­ing faster than for any oth­er medi­um, and “On the Net” is a good place not to lose stuff. If mod­_atom even­tu­al­ly gets picked up and used, this may be use­ful to me or any­one else who’s main­tain­ing it; and if it doesn’t, there’ll still even­tu­al­ly be an AtomPub serv­er mod­ule for Apache, and this might be use­ful to who­ev­er builds it. But this is not de­signed to be en­ter­tain­ing or ped­a­gog­i­cal; among oth­er things, it’s in es­sen­tial­ly ran­dom or­der ...
 
On Tough Times · As the clock ticked to­ward my Friday-morning keynote at FOWA Lon­don 2008 I was se­ri­ous­ly tense, be­cause late Thurs­day I’d torn up my nearly-cooked speech. What I gave in­stead was a dark-hued scary mes­sage en­ti­tled Get­ting Through the Tough Times. Be­cause, you know, I’m scared ...
[19 comments]  
Go Network · What’s the sin­gle most im­por­tant thing that can help us all get by in tough times? Other peo­ple. And if it takes an ef­fort to get out and build a net­work, well that’s an ef­fort we all need to be mak­ing. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
 
Contribute · If you want the Web to help you earn a liv­ing dur­ing tough times, you’d bet­ter be giv­ing some­thing back. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[13 comments]  
Branch Out · What can you, as an in­di­vid­u­al, do to max­i­mize your chances and min­i­mize your pain dur­ing tough times? Sugges­tion­s: lose your re­li­gion, look over the fence, and learn some­thing. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.]  ...
[14 comments]  
Understand Your User · We’re hear­ing that lousy times are good times for cre­ativ­i­ty, for build­ing new things, pre­cise­ly be­cause the main­stream things aren’t work­ing. Wel­l, and maybe you’re out of a job too. If you’re build­ing some­thing new, who should you build it for? [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[11 comments]  
Answer the Phone Call · I think that if you’re look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties in tough times, the tele­coms mar­ket is a re­al­ly good place to look. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[3 comments]  
Legacy Opportunity · Al­most ev­ery­one in this busi­ness has put in time work­ing on crufty, cal­ci­fied old soft­ware de­ploy­ments; the po­lite word is “Legacy”. Wel­l, they’re not go­ing away any time soon. And in tough times, there might be some re­al op­por­tu­ni­ty lurk­ing in these dark, dusty cor­ner­s. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[6 comments]  
Back to Basics · What have the poster chil­dren of Web 2.0 been about? Con­sid­er some ex­am­ples: Pic­tures, movies, hang­ing out, air trav­el, knit­ting, and shar­ing what you’re up to. In the con­text of a glob­al eco­nom­ic melt­down, don’t these feel a lit­tle, well, frivolous? [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[5 comments]  
Tab Sweep — (Sun) Technology · Another sweep across the sev­er­al dozen brows­er tabs I’ve built up in re­cent week­s, think­ing “worth writ­ing about”. As I was build­ing this up, I no­ticed that al­most ev­ery­thing was Sun-related, so I fo­cused on that stuff. Yep, my in­ter­ests are con­flict­ed all right, but I think it’s in­ter­est­ing stuff ...
[1 comment]  
Regulatory Opportunity · [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] In the se­ries so far, I’ve been writ­ing gen­er­al­ly about or­ga­ni­za­tion­al be­hav­ior aimed at get­ting through the ug­li­ness. I’d al­so like to of­fer some sug­ges­tions for ar­eas that are like­ly to be fruit­ful growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in tough times. The most ob­vi­ous one, a no-brainer, is the tools and tech­nolo­gies we’ll need to com­ply with a mas­sive change in the reg­u­la­to­ry cli­mate ...
[4 comments]  
No Venture Capital · Do­ing a start­up is al­ways tough (been there, done that) and the eco­nom­ic melt­down isn’t go­ing to help; well, un­less you’ve found a works-great-in-bad-times niche. Every start­up con­sid­ers venture-capital in­vest­men­t. For most Web star­tup­s, this is a lousy idea, and I think the cur­rent busi­ness cli­mate makes it worse. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[4 comments]  
Join the Conversation · If your busi­ness is hurt­ing and mon­ey is tight, I have an idea: How’d you like to de­ploy an ap­pli­ca­tion that lets you get clos­er to your cus­tomer­s, hear about trou­ble be­fore it gets se­ri­ous, and doesn’t cost much? [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[8 comments]  
Lockin-Free Cloud? · Google’s DeWitt Clin­ton, in a com­ment on my Get In the Cloud piece, as­serts that both Google App Engine and Ama­zon EC2/S3 are al­ready lockin-free by my def­i­ni­tion. That’s not quite con­sis­tent with the word I’m hear­ing on the street. I’d ap­pre­ci­ate tes­ti­mo­ny and point­ers from oth­er­s, be­cause this is a re­al­ly im­por­tant is­sue ...
[14 comments]  
Get In the Cloud · When times are tough, mon­ey is tight. Which mean­s, you’d think, that the gold­en era of Cloud Com­put­ing, as in pay-as-you-go in­fras­truc­ture, is up­on us. It should be, but we’re not there yet. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[24 comments]  
Free Software Now · I’m talk­ing, sans ide­ol­o­gy, about “free” as in no-money-up-front. When busi­ness is al­ready hurt­ing, up-front soft­ware li­cense fees hurt es­pe­cial­ly hard, and I just don’t be­lieve that En­ter­prise Soft­ware, as cur­rent­ly priced, has much fu­ture, in the near term any­how. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[5 comments]  
A Good Time for Agility · When busi­ness is lousy, get­ting projects ap­proved and bud­get­ed is chal­leng­ing. Which mean­s, tough times are good times to be ag­ile. [This is part of the Tough Times se­ries.] ...
[5 comments]  
Blues Pix · I’ve got a touch o’ them old autumnal-financial-meltdown blues, so I’ll post a cou­ple of gar­den shots as ther­a­py ...
[1 comment]  
Enterprisey but Good · In the old days I was a Perl guy and now I see the Web through Ruby-red spec­ta­cles. Like most peo­ple in the open-source and dynamic-language com­mu­ni­ties, I nev­er re­al­ly warmed up to Ja­va EE; tons of mov­ing part­s, too many lay­ers of in­di­rec­tion, too much XML con­fig­u­ra­tion, and any­how I didn’t want to use that lan­guage for writ­ing Web app­s. But it turns out you don’t have to like EE to be re­al in­ter­est­ed in app server­s.
[Up­date: Check the dis­cus­sion in the com­ments; there’s more to this than meets the eye­.]
 ...
[4 comments]  
Testing REST · I’ve been us­ing RSpec in a way that’s prob­a­bly in­ap­pro­pri­ate, but has got me think­ing about Test-Driven Devel­op­ment and REST ...
[13 comments]  
Pronounced “Keen-Eye” · We launched Pro­ject Ke­nai very qui­et­ly last Fri­day. It’s a de­vel­op­er hub with SCM and is­sue track­ing and fo­rums and all the oth­er stuff you’d ex­pec­t. We built it be­cause we need­ed it, but it’s open for use by the world for free. For a new­born in­fan­t, it looks pret­ty good. Any­one can vis­it, but to cre­ate a project re­quires an in­vi­ta­tion, which I have some of; con­tact me if you want one. There are lots of in­ter­est­ing things about Ke­nai; among oth­er things, it’s a Rails ap­p. Here­with the de­tail­s.
[Up­date: Nick Sieger re­sponds to heat over “control”.]
 ...
[14 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Technology · I’d kind of got­ten out of the habit of do­ing tab sweep­s, large­ly be­cause my Twit­ter feed is such a se­duc­tive place to drop in­ter­est­ing links. But as of now there are around 30 tabs open on my browser, each rep­re­sent­ing some­thing I thought was im­por­tant enough to think about and maybe write about. Some are over a month old. Some of them have been well-covered else­where. All I as­sert is that af­ter I read each one of the­se, I didn’t want to hit command-W to make that win­dow go away. Uni­fy­ing the­me? Sure­ly you jest ...
[1 comment]  
Build One to Throw Away · This is a max­im from Fred Brooks’ The Myth­i­cal Man-Month. Th­ese days I’m think­ing it’s the sin­gle most im­por­tant les­son there is about soft­ware. It’s been brought rude­ly home to me by my re­cent work on mod­_atom, whose de­sign is ter­ri­bly sim­ple; but I still got the first cut wrong in im­por­tant ways ...
[9 comments]  
REST Questions · My good­ness, there’s cer­tain­ly a lot of REST talk these days. I’m part­ly re­spon­si­ble; Paul Krill and I had a long talk at OSCON and he chose to pull out my diss­ing WS-* for his ti­tle: Sun tech­nol­o­gist: SOAP stack a ‘failure’. This led to an in­cred­i­bly long dis­cus­sion thread on Ya­hoo Groups’ (irritatingly-named) “service-orientated-architecture” fo­rum. Damien Katz was an­oth­er provo­ca­teur, fir­ing off REST, I just don't get it and “The web is built on REST. There­fore REST is good” Bull­shit. This pro­voked Dare Ob­san­jo to a burst of re­strained ped­a­gogy in Ex­plain­ing REST to Damien Katz. Let me stir this pot with a few ques­tion­s, some vague­ly hereti­cal in fla­vor ...
[26 comments]  
Tasty Rails ETags · This piece is pro­voked by Ryan Daigle’s What’s New in Edge Rail­s: Sim­pler Con­di­tion­al Get Sup­port (ETags). I think it’s an im­por­tant sub­jec­t. I re­al­ize that many read­ers here un­der­stand what ETags are and why they mat­ter, and will see right away how the API Ryan de­scribes fits in­to the pic­ture. If you don’t, and you build Web app­s, it’s prob­a­bly worth read­ing this and fol­low­ing some links ...
[6 comments]  
Sun Web Server Open-Sourced · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. We’re open-sourcing Sun’s own Web serv­er (for­mal­ly the “Sun Ja­va Sys­tem Web Server”), us­ing (and here’s a sur­prise) the BSD li­cense; I don’t know if we’ve gone BSD be­fore ...
[2 comments]  
Sun + Joyent + Facebook · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. The news is that we’re part­ner­ing with Joyent to of­fer one year’s free host­ing for Face­book apps. I don’t re­al­ly un­der­stand the Facebook-app ecosys­tem, but any­thing that re­duces the bar­ri­er to en­try has to be good, right?
 
Sun Web Stack · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. The Sun Web Stack, ship­ping lat­er this year, is an ag­glom­er­a­tion of Web stuff (“Formerly known as CoolS­tack, al­so known as LAMP/SAMP”), and a fully-supported Sun prod­uct on both So­laris and GNU/Lin­ux. Read on for de­tails and dis­cus­sion; this rais­es some in­ter­est­ing is­sues ...
[8 comments]  
LAMP, Rearranged · It start­ed in­no­cent­ly enough; some­one mailed the in­ter­nal bloggers’ list say­ing “We’ve got this Beyond LAMP ar­ti­cle on SDN, might be good blog fodder.” Which con­sti­tut­ed an op­por­tu­ni­ty for geeks to have fun with acronyms ...
[19 comments]  
Not an OS · Last Thurs­day I tweet­ed: “I strive to main­tain an open mind when non­tech­ni­cal peo­ple talk about the ‘Internet OS’ or ‘Web OS’. Some­times it's tough.” I got some grum­bles by email and I think the sub­ject is worth more dis­cus­sion. Let me be more speci­fic: Nei­ther the In­ter­net nor the Web is much like an OS. And even if it were, that’d be the wrong way to think about what’s go­ing on right now ...
[24 comments]  
Enterprisey Goodness · I tend to lik­ing sim­ple things, and to sus­pi­cion of big “enterprisey” soft­ware frame­work­s. I am dim­ly aware that up in the clouds there are plat­forms built on plat­forms built on plat­forms built on Java, tow­er­ing ed­i­fices where acronyms like “JBI” and “ESB” and “SCA” live. Ex­cept for, I could nev­er fig­ure out what they ac­tu­al­ly, you know, did. Let’s be hon­est; the com­plex­i­ty and the high-level arm-waving about “Integration” scared me away and I nev­er re­al­ly tried. Wel­l, I’ve stum­bled in­to a clos­er look and am be­gin­ning to think there’s some there there ...
[6 comments]  
Twitterbucks · I like Twit­ter. I hope it last­s. So I want it to have a busi­ness mod­el. This week, I was in a dis­cus­sion on that sub­ject with re­al­ly smart peo­ple, some even with use­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. After­ward, I had a re­al­ly rad­i­cal idea for a busi­ness mod­el: Ask peo­ple to pay for us­ing it. Read on for dis­cus­sion, and a sur­vey ...
[40 comments]  
Over Two Thousand · That de­scribes the num­ber that ap­pears, on the page called @tim­bray, with the la­bel “followers”. I’m find­ing it kind of in­tim­i­dat­ing, and while I’m no more con­fi­dent about What It All Means than I was when that num­ber passed one thou­sand, I’ve been think­ing about it more. Plus, I thought I’d throw in some Twit­ter­tain­men­t ...
[5 comments]  
Java in 2008 · I’m glad I went to JavaOne. I want to go again. In or­der of in­creas­ing im­por­tance: The Ja­va lan­guage is look­ing stale. The Ja­va plat­form is look­ing in­ter­est­ing. And the Ja­va com­mu­ni­ty, well, it’s some­thing spe­cial ...
[2 comments]  
Changing Your Address · I’m tired of typ­ing my postal ad­dress in­to Web sites. Fur­ther­more, it’s stupid, waste­ful, and a lit­tle wor­ry­ing that so many of them out there have stored copies of it. Wouldn’t it be bet­ter just to give them the ad­dress of my ad­dress? ...
[23 comments]  
OpenWeb and PHP and Women · I had fun to­day speak­ing at Open Web Van­cou­ver 2008, and even more fun lis­ten­ing to Zak Gre­ant, who was on just be­fore me. He’s a fine speak­er, I rec­om­mend him for any geek­fest. Here’s what caught my eye: there were way more wom­en in the au­di­ence, pro­por­tion­al­ly, than I’ve seen at any Ru­by or Rails or Ja­va even­t ...
[9 comments]  
Tibet and Twitter · On the plane home from San Fran­cis­co, I was sit­ting among a bunch of Ti­betans who’d been down from Van­cou­ver for the big protests around the Olympic Torch re­lay. I was hon­oured to be with them. The day be­fore, I’d been fol­low­ing the ac­tion most­ly on Twit­ter: check out @teamti­bet, where they were help­ing or­ga­nize the protest­s. Twit­ter, it’s an activist’s dream. But I couldn’t find on­line video or pho­tos of Ma­jo­ra Carter car­ry­ing the torch and the Ti­betan flag. Oh, and Chi­na, here’s a re­al­i­ty we honkies in­ter­nal­ized way back when: Im­pe­ri­al­is­m, it can do won­ders for your com­mer­cial po­si­tion and in dis­tract­ing the cit­i­zens from the regime’s do­mes­tic fail­ings. But on the oth­er hand, the bad PR is just nev­er gonna go away. So, you want the up­side, you just got­ta suck it up and deal with the im­age dam­age. Public whin­ing ill-suits a wannabe im­pe­ri­al pow­er.
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Silent Blogger FTP Failure? · Dear LazyWe­b: I tried to help my friend Alex Waterhouse-Hayward with some prob­lems he’s hav­ing on his blog, and man­aged to com­plete­ly screw things up. I would sure ap­pre­ci­ate a word or two of wis­dom from some­one who un­der­stands Blog­ger.
[Up­date: Prob­lem solved. I cre­at­ed an­oth­er FTP-only ac­count on Alex’s host­ing ser­vice and told Blog­ger to use that and it seems OK. I got­ta say, my first se­ri­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with Blog­ger has been kin­da pukey.]
[And hey, Alex wrote about it, el­e­gant­ly.]
 ...
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On Twitter · I’m writ­ing this in an air­plane to Van­cou­ver from Chicago. When I get home and read my mail, if re­cent trends con­tin­ue I will hear about a few new Twit­ter fol­low­er­s, bring­ing the to­tal up over one thou­sand. I think that with Twit­ter, some­thing im­por­tant is hap­pen­ing. But I’m hav­ing trou­ble fig­ur­ing out what ...
[19 comments]  
Better Feed Reading · Like many in­fo­s­phere na­tives, I deal ev­ery day with a mas­sive con­tra­dic­tion: On the one hand, I want to know what’s go­ing on out there, and on the oth­er, I want to get ac­tu­al work done. Re­cent­ly, the getting-work-done side has been suf­fer­ing. So I mas­sive­ly re­or­ga­nized my feed-reading se­tup, and it’s helped ...
[26 comments]  
Time To Twitter · I spend quite a bit of time talk­ing about leading-edge Web stuff to main­stream En­ter­prise type­s. I have a well-polished ex­pla­na­tion for the rise of PHP and Rails and so on: Time To Mar­ket. Here’s the sound-bite: “If you and I have the same good idea for a community-based Web site on the same day, and mine is on the air in five months and yours in eight, then you’re dead. And it doesn’t mat­ter if yours is bet­ter, be­cause the com­mu­ni­ty has gathered.” Wel­l, Twit­ter would be the canon­i­cal ex­am­ple. They went with Rails be­cause it let them build fast; and they built fast. They suf­fered ter­ri­ble pain for months try­ing to take Rails places it’d nev­er been be­fore; but they fought through it and they’re in a very good place. Smart peo­ple tell me that Pownce and Jaiku are slick­er and bet­ter but who cares? Ap­par­ent­ly 140 char­ac­ter­s, dis­tribut­ed ap­pro­pri­ate­ly, gives you what you need.
[39 comments]  
Hard Problems · I spent quite a bit of to­day at the O’Reilly 2008 Con­cur­ren­cy Sum­mit. It was a con­ge­nial crowd, but at the end of the day kind of a down­er, be­cause we have lots of hard con­cur­ren­cy prob­lems and not too many so­lu­tion­s. Any­how, two sub­jects that came up were REST (which is con­cur­rent at the largest pos­si­ble scale), and, un­sur­pris­ing­ly, Er­lang. And it struck me that they’re kind of like each oth­er ...
[4 comments]  
It’s an Atompub World · To­day, via In­foQ, we see that Mi­crosoft is bet­ting on Atom­pub for Win­dows Live. Since Google and WordPress and big chunks of Ja­va mid­dle­ware are al­ready do­ing it too, this re­al­ly does feel like a band­wag­on. For the last fif­teen years, HTTP has be­come the dom­i­nan­t, over­whelm­ing­ly dom­i­nan­t, ve­hi­cle by which peo­ple and pro­grams get things from the Net. With a lit­tle Atom­pub sea­son­ing, it’ll quite like­ly be the way most things get put back, too. There is a fly in the oint­men­t: tons of server­s, not that many clients. Hel­lo Mo­to? And Nokia and Ap­ple and Sam­sung and all the rest of you? There a kazil­lion, and grow­ing, pub­lish­ing gate­ways out there wait­ing for some­one to start ship­ping hand­helds with an Atompub-powered “Publish” but­ton.
[Up­date:] The Google Con­tacts Da­ta API - Atom­pub based, of course.
[Up­date:] Writ­ing Your First AtomPub Ser­vice with Ab­dera.
[Up­date:] Joe Gre­go­ri­o: Ap­pClien­tTest Up­date and Ap­pClien­tTest - now with unit test­ing good­ness; I par­tic­u­lar­ly like the “drama in HTTP” anal­o­gy.

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Hey, Nick! · There’s this guy named Nick Kew whom I’d nev­er heard of till last year, when I start­ed work­ing on mod-atom. He’s one of the core httpd gu­rus, and wrote the book on Apache Mo­d­ules, which is what mod-atom is. So he po­lite­ly tol­er­at­ed a flur­ry of clueless-newbie ques­tions from me, and I feel guilty that I didn’t buy the book. Any­how, he’s just come to work for Sun. I’ve al­ready told him glee­ful­ly that I shall now feel guilt-free about the ques­tion­s. But se­ri­ous­ly, it makes me hap­py to be bring­ing some more httpd ex­per­tise on board, giv­en that it’s per­haps the sin­gle most im­por­tant soft­ware com­po­nent of the whole World Wide We­b. Wel­come aboard, Nick!
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Atomic News · Here­with a few ran­dom Atom­pub point­er­s. Each month that goes by, I’m hap­pi­er with the way Atom­pub came out ...
[5 comments]  
The HTTP Sweet Spot · We seem to have pret­ty widespread con­sen­sus, these days, that HTTP, or per­haps the REST­ful ap­proach it ex­em­pli­fies, of­fers a pret­ty sweet sub­strate for push­ing and pulling da­ta around at Web scale. We got fur­ther ev­i­dence this week when a bunch of smart peo­ple stepped slight­ly out­side its sweet spot, in­to deep tan­g­ly weed­s ...
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Dueling RIAs · To­day, at that Av­enue A | Ra­zor­fish event (A A|R is owned by Mi­crosoft, it turns out) there was a pre­sen­ta­tion from the peo­ple who built two dif­fer­ent sites for XM Ra­dio. The On­line Store was built with Flex, the XM Pro­gram Guide with Ajax. They both look pret­ty good. I guess it means you can’t sign up for XM with an iPhone. I re­main un­con­vinced that the ex­tra siz­zle and flash you get with RIA tech­nol­o­gy is enough bet­ter than Ajax to make it worthwhile—but then XM re­port­ed in­creased con­ver­sion rates when they rolled in the new site. In­ter­est­ing­ly, they said that Ajax was a par­tic­u­lar­ly good fit for the chan­nel guide be­cause HTML nat­u­ral­ly han­dles grid-like struc­tures well. True when you think of it, but I nev­er had.
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The RESTful Way · I re­ceived the most charm­ing email this morn­ing from the own­er of “therestfulway.com” do­main name say­ing, in essence, “Anyone you know have a lov­ing home for this do­main? I don’t need it and it’s about to expire.” What a nice do­main name. If you want it, drop me a line ex­plain­ing why and I’ll for­ward the re­quests to the au­thor. I think he’d prob­a­bly give it to some­body with a good rea­son, but al­so wouldn’t turn down a rea­son­able mon­e­tary of­fer if one were forth­com­ing.
[2 comments]  
Autotools 1, Tim 0 · I’m go­ing to do some more work on mod­_atom, but I have a prob­lem; it doesn’t work on Leop­ard. That’s OK, the Ape blows it up re­peat­ably, so should be no big­gie. Hm­m, ex­cept for apr_­glob­al_­mu­tex_cre­ate is act­ing weird, re­mov­ing the lock­file while fail­ing. Docs no help... OK, let’s look at the code. Urgh. Let’s use the de­bug­ger to see where it’s go­ing. Wel­l... that was a day and a half ago. Since then, been in a maze of twisty lit­tle pas­sages. I’m be­gin­ning to think that Bri­an McCal­lis­ter has a point in say­ing Au­to­tools are the Devil. I used to know how to com­pile C code, sigh.
[Up­date]: Hey, check out the follow-ups. I think this Open Source stuff is go­ing to catch on.
[A­gain]: Hah! Paul Querna’s sug­ges­tion not on­ly made the com­pi­la­tion prob­lems go away, the orig­i­nal bug van­ished too. You know, that Apache com­mu­ni­ty is first-rate.

[2 comments]  
Ape News · There’s been some New-year Ape tin­ker­ing. A few bug-fixes from me and David Calav­era, and al­so I fi­nal­ly rolled in Joe Gregorio’s patch to make it work with Google’s semi-proprietary au­thent voodoo. Last and best, we have a new com­mit­ter, Si­mon Rozet, whose first patch was a Mon­grel adapter, so you can type ruby go-mongrel.rb and there’s your Ape on port 4000. Si­mon will prob­a­bly have checked that in by the time you read this.
 
NetNewsWire & NewsGator go Free · There’s a bor­ing press re­lease; and in­ter­est­ing write-ups from Greg Reinack­er and Brent Sim­mons. (Oh, and why is it we need press re­leas­es any more?) This is in­ter­est­ing on a bunch of ground­s ...
[7 comments]  
2008 Prediction 1: RIA vs. AJAX · What hap­pened was, a sud­den email from Sun PR went around about fif­teen min­utes to Christ­mas say­ing “SYS-CON wants pre­dic­tions for 2008; right now would be good.” It hap­pened that I was in the mid­dle of do­ing three months and ten trips’ worth of ex­pens­es, thus bored out of my mind, thus hap­py to prog­nos­ti­cate. I gave them five, but, giv­en the ur­gen­cy, not much more than sound-bites. I think each of them is worth a lit­tle ex­e­ge­sis ...
[23 comments]  
2008 Prediction 4: PHP Problems · This is the fourth of five pre­dic­tions for 2008, ex­pand­ed from the short form gen­er­at­ed on short no­tice as de­scribed here ...
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Django on Jython · It’s start­ing to hap­pen. There’s a long way to go be­tween suc­cess­ful­ly ex­e­cut­ing a bit of Rails and ac­tu­al­ly mak­ing the suck­er run use­ful­ly, as the JRu­by guys will tell you. But speak­ing of JRuby, there are some eerie sim­i­lar­i­ties: a language-platform project that was promis­ing, then drift­ing, now re­vi­tal­ized. The ecosys­tem gets more in­ter­est­ing all the time. [Up­date:] Frank Wierzbic­ki re­ports that Jython is rockin’ & rollin’, it’s not just Djan­go. Good stuff!
 
2008 Prediction 3: Rails Rules · This is the third of five pre­dic­tions for 2008, ex­pand­ed from the short form gen­er­at­ed on short no­tice as de­scribed here ...
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Year-End Sweep — Tech · Over the course of the year, in brows­er tab­s, book­mark­s, and del.i­cio.us, I’ve built up a huge list of things that I felt I should write about, at least at the time I saw them. Wel­l, dammit, I’m not gonna let 2007 end with­out at least mak­ing a try. Here goes. Cat­e­go­rized, even ...
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TV and the LazyWeb · I have a prob­lem: I want a new HDTV, I have very spe­cif­ic re­quire­ments, and I’m not which mod­els match, or even how best to find that out. There’s al­ways the LazyWe­b, and it’s show­ing new signs of life, in the form of Dave Sifry’s Hoos­got. Let’s see if it can help me find the right TV ...
[15 comments]  
Message From the Web · Last week I gave a talk at the 16th In­ter­na­tion­al XBRL Con­fer­ence here in Van­cou­ver. XBRL is an XML-based sys­tem for pack­ing up companies’ fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion, and I think it’s re­al im­por­tant. But its take-off has been kind of pro­tract­ed and ar­du­ous. I was there as an Am­bas­sador From the We­b. Here’s what I told them ...
[7 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Tech · Shed­ding, TDD, Java, and keys ...
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ACAP · That stands for Au­to­mat­ed Con­tent Ac­cess Pro­to­col. It’s fierce­ly de­con­struct­ed by Andy Oram in An ed­i­tor cri­tiques the pub­lish­ing industry's Au­to­mat­ed Con­tent Ac­cess Pro­to­col. I’m re­al­ly un­con­vinced, first that this is re­al­ly need­ed, or sec­ond that there’s any good rea­son for the peo­ple run­ning the big crawlers to adopt it. They say ACAP is set to be­come the uni­ver­sal per­mis­sions pro­to­col on the In­ter­net but you know, we al­ready have one, you can access-control any­thing you wan­t. In the de­vel­oped world, we have a per­fect­ly com­pe­tent le­gal sys­tem that al­lows pub­lish­ers to hold Web sites ac­count­able for how they use the con­tent they fetch. If the peo­ple ad­vanc­ing this in­clud­ed any­one who ac­tu­al­ly liked the We­b, it might be more con­vinc­ing.
 
Matthew-6:9.txt#line=,1 · That would be Our Father, who art in heav­en. Which is to say, when you a URI that has #what­ev­er on the end, what #what­ev­er means de­pends on what kind of thing it is. Up till now, if it was just a chunk of text (tex­t/­plain in web-geek lin­go), it didn’t mean any­thing. Now it does. I have a spe­cial in­ter­est in this one ...
[9 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Tech · Tonight, a small­er, bi-focused sweep: Iden­ti­ty and HTTP ...
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Tab Sweep — Tech · This goes back weeks and week­s; I’ve been wide-finding and do­ing Sun stuff and the Web-watching has suf­fered ...
[6 comments]  
Atomic · Today’s big Atom news is from Joseph Scot­t, who was on the long-weekend shift with Pete Lacey and Sam Ru­by and I, pound­ing WP2.3’s APP-server code in­to shape. He has writ­ten HTTP Ba­sic Authen­ti­ca­tion, A Tale of AtomPub, WordPress, PHP, Apache, CGI and SSL/TLS; the ti­tle is ap­pro­pri­ate­ly long, as this is a very meaty piece that I bet will be read many times in the near to medi­um fu­ture by some­one puz­zled and frus­trat­ed by some com­bi­na­tion of Apache, PHP, and au­then­ti­ca­tion re­quire­ments. Wel­l, yes, the prob­lems popped up in the con­text of Atom­pub and WordPress, but there’s noth­ing spe­cif­ic to the pro­to­col or the pro­duc­t; it’s a big messy ug­ly cor­ner of Web tech­nol­o­gy ...
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GlassFish V2 · It’s out to­day. Now, I don’t work with app servers that much, and I’ve hard­ly ev­er touched GlassFish. But this is in­ter­est­ing any­how, for two rea­son­s: First, GlassFish is an ex­am­ple of a soft­ware prod­uct that was strug­gling in the mar­ket, and is do­ing im­mense­ly bet­ter af­ter mov­ing from closed to Open Source. Smells like the fu­ture to me. Se­cond, check out that launch point­er: a blog clus­ter, with the mar­ket­ing ba­sics and a ton of highly-technical de­tail. I just don’t think there’s any oth­er sen­si­ble way to launch a mod­ern soft­ware pack­age whose users are de­vel­op­er­s.
[3 comments]  
Autumnal mod_atom · I just did a mas­sive check-in on mod­_atom, and it’s now not just an Atom Store, it’s al­so a ba­sic blog pub­lish­er. This frag­ment is about how it work­s, and in­cludes a con­fes­sion; I did one fair­ly aw­ful thing along the way ...
[6 comments]  
The Sunday Contests · Who needs the NFL? The 0.00001% of the pop­u­la­tion who think Syn­di­ca­tion Se­man­tics and Web Ar­chi­tec­ture are all about fun ought to cruise by Sam Ruby’s space and take in the dis­cus­sion around One More Step For­ward?
 
Tab Sweep — Tech · In this is­sue: P-languages, op­er­at­ing sys­tem­s, pro­ject­ing, URIs, and on­line med­i­cal re­sources ...
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Gripes · Are there any Face­book apps that aren’t pa­thet­i­cal­ly lame? Just won­der­ing. Al­so won­der­ing, why do I have to up­date my Face­book sta­tus, my Twit­ter sta­tus, and my chat sta­tus in three dif­fer­ent places? Which means that usu­al­ly I don’t. [Up­date: Wan­na change your sta­tus just once for ev­er­where? MoodBlast is da bom­b! Thanks, Dion.]
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Tab Sweep — Tech · There were a few here that I want­ed to do a whole piece about, but I just got­ta clear some space on these deck­s. To­day we have push­ing and pulling and queue­ing and Ruby.next and Ja­va hate and PHP-vs.-Rails. What’s not to like? ...
[9 comments]  
Pantone’s Missed Chance · To­day I see, via John Gru­ber, that Pan­tone has been ac­quired by X-Rite. In 1995, I gave Pantone’s CEO some ad­vice that might have made them a lot of mon­ey. He didn’t take it, but it’s an amus­ing sto­ry ...
[9 comments]  
Tidying HTML · I’ve de­cid­ed that mod­_atom re­al­ly needs to be a blog-publishing sys­tem, not just an Atom Store. And fur­ther­more, based most­ly on the com­ments to that San­i­ta­tion piece, I’ve made two de­sign de­ci­sion­s. First, the san­i­tiz­ing hap­pens on­ly on the HTML out­put; the Atom-store part will per­sist the da­ta as close as pos­si­ble to the way it was sent up­stream. Se­cond, I’m go­ing to try us­ing the TidyLib pars­er to pick apart type="html" text con­structs so I can clean ’em up ...
[4 comments]  
Sanitation · It’s amaz­ing how is­sues float to the top of mul­ti­ple minds in­de­pen­dent­ly. I’ve been spend­ing a lot of time think­ing about how to san­i­tize to-be-published data. Then Rob Sayre wrote In­ter­op­er­abil­i­ty and XSS Mit­i­ga­tion; XSS stands for “cross-site scripting”, the main threat that you san­i­tize to avoid. Sam Ru­by no­ticed got ac­tive: In­ter­op­er­abil­i­ty and XSS Mit­i­ga­tion an­nounced the San­i­ti­za­tion rules wiki-space. Microsoft’s Joe Cheng is wor­ry­ing, too ...
[12 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Tech · To­day we have some Atom­ic Ap­ple love, iPhone Web friend­li­ness, Re­laxNG praise, and JVM Lan­guage widen­ing ...
[6 comments]  
On Being for the Web · This thread starts with Bill de hÓra’s ex­cel­lent De­sign for the web, which has use­ful links and com­men­tary about prob­lems with Ja­va web frame­work­s. Coté fol­lows up with Java’s Fear of Com­mit­ment, al­so very good, and in­ter­est­ing dis­course breaks out in both parties’ com­ments. Ob­vi­ous­ly, Bill and Coté are cor­rec­t; em­brac­ing the Web is go­ing to get you a bet­ter re­sult on the Web than not em­brac­ing the We­b. If you want more ev­i­dence, look no fur­ther than PHP, a deeply-flawed tool whose suc­cess is based on (ad­mirably well-done) Web-centricity. Nor­mal­ly, I’d leave it at that, but Coté is wrong about Ja­va and Bill is wrong about both ETags and MVC, and I think all of those things are im­por­tant enough to push back on ...
[16 comments]  
“Flashier” · Check out The New Web War, the first of Rob Scoble’s Fast Com­pa­ny column­s. It’s a nice com­pact sum­ma­ry of the Apol­lo/Sil­verlight/JavaFX are­na. There’s a startling sen­tence in the con­clu­sion: If your com­peti­tor builds a more in­ter­ac­tive site than yours, cus­tomers will flee to the “flashier” foe. Uh... Google? eBay? Ama­zon? Face­book? All plen­ty in­ter­ac­tive, and pure non-proprietary na­tive Web tech­nol­o­gy. The ev­i­dence seems clear to me: qual­i­ty con­tent and use­ful func­tions trump both flash and Flash. All these peo­ple keep say­ing that “Rich” In­ter­net Ap­pli­ca­tions win, and they’re right: but I do not think that word means what they think it mean­s.
[14 comments]  
Web3S · Wel­l, well, we now have two freshly-baked HTTP-based Web Re­source CRUD pro­to­cols which ad­ver­tise them­selves as be­ing REST­ful. Microsoft’s new We­b3S is de­signed to sup­port re­mote up­date of Live Con­tact­s, which is, and I quote: “the cen­tral da­ta store in Win­dows Live for ad­dress book in­for­ma­tion. All Hot­mail con­tact­s, Mes­sen­ger bud­dies and Spaces’ friends are record­ed in Live Con­tact­s. There are cur­rent­ly ap­prox­i­mate­ly 500,000,000 ac­tive ad­dress books in Live Contacts.” See Yaron Goland’s in­tro APP and Dare, the sit­ting duck (read the com­ments too), then the draft spec Web Struc­tured, Schema’d & Search­able (We­b3S) and its FAQ. There’s a re­ac­tion from David Ing, Not Your Father’s MDa­ta; the com­ments be­low might be a good place to ag­gre­gate more links. [Up­date: Yaron Goland has ad­dressed the is­sues I raised here, FAQ-style, in a com­ment be­low.] ...
[8 comments]  
Tab Sweep: Web Tech · Th­ese are event­ful times in the world of Web tech­nolo­gies. First, Paul Quer­na has a cou­ple of tasty lit­tle morsels for us, the fresh­est be­ing mod­_n­ev­er_­ex­pire. Then there’s the W3C’s Web of Ser­vices for En­ter­prise Com­put­ing Work­shop Re­port; I thought the pun­gent smells of fail­ure on one side and op­ti­mism on the oth­er mixed odd­ly, but still worth read­ing. On the lighter side, check out DeWitt Clinton’s ex­cel­lent Monoball. Fi­nal­ly, Doug Pur­dy, long­time shaper of Microsoft’s view of the We­b, is back with his own APP en­gine (sub­scribe to that in your feed-reader rather than your browser, and Doug, you should serve that as some­thing oth­er than ap­pli­ca­tion/xml). Fi­nal­ly, all the ma­chin­ery that the Java-EE peo­ple pulled to­geth­er to play as nice as pos­si­ble in the WS-swamp has a new name: Pro­ject Metro. Ed­uar­do has the nar­ra­tive, which seems sen­si­ble to me.
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Oops · It turns out that some­time in re­cent month­s, I made a lit­tle ad­just­ment to the com­ments sys­tem that locked some but not all users of Mi­crosoft In­ter­net Ex­plor­er out. It was a ma­jor pain in the butt to track down, but I think I have. I don’t have that many Win­dows con­fig­u­ra­tions in the house to test with, so I’d sure ap­pre­ci­ate it if a few of you out there look­ing at on­go­ing through IE would, first of al­l, go here (just the stan­dalone ver­sion of this en­try, please go there now); and once you’ve gone there, cast your eyes at the bot­tom of the page and see if there’s an in­vi­ta­tion to con­tribute a com­men­t. If there is, I’d then ap­pre­ci­ate it if you could you click on it and sub­mit a cou­ple of wit­ty words to see if they show up. If there’s no in­vi­ta­tion or the com­ment won’t sub­mit or some­thing else weird hap­pen­s, do please drop me an email (re­mem­ber, first.last@sun.­com) and let me know the symp­toms and what ver­sions of IE and Win­dows are in play. [Up­date: OK, thanks. I watched the log­files as dozens of peo­ple popped up the com­ment form and a hand­ful or two ac­tu­al­ly sub­mit­ted com­ments; I stopped ap­prov­ing the ones of the form “Yep, it works” af­ter a while. I have no com­plain­ing email­s. Thanks al­l!] ...
[12 comments]  
What an iPhone Looks Like · I no­ticed a bit of traf­fic, start­ing with David Ber­lind, about peo­ple look­ing for vis­its from iPhones in their web-server log­files. I looked in mine, and found a cou­ple. I thought I’d re­pro­duce the ac­tu­al Apache log­file en­try, which is kind of in­ter­est­ing; do your own in­ter­pre­ta­tion ...
[7 comments]  
“X Me” is a Facebook Virus · A friend on Face­book in­vit­ed me to try the “X Me” ap­pli­ca­tion. It sound­ed a lit­tle sil­ly but it was a per­son I re­spec­t, so I clicked on it. As soon as it in­stalled, it popped up a list of more or less ev­ery­one I knew ask­ing if it was OK to mail in­vi­ta­tions to them. I said “no”, and then (weird­ly) it popped up one oth­er name and I said “no” again. Now I’m get­ting mes­sages from peo­ple ask­ing if I re­al­ly think they should in­stall “X Me”. This, ob­vi­ous­ly, is a virus ...
[11 comments]  
I’ve Seen This Movie · It turns out that the Atom Pro­to­col isn’t good enough for what­ev­er part of Mi­crosoft Dare Obasan­jo works in, he says. Three things should be said: First, Dare’s ar­gu­ments are bo­gus. Se­cond, if you were para­noid and cyn­i­cal, you might won­der what Microsoft’s up to (I’m para­noid and cyn­i­cal.) Fi­nal­ly, this is ac­tu­al­ly good news. [Up­date: Check out Dare’s GDa­ta isn't a Best Prac­tice Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Atom Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col and Mi­crosoft and the Atom Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col, and es­pe­cial­ly Joe Cheng’s Mi­crosoft is not sab­o­tag­ing APP (prob­a­bly). It looks like Mi­crosoft will be join­ing the APP par­ty af­ter al­l; ex­cel­len­t! On GData: as of April’s in­terop even­t, GData, based on an ear­ly draft of the APP, was far from be­ing an in­ter­op­er­a­ble drop-in im­ple­men­ta­tion. But that’s what the event was for; Kyle Marvin and the Googlers gath­ered tons of hands-on da­ta and, last time I checked, still say they in­tend to do APP straight-up.] ...
[18 comments]  
Gears · On Google Gears, I’m def­i­nite­ly in the skep­ti­cal What is this “being at work while offline” of which you speak? cam­p. I wasn’t con­vinced when Adam Bos­worth was singing this song five years ago and I’m still not. Doesn’t mean hav­ing pro­grammable per­sis­tence in the brows­er isn’t a good idea, though. Browsers al­ready cache heav­i­ly, of course, but not in a way that’s sen­si­tive to the needs of any par­tic­u­lar Ajax code. I mean, con­sid­er a map­ping ap­p; if the com­put­er knows where I am, why shouldn’t the brows­er pre-populate the cache with a few hun­dred lo­cal map tiles? They don’t change that much. And so on. Gears at least seems pret­ty lockin-free.
[17 comments]  
NetNewsWire, Children, and Caesar · The prob­lem is, these days, that my in­put queues are jammed up. I’m read­ing Cae­sar: Life of a Colos­sus by Adri­an Goldswor­thy and it’s very good, but it’s aw­ful­ly big and thick and dense. And my time for read­ing is tight be­cause, af­ter al­l, I’m mar­ried with two chil­dren and al­so I’m try­ing to read the In­ter­net, or at least that huge lit­tle piece of it where peo­ple care about the things I do. And on that sub­jec­t, once again I just have to plug NetNewsWire. I’ve tried a ton of news­read­ers on a ton of plat­form­s. Google’s blog read­er is pret­ty good, and so are a cou­ple of the oth­er clients, but NetNewsWire just shows you more stuff in less time with few­er keystrokes. Years ago I pre­dict­ed that feed-reading would have been sucked in­to the brows­er by now, but I was wrong. So be­tween that and Cae­sar, and day-to-day job work, and a grungy un­ex­cit­ing com­pli­cat­ed fill-a-hole-in-the-ecosystem pro­gram­ming pro­jec­t, well, I have Wiki­nomics and Every­thing is Mis­cel­la­neous and REST­ful Web Ser­vices and the Pro­gram­ming Er­lang PDF star­ing ac­cus­ing­ly at me from the shad­ows. Blame Julius Cae­sar and Brent Sim­mon­s.
[7 comments]  
search.technorati.com · Now, this is what I’ve al­ways want­ed. I’m feel­ing kind of un­hap­py with my­self; time af­ter time, Dave Sifry has showed me some new frip­pery they’re rolling out at Tech­no­rati and I’ve said “Yeah, that’s kind of cool, maybe you could twid­dle X” even though it didn’t turn my per­son­al crank that much. My prob­lem has been that I was as­sum­ing that the way I want to use Tech­no­rati is un­usu­al. I use it for van­i­ty feeds of course, but the when I go to the site, I on­ly ev­er want to ask two ques­tion­s: “What are they say­ing about <insert re­cent event>?” and “Where was that ar­ti­cle I saw re­cent­ly about <insert subject>?” The new, very Google-flavored search.tech­no­rati.­com does those things, and that’s all it does. Plus, it seems a whole lot faster ...
[4 comments]  
RailsConf Take-Aways · Here’s the nice one: PragDave a.k.a. Dave Thomas launched an ef­fort to get the Rail­sConf at­ten­dees to give some­thing back; some­thing as in hard cold cash do­na­tions to char­i­ty. I plugged it dur­ing my keynote, as did sev­er­al oth­er­s, and Chad Fowler re­al­ly got be­hind it. It came out pret­ty well. And on a lighter note, Big Jim­my Kane of­fers co­gent in­sight on my ap­pear­ance wav­ing a Sun ban­ner in Ruby­land.
 
RailsConf Day Two · The first hour and fif­teen of the day was Cyn­di Mitchell of ThoughtWorks and me in keynote mod­e. The in­ter­est­ing part, though, was the hall­ways and lunch ...
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RailsConf Day One · [Thurs­day] Sit­ting in the air­port get­ting ready to head out; it’s been a while since I’ve spo­ken to over a thou­sand peo­ple (well, I do ev­ery day here, but that’s dif­fer­en­t) so I’m ner­vous. Hap­py, too; I’ve man­aged to sched­ule my Sun-related work so I can get to a few ses­sions that sound super-interesting; I ex­pect to get my brain up­grad­ed. [Fri­day] I’m fill­ing in con­fer­ence notes and pic­tures as the days go by ...
[3 comments]  
Tab Sweep · Per­haps a lit­tle more all-over-the-map even than is usu­al: GPLv3 clar­i­ty, Func­tion­al Pearl­s, raina bird-writer, Ja­va cred­it­s, frame­work pro­gram­mer­s, and hack­ing my Canon ...
[4 comments]  
Rails Lessons · I’ve been talk­ing re­cent­ly to tra­di­tion­al Ja­va EE shops about “Web 2.0” in gen­er­al and mod­ern Web de­vel­op­ment frame­works in par­tic­u­lar and Rails in par­tic­u­lar par­tic­u­lar. What I’ve end­ed up say­ing (s­peak­ing on­ly for my­self, this isn’t Sun dog­ma) is along these lines: “Rails isn’t go­ing to sweep the oth­er Web tech­nolo­gies away. But those oth­er tech­nolo­gies are learn­ing its lesson­s; so it’s worth check­ing out.” ...
[4 comments]  
OpenID at Work · On both the In­ter­net and be­hind the fire­wal­l, the iden­ti­ty prob­lem gets ugli­er ev­ery year. How many pass­words do you have? If you’re in IT, how much pain do you go through get­ting your all your apps to share a no­tion of who some­one is? There are a lot of smart peo­ple work­ing on these prob­lem­s, but progress has been crush­ing­ly slow. We’re do­ing a lit­tle some­thing with OpenID this week that won’t turn the world in­side out but I think shows that progress is pos­si­ble ...
[11 comments]  
REST, as in Take It Easy · Mi­crosoft cod­ing gu­ru Tim Ewald got a lot of peo­ple talk­ing when he an­nounced I fi­nal­ly get REST. Wow. and fol­lowed up with Three rea­sons that REST is not RPC. It’s nice that the word is spread­ing, but many REST con­verts see com­pli­cat­ed mag­ic where I see a few sim­ple easy-to-understand virtues ...
[6 comments]  
Tab Sweep · Most­ly technology-centric, this time ...
[4 comments]  
How Big is the Club? · We who read (and write) blogs and play with the lat­est In­ter­net Trin­kets (and build them) have been called an echo cham­ber, a hall of mir­rors, a tee­ny geeky mi­nor­i­ty whose au­di­ence is it­self. Let me ex­plore this no­tion a bit us­ing Twit­ter ...
[24 comments]  
Upcoming Gig: RailsConf 2007 · I’ll be head­ing to Port­land, Ore­gon for a keynote at Rail­sConf 2007, May 17-20. I gath­er that like most Ruby-related events it sold out more or less in­stant­ly. There’s a fun­ny sto­ry about how I came to at­tend ...
[2 comments]  
Twitter, Rails, Seaside, Respect · If you’re ob­ses­sive about dy­nam­ic lan­guages and Web frame­works (and who isn’t?) it’s been a juicy few days. Let’s start with a bunch of point­er­s: Mike Pence in­ter­views Avi Bryant & tries to start a fight. Avi says “huh?”. DHH too, in his own space and an In­foQ in­ter­view. At the same time, a Twit­ter de­vel­op­er diss­es Rails. DHH says smart things and so do Kel­lan of Laugh­ingMeme and Ryan To­mayko. Phew. Now it’s my turn ...
[9 comments]  
Technorati! · Wow, a whole lot of news by/about/from Tech­no­rati re­cent­ly. [Dis­clo­sure: I have a con­flict of in­ter­est.] First, a com­pa­ny snap­shot. I re­al­ly don’t know what “media company” mean­s, but the traf­fic num­bers are de­cen­t, and my ex­pe­ri­ence match­es with Scoble’s: they’re ahead in live-information search, this month any­how. I have no in­side in­for­ma­tion about the mon­ey. Se­cond, the State of the Bl­o­go­sphere Live Web; the world needs Tech­no­rati to ex­ist if on­ly for these re­port­s; fas­ci­nat­ing, deep, stuff. Fi­nal­ly, Dave’s think­ing about step­ping side­ways. I did ex­act­ly this with two star­tup­s, and it worked on­ce. I have no fear what­so­ev­er that Dave will drop off the radar.
 
Ruby Servlet Dispatching · I’m wiring the Ape up so I can run it with JRu­by in a servlet in a re­al Ja­va App Server, and while Marcin Mielżyński’s first-cut RubyServlet works fine, I sus­pect it’s not the on­ly ap­proach to dis­patch­ing. So I’m do­ing some re­search and think­ing, and I’ve col­lect­ed it here for any­one who cares ...
[4 comments]  
Mashing with Mike · To­day we had that Mashup event at the Sun cam­pus with Mike Ar­ring­ton. There were some­where be­tween 100 and 200 peo­ple there; I had fun and learned things ...
[4 comments]  
Cloudy Paranoia · Check out The Web 2.0 Ad­dress Book May Have Ar­rived by Tim O’Reilly, pass­ing along (with ap­prov­ing re­mark­s) David Pogue’s pitch for GrandCen­tral; it gives you a sin­gle phone num­ber that rings all your phones wher­ev­er you are. Says David: “Its mot­to, ‘One num­ber for life,’ pret­ty much says it all.” Since I have a sim­i­lar ser­vice through Ac­cessLine cour­tesy of Sun, I can ap­pre­ci­ate a re­source like this. But there was some­thing about the an­nounce­ment that was both­er­ing me ...
[8 comments]  
Ape News · It’s been lev­eled up to the Protocol-13 draft lev­el and the source is avail­able. While I’m still mas­sive­ly un­sat­is­fied, the Ape as it stands to­day is ac­tu­al­ly pret­ty use­ful ...
[5 comments]  
Upcoming Gig: AEA Seattle ’07 · To be ex­ac­t, An Event Apart Seat­tle 2007, way off at the end of June. I don’t know the first thing about it, but with Mey­er and Zeld­man in­volved it’s got­ta be good. I can feel my in­ner ty­pog­ra­pher squirm­ing at the prospec­t.
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Upcoming Gig: WDW SF ’07 · To be ex­ac­t, Web De­sign World San Fran­cis­co 2007, March 26-28 at Moscone West in San Fran­cis­co. I’m up first thing on Mon­day morn­ing. I haven’t any idea what I’m go­ing to talk about, but stil­l, it’s been too long since I’ve spent time hang­ing out with de­sign­er­s; so I’m look­ing for­ward to it.
 
Upcoming Gig: Mashup with Arrington · The Sun mar­ket­ing per­son said “We’re do­ing an­oth­er start­up out­reach even­t, think you could come down on the 19th and pitch in?” I said prob­a­bly and asked for more in­fo. “This fel­low named, uh, Mike Ar­ring­ton, has agreed to do a pan­el, do you know who he is?” So I said I’d come. It’s called the Mashup Event and it’s an af­ter­noon thing, ba­si­cal­ly just Mike and me talk­ing a lit­tle bit about Web 2.0 and Ven­ture Cap­i­tal, fol­lowed by cock­tails and schmooz­ing. I’ve nev­er met the ubiq­ui­tous Mr. A so I’m look­ing for­ward to it. If you’re in the area and can spare an hour, drop by our coo­lio Men­lo Park cam­pus and join in the fun. Our entirely-unhidden agen­da: find out what’s go­ing on, & lis­ten.
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Camino 1.1β · I gave it a try, and now I’m switched over. Camino is a Mac brows­er that’s based on the Mozil­la Gecko en­gine, but doesn’t use the Fire­fox XUL front-end. Pre­vi­ous­ly, I used Camino 1.0 as my main ev­ery­day brows­er be­cause it was the on­ly one that felt like it be­longed on the Mac, was ac­cept­ably fast, and didn’t pe­ri­od­i­cal­ly bal­loon out of con­trol. (Yes, I use Fire­fox too for its de­vel­op­er tool­s.) The 1.1 be­ta has fix­es for pret­ty well all the things that ir­ri­tat­ed me about 1.0: it saves your tabs in case you crash, text-edit con­trols now sup­port the control-F/B/N/P/A/E id­iom just like ev­ery­thing else, and resize-to-fit works prop­er­ly. I think that for al­most any Mac us­er who spends a lot of time in the browser, Camino would be worth a se­ri­ous look.
[13 comments]  
Fair Disclosure · There’s a con­ver­sa­tion go­ing on about Reg­u­la­tion Fair Dis­clo­sure. Our own Jonathan Schwartz kicked it off last Oc­to­ber, call­ing for Reg FD to be re­vised to al­low the use of the Web to pub­lish ma­te­ri­al fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion. SEC Chair­man Chris Cox sur­prised a lot of peo­ple by re­spond­ing in a com­ment on Jonathan’s blog (I have a lot of time for Chair­man Cox, but I was sur­prised too). It turns out that there are those who don’t like the idea. This is a com­pli­cat­ed is­sue that blends Web tech­nol­o­gy with big-money busi­ness is­sues, and I’m in­ter­est­ed in what the peo­ple who read on­go­ing think; I sus­pect you in­clude some of the peo­ple in the world most qual­i­fied to have an opin­ion. [I sug­gest us­ing the tag “WebFD” if you’re go­ing to con­tribute in your own space.] ...
 
Who’s Got the Subscribers? · I saw a no­tice from Google that their blog-search robot will start re­port­ing sub­scriber counts. I poked in­to a re­cent log-file and found lots of agents do­ing this, so here’s a re­port with some num­ber­s ...
[13 comments]  
Statistics · Some Sun­days I make graphs of statis­tics from the on­go­ing web-server log files. I find them in­ter­est­ing and maybe oth­ers will too, so this en­try is now the charts’ per­ma­nent home. I’ll up­date from time to time ...
[5 comments]  
Comparing Frameworks · On Wed­nes­day in Frank­furt at the PHP In­ter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence I gave a fair­ly gen­er­al talk on is­sues in Web frame­work­s. I had fun mak­ing a graph com­par­ing Java, PHP, and Rail­s, and you might en­joy it too. [Up­date: Th­e­server­side.­com has a gross­ly in­ac­cu­rate flame-bait take on this, and won’t let me sign in to com­men­t; won’t take my pass­word, and al­so won’t take the one they email me when I say I for­got. Gr­r.] [Up­date, Fe­bru­ary 2007: There’s now a Kore­an trans­la­tion by CHOI Jae-Hoon; thanks!] ...
[32 comments]  
Tag Scheme? · In Atom, cat­e­gories have schemes. What scheme should we use for tags? ...
[26 comments]  
Tab Sweep · This is go­ing to be big and have month-old news in it; a con­se­quence of the long southern-hemisphere post­ing in­ter­rup­tion. I’ll even group ’em in­to para­graph­s ...
 
On Linking · In a re­cent on­go­ing piece, I men­tioned the “Canada Line”, a huge con­struc­tion project cur­rent­ly dis­rupt­ing Van­cou­ver. Mo­ti­vat­ed in part by the 2010 Win­ter Olympic­s, it’s a sub­way/el­e­vat­ed train con­nect­ing the city core, the air­port, and ev­ery­thing on the path be­tween them, in­clud­ing a big strip of cen­tral Van­cou­ver and Rich­mond, the sub­urb with the air­port. (It’s called the “Canada Line” be­cause the biggest chunk of fund­ing is from the Fed­er­al, as op­posed to provin­cial or city gov­ern­men­t). Since I’m writ­ing for the Net, I want­ed to link to it. I did a quick search for its Web site, which al­so turned up a pret­ty good Wikipedia en­try on the sub­jec­t. The ques­tion is, which to link to? The an­swer isn’t ob­vi­ous ...
[31 comments]  
APP-12 · That would be the twelfth draft of the Atom Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col spec. We’ll be ask­ing for IETF last call on this draft. I’m pret­ty sure that the fi­nal prod­uct will look about like this. I wouldn’t be sur­prised if the IETF pro­cess patched a cou­ple of se­cu­ri­ty over­sights or un­cov­ered a cou­ple of cor­ner cas­es; nor would I be sur­prised if it didn’t. But I think that im­ple­men­tors who run with this will be pret­ty safe; mind you, there are a lot out there who didn’t wait this long; and they de­serve our thanks. As do the ed­i­tors and the good peo­ple in the Work­ing Group; this has been most­ly a pret­ty good trip. [Up­date: Some Atom-protocol news I had hang­ing around wait­ing to blog: Dave John­son links to sev­er­al im­ple­men­ta­tions, and Elias Tor­res tells of a quick­ie.]
[3 comments]  
JSON and XML · I hear peo­ple say­ing “JSON is great, XML is over”, but I don’t hear XML par­ti­sans say­ing any­thing bad about JSON. There are two ar­gu­ments that are over, though ...
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PHP Security · Per­haps some­one who knows this sub­ject can ex­plain. Giv­en some of the com­ments here (yeah, there are lots of mo­ron­s, but some savvy-sounding hands-on PHP­folk too), and sto­ries like this, I have a ques­tion: why isn’t this part of this?
[10 comments]  
Unmashable Web? · There’s been a flur­ry of com­men­tary about Google dep­re­cat­ing their SOAP API. For amuse­ment val­ue, you can’t beat Steve Loughran’s “Slowly, all over the world, the lights on the SOAP end­points are go­ing out”; but the deep­est think­ing comes from David Meg­gin­son, in Begin­ning of the end for open web da­ta APIs? If you care about the Web as a plat­for­m, be afraid, be very afraid. David has hit the nail on the head.
[3 comments]  
What I Search · Most peo­ple use com­put­ers most­ly for in­for­ma­tion stor­age. Which means that most peo­ple do a lot of search­ing. My most com­mon search is the Web as a whole, via ei­ther Google or Ya­hoo!, I try to switch back & forth from time to time. Next most com­mon would be email via GMail, my own slow mail­grep, and maybe some year Spot­light. After that would be the Web Event Stream via Tech­no­rati (for me, text all the time, tags al­most nev­er). Bring­ing up the rear would be a cer­tain amount of filesys­tem search­ing (Spot­light sort of work­s, ex­cept for my email) and grep­ping source code. I won­der if I’m typ­i­cal?
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Tab Sweep · I guess there’s no harm in an oc­ca­sion­al links+­com­men­tary dump; af­ter al­l, ev­ery­body does it. Item: Bits at the Edge is the blog of Mo­toro­la CTO Pad­mas­ree War­rior. The en­tries are too long and dip in­to marketing-speak, but there’s good writ­ing and orig­i­nal thought in there too and I’ve sub­scribed. How could any­one in com­put­ing not need to know what Motorola’s CTO is think­ing? Item: Via Joe Gre­go­rio, PDF slide­ware on The EBay Ar­chi­tec­ture. This ought to be re­quired read­ing for ev­ery­one in this busi­ness whose ti­tle con­tains the words “Web” or “Architect”. I won­der if this sort of wis­dom is be­ing taught in uni­ver­si­ties? Item: Ad­vanced Mes­sage Queu­ing Pro­to­col (AMQP) Spec­i­fi­ca­tions has crossed my radar a few times re­cent­ly. If you re­al­ly be­lieve in loose cou­pling and asyn­chronous mes­sag­ing (as we all claim to), then you be­lieve in some­thing like this. Item: How to find out which font has which char­ac­ters; some­thing I’ve nev­er known how to do on OS X. Item: Ugan­dans grab ‘pig-for-name’ deal; it’s hard not to have com­pli­cat­ed feel­ings about this one.
[3 comments]  
Framing Lauren · Check out Framed! by Lau­ren Wood. There’s puz­zling low-grade In­ter­net scamware afoot. Here’s a slight­ly more de­tailed de­scrip­tion of what’s go­ing on; if you have any ideas, please leave a com­ment on her blog, not here ...
[2 comments]  
On Email · For years, I’ve had two email ad­dress­es; the cur­rent job and the long-term per­son­al one. The lat­ter is un­for­tu­nate­ly one of the world’s most pub­lic, ap­pear­ing among oth­er places on the front of the XML spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and thus gets a lot of spam. I mean re­al­ly a lot. Which was caus­ing some pret­ty se­vere pain, but I’m us­ing the Gmail dodge, and that helps quite a bit ...
[24 comments]  
The Dash View · Hey, check out Anil Dash’s cool tab­u­lar cal­en­dar, sum­ma­riz­ing the his­to­ry of his blog. I liked it so much that I made one, too. Hm­m, I can think of lots of dif­fer­ent ways to or­ga­nize it, will have to try some al­ter­na­tives. Thanks, Anil!
[6 comments]  
Defining HTML · There’s a new thing in the world. Since I got mixed up in the Web a dozen years ago, there’ve al­ways been groups of peo­ple try­ing to stan­dard­ize HTML (at the IETF, at the W3C, wherever) and as long as I can re­mem­ber, they’ve been ge­nial­ly ig­nored, most­ly, by brows­er mak­er­s. Maybe no longer; it seems that the WHAT-WG has bro­ken through and been no­ticed. Mozil­la en­gi­neer Rob Sayre tells us that WHAT-WG is bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous con­tenders to the HTML-standardization throne, that Fire­fox has al­ready picked up one piece of their draft-ware, and will be im­ple­ment­ing more. Mean­while, Sam Ru­by is do­ing out­stand­ing work, ap­par­ent­ly per­suad­ing the WHATters of the virtues keep­ing what they’re call­ing “HTML5” some­what com­pat­i­ble with the rest of the world’s markup.
[2 comments]  
Web Application Security · A pret­ty fierce de­bate has bro­ken out on how to do se­cu­ri­ty for Web-applications (REST, WS-*, what­ev­er). I’m grat­i­fied that it seems to have start­ed in the com­ments to S for Sim­ple. The pro­po­nents are Gun­nar Peter­son and Pete Lacey, and what they have to say is in­ter­est­ing. I think Gun­nar didn’t do a good enough job of fill­ing in one of the bases of his po­si­tion, al­though in pri­vate email he sent me a link to a PDF from eBank­ingSe­cu­ri­ty.­com which is worth a look. The point is that a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of Win­dows PCs are com­pro­mised with tro­jans and keystroke-loggers and oth­er fla­vors of bad-ware; sig­nif­i­cant enough that the pretty-decent transport-level se­cu­ri­ty pro­vid­ed by TLS is im­ma­te­ri­al. Those of us who are technically-competent and don’t use Win­dows can feel in­di­vid­u­al­ly se­cure, but that doesn’t mean Gun­nar doesn’t have a point.
[5 comments]  
Hold Still! · The an­i­ma­tion in Web dis­play ads is out­ta con­trol, out­ta con­trol, I tell ya! They slith­er and shake and squirm and flash and jit­ter and morph and I’m gonna start bleed­ing from the eye­ball­s. I’ve al­ways es­chewed ad-blockers and Flash-blockers, be­cause ad­ver­tis­ing should be part of the ecosys­tem; but things have gone too far. Ads in mag­a­zines don’t of­fend me in the slight­est, I even en­joy some, have even been in­formed about some­thing I might buy. But on the We­b... my in­stinct tells me that these things not on­ly hurt my brain, they can hard­ly be achiev­ing the in­tend­ed ef­fec­t.
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Tab Sweep · Uni­fy­ing the­me: none. Item: Ex­cel­lent Rails-vs.-Django study. No axe to grind, ap­par­ent­ly. No ob­vi­ous win­ner, which is news giv­en the Rails hy­pe. Item: Dana Blankenhorn’s Means and ends in open source; very thought-provoking. My guess is that the im­mense li­cens­ing fees driv­ing the bloat­ed sales in­fras­truc­tures at Or­a­cle, SAP, and friends are small in re­la­tion to the whole soft­ware ac­quire/de­ploy/­main­tain mon­e­tary pie, so the size of the whole in­dus­try isn’t like­ly to change that much. Item: Irv­ing Wladawsky-Berger, grand IBM tech­nol­o­gy poo-bah, spec­u­lates about the fu­ture of the 3-D Web in An Unusu­al Meet­ing. Speak­ing as one who’s made two con­cert­ed ef­forts to build a 3-D rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the We­b, I sure hope he’s right. Item: I can read Takashi’s cat’s mind. He’s 100% fo­cused on how he can get in be­tween Takashi and the com­put­er. (Takashi’s amus­ing post is about “Engineer's 2.0 day-life in the midafternoon”.) Item: From Clay Shirky, So­cial Fact­s, Ex­per­tise, Ci­ti­zendi­um, and Carr; a care­ful, level-headed thought piece on what it means to be an ex­pert, in the con­text of Wikipedia and Ci­ti­zendi­um. Item: From “jbischke” at Learn Out Loud, a handy list of The Top 10 Ar­gu­ments Against DRM; we al­ready knew most of this stuff, but it’s use­ful to have it pulled to­geth­er, well-argued and in one place. Item: Everyone’s blog­ging Test your mu­si­cal skills in 6 min­utes!; I on­ly got 72.2%, sigh.
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Streaming-Only Hah Hah · You re­al­ly have to snick­er at YouTube try­ing to sup­press tools that let you cap­ture video to disk. Les­sig is amus­ing on the sub­jec­t. Uh, just in case there are one or two peo­ple in the uni­verse who still don’t know: if you post video to YouTube (or to any­where else on the We­b), it can be cap­tured and down­load­ed and it will be cap­tured and down­load­ed and no lawyer in the world, how­ev­er ex­pen­sive and threat­en­ing, can stop this hap­pen­ing. Deal with it.
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Zend/PHP Conference · I spoke Tues­day morn­ing at the Zend/PHP Con­fer­ence & Ex­po in San Jose. I was kind of over­load­ed and on­ly had four hours among the PHP gang, but it was in­struc­tive, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the con­text of my re­cent RubyConf ex­pe­ri­ence ...
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Out With the Old · Check out Rein­vent­ing HTML by Tim Berners-Lee. There’s go­ing to be a new HTML Work­ing Group, with a new chair, new char­ter, new staff con­tac­t, new ev­ery­thing. There’s no point me re­pro­duc­ing Tim’s nar­ra­tive about the char­ter, but it’s in­ter­est­ing; go read it. I have had a very poor re­la­tion­ship with the ex­ist­ing HTML WG, so I’m hard­ly un­bi­ased; but giv­en the that the W3C’s im­pact on HTML over the last few years has been es­sen­tial­ly ze­ro, I think that this has to be A Good Thing. [Up­date: There is re­lat­ed TAG dis­cus­sion afoot.]
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One Way or Another · Don Park makes his blog go fast by ap­ply­ing WhirlyCache to the DAO lay­er, slip­ping in a trans­ac­tion lay­er to re­duce database in­tegri­ty cor­rup­tion, and us­ing aspect-oriented pro­gram­ming tech­nol­o­gy via the Spring frame­work, with the help of Ja­va an­no­ta­tions to mark trans­ac­tion­al meth­ods and class­es. Yow! My ap­proach is to have Apache serve stat­ic da­ta out of the filesys­tem. What­ev­er; faster is bet­ter.
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Web Hacking With Real Money · Look­ing for some new da­ta for your next mash-up? How about play­ing with re­al mon­ey? The U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Commission’s In­ter­ac­tive Da­ta Ini­tia­tive has an RSS feed of com­pa­ny fi­nan­cial fil­ings; not just the tex­t, but in a highly-structured XML for­mat called XBRL. I glance at the feed this morn­ing and see da­ta from ADP, Dow Chem­i­cal, Moli­na Health­care, Xerox, GE, In­fos­ys, 3M, Bris­tol My­ers Squib­b, and lots more. XBRL isn’t the world’s eas­i­est for­mat to grok; that’s part­ly be­cause the for­malisms that gov­ern ac­count­ing are non-trivial in the ex­treme. But I’m quite sure there are for­tunes to be made by peo­ple who com­bine hack­ing chops with fi­nan­cial savvy, and fig­ure out how to au­to­mate dig­ging in­sight out of this data. Of course, in most gold rush­es, the best busi­ness an­gle is sell­ing tools and en­ter­tain­ment to the min­er­s; so there is ob­vi­ous­ly more than one way to work this ter­ri­to­ry. And a great big tip of the hat to the SEC for get­ting this stuff on the air.
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Upcoming Gig: Zend PHP Conference · I won­der how many peo­ple will at­tend both a Rails and a PHP con­fer­ence this year? I’m one of them; I’ll be at the Zend/PHP con­fer­ence, join­ing in a ses­sion mod­er­at­ed by O’Grady called Panel Dis­cus­sion: How Do The Stacks Stack Up?; should be fun.
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The Ape · I’ve put up an Atom Pro­to­col Ex­er­cis­er at www.t­bray.org/ape. It might evolve to be­come a sanity-checking tool some­thing along the lines of the Feed Val­ida­tor. I don’t want to call it a “validator” be­cause a feed can be said un­am­bigu­ous­ly to be valid, or not; but a publishing-system in­ter­face might be un­us­ably bug­gy or slow or have mo­ron­ic au­then­ti­ca­tion poli­cies; all the Ex­er­cis­er (let’s just say “the Ape” for short) does is per­form a bunch of op­er­a­tions that a typ­i­cal APP client might, and re­port the re­sult­s. Al­so I’ve tak­en lib­er­ties in re­port­ing some things that aren’t cov­ered by the spec that im­ple­men­tors might want to know about. One of the most use­ful things the Ape does is pro­vide a com­plete trace of ex­act­ly what the client and serv­er sent back and forth to each oth­er; im­mense­ly help­ful as a de­bug­ging aid. Quite a few in­ter­est­ing war sto­ries have been com­ing out of the Ape-building pro­cess. I’ll keep this post up­dat­ed with the cur­rent Ape sta­tus. [Lat­est: i18n is back, and Elias Tor­res has a guinea-pig APP end-point to try it out on.] ...
 
On Names · The W3C Tech­ni­cal Ar­chi­tec­ture Group, on which I had the hon­our to serve for a cou­ple of years, is work­ing on a doc­u­ment called URNs, Names­paces, and Registries. Norm Wal­sh, long­time TAG mem­ber, has writ­ten a human-readable ver­sion, and I rec­om­mend it. The ques­tion of how to name things is per­sis­tent­ly one of the hard­est in Com­put­er Science, and one of the rea­sons the Web suc­ceeds is that it does a pret­ty good job, us­ing URIs. If you’re think­ing “Doesn’t he re­al­ly mean URL?”, check out The Univer­sal Repub­lic of Love). How­ev­er, ev­ery so of­ten a group of peo­ple says “Hey, URIs be­gin­ning with http: are ad­dress­es, not names, and we need names, per­sis­tent names, so we’ll in­vent a new URI scheme.” They are near­ly al­ways wrong; it takes a whole lot of think­ing about the no­tions of names and ad­dress­es to achieve clar­i­ty, and want­ing a new URI scheme is usu­al­ly ev­i­dence that you haven’t. I’ve tried to ex­plain this dozens of times, but I think Norm does a bet­ter job than I ev­er have.
 
No Database!? · Re­cent­ly, in dis­cus­sion of a de­sign for a com­ments sys­tem, I not­ed that I wasn’t plan­ning to use a database, and I even al­lowed my self a lit­tle fun sneer­ing at the idea. I got sev­er­al reasonable-sounding emails from reasonable-sounding peo­ple say­ing “Why on earth wouldn’t you?” Here’s why ...
 
Comments on Camping · Last month I said I’d make a com­ment sys­tem for on­go­ing, and I got lots of good ad­vice. Sev­er­al of the peo­ple who wrote sug­gest­ed I con­sid­er Camp­ing, so I de­cid­ed to give that a try, and start­ed to­day ...
 
Measuring the Web · This is the ti­tle of a talk I gave on May 7th, 1996 (over ten years ago!) at the Fifth In­ter­na­tion­al World Wide Web Con­fer­ence, at La Défense in Paris. It won a gold medal from the May­or of Paris (one of two at the con­fer­ence thus dis­tin­guished) which I dis­play in my of­fice; I worked aw­ful­ly hard on that pa­per. I want­ed to cite it re­cent­ly, but the WWW5 Web Site has been AWOL the last few times I’ve tried to go there. Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, I ran across the con­fer­ence CD in a re­cent base­ment re-organization. So I’ve staged it here: Mea­sur­ing the Web. It’s no more than a his­tor­i­cal cu­rios­i­ty now, but it’s a his­to­ry that’s not that well doc­u­ment­ed. Plus there are some pret­ty pic­tures. Oc­ca­sion­al­ly I won­der what might have hap­pened if I’d been smart enough to fol­low up on the sig­nif­i­cance of the no­tion of “visibility”.
 
Roundup · Once again I’m drown­ing in lit­tle tech-news tid­bits that I think the world needs to look at: hence a Fri­day link­fest: Item: John Cowan’s TagSoup has reached 1.0. This is go­ing to be an es­sen­tial tool for so many peo­ple. Item: As­saf Ark­in, in Why Blogs Work, ex­plains it al­l. Item: Kim­bro Stak­en pro­vides 10 things to change in your think­ing when build­ing REST XML Pro­to­cols. Item: In­foQ has launched; does the world need an­oth­er software-news site? Quite pos­si­bly. Item: From Mark Not­ting­ham, HIn­clude; this is point­ing in the same di­rec­tion as Ingy’s Jem­plate, and un­less I’m miss­ing some­thing ob­vi­ous, it’s an im­por­tant di­rec­tion.
 
Grains · We push tech­nol­o­gy along slow­ly, gain­ing a bit here and a bit there. Most im­prove­ments, in any­thing, are in­cre­men­tal; the big ad­vances, ev­ery one of ’em, are root­ed in the fer­tile soil whose grains are all those lit­tle steps for­ward. Here are a few grain­s. Item: Bruce Eck­el squeezes XML in­to a sin­gle Python class. Item: Niall Kennedy pulls to­geth­er all the syn­di­ca­tion specs you might need; for ex­am­ple see atom­.feed­spec­s.­com or itunes.feed­spec­s.­com. Item: Peter Thomas pulls to­geth­er a spine-chilling graph­ic map­ping what hap­pens around a Hiber­nate storeItem cal­l. Ques­tion: is what this pic­ture shows a prob­lem or not? Item: Charles Nut­ter push­es the JRu­by Gems along, in­ter­est­ing­ly (and read the com­ments).
 
Drunk Men On Bots · Yet an­oth­er piece of good work in irritatingly-anonymous web­space. On Bots is at once in­struc­tive and beau­ti­ful.
 
Stop the Metaphors! · Rich McManus says the Web is a plat­for­m, and re­ports that per Ar­ring­ton, it’s an OS. I think this whole menagerie of metaphors around the Web has nev­er been help­ful and we should just stop dream­ing them up. The Web isn’t a plat­form or a database or an API or an OS a cloud or a click­stream or any oth­er of those things. In fac­t, the Web isn’t even a thing, it’s a mesh of agree­ments with a nice straight­for­ward en­gi­neer­ing rule­book. Play by the rules and you can be part of it and build some­thing great, strug­gle against them and you’ll look lame and you’ll fail. But don’t try to analo­gize it; some­times the world has new things in it and you just have to deal with them as they are.
 
Go Visit Phobos · Hey, I see that Rober­to has pushed some ac­tu­al soft­ware bits to the Pho­bos site. Pho­bos is a server-side script­ing frame­work that runs on the Ja­va plat­for­m. Right at the mo­men­t, it’s all JavaScrip­t, but the hooks are there to wire in oth­er lan­guages. I’ve been a ma­jor Pho­bos cheer­lead­er for a year or more in­side Sun, but my on­ly ac­tu­al con­tri­bu­tion is the as­tro­nom­i­cal lo­go. There were peo­ple here who were con­sid­er­ably am­biva­lent about show­ing Pho­bos to the world, and for good rea­son; they asked “What is Pho­bos, actually?” and won­dered about its re­la­tion­ship to the rest of GlassFish. I’m not 100% sure what Pho­bos is my­self, but it’s in­ter­est­ing as a thought ex­per­i­men­t, show­ing that you can do the kind of lightweight zero-deployment things that peo­ple don’t think Ja­va does. The Red­dit/Do­jo mashup de­mo is se­ri­ous­ly cool. Fi­nal­ly, while the server-side JavaScript no­tion is pret­ty weird, go have a look at the code; writ­ing an AJAX app all in one lan­guage is se­duc­tive on the face of it.
 
Credit 2.0™ Where It’s Due · James Gover­nor grum­bled at me about re­peat­ed­ly cred­it­ing Hal Stern for the “Web 2.0 = Write­able Web” meme, specif­i­cal­ly point­ing out Read­/Write Web by Rich McManus (which is ex­cel­len­t). He’s got a point, but if we’re go­ing to start down that road, we’ll end up with Tim Berners-Lee, who has re­peat­ed­ly made it clear that he al­ways thought of the Web as a place to write, not just read. And if we’re go­ing to talk about prac­tice not the­o­ry, you’d end up look­ing at Dave Win­er, who pushed RSS in everyone’s face and, more im­por­tan­t, proved that a fast-writing ornery geek could gath­er an au­di­ence and wield in­flu­ence by, you know, do­ing it. And as a geek my­self, I’ve al­ways liked James Snell’s chmod 777 web. Un­til this min­ute, I’d thought Hal was the first to nail the 2.0 con­nec­tion; but now I think that James got there first (May vs. Oc­to­ber 2005).
 
Those Accents · I al­ready wrote about how the NetBeans and EE guys are learn­ing lessons from Rail­s. But when Ro­man Strobl asked me to look at his lat­est on in­stant per­sis­tence, I re­al­ized that they’ve learned the re­al­ly im­por­tant lesson; it’s all about instant-app screen­casts fea­tur­ing guys with cute Euro­pean ac­cents. Dig the way Ro­man says “scaffolding”. Clear­ly Djan­go, Grail­s, and the oth­er Web-framework wannabes need to go re­cruit some ap­peal­ing Euro­pean­s... now here’s a rad­i­cal idea: how about a wom­an? [Up­date: Djan­go has a Eurowe­b­cast too!]
 
Continuations and GUIs · Gi­lad Bracha asks Will Con­tin­u­a­tions Con­tin­ue? in an ex­cel­lent es­say about whether the JVM needs con­tin­u­a­tion­s. Per­son­al­ly I have nev­er found them id­iomat­ic so I have no quar­rel with Gilad’s re­luc­tance, but I en­tire­ly dis­agree with the line of ar­gu­ment he us­es to back it up. He points out that Web frame­works like Sea­side make ex­cel­lent use of con­tin­u­a­tion­s, but ar­gues that that’s a red her­ring be­cause the cur­rent style of Web-human in­ter­ac­tion is a tem­po­rary anoma­ly and “the fu­ture of Web apps will be different”, with AJAX sign­post­ing the way. This no­tion, that the Web GUI is in­suf­fi­cient­ly in­ter­ac­tive and we need some­thing richer, is wide­ly held among de­vel­op­ers and al­most nev­er among ac­tu­al users of com­put­er­s, and it’s en­tire­ly wrong. I can re­mem­ber when peo­ple were forced to use com­piled Win­dows and X11 ap­pli­ca­tion­s, and most of them were ex­treme­ly bad be­cause it’s re­al­ly hard to de­sign a good in­ter­ac­tive UI; when the Web came along, more or less ev­ery­one aban­doned those UIs in fa­vor of the We­b, al­most in­stant­ly and with shrieks of glee. Yes, Web UIs are dras­ti­cal­ly con­strained, of­fer a pauci­ty of con­trol­s, and en­force a bru­tal­ly lin­ear con­trol flow; and these are good things. I re­mem­ber, in the ear­ly days, peo­ple say­ing “Once you know how to use one Win­dows ap­p, you know how to use them all”. Ha ha ha. But you know what? Once you know how to use a browser, you are well on the way to be­ing able to use most Web app­s. The best AJAX apps are still very Web-like (as in, the Back but­ton al­ways work­s); but they’re faster and more re­spon­sive and nicer to look at. The worst AJAX apps are like bad Nineties VB. Hav­ing said all that, I sus­pect that Gilad’s right about con­tin­u­a­tion­s. [Up­date: More good stuff on the sub­ject from Don Box and (e­spe­cial­ly) David Meg­gin­son. Plus a few re­mark­s, in a su­pe­ri­or tone, along the lines of “That sil­ly man, can’t he see that users re­al­ly want more com­plex us­er interfaces?” Al­l, of course, from de­vel­op­er­s.] [Fur­ther: Some pro-complex-interface re­marks that are ac­tu­al­ly co­her­ent from Si­mon Brock­le­hurst (but Si­mon, a good brows­er should pre-fill forms for you and get it right al­most all the time; Sa­fari does). And there’s more sol­id think­ing in HREF Con­sid­ered Harm­ful; I know who writes it but he seems to be try­ing to hide his iden­ti­ty, hm­m.] [Hrumph. Cur­tis Poe says I’m a Sapir-Whorf vic­tim, I don’t feel the need for con­tin­u­a­tions be­cause I’ve spent too many years us­ing pa­thet­ic, im­pov­er­ished lan­guages like C and Java. Wel­l, OK then; I promise to find a way to squeeze ’em in­to my Ruby-based com­ment sys­tem.]
 
Comments on Comments · Last week I start­ed sketch­ing a de­sign for a com­ment­ing sys­tem, and asked for feed­back. I got lot­s, and I’m re­pro­duc­ing it here ...
 
Comments Please · I hope soon to be­gin im­ple­ment­ing a com­ment sys­tem for on­go­ing. This space is my note­book where I’ll work out the de­sign. Since, as of this writ­ing, the sys­tem ex­ists on­ly in the­o­ry, if you have a sug­ges­tion you’ll have to send me an email. I’ll pub­lish the help­ful ones. [Up­date: Tons of super-intelligent com­ments, in­formed by (some­times bit­ter) ex­pe­ri­ence. Thanks! I’ll pub­lish them, but a cou­ple of things emerge. First, I do have to plan to fight spam. Se­cond, I should have a look at camp­ing.] ...
 
What Matters · Let’s con­sid­er Flick­r, del.i­cio.us, and Tech­no­rati as canon­i­cal “Web 2.0” com­pa­nies. Let’s sup­pose that Flickr is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to or­ga­nize and pub­lish pic­tures, which is use­ful. And that del.i­cio.us is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to or­ga­nize and pub­lish links, which is use­ful. And that Tech­no­rati is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to find out what peo­ple are say­ing right now, which is use­ful. And let’s sup­pose that the facts that they all do tags and are fre­quent­ly de­scribed in sen­tences that in­clude the word “social”, just sup­pose those things are ephemer­al, and the suc­cess is about do­ing use­ful things for in­di­vid­u­al­s. How old-fashioned. Every day that goes by I be­lieve more and more that the on­ly im­por­tant new thing is that the Net is read-write. Every­thing that mat­ters fol­lows from that.
 
Making Web Video · Yes­ter­day I re­port­ed on shoot­ing high-def video with the new Sony HDR-HC1, and the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of try­ing to gen­er­ate computer-display out­put. When last I wrote, my Pow­erBook couldn’t man­age to play the 800x450 MPEG-4 en­cod­ed Quick­Times un­less they were en­cod­ed at “Medium” qual­i­ty. Wel­l, I’ve al­so got this Ul­tra 20 with a 2.66GHz Opteron and an NVIDIA Quadro FX 1400 (!) so I fired up the Nex­en­ta α4 pack­age man­ag­er and picked up mplay­er. Bug: Mplay­er wouldn’t play the .mov files from the GUI; must re­port. Any­how, that com­bo eats those Quick­Times for break­fast, I even made a High-quality 435M 1920x1080 ver­sion and they all ran with­out a hitch or a glitch. The fan fired up, so I guess things were work­ing kind of hard. But stil­l, something’s not quite right. When the picture’s mov­ing I can see scan lines and pix­e­la­tion, but I want that creamy smooth­ness that iMovie man­ages, and that I see in on­line movie trail­er­s. So... Dear LazyWe­b: Can iMovie be made to morph high-def DV files in­to some­thing re­al­ly good-looking? For en­coder­s, it of­fer­s: Ap­ple en­coders in­clud­ing H.263, a bunch of DVCPRO vari­ants, H.261/263/264, Mo­tion JPEG A and B, and Soren­son Video. Or maybe I need to junk iMovie and get some­thing else? [Up­date: Lots of in­put! Sev­er­al peo­ple say “De-interlace!” and I have a point­er from Mike Cur­tis to his useful-looking HD for Indies. Stand by for more when I get a cou­ple hours free.]
 
MARS · Eek! A new acronym! Some­thing our pro­fes­sion prob­a­bly can do with­out, and (blush) I seem to have in­vent­ed it. I have to say, though, the T-Shirt is OK. [Later...] And thus a micro-meme: MADD (and from its com­ments APPS, MADR); MAUDE (com­ments: FIDPAM, with none oth­er than Mårten Mick­os propos­ing MARTEN); WASTE; HATE; and PAID (where the com­ments are out­ta con­trol, I tell ya, out­ta con­trol: LAPD (“It Beats All The Other Frameworks”), MAID, PADL, RADKAWNP, POWNED, GLAPOD, “we're all gonna get Lin­ux, Apache, In­ter­net, Django!”, PDL, and PADD). I think it’s time to put a stop to this.
 
The Rails Lesson · Over at Geertjan’s blog, The Best Fea­ture Of The Up­com­ing NetBeans IDE 5.5 is the strongest ev­i­dence I’ve seen that the main­stream Ja­va uni­verse is re­al­ly pay­ing at­ten­tion to that lesson. Sure, over at the ex­cel­lent Aquar­i­um, you can read about how they’re slav­ing away in the en­gine room try­ing to make Ja­va EE.next sim­pler and sim­pler and yet sim­pler. But I haven’t been con­vinced that they’ve got to a place yet where they’re go­ing to win lots of con­verts from PHP and Rail­s. But this GlassFish+IDE com­bo is re­al­ly com­ing along: in Geertjan’s ex­am­ple, he makes what looks like a ba­sic CRUD app with no cod­ing and no file edit­ing. In par­tic­u­lar, it looks like they’re get­ting close to Rails lev­els of DRY (“Don’t Re­peat Yourself”). Geert­jan skips light­ly over the database-selection wiz­ard; I won­der how much more than “use these tables” it need­s? [Up­date: He fol­lows up with the de­tail­s.] And the Rails peo­ple will be ask­ing “What is this ‘Deploy’ of which you speak?” But stil­l, we’re in in­ter­est­ing ter­ri­to­ry. [Up­date: Not ten min­utes af­ter writ­ing this, I ran across Ja­va web frame­works - the Rails in­flu­ence, which in turn led me to the (ex­cel­len­t, al­beit in PDF) Ja­va Web Frame­works Sweet Spots. Did I say “interesting territory”? In­ter­est­ing times, too.] [Up­date: It turns out that the in­fras­truc­ture Geert­jan showed off was by Pav­el Buzek, who writes about the pro­cess and seems like a Ma­jor Force for Good. It’s guys like him who are go­ing to cost Ber­lind the price of a nice din­ner.]
 
LAMP and MARS · At that Rails con­fer­ence, when I was talk­ing to Obie Fer­nan­dez, he asked, more or less “How can Sun love us? We’re not Java” and I said, more or less, “Hey, you’re pro­gram­mer­s, you write soft­ware and there have to be com­put­ers to run it, we sell com­put­er­s, why wouldn’t we love you?” Any­how, we touched on par­al­lelism a bit and I talked up the T1; Obie took that ball and ran with it, say­ing all sorts of pos­i­tive things about syn­er­gy be­tween Rails’ shared-nothing ar­chi­tec­ture and our mul­ti­core sys­tem­s. Yeah, well, good in the­o­ry, but I’m too old to make that kind of pre­dic­tion with­out run­ning some test­s. Hah, it turns out that Joyent has been do­ing that, and have 76 PDF slides on the sub­jec­t. If you care about big-system scal­ing is­sues, read the whole thing; a lit­tle long, but amus­ing and with hard­ly any bul­let list­s. If you’re a Sun share­hold­er look­ing for a pick-me up, check out slides 40-41, 49, and 52-74. Oh, I gath­er that the T1, So­lar­is, and ZFS are OK for Ja­va too. [Up­date: The ti­tle was just “SAMR”, as in LAMP with two new let­ter­s. Enough peo­ple didn’t get it that I was forced to think about it, and MARS works bet­ter any­how.] [Up­date: Bryan Cantrill shows how to pro­file Rails with DTrace.]
 
Hyatt on the High-Res Web · Check out Dave Hyatt’s ex­cel­lent write-up on de­sign­ing and ren­der­ing Web pages so they take ad­van­tage of the higher-resolution screens that may be com­ing our way. I em­pha­size “may” be­cause I’ve seen how slow­ly we’ve picked up pix­els over the years. The first re­al­ly sub­stan­tial screen I ev­er worked on was a 1988-vintage Sun work­sta­tion with about a mil­lion pix­el­s. The Mac on my lap right now, which has 125 times as much mem­o­ry as that work­sta­tion, has on­ly 1.38 mil­lion pix­el­s. Any­how, Hy­att has some smart things to say on the is­sues, which are trick­i­er than you might think. I sus­pect that some­time in a cou­ple of years, if I still care about on­go­ing, I’m go­ing to have to go back and re­pro­cess all the im­ages so that higher-res ver­sions are avail­able for those who have the screens and don’t mind down­load­ing big­ger files. Any­how, Dave’s piece may be slight­ly mis­lead­ing in that he talks about SVG as though it’s some­thing com­ing in the fu­ture. Not so, check out this nifty SVG Atom lo­go, which works fine in all the Mozil­la browsers I have here. Load it up, re­size the win­dow, and watch what hap­pen­s. Then do a “view source”. [Up­date: Jeff Schiller writes to tell me that Opera 9 does SVG (and Opera 8 “SVG Tiny”) too.] [Dave Walk­er writes: Though the ship­ping ver­sion of Sa­fari doesn’t sup­port SVG, the nightlies do.] [Dave Le­men points to JPEG 2000 as pos­si­bly use­ful in a high-res con­tex­t.]
 
The Cost of AJAX · James Gover­nor re­lays a ques­tion that sounds im­por­tant but I think is ac­tive­ly dan­ger­ous: do AJAX apps present more of a server-side load? The ques­tion is dan­ger­ous be­cause it’s mean­ing­less and unan­swer­able. Your typ­i­cal Web page will, in the pro­cess of load­ing, call back to the serv­er for a bunch of stylesheets and graph­ics and scripts and so on: for ex­am­ple, this on­go­ing page calls out to three dif­fer­ent graph­ic­s, one stylesheet, and one JavaScript file. It al­so has one “AJAXy” XMLHttpRe­quest cal­l. From the server’s point of view, those are all just re­quests to deref­er­ence one URI or an­oth­er. In the case of on­go­ing, the AJAX re­quest is for a stat­ic file less than 200 bytes in size (i.e. cheap­). On the oth­er hand, it could have been for some­thing that re­quired a com­plex out­er join on two ten-million-row ta­bles (i.e. very ex­pen­sive). And one of the virtues of the Web Ar­chi­tec­ture is that it hides those dif­fer­ences, the “U” in URI stands for “Uniform”, it’s a Uni­form in­ter­face to a re­source on the Web that could be, well, any­thing. So say­ing “AJAX is expensive” (or that it’s cheap) is like say­ing “A moun­tain bike is slow­er than a bat­tle tank” (or that it’s faster). The truth de­pends on what you’re do­ing with it. In the case of web sites, it de­pends on how many fetch­es you do and where you have to go to get the da­ta to sat­is­fy them. on­go­ing is a pret­ty quick web site, even though it runs on a fair­ly mod­est server, but that has noth­ing to do with AJAX-or-not; it’s be­cause of the par­tic­u­lar way I’ve set up the Web re­sources that make the pages here. I’ve ar­gued else­where that AJAX can be a per­for­mance win, system-wide; but that ar­gu­ment too is con­tin­gent on con­tex­t, lots of con­tex­t.
 
Rails Asset Naming · I said that I’d been ner­vous about one par­tic­u­lar Rails in­no­va­tion, rolling times­tamps in­to the URIs of stat­ic as­set­s, for ex­am­ple /im­ages/img23.jpg?20060412191322, be­cause it had the smell of level-mixing about it. So I talked to DHH about it, and he swore up and down that when the times­tamp (and hence the name) changes it’s be­cause this re­al­ly is a new thing (Re­source, in Web terms), not a changed ver­sion of the same thing. This leaves one ques­tion in my mind; does the sys­tem al­low for some­one to link to the ?20060412191322 ver­sion af­ter it’s been re­placed by one with a ?20070223101354 times­tam­p? Be­cause if the old one is au­tomag­i­cal­ly gone af­ter the new one ar­rives, I won­der if it re­al­ly is a new thing. The rea­son they do this is ob­vi­ous; they can set this kind of thing cacheable-forever at the HTTP lev­el and re­al­ly cut down, first on need­less traf­fic, but more im­por­tan­t, on user-perceived la­ten­cy. Which is a good thing.
 
Canada on Rails · As I was pick­ing up my badge from the slinky black-cocktail-dress-wearing wom­en (huh?) at the reg­is­tra­tion desk, this guy came run­ning up say­ing “We’re sold out! Don’t sell any more!” And the con­fer­ence was packed, all right. Here­with notes on DHH’s keynote, the crowd, and BDD from Dave As­tel­s ...
 
Those Cruel Irish · Peo­ple in­side Sun were glee­ful­ly email­ing around Colm MacCárthaigh’s big Ni­a­gara bench­mark post and I was read­ing and found my­self laugh­ing out loud. The syn­op­sis is: it’s a big se­ri­ous bench­mark and the box did great, pret­ty well slaugh­ter­ing both a Dell Xeon and a Dell Ita­ni­um. But jeep­er­s, those Ir­ish dudes are heart­less, I’m sur­prised there weren’t smok­ing shards of cas­ing and sil­i­con on the floor. I think most Apache & *n*x geeks would find them­selves gasp­ing and snick­er­ing a bit at Colm’s write-up, but there’s some re­al wis­dom there too about filesys­tem and serv­er tun­ing and so on, al­though some of the tricks are def­i­nite­ly don’t-try-this-at-home. Any­how, here are some cute sam­ples:
“Also, in each case, the sys­tem was pret­ty much un­us­able by the time we were done!”
“... about 83,000 con­cur­rent downloads.”
[They man­aged to crash So­laris with the ex­per­i­men­tal event MPM]: “Then again, it was han­dling about 30,000 re­quests at the time, with no ac­cept mutex.”
“Of course, no serv­er should ev­er be al­lowed to get in­to that kind of in­sane territory.”
“Note: these are stupid val­ues for a real-world server... re­al­ly on­ly use­ful if you are do­ing some in­sane bench­mark­ing and testing.”
“...5718 re­quests per second.”
Hey Jonathan, let ’em keep the box. [Up­date: They’re keep­ing it.]

 
Sam Destroys the Internets · Check out Sam Ruby’s lat­est... but on­ly in a browser. His use of <plaintext>, which turns out to be an ob­so­lete HTML tag (I’d nev­er seen it, and I’ve been do­ing this shit since 1994), has ex­plod­ed Blog­lines (no big­gie, Blog­lines is ba­si­cal­ly un­main­tained these days) and de­mol­ished Plan­etA­pache (scroll down a bit). Plan­etJa­va has silent da­ta loss, and del.i­cio.us is barf­ing angle-brackets. It’s on­ly a mat­ter of hours be­fore the Web Im­plodes, Wall Street Crash­es, and mobs of loot­ers take apart down­town Topeka, Kansas. Stock up on dried food­s. [Up­date: Lau­ren points out that <plaintext> is de­fined, but dep­re­cat­ed, in the HTML RFC from 1995. How many more scary for­got­ten tags are lurk­ing in the code­base, I won­der?] [Up­date: You might want to go back to Sam’s post and read the com­ments, which are in­struc­tive and en­ter­tain­ing.]
 
Styles: Beyond WS and REST · There’s been a re­cent mini-flurry around REST and al­leged sub­sets such as “Lo-REST” and “Hi-REST”. Ini­tia­tor: Don Box. Re­spons­es: Obasan­jo, Jon­nay, Glazkov, Meg­gin­son, and To­mayko. My thanks to all of them for keep­ing this stuff in the front of my mind. I’m not sure that “Web Services” and “REST” are use­ful names for the in­ter­est­ing network-application styles. But I’m pret­ty sure I know what those styles are ...
 
Feed Icons! · Hey check out the Feed Icons site. Now you, too, can have the Univer­sal Feed Icon in any size and (with a bit of Pho­toShop hack­ing) col­or that you like. Ob­serve the sam­ple here at on­go­ing, now small­er, color-coordinated, and repo­si­tioned. The idea of a sim­ple uni­form graph­ic that still has some room for cus­tomiza­tion, is that great or what? [Up­date: Ivan Sa­galaev pol­ished up the lit­tle green goober, giv­ing it rounder cor­ner­s; thanks!]
 
WWW2006 · The Web Con­fer­ence is in Ed­in­burgh this year; this con­fer­ence was once great and I’m glad to see that Stu­art Wil­liams, my friend and for­mer col­league from the W3C TAG, is tak­ing the Developers’ Track (here’s the Call for Sub­mis­sions) in hand; I sus­pect that it’ll be very good. I’d be there, ex­cept that I have bet­ter things to do.
 
APP Test Suite · No spec­i­fi­ca­tion or stan­dard is re­al­ly ready for prime time un­til it has a test suit­e. The Atom Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col al­ready has one, and it hasn’t even shipped yet. Way to go!
 
Family Fun · For my “Atom as a Case Study” pre­sen­ta­tion at ETech, I want­ed to give the au­di­ence a feel for the end­less, wear­ing nas­ti­ness in the syn­di­ca­tion com­mu­ni­ty. It wasn’t hard to find a cou­ple of sam­ples of ig­no­rant child­ish vi­tu­per­a­tion from the week be­fore the con­fer­ence to hold up as ex­am­ples, but I thought that a lit­tle light re­lief was in or­der, too. So I put to­geth­er a pho­tomon­tage slide show to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries, 25 pic­tures of bat­tle­field panora­mas, alien in­vader­s, mon­sters fight­ing, Mex­i­can wrestling, su­per­hero com­bat, slaver­ing vam­pires, fright­ened sol­dier­s, crash­ing planes, fan­ta­sy war­riors with big ug­ly weapon­s, and so on. It was kind of amus­ing, if I say so my­self. After the talk some­one came up and asked “What tag did you use to find that stuff?” It wasn’t like that; back at home on the week­end I was pok­ing around Google and Ya­hoo im­age search look­ing for things like “combat”, “monster”, “explosion“, “battle”, “weapon”, and so on and the six-year-old cruised by and looked at my screen. Boy, was he ev­er hooked. So I set­tled him in­to the chair be­side me and we spent a re­al­ly en­joy­able half-hour cruis­ing the In­ter­net for pic­tures of vi­o­lence and de­struc­tion (Safe Search def­i­nite­ly on). He was quick to pipe up “Ooh, that one, Daddy!” but puz­zled by a cou­ple of my pick­s. Qual­i­ty time, they call it, bond­ing, that kind of thing. Am I a Bad Par­en­t?
 
The ASF Server · Sun gave the Apache Soft­ware Foun­da­tion a serv­er last year, and I kept hear­ing, over cof­fee and beer, that they were run­ning some scary-huge num­ber of projects on it, all in­de­pen­dent­ly via zones; re­al­ly re­mark­able num­ber­s. I kept ask­ing them to write about it, and they kept not writ­ing. So here’s an email in­ter­view with Mads Tof­tum, who does a lot of sysadmin-ing around the ASF. I don’t know how typ­i­cal their work­load is, but I’m an old sysad­min my­self and I found this pret­ty in­ter­est­ing. Mads doesn’t blow his own horn much, but this is a re­mark­able in­stal­la­tion ...
 
Jemplate · Some­one named “Ingy döt Net” (who turns out for­mer­ly to have been Bri­an Inger­son of Perl and YAML fame) wrote me in re­sponse to that AJAX Up­side piece, point­ing to Jem­plate — A Tem­plate Toolk­it for Javascript. It looks pro­found­ly clev­er. Hold on... Ingy is legal­ly chang­ing his name to his do­main name. Wel­l, OK then. [Up­date: Jere­my Dunk writes to point at the TrimPath JavaScript Tem­plates en­gine].
 
On PHP · I should re­al­ly buck­le down and try writ­ing a PHP app be­cause, at the mo­men­t, I have an at­ti­tude prob­lem. I know that IBM now of­fi­cial­ly loves it, and Tim O’Reilly’s been chart­ing the up­curve in PHP book sales, and everyone’s say­ing that Oracle’s go­ing to buy Zend. If you want your ears bent back, have a lis­ten to Zend CEO Doron Ger­stel; he’ll tell you that half the web­sites in the world are pow­ered by PHP and that there are 2½ mil­lion de­vel­op­ers and that the war is over and PHP won. So here’s my prob­lem, based on my lim­it­ed ex­pe­ri­ence with PHP (de­ploy­ing a cou­ple of free apps to do this and that, and de­bug­ging a site for a non-technical friend here and there): all the PHP code I’ve seen in that ex­pe­ri­ence has been messy, un­main­tain­able crap. Spaghet­ti SQL wrapped in spaghet­ti PHP wrapped in spaghet­ti HTML, repli­cat­ed in slightly-varying form in dozens of places. Every­one agrees on PHP’s up­sides: it’s writ­ten for the we­b, it’s easy to de­ploy and get run­ning, and it’s pret­ty fast. Those are im­por­tant ad­van­tages. And I’m sure that it’s pos­si­ble to write clean, com­pre­hen­si­ble, main­tain­able, PHP; on­ly ap­par­ent­ly it’s re­al easy not to. But PHP has com­pe­ti­tion, most ob­vi­ous­ly Rail­s; and don’t write the Ja­va EE crowd of­f, they’re not stupid at all and they’re try­ing to learn the lessons that PHP is try­ing to teach. So PHP has earned everyone’s re­spect by get­ting where it is, and Sun should reach out to it more than we have. But in the big pic­ture, it feels vul­ner­a­ble to me. [Wow, I re­gret not hav­ing com­ments. There’s been some first-rate dis­cus­sion in email and on oth­er blogs. On this oc­ca­sion, I’m go­ing to cre­ate a vir­tu­al com­ment sec­tion by post­ing the good ones here.] [There is a new, good pro-PHP rant from Har­ry Fueck­s, and with that I’m go­ing to stop adding to this dis­cus­sion, un­less some­body says some­thing strik­ing­ly new. Thanks ev­ery­one! I’ve added a brief Table of Con­tents to try to bring some or­der to the chaos.] ...
 
Java EE 5 · We’re an­nounc­ing all sorts of Be­tas to­day: NetBean­s, Ja­va EE, and so on. Blogs are be­ing ag­gre­gat­ed on The Aquar­i­um. I think the strongest state­ment is Gra­ham Hamil­ton: Rav­ing about Ja­va EE 5. A cou­ple of days ago I wrote “don’t write the Ja­va EE crowd of­f, they’re not stupid at all...” Check Graham’s bul­let list un­der “wide rang­ing goals”; def­i­nite­ly my kind of stuff. Maybe I should try writ­ing that com­ment sys­tem in EE rather than RoR; if EE’s en­try lev­el could be en­gi­neered down to the point where it’s plau­si­ble for one-man pro­ject­s, that would be a game-changer.
 
Rails in Vancouver · It turns out they’re hold­ing what’s ad­ver­tised as “the first ev­er 100% Ru­by on Rails event in the world” right here in Van­cou­ver, April 13-14: Cana­da on Rails. I’ll go for sure. Giv­en the en­thu­si­asm that built up around that PHP piece, I’m think­ing that a com­ment sys­tem for on­go­ing is in­evitable, and maybe RoR is just the tick­et. [Snick­er... the URI of the reg­is­tra­tion page ends in .php].
 
Camino · Camino 1.0 is out. I just switched it in as my de­fault browser. It’s ba­si­cal­ly the lat­est Fire­fox code with a slight­ly bet­ter Mac wrap­per than Firefox’s own. I’ve left Sa­fari be­hind, then gone back to it, sev­er­al times now, but its lat­est sin is ran­dom un­pre­dictable spinning-beachball slow­downs (I have the im­pres­sion that vis­it­ing any page at msnbc.­com tends to start this, but that’s just anec­do­tal). Camino is re­al­ly very very good in­deed. I’ll let you know how this goes. [Up­date: I ran across an ob­scure lit­tle zoom­ing bu­glet and sent a note to the feed­back ad­dress; got email back with­in a few hours say­ing “Yeah, known is­sue, work­ing on it.” Is that cool or what?]
 
The Real AJAX Upside · Peo­ple like it be­cause it’s snap­py and re­spon­sive and lets you do nifty in­ter­ac­tive stuff in the browser. But AJAX may be a big enough network-engineering win that the UI sparkle starts to look like a fringe ben­e­fit. Here­with some il­lus­tra­tions by ex­am­ple and a snick­er at his­to­ry ...
 
Thumbnail Tuning · I did some fine-tuning. If you’re read­ing this in a brows­er rather than a fee­dread­er, there’s a lit­tle pic­ture in the mar­gin that changes ev­ery so of­ten; click­ing on it tele­ports you in­to the archives. It should work bet­ter now and even tells you where it’ll take you. If I broke any­thing, do please let me know. It’s si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly brutally-minimalist and slightly-AJAXy, some geeks might be amused at the de­tail­s ...
 
Ian Kallen on Web 2.0 · It turns out that Ian Kallen, one of the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the fact that Tech­no­rati is now re­li­ably on­line, work­ing, and re­spon­sive (when­ev­er I go there at least­), has a blog and it’s pret­ty good. To­day, he calls for a Web 2.0 mora­to­ri­um.
 
Hey Thanks, Firefox! · Via Rob Sayre, word that Fire­fox 1.5.0.1 (will auto-update) will con­tain the fix for Bug 262222, which kept Atom 1.0 feeds that use xm­l:base and rel­a­tive links from work­ing, no­tably in­clud­ing this one. We do make pro­gress. Now if Blog­lines would just get a clue...
 
PHP Calendar Fun · Here’s the prob­lem: Dr. Wood and I both have com­pli­cat­ed jobs plus we have a fam­i­ly, so just like ev­ery­one else in the world, keep­ing in sync is a prob­lem. Here­with a painful half-finished sto­ry of try­ing to solve it with tech­nol­o­gy. The con­clu­sion is painful­ly ob­vi­ous: who­ev­er first pro­vides a family-scheduling tool that non-geeks can use and Just Works with the tools most peo­ple run their cal­en­dars on is go­ing to make a lot of mon­ey and do Hu­man­i­ty a ma­jor ser­vice ...
 
Upcoming Gig: ETech · Some­time in the March 7-9 win­dow I’ll be talk­ing about “Atom as a Case Study” at the O’Reilly Emerg­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Con­fer­ence, which is billed as be­ing about “The At­ten­tion Economy”. I’m look­ing for­ward to this just be­cause I’ve heard good things about ETech, but nev­er been to one be­fore.
 
UCI · What hap­pened was, the new cat went in for that lit­tle op­er­a­tion to en­sure that he will be the Last of the Mar­lowes, and the vet of­fered us the op­tion of ei­ther the ear-tattoo or implanted-microchip for per­ma­nent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, rec­om­mend­ing the mi­crochip as more re­li­able (tat­toos fade). This Mi­crochip is I gath­er some sort of RFID tech­nol­o­gy, and as of now, Mar­lowe has a per­ma­nent unique iden­ti­fier. I feel a new URI scheme com­ing on: just call lit­tle Mar­lowe pet:­cat:982009102637565. My head is buzzing: Res­ource Des­crip­tion of Feli­nes... POAF... cat se­man­tic­s! The fu­ture await­s. [Up­date: It’s not that easy; I should have known, as I’ve of­ten quot­ed Phil Karlton’s wise say­ing “There are on­ly two hard things in Com­put­er Science: cache in­val­i­da­tion and nam­ing things”. In­clud­ing pets. (Thanks to Joe Pal­las for the link.)]
 
ApacheCon Report · Here­with some notes and pix from ApacheCon 2005. Sum­ma­ry: ses­sions laid-back, hall­ways good, par­ties in­tense ...
 
Writing and Speaking · Right now I’m work­ing on my ApacheCon keynote. I de­cid­ed not to use slides; ac­tu­al­ly, that’s not quite true, I have ex­act­ly four slides, which con­tain, in ag­gre­gate, five word­s. (I will, how­ev­er, have prop­s). This means that I pret­ty well have to write out the whole speech. I’m do­ing it here in on­go­ing as a blog en­try, sim­ply be­cause I’ve got a highly-tuned writ­ing en­vi­ron­ment where I can go fast. I’m not go­ing to hit the “publish” but­ton be­cause un­like some peo­ple, I don’t have the courage to show the world half-baked works-in-progress, and any­how, it con­tains a re­al ac­tu­al Prod­uct An­nounce­men­t. What’s in­ter­est­ing is that as I go back and forth edit­ing the tex­t, I’m con­scious that these are words to be spo­ken, rather than read off the screen, and it makes a big dif­fer­ence. Among oth­er things, it means that when I’m fin­ished, if I de­cide to pub­lish it here, I’m go­ing to have to go back and do a ma­jor re-write, be­cause while I hope it sounds nat­u­ral com­ing off the stage, it sure doesn’t read like any­thing I’d write.
 
2.0 is Read-Write? · Hal Stern says that if, wher­ev­er some­one us­es the phrase “Web 2.0”, you sub­sti­tute “Read-Write Web”, you get a much more use­ful de­scrip­tion of the same thing. Sounds plau­si­ble to me.
 
On Beyond Java — the Web · Bruce Tate’s Beyond Ja­va is re­al­ly Web-centric; he ar­gues force­ful­ly that lightweight Web apps are one of the forces driv­ing peo­ple to­wards things like Ru­by on Rails and Seaside, as op­posed, say, to Ja­va EE. My ob­ser­va­tions are most­ly con­sis­tent with Bruce’s, which as a Sun em­ploy­ee makes me think a lot about how we can haul the Ja­va plat­form in­to the lightweight-web-app sweet spot. (So far I’ve failed to con­vince the Soft­ware or­ga­ni­za­tion to redi­rect most of the Ja­va EE en­gi­neer­ing re­sources in­to a rad­i­cal pur­suit of Con­ven­tion over Con­fig­u­ra­tion. [He’s kid­ding -Ed.]) But Bruce’s book had me all cranked up to write about the Right Way To Pro­gram The We­b, and then syn­chronic­i­ty whacked me up­side the head with a de­mo I saw to­day, and I’m bathing in Web-architectural angst ...
 
Seems Like Forever · But it’s on­ly Technorati’s third birth­day. I don’t re­mem­ber when I first stum­bled across them, but I ac­tu­al­ly paid re­al mon­ey for a feed of point­ers to my brand-new blog. No­body who hasn’t been be­hind the fire­wall at Tech­no­rati or one of their com­peti­tors can grasp how patho­log­i­cal­ly hard it’s been to keep a ser­vice like that up and run­ning in the face of the con­tin­u­ing in­sane growth of the bl­o­go­sphere; they’ve had some tough times but it’s been a long time since they weren’t there when I need­ed them. To­day, Ni­cholas Carr tries to ex­plain the big pic­ture that Tech­no­rati and their sec­tor fit in­to. I don’t know, I think any­one who claims to un­der­stand what’s go­ing on is be­ing aw­ful­ly damn brave. In­ter­est­ing­ly, I’ve heard Dave Sifry make a com­pelling big-picture pitch sev­er­al times that’s as con­vinc­ing as any­thing I’ve read, and as far as I know he’s nev­er ac­tu­al­ly writ­ten it down. Dave? [Dis­clo­sure: I may have a con­flict of in­ter­est with re­spect to Tech­no­rati.]
 
Fair is Fair · And borked is borked. A few days back, I flamed away at the egregiously-broken markup over at MSDN. Alex Bar­nett over at MSDN points out that our own Sun Devel­op­er Net­work site isn’t valid ei­ther. Not as bad as MSDN (I no­ticed the prob­lem there be­cause it mis­dis­plays on Sa­far­i) but still borked. It’s pa­thet­ic, just pa­thet­ic, when two of the lead­ing developers’ re­sources on the Web can’t get their shit to­geth­er and emit valid web con­tent. Guys, go buy Zeld­man and Shea and, like I said be­fore, get a clue. [Up­date: Make that “borked is borked is borked”; per James Snel­l, IBM too. Let’s those of us work­ing for the com­pa­nies be­hind those sites all do some more pub­lic shout­ing and pri­vate plead­ing, and maybe we can make ’em do the right thing.]
 
Feed Rates · I was glanc­ing at my serv­er log­files, and was im­pressed, as al­ways, by the huge num­ber of feed-readers out there. So I made a graph of how of­ten the on­go­ing feeds have been fetched so far this year, and the pop­u­lar­i­ty of RSS vs. Atom 1.0 ...
 
Web Tracking Snapshot · There are many ser­vices that claim to be “blog search”, but that’s the wrong way to think about it. There are a (very) few oc­ca­sions when I want to go and search for “what’s new on X”, and there are lots of ways to do that (the new Sphere is look­ing good in that space). But what I want to do 24/7, as long as the com­put­er is turned on, is what I call Web Track­ing: be­ing told right away when there’s some­thing new on the Web that I care about. I sub­scribe to a lot of Web Track­ing ser­vices; here­with a snap­shot of my im­pres­sion­s ...
 
You’re Being Watched · I just signed up for Google An­a­lyt­ics and in­stalled the code, but on­ly on the home page, which many (most?) reg­u­lar read­ers nev­er see. Among oth­er things, it down­loads a 17K (!) chunk of JavaScrip­t. I’ll re­port back on whether it does any­thing use­ful, and if so, will con­sid­er de­ploy­ing it on more pages. I cur­rent­ly have a pret­ty rich set of Perl scripts that tell me a lot of use­ful stuff, but there’s cer­tain­ly more to know. I don’t think they claim to do any­thing to track the peo­ple who read this via RSS/A­tom, which means that it will be­come less use­ful with time un­til they ad­dress that, which I’m not sure is pos­si­ble. I write this be­cause my more para­noid read­ers (and there’s no doubt about it, they are out to get you) will prob­a­bly ob­ject to hav­ing Google track what they read, so now is the time to start cook­ing up Analytics-blocking GreaseMon­key script­s, or equiv­a­len­t. [OK, it’s work­ing now, I was fooled by the fact that it’s bro­ken in Sa­far­i. So I re­pub­lished the whole site with An­a­lyt­ics turned on, and I’ll pub­lish the pret­ty graphs next Sun­day af­ter it’s had a week to run.]
 
Word Processing Blues · What hap­pened was, my man­ag­er want­ed a re­cent resumé for some in­ter­nal ad­min pro­cess­es. So pulled up TB-Resume.doc in MS Word; I first wrote it over ten years ago us­ing one of the stan­dard Word tem­plates pret­ty well out of the box, and it’s grown over the years, fol­low­ing me from com­put­er to com­put­er. It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ing­ly ir­ri­tat­ing to ed­it; in fac­t, it turned out that I couldn’t. [Up­date: Post­ed a tem­plate.] ...
 
Wikipedia Notes · This week I had a pleas­an­t, re­laxed, sit-down con­ver­sa­tion with Jim­my Wales, the main man be­hind the Wikipedi­a. The pur­pose of this note is to pass along some in­ter­est­ing facts about the project that I hadn’t pre­vi­ous­ly known. This is time­ly in that there has been a re­cent flare-up of the usu­al Wikipedia con­tro­ver­sies, with most­ly the same old play­ers fling­ing the same old slime; those who care might want to re­vis­it my es­say from last year, which takes a care­ful look at the project as con­trast­ed to the world of con­ven­tion­al ref­er­ence pub­lish­ing. I stand by my con­clu­sion: the Wikipedia dwarfs its crit­ic­s. The rest of this piece is just a recita­tion of fact­s, but some of them are sur­pris­ing. [Up­date: PHP@Ya­hoo!] ...
 
Bosworth in ACM · I rec­om­mend that ev­ery­one go read Learn­ing From the Web, a sub­stan­tial es­say by Adam Bos­worth, in the lat­est ACM Queue. It doesn’t say any­thing new that Adam hasn’t been telling ev­ery­one for the last cou­ple of years, but it’s nice to have a canon­i­cal ver­sion of his mes­sage writ­ten down some­where, for the world to point to and learn from.
 
Measuring It All · Dave Sifry has launched an­oth­er State of the Bl­o­go­sphere se­ries; nor­mal­ly I’d wait till he’d fin­ished up the whole se­ries and point to them al­l. But Part 1 is worth high­light­ing be­cause he has some num­bers on the splog surge that got so much at­ten­tion this past week­end. Dave’s num­bers sug­gest that there’s less there than meets the eye; that the num­bers and reach of splogs are lim­it­ed. It’s just that their au­to­mat­ed con­tent gen­er­a­tion man­aged to cause them to fill up the ego feeds of a bunch of loud­mouthed widely-read blog­ger­s, who all screamed si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Of course the re­al news is: yes, the ’sphere con­tin­ues to dou­ble in size ev­ery five month­s. Th­ese are get­ting to be some big num­ber­s, mom­ma.
 
What’s Going On? · Gosh, there sure is a lot hap­pen­ing; this week in par­tic­u­lar, ev­ery­one who wants to lash them­selves to the “Web 2.0” mast is hard at work, and the buzz flows thick and fast. Right at this par­tic­u­lar mi­crosec­ond, Zim­bra (won­der­ing about that name?) en­joys center-of-the-whirlwind sta­tus. Check out the ar­chi­tec­ture; this is a com­peti­tor for ex­ist­ing server-side com­mu­ni­ca­tions prod­ucts like Mi­crosoft Ex­change and Sun’s Mes­sag­ing Serv­er. It al­so has a decent-looking AJAX front-end, in­spired most­ly by Out­look but with what seem to be cool in­te­gra­tion hooks (Rich Sharples won­ders whether JavaScript is re­al­ly the right tool for the job). Any­how, good luck to Zim­bra; it’s go­ing to be a bit of a grind sell­ing this kind of business-critical server-side pro­duc­t. It looks pret­ty good, but it looks in­cre­men­tal, un-radical. Mean­while, I kind of sus­pect that Mark Pil­grim may be in­vent­ing the fu­ture off in a cor­ner where nobody’s look­ing; you may not have heard much about ei­ther Atom stores or mi­cro­for­mats; ex­pect that to change.
 
Scoble ♥ RDF · Check out Scoble’s spec­u­la­tion on The Per­fect Search: he’d like to find a ho­tel in New York with free WiFi, a good view, and good food, in a par­tic­u­lar price-range. Rob, meet Tim Berners-Lee; Tim, meet Rob. Rob wants the Se­man­tic We­b. In par­tic­u­lar, today’s fresh­est SemWeb fla­vor is some­thing called SPARQL; see Ken­dall Clark’s human-readable in­tro. SPARQL is an an­swer to the ques­tion “What if I want to do SQL-like query­ing when I know per­fect­ly well that ev­ery­body will be us­ing their own in­com­pat­i­ble database schema?” I’ve been a SemWeb skep­tic, but I look at SPARQL and I think: Sup­pose you could as­sem­ble a ton of property-value pairs about web sites, and sup­pose on the front end you could build a nice re­spon­sive query page that al­lowed you to com­pose queries like Scoble’s ho­tel search; well then, SPARQL would be more or less ex­act­ly what you need to bridge the gap. Hey, isn’t Guha’s Alpiri project more or less that back-end? And isn’t Guha work­ing at Google now? Hm­m­m­m­m­m...
 
Jonathan’s Question · Jonathan was giv­ing a keynote and asked the au­di­ence: “Would you rather give up your browser, or all the rest of your desk­top apps?” The an­swer is ob­vi­ous, but the follow-on ques­tions are re­al in­ter­est­ing. Most or­di­nary database-backed busi­ness apps have mi­grat­ed in­to the brows­er and they’re not com­ing back, no mat­ter how great Win­dows Vista is. Giv­en that, what kind of apps jus­ti­fy the ir­ri­ta­tion and in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to down­load ’em and up­date ’em and back up the da­ta and so on? Jonathan lists a few, in­clud­ing the brows­er it­self, Skype, Google Earth, OpenOf­fice. But what’s the pat­tern be­hind that list? From right now in 2005, I see three fam­i­lies of desk­top apps that are here for the long haul: First the brows­er it­self, in­clud­ing vari­a­tions like news read­ers and mu­sic find­er­s, whether P2P or cen­tral­ized. Se­cond, re­al­time human-to-human com­mu­ni­ca­tion, span­ning the spec­trum from text to voice to video. Third, con­tent cre­ation: Pho­toShop, Ex­cel, DreamWeaver, and what­ev­er we’ll need for what we’re cre­at­ing to­mor­row. And like Jonathan says, as does Tim O’Reilly way down at the bot­tom of Page 3 of his big What is Web 2.0? es­say, as did the Govern­ment of Mas­sachusetts: all those bits and bytes that are the num­bers and re­ports and sto­ries and po­et­ry and pic­tures and mu­sic and video we’re cre­at­ing and ship­ping and search­ing and shar­ing? They’ll be open, non-proprietary, re-use lim­it­ed on­ly by their cre­ator and your imag­i­na­tion. Noth­ing else makes any sense.
 
Rework · I just spent some of the af­ter­noon rewrit­ing a chunk of the on­go­ing code. If anything’s bro­ken, do let me know. Read on for some notes on the pro­cess and the tech­nol­o­gy ...
 
Sorry, Kids · Start­ing way last year, I no­ticed oc­ca­sion­al fetch­es of the big ver­sions of the pic­tures here at on­go­ing from places like xan­ga, LiveJour­nal, and MyS­pace. Turns out it was most­ly teenage blog­gers us­ing my shots as back­ground im­ages, it seemed harm­less, but then the vol­ume went up and up and I did the arith­metic, and it was adding up to many gi­ga­bytes a mon­th. So I blocked ’em, but I feel a lit­tle sad; here­with some notes on who these kids are and what kind of pic­tures they like ...
 
Museum Piece · When we were out on the Prairies last week, we took the kid to the Roy­al Saskatchewan Mu­se­um, which is gen­er­al­ly very good, es­pe­cial­ly Mega­munch. Much to my sur­prise, there was an ex­hib­it on In­ter­net Ex­plor­er, up through re­lease 6, and I got a pic­ture ...
 
Not 2.0 · I just want­ed to say how much I’ve come to dis­like this “Web 2.0” faux-meme. It’s not on­ly vac­u­ous mar­ket­ing hy­pe, it can’t pos­si­bly be right. In terms of qual­i­ta­tive changes of everyone’s ex­pe­ri­ence of the We­b, the first hap­pened when Google hit its stride and sud­den­ly search was use­ful for, and used by, ev­ery­one ev­ery day. The second—syndication and blog­ging turn­ing the Web from a li­brary in­to an event stream—is in the mid­dle of hap­pen­ing. So a lot of us are al­ready on 3.0. Any­how, I think Usenet might have been the re­al 1.0. But most times, the whole thing still feels like a shaky ear­ly be­ta to me. [Tim O’Reilly re­sponds at length. I’ll have more to say, but Tim’s piece de­serves some con­tem­pla­tion on its own be­fore that; al­so, this would be a good time for oth­ers to en­ter the con­ver­sa­tion.] [Here’s my follow-on piece.]
 
SotB · That stands for “State of the Blogosphere”, a re­cur­ring mul­ti­part es­say that Dave Sifry dis­tills out of the Tech­no­rati num­bers ev­ery five months or so; co­in­ci­den­tal­ly, those num­bers keep show­ing the space dou­bling in size ev­ery five months or so. The lat­est in­stall­ment, track­ing posting-volume growth, is in my opin­ion the in­ter­est­ing one. The num­ber of blogs is in­ter­est­ing, but then quite a few are dead and quite a few more are spam; ac­tu­al re­al post­ings are prob­a­bly the clos­est thing we re­al­ly have to a fin­ger on the col­lec­tive pulse. This piece talks about a post­ing vol­ume around 900,000/­day, and this morn­ing I was chat­ting on­line with Dave and he says it’s hit­ting a mil­lion on week­days. By the way, if you’re lec­tur­ing about this whole blog­ging thing, Dave’s graph­ics are a re­al good re­source, ask him and he’ll prob­a­bly be hap­py to have you use them. [Dis­clo­sure: I may or may not have a con­flict of in­ter­est; read on for de­tail­s.] ...
 
Browser Market Share, Redux · As threat­ened, I re-ran my Brows­er Mar­ket Share num­ber­s, but re­strict­ing the anal­y­sis to peo­ple who came to on­go­ing as the re­sult of a search. It shows a pat­tern much more like what oth­ers in the in­dus­try are re­port­ing: In­ter­net Ex­plor­er has a large but steadily-diminishing lead. Here’s the chart, plus some notes on method­ol­o­gy and be­liev­abil­i­ty ...
 
Look This Way, Apple · Per Sam Ruby’s re­quest, this is an ap­peal for some­one who mat­ters at Ap­ple to please look here. Ob­vi­ous­ly, there are peo­ple at Ap­ple who un­der­stand the Net, but for the ones who seem not to, the ones who built the iTunes RSS, here’s how it work­s: The In­ter­net isn’t a thing. It’s an agree­men­t. A set of agree­ments ac­tu­al­ly, and when you go out and build soft­ware with­out try­ing to un­der­stand them, you’re dam­ag­ing the Net and you’re dam­ag­ing your own fu­ture. Be­cause and simple-minded and plat­i­tudi­nous as it sound­s, busi­ness works bet­ter when things work to­geth­er, and we have agree­ments in place to make things work to­geth­er, and we should use them.
 
Carlyle on REST & O-O · You wouldn’t think there’d be much new to say on the impedance mis­match be­tween the O-O & REST world-views, but Ben­jamin Car­lyle has a very good piece on the sub­jec­t, with lots of well-thought-out lit­tle side-trips. The blog’s called Sound ad­vice and a glance sug­gests that there’s lots more there worth read­ing.
 
Long Weekend News · While most of North Amer­i­ca was of­fline watch­ing fire­works or what­ev­er, the row of tabs across the top of my brows­er has been get­ting thick­er and thick­er with lit­tle news nuggets that I thought I ought to write about. Time to house­clean, so here are some in­ter­est­ing things you might have missed. Item: Eric Ray­mond says we don’t need the GPL any more. Item: Da­vanum Srini­vas points out that OSS im­ple­men­ta­tions of WS-Security may be im­pos­si­ble, founder­ing on the same rock that Sender-ID did. Item: The WaSP and Mi­crosoft, sittin’ in a tree (and as Scoble notes, ice is ob­served form­ing in Hel­l). Item: Ri­co con­tin­ues to pile up buz­z.
 
XML and Religion · I sus­pect that most peo­ple who read me al­so read Adam Bos­worth. But if you don’t, do.
 
Search Engine Rankings · Re­cent­ly, some­one from a Google com­peti­tor told me that they were catch­ing up, with­in a few per­cent­age points. I didn’t be­lieve that at al­l, but I de­cid­ed that in­tu­ition is bor­ing and hard da­ta is in­ter­est­ing. So I went and ran search en­gine rank­ings for on­go­ing week­ly through 2005. The num­bers are sur­pris­ing, to say the least. [Up­date: Thought-provoking feed­back, and some con­clu­sion­s] [And more feed­back from Search Engine Watch.]. ...
 
TV and the Web · I had a hair­cut dur­ing the Pope’s fu­ner­al. My hair­dress­er knows me well enough to switch it away from Oprah or equiv­a­lent and over to CNN or equiv­a­lent when I’m in the chair, so I got to watch a half-hour of that cov­er­age. At one point they broke from the end­less suc­ces­sion of talk­ing heads and panoram­ic crowd shots to “visit with the bloggers”; they had two at­trac­tive young things propped up in front of flat-panels to tell us what the blog­gers were say­ing about the late Pope. I found it dis­turbing. To start with, An­drew Sul­li­van, one of the top ten most pop­u­lar blog­gers in the world, is a gay right-wing anguished-Catholic type (and in the un­like­ly event that his the­ol­o­gy is cor­rec­t, will spend a cou­ple mil­len­nia in Pur­ga­to­ry over some of his 9/11 com­men­tary, but that’s an­oth­er sto­ry); he was emit­ting mul­ti­ple in­tense, eru­dite, from-the-heart bul­letins on the Mean­ing of John Paul II ev­ery day. I’d al­so read a half-dozen re­al­ly chal­leng­ing pa­pa­cy pieces on a bunch of oth­er blogs; for ex­am­ple, what­ev­er you may think of JP2, he presid­ed over the possibly-terminal de­cline of his church in Western Europe, what does that mean? Did CNN cov­er any of those? They did not; they went to a half-dozen ap­par­ent­ly ran­dom se­lec­tions where the writ­ers were say­ing things along the lines of “I’m like so sad.” They were pret­ty well all from blogspot.­com. When the cam­era fo­cused in, you couldn’t read any­thing. There was one that was mild­ly in­ter­est­ing and they read off the ad­dress but some­thing went wrong be­cause when I went there, I found no Pope stuff. So am I a filthy anti-Long-Tail eli­tist be­cause I was dis­turbed by CNN’s ap­par­ent lack of con­cern for qual­i­ty and in­ten­si­ty?
 
It Should Be Easy to Do The Right Thing · I’m quot­ing Jon Udell, who is, as usu­al, right. Any­one think­ing of build­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion on the Web plat­form should take what Jon’s say­ing se­ri­ous­ly.
 
Talking to Yahoo · I had a good talk yes­ter­day with Jeff Wein­er, Se­nior VP of Search and Mar­ket­place over at Ya­hoo! I shouldn’t pass on what Jeff said; any­how if he wants to talk to the world, he has a blog. But I can talk about what I said: first, Y! should be watch­ing the Atom pro­to­col work like a hawk, be­cause they have two choic­es: ei­ther they try to beat ev­ery­one else out there and build the world’s great­est au­thor­ing tool, or they get be­hind a stan­dard­ized pro­to­col and let the cell­phone guys and PDA peo­ple and let ev­ery­one com­pete to do it. Se­cond, we were talk­ing about im­prov­ing search in gen­er­al; near as I can tel­l, there isn’t a huge qual­i­ty gap be­tween Y!, Google, and MSN, and it’s hard to be­lieve that any of them can sus­tain­ably get much ahead of the rest. On the oth­er hand, I think Y! has a good chance to take on Google in the ad­ver­tis­ing space, both AdSense and AdWord­s, and maybe win. They know a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of peo­ple; for ex­am­ple, they know my stock-market port­fo­lio and what weath­er fore­casts and maps I look up; they prob­a­bly have more in­for­ma­tion about more in­di­vid­u­als than any­one else in the busi­ness. On be­half of all those ad­ver­tis­ing sell­ers and buy­er­s: it would sure be nice to see some com­pe­ti­tion. Maybe even some trans­paren­cy.
 
Still Needs Measuring · Here are some ques­tions about the “Average Web Page”: How big is it? Does it have pic­tures? How many oth­ers does it point to? How many oth­ers point to it? Nine years ago I of­fered an­swers to those ques­tion­s, with pret­ty pic­tures even (some in­clud­ed here), and those an­swers are still in­ter­est­ing, but it would be nice if some­one would re­peat the ex­er­cise for today’s We­b. Plus, an­oth­er rea­son to be mad at Mi­crosoft ...
 
Still Growing · Last mon­th, Dave Sifry pub­lished three more in­stall­ments in his con­tin­u­ing State of the Bl­o­go­sphere se­ries (parts 1, 2, and 3). Those are some im­pres­sive num­ber­s, and Dave is do­ing out­stand­ing work in dig­ging in­to them from a bunch of dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion­s.
 
Crosstalk · Dear read­er­s, hon­esty (and the sto­ry I’m about to tel­l) re­quire that I spill the bean­s: there is lots of stuff here on on­go­ing that you can’t see. Since I have a pret­ty good writ­ing en­vi­ron­men­t, I com­pose lots of lit­tle pieces of one kind or an­oth­er and then “semi-publish” them; they’re out there on the Web at an ad­dress that looks a lot like that of the frag­ment you’re now read­ing, but there are no point­ers to them; se­cu­ri­ty by ob­scu­ri­ty, but good enough for my pur­pos­es. Last night I semi-published some­thing and emailed a few peo­ple ask­ing them to look at it. A cou­ple hours lat­er, I won­dered if they had, and checked the serv­er logs. I saw my­self (twice, I’d cor­rect­ed it), and... the Google­bot. What the hel­l? Did I ac­ci­den­tal­ly press “publish”? No. Baf­fle­men­t. Is my brows­er telling Google where I’m go­ing?!? Un­like­ly... ah! Even semi-published pieces have the ad­s, which are a Javascript call­back to some­where in the Google­plex. So, that’s what’s hap­pen­ing... when AdSense dis­plays on a page, at least some­times, it tips off the robot army. So any­one who’s run­ning AdSense gets in­dexed first & fastest. I can’t prove it, but it’s the sim­plest ex­pla­na­tion, and it makes all sorts of sense. [Up­date: If you look re­al close­ly at that robot (for geek­s, at the “User-Agent” field­), it’s not quite the same as the nor­mal google­bot; ap­par­ent­ly this beast is just read­ing the text of the page to fig­ure out what con­tex­tu­al­ly ap­pro­pri­ate ads to dis­play. Thanks to all the peo­ple who wrote to point this out­.]
 
Sam Slams SAJAX · “AJAX” is a con­ve­nient la­bel for the ar­chi­tec­ture of ap­pli­ca­tions like Google Maps and Visu­al Net from Antarc­ti­ca Sys­tems (which I found­ed). There’s noth­ing wrong with the idea. But Sam Ru­by spots SAJAX, one of the first toolk­it­s, go­ing hor­ri­bly off the rails, as in em­pow­er­ing the theft of mon­ey from your grandmother’s bank ac­coun­t. What Sam said. [Up­date: Thomas Lack­n­er, SAJAX guy, writes on the sub­ject of Sam’s note: “As per his sug­ges­tions I’ve added POST sup­port to ver­sion 0.10 and post­ed a sticky thread on the mes­sage board ad­vis­ing users when it is best to use POST in­stead of GET. If you, as a wiz­ard, have any oth­er sug­ges­tions for the toolk­it or know any­one who would like to con­tribute a Java/J2EE back­end (sad­ly miss­ing), I’d ap­pre­ci­ate it.”] [Up­date again: Sam’s un­con­vinced.]
 
Aggregator Market Share · In re­ply to one of my Brows­er Mar­ket Share post­ings, Ian Brown wrote to point out that with an in­creas­ing por­tion of the traf­fic go­ing through news­read­er­s, it might be in­ter­est­ing to do some break­down on that. So I did. [Up­dat­ed to say the re­sults should be tak­en with a large grain of salt.] ...
 
A Big Metal Zipper · The best piece yet on au­tolink­ing. The metaphors are def­i­nite­ly out of con­trol, but in a good way.
 
AutoLink Again · After a day of se­vere bl­o­go­spher­ic bat­ter­ing, I went and spent some qual­i­ty time with the Google Tool­bar be­ta. Sum­ma­ry: I went over the top, was too nasty, and shouldn’t have ful­mi­nat­ed about le­gal ac­tion, and I’m sor­ry. But, I still be­lieve this fea­ture as po­si­tioned now is ei­ther evil or stupid or both. But, it could be fixed. But, it doesn’t mat­ter that much be­cause Au­toLink is ac­tu­al­ly kind of use­less and any­how, the Google Tool­bar is doomed ...
 
Google Is Wrong · There’ve been a cou­ple of weeks to think about it, and the more I think about it, the more it seems ob­vi­ous that Google has gone se­ri­ous­ly off the rails with the new Au­toLink fea­ture of their tool­bar. On this one, I’m lin­ing up with Dave Win­er, Rob Scoble, and Zeld­man. Google has es­tab­lished a re­la­tion­ship of trust with many mil­lions of peo­ple: they pro­vide a good ser­vice and they make good mon­ey do­ing it, and that’s just fine. It seems so ob­vi­ous that this move is not on­ly evil but stupid; I keep hear­ing that MSN is pret­ty good these days, but Mi­crosoft isn’t trust­wor­thy, so I don’t go there. If I don’t trust Google ei­ther, all bets are of­f. Any­how, this is a pol­i­cy prob­lem not a tech­ni­cal prob­lem, so here’s a sug­ges­tion: per­haps our friends at Creative Com­mons could have a look and de­vel­op a pro­fes­sion­al le­gal opin­ion as to whether their li­cens­es, like the one I use, are in­fringed by Au­toLink (my non-professional opin­ion is that Google’s damn close to the edge). If not, per­haps they could cre­ate a vari­ant li­cense that clear­ly rules it out of or­der. Then Google stop­s, or we sue their as­s. [Up­date: This was con­tro­ver­sial; a lot of peo­ple dis­agreed, pub­licly and one-on-one. So I re­searched some more and wrote this; check it out­.]
 
Groundbreaker · Jon Udell is re­al­ly on a rol­l. He more or less sin­gle­hand­ed­ly in­vent­ed screen­cast­ing (I first no­ticed here), and I guess I’m about the last per­son in the world to have vis­it­ed his Walk­ing Tour of Keene, NH, which com­bines Google Maps and GPS and oth­er as­sort­ed mag­ic... in case I’m not the last, don’t you be. Some­thing new is hap­pen­ing here.
 
Dodging Thought Leaders · At the North­ern Voice par­ty I was talk­ing with Scoble about the Google “smart-tags”-redux mini-scandal. He was point­ing out once again that Google doesn’t have to play by the rules that gov­ern Mi­crosoft. (For how long, I won­der?) I re­marked that I hadn’t heard about any first-hand ex­pe­ri­ences since few peo­ple I work with live on Win­dows. But Lau­ren was there and I’d sent her a point­er to the Google thing, so I asked her what she thought. “How would I know?”, she said, “It’s IE-only.” The pro­por­tion of thought lead­ers who use IE on Win­dows is trend­ing to ze­ro. But you’d have to be re­al­ly paranoid—more than me, even—to sus­pect Google of a de­lib­er­ate dodge. What­ev­er; re­leas­ing any­thing IE-only gen­er­al­ly suck­s.
 
Stronger Foundations · The Net to­day is stand­ing on slight­ly firmer foun­da­tions than it was a few weeks back. On De­cem­ber 15th, the W3C is­sued Ar­chi­tec­ture of the World Wide We­b, Vol­ume One as a “Recommendation”, i.e. as close as they get to call­ing any­thing a stan­dard. If you read it, there’s a lot of fo­cus on URIs (Uni­form Re­source Iden­ti­fier­s, as in what we usu­al­ly con­fuse with the Univer­sal Repub­lic of Love). To­day saw the fi­nal pub­li­ca­tion of the URI spec­i­fi­ca­tion as RFC3986, al­so known (even more im­pres­sive­ly) as IETF In­ter­net Stan­dard #66; some of the IETF’s most widely-deployed pro­to­cols nev­er make it to “Full Standard” sta­tus. I’m hope­less­ly bi­ased be­cause I helped write both of these doc­u­ments, but I think that each is in­di­vid­u­al­ly im­por­tant and that the com­bi­na­tion is re­al­ly im­por­tan­t. Most peo­ple can’t pos­si­bly imag­ine how much work it is to grind these things out, and how many re­vi­sions it takes to get one right. I orig­i­nal­ly wrote all of what is now Sec­tion 6 of RFC3986, and I think there are very few sen­tences in there that haven’t been up­dat­ed a few times, al­most all for the bet­ter, and al­most all the work was done by Roy Field­ing, who de­serves a deep bow from us al­l. The In­ter­net and the Web aren’t things and they’re not places, they’re a mesh of agree­ments that al­low us to talk to each oth­er and to be less stupid. Th­ese two doc­u­ments are im­por­tant links in that mesh.
 
No Follow · It’s nice to see that Google has tak­en up the cud­gels against com­ment spam in what seems like an ef­fec­tive way. I can see an­oth­er ap­pli­ca­tion: it al­lows me to ex­press neg­a­tive feel­ings hy­per­tex­tu­al­ly with­out col­lat­er­al Google-juice dam­age. For ex­am­ple, the re­cent referrer-spam perp­s, who are pa­thet­ic losers, in­ef­fec­tu­al mo­rons, abu­sive preda­tors, and prob­a­bly de­serve to be in jail. There, wasn’t that fun? Which sug­gests an en­hance­men­t: rel="justlabel", which says “don’t count this link for rank­ing pur­pos­es, but do take its con­tent se­ri­ous­ly as rel­e­vant to the in­di­cat­ed site.”
 
Firefox Temptation · I live on a Mac­in­tosh, and on a Mac­in­tosh, the na­tive brows­er is Sa­fari, which is good. But a cou­ple of times in the last week, I’ve cranked up Fire­fox for one rea­son or an­oth­er, and I’m be­gin­ning to think it just may be bet­ter. Among oth­er things, it seems to be faster. I’m about 80% of the way to­ward switch­ing. Can any­one pro­vide me with rea­sons not to? [Up­date: Some rea­son­s: You can’t drag some pic­tures from Fire­fox, and you can’t seem to drag any to Keynote. Ap­par­ent­ly some­times it spins. The text-entry wid­get is less slick and doesn’t spell-check. Thanks to Ste­fan Tilkov, Steven Dieringer, Paul Beard, and Carl Robert Ble­sius.]
 
Bot Droppings · I was idly watch­ing my serv­er log­files to­day, pret­ty qui­et on Sun­day af­ter­noon so it was most­ly just the crawler­s, and ob­served some puz­zling be­hav­ior from the Google­bot. So I ran a few re­port­s ...
 
Happy · Scoble ob­served that many blogs are crud­dy on cell phones. Cu­ri­ous, I emailed him ask­ing how on­go­ing does. He wrote back “Your site looks great. One of the best I've seen so far on the phone.” I am ab­surd­ly pleased.
 
Showing Off · At the Sells Con­fer­ence, Jeff Barr just gave us an hour or so on Amazon’s lat­est web-services of­fer­ings. The one I liked was the Alexa Web In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice, which gives you a pro­gram­mat­ic hook in­to the big, nifty Alexa database. Here’s how cool raw HTTP+XML web ser­vices are: while Jeff was talk­ing, I went and got my­self an Ama­zon Sub­scriber ID and cob­bled to­geth­er a CGI script with perl and curl and sed so you can type a URI in­to a web page and it’ll bounce back with a nice dis­play of its Alexa rank. I’d post it here at on­go­ing for your plea­sure, ex­cept for curl doesn’t seem to be in­stalled. Jeff didn’t get to AWIS un­til he was three-quarters of the way through his talk, but that was plen­ty of time. The point is, as sev­er­al peo­ple here at the con­fer­ence have said, it isn’t about REST or SOAP or WS-* or .NET or Ja­va or what­ev­er, it’s about easy.
 
¡Viva 2396bis! · After an incredibly-long and twist­ed jour­ney, with oceans of ar­gu­ments and moun­tains of ex­am­ples and end­less test­ing and val­i­da­tion, with con­tri­bu­tions from a crowd a peo­ple but most of the hauling-up-the-slope due to Roy Field­ing (the world thanks him), RFC2396bis is an IETF In­ter­net Stan­dard. Read it here (to hell, I say, with the IETF’s id­i­ot­ic 66-lines-by-80-column ASCII), and re­joice. There is now ac­tu­al­ly an of­fi­cial def­i­ni­tion of what we mean when we say “URI” and when we say “URL” we re­al­ly mean “URI” so it ap­plies there too; an of­fi­cial def­i­ni­tion, I say, which cleans up the fuzzy spots and goofy spots and ab­sent spot­s, and on top of all that it’s some­what human-readable.
 
Google’s Future · On a few oc­ca­sions in this space I’ve bitched about Google, and I was get­ting ready to write an­oth­er gripe, but I got an un­easy feel­ing, and here’s why: Ba­si­cal­ly, the site is great, and ba­si­cal­ly, the peo­ple who work there are great (in­so­far as I know them). Fur­ther­more, I think they’re go­ing to win the search wars for the fore­see­able fu­ture. Not be­cause of their in­ven­tive­ness; I’m pret­ty sure that a good smart Web-savvy group of soft­ware en­gi­neers could repli­cate the PageRank ma­chin­ery and the AdSense/AdWords mar­ket­places and Gmail and so on. They’re win­ning on the ba­sis of ex­e­cu­tion: The site is al­ways up and it’s al­ways fast and you don’t get bit by bugs. That’s easy to state but it’s in­cred­i­bly hard to do and it re­quires en­gi­neer­ing vir­tu­os­i­ty that I just haven’t seen equaled by any­one else. An out­fit steeped in Web cul­ture like Ya­hoo or Ama­zon or EBay might have a chance at turn­ing the trick, but I don’t see Mi­crosoft hav­ing the DNA for it. Note that I’m talk­ing about the site and the peo­ple, not the com­pa­ny or its shares; but at the mo­men­t, I’d cheer­ful­ly bet that two years from now I’ll still be do­ing a lot of Web search­ing and that I’ll be do­ing most of it at Google.
 
IE Surprise · Danese Coop­er has a re­mark­able sto­ry from the BlogOn con­fer­ence, from which I quote: “Probably 99 times out of 100 when he asks that ques­tion all the hands go up, right? Well first there was a pause and then a gig­gle and then a whoop of laugh­ter as the au­di­ence looked around and re­al­ized that NO ONE had raised a hand.” Don’t miss it. [Up­date: Make sure to read Danese’s com­ments, some peo­ple saw some hands go up, Scoble says 15%.] [Jonas was there too.]
 
Authoring Pain · The per­son from the Gen­er­al Counsel’s of­fice called to talk about some legal/reg­u­la­to­ry stuff we’re pulling to­geth­er, and she asked how it should be de­liv­ered. I said it would even­tu­al­ly end up on the We­b, so why didn’t they write it as a web page. She sound­ed un­com­fort­able: “I don’t know how we’d do that,” she said. At the same time, I’m hear­ing pri­vate gripes from our in­ter­nal writ­ing com­mu­ni­ty, from the Pres­i­dent to the mar­keters to the So­laris geek­s, about how their writ­ing tools stink. The state of Web au­thor­ing tools is kind of like the state of what we used to call “Word Processing” twen­ty years ago when I was get­ting in­to this busi­ness. If everyone’s go­ing to write for the Web (and it looks a lot of peo­ple are go­ing to) we need the Web equiv­a­lents of Word Per­fect and Word­star and Xy­write and Mi­crosoft Word, and we need them right now. The Atom pro­to­col will give them a stan­dard­ized way to push the con­tent on­line, and the fact that it’s all open for­mats will make it re­al hard for a mo­nop­o­list to scoop out the mar­ket. So, who’s build­ing them? [Up­dat­ed: Lots of feed­back­!] ...
 
Eich & de Icaza on Longhorn · Jon Udell hosts an aw­ful­ly good dis­cus­sion on XAML, Longhorn, and the Web over at In­foworld. It fea­tures Bren­dan Eich and Miguel de Icaza, who are the right peo­ple to ask.
 
Sage · Sage is a news­read­ing ex­ten­sion for Fire­fox. It’s not bad at al­l. I couldn’t get the OPML im­port to work, but us­ing The Awe­some Pow­er Of Emacs was able to mo­gri­fy the NetNewsWire out­put in­to the pu­trid, hor­ri­ble Mozil­la Book­marks file for­mat that Sage us­es. Sage is nice and sim­ple and good-looking and gets out of the way and seems to han­dle all the dif­fer­ent syn­di­ca­tion for­mats just fine. I orig­i­nal­ly saw it look­ing over Lau­ren’s shoul­der, she’s us­ing Fire­fox on Win­dows; so I went & got it and in­stalled it and it worked. I won’t be switch­ing over from NetNewsWire be­cause I’m pressed for time and NNW is ab­so­lute­ly the world champ at scan­ning a whole lot of news re­al fast. Stil­l, I think Sage would hit a sweet spot for a lot of peo­ple, and I’ve thought for years that one way or an­oth­er news­read­ing would mi­grate in­to the browser. Hold on now... what is it writ­ten in? There’s some sub­stan­tial log­ic go­ing on here and it runs on both Win­dows and Mac? Are there ac­tu­al­ly sep­a­rate bi­na­ries? Hah, it’s all done with JavaScript & XUL & XBL and so on. I think it’s go­ing to take a while for us to learn what we can do (and, im­por­tant­ly, not do) with this plat­for­m.
 
Extending HTML, Again · I had thought I’d said enough on this sub­jec­t, but when Dave Hy­att tells you to speak up, up you speak. Sum­ma­ry: Dave’s lat­est ap­proach for his new wid­gets is OK but a lit­tle clum­sy, and I don’t quite get why Hix­ie prefers dash­es to colons ...
 
The Lines Cross · In the week end­ing Satur­day Ju­ly 10, 2004, for the first time, on­go­ing re­ceived more vis­its from browsers in the Mozil­la fam­i­ly than from In­ter­net Ex­plor­er. I’ve at­tached a graph ...
 
How To Grow HTML · Fol­low­ing on some off-blog cor­re­spon­dence, Hy­att and the Sa­far­i­ans look like they’re will­ing to try a sen­si­ble semi-pseudo-namespaced ap­proach. My ear­li­er piece on this pro­voked a flur­ry of con­ver­sa­tion. Here­with some tech­ni­cal notes, plus words on the cul­ture and pol­i­tics of adding new tags to our browsers’ di­et­s ...
 
Party Like It’s 1996! · I’m a ma­jor ad­mir­er of Sa­fari and of its pri­ma­ry au­thor Dave Hy­att. But a cou­ple of Dave’s re­cent notes have caused me se­ri­ous dis­com­fort. Here he notes that Sa­fari will sup­port a new "search" val­ue for the type= at­tribute on the in­put el­e­men­t, and here he dis­cuss­es a new can­vas el­e­men­t. Even more trou­bling is the open­ing phrase: Another ex­ten­sion we made to HTML is... I’d be re­al­ly hap­py if some­one ex­plained to me how this is dif­fer­ent from what Netscape and Mi­crosoft did to each oth­er so ir­ri­tat­ing­ly back in 1996 (<MARQUEE> any­one?). What the W3C and Web Stan­dards Pro­ject were cre­at­ed to stop? [By the way, there are names­paces, there are class= at­tributes, there are le­git­i­mate ways to ex­tend HTML.] Some­one please ex­plain to me why I’m wrong, be­cause I re­al­ly hope this isn’t what it looks like.
 
Time with an English Accent · I’ve been watch­ing the new thing to see how it holds up on its first day in pub­lic, and one of the feeds was about a talk­ing clock, some­thing that ac­tu­al­ly I don’t want in the slight­est, but it said click here for a Ja­va We­bS­tart de­mo. Frankly, I’ve had bad luck with that tech­nol­o­gy, but I gave it a whack and (after down­load­ing a cou­ple meg and ig­nor­ing the blood-curdling se­cu­ri­ty warn­ings) there was this slick lit­tle app that looked en­tire­ly OS-X-native in­ton­ing the time-of-day at me Bri­tish­ly. Hey, this Ja­va stuff is gonna catch on.
 
HTTP over SOAP!?!?!? · Check out SOAP Re­source Rep­re­sen­ta­tion Head­er, a re­cent prod­uct of the XML Pro­to­col Work­ing Group. The idea is you stick a re­source rep­re­sen­ta­tion in a SOAP head­er. When I first read this, I checked the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st ...
 
Early 2004 Browser Market · Pre­vi­ous­ly I’ve post­ed graphs of the mar­ket shares among the browsers vis­it­ing on­go­ing, but I’ll skip the graph­ics this time be­cause there’s no dis­cernible move­men­t. So far in 2004, the av­er­ages are 53% IE, 32% Mozil­la fam­i­ly, 12.5% Sa­far­i, 2% Oper­a, they move up and down around that but not in any per­sis­tent di­rec­tion. Go fig­ure.
 
European Server Logs · I’m vis­it­ing the OpenOf­fice peo­ple in Ham­burg (first time in this town), and we were talk­ing about web server­s, and Svante told me that in Europe, some in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the EU pri­va­cy leg­is­la­tion re­quire you to ei­ther delete your web­serv­er log­files or ananymize the IP ad­dress­es out of them. Yow. Apache Soft­ware Foun­da­tion com­mit­ters may want to check with their lawyer­s.
 
Technorati β · Check out the Tech­no­rati Be­ta; sev­er­al days each week I think Tech­no­rati is at The White-Hot Cen­ter Of It Al­l, but that rests on the as­sump­tion that blogs are mean­ing­ful or even (dare I say the word) im­por­tan­t. And I just don’t know; I’m too close to the prob­lem. But I sure go there a lot.
 
Defining a Web Site · I have an ac­tion item from the W3C TAG to ex­pand my straw­man write­up on our Site Da­ta is­sue. I’ve writ­ten about this prob­lem be­fore: There’s No Such Thing as a Web Site. I’m go­ing to do it here be­cause this is a bet­ter writ­ing en­vi­ron­ment and be­cause I think the is­sue is of gen­er­al in­ter­est (if by “general interest” we mean to heavy Web geek­s) ...
 
Notes on Bosworth · Adam Bos­worth been dis­cussing what he calls a “Web Ser­vices Browser” for months over at his blog, but I was re­al­ly hav­ing trou­ble get­ting the point. After his speech here at XML 2003, I think I sort of get it ...
 
¿Que Pasa? · While we’re on the sub­ject of robots, a word about a par­tic­u­lar­ly lame-brained id­i­ot­ic abu­sive in­com­pe­tent de­spi­ca­ble ex­am­ple: I re­fer to the crap­ware known as “Que Pasa Creep” as­so­ci­at­ed with the Spanish-language por­tal of that name, which gets no link from me. Their robot pound­ed on­go­ing un­mer­ci­ful­ly and stupid­ly and repet­i­tive­ly for the longest time till I asked it to stop via /robot­s.txt, and it did, but now I’m be­ing pound­ed repet­i­tive­ly and stupid­ly by some­thing that iden­ti­fies it­self as QPCreep Test Rig ( We are not in­dex­ing, just test­ing ) (gimme a break), which on top of its oth­er sins ap­par­ent­ly ig­nores /robot­s.txt. Another day and I ask Matt to block the IP, but in the mean­time, any­one who has a busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with these turkeys, con­sid­er not hav­ing one any more, un­less of course you like deal­ing with mo­ron­ic scofflaws. And if you’re their ISP, con­sid­er turf­ing them; I just com­plain in my blog, but some sites, when your robot breaks rules, call the FBI.
 
Debbie Does BitTorrent · I had this vague idea that BitTor­rent was a use­ful thing for snag­ging Lin­ux dis­tros and Lord of the Rings trail­er­s, but then the Edi­tor of a very well-known pub­li­ca­tion said, in ca­su­al con­ver­sa­tion, that he thought it was a game-changer, some­thing im­por­tan­t. So I went and got it, and here’s an ini­tial re­port. [Up­date: Good stuff from Raph Le­vien.] ...
 
Move On From the Web · My ti­tle is tak­en from a re­cent Scoble post. To be fair to Robert, he re­al­ly means “move on from the browser” since the RSS/ag­gre­ga­tor tech­nol­o­gy that’s re­placed surf­ing for him is in and of the Web top to bot­tom. He al­so draws com­fort from the fact that a mere 50% or so of my read­ers have moved on from IE, not­ing heart­less­ly that no­body but a geek would read on­go­ing (sob). For­tu­nate­ly, we don’t have to do the dueling-prognosticators thing about that, all we have to do is watch the brows­er stats over the next few years be­tween now and when­ev­er Longhorn comes out; I’ll keep post­ing mine. So, what about “moving on from the Web”? May­be; could hap­pen. But I’d bet against Mi­crosoft do­ing the lead­ing. The next big thing al­ways comes out of the weeds where nobody’s look­ing.
 
Web Architecture in Yokohama · I’m head­ing to Ja­pan this week­end for a W3C TAG face-to-face meet­ing; the on­ly re­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant item on the agen­da is whether we can take the Ar­chi­tec­ture of the World Wide Web draft to “Last Call”, ba­si­cal­ly an as­ser­tion that we think we’re about done. This step is im­por­tant be­cause many peo­ple are (like me) too busy to read suc­ces­sive drafts of stan­dards doc­u­ments, so they wait un­til Last Cal­l. We’ll be re­view­ing the lat­est Editor’s Draft, which got post­ed yes­ter­day. I per­son­al­ly think it’s get­ting very close to Last-Call qual­i­ty. It’s a pub­lic doc­u­ment and you might dis­agree with me; if you’d like to get in our faces in Ja­pan, go read it, sub­scribe to our pub­lic mail­ing list, and get your in­put in be­fore Satur­day morn­ing. Do not un­der any cir­cum­stances email me pri­vate­ly; this has to be done in pub­lic for a bunch of im­por­tant rea­son­s.
 
Browser Market Shares · Here­with a pic­ture of the brows­er mar­ket shares ob­served vis­it­ing on­go­ing from May through Oc­to­ber of 2003, with some re­marks on method­ol­o­gy. [Up­dat­ed: I got Opera wrong, and fig­ured out an­oth­er pat­tern in the data.] ...
 
The “Richer” Interface · On more than a few occasions—most re­cent­ly in the con­text of Avalon—I’ve ob­served here that both IT ad­mins and end-users pre­fer browser-based apps to tra­di­tion­al com­piled clients, for ev­ery­thing ex­cept con­tent cre­ation. Every time, I get emails and in­com­ing point­ers from peo­ple say­ing “You just don’t get it, the Web in­ter­faces are so tired, we re­al­ly need a rich­er UI paradigm.” The in­ter­est­ing thing is that these re­ac­tions are always—every time, with­out exception—from de­vel­op­er­s. Not once has an end-user type per­son writ­ten in say­ing they wished they could have a rich­er in­ter­face like the kind they used to have in com­piled desk­top app­s. I work for a com­pa­ny that sells a damn snap­py, high­ly in­ter­ac­tive us­er in­ter­face that’s en­tire­ly in and of the brows­er (and BTW is very standards-compliant); so it can be done. I have all sorts of the­o­ries about whose in­ter­ests are be­ing served by these ef­forts to take us back to the clien­t/serv­er er­a, but I know for sure that it’s not about mak­ing users hap­py. Nor the IT staff ei­ther.
 
Arcadian XAML · The Net’s talking-shops are quiv­er­ing, pos­i­tive­ly throb­bing, as they try to syn­the­size the flood of tech­nol­o­gy bulletins—mostly Longhorn stuff—coming out of the Mi­crosoft PDC. Jon Udell as­sem­bles the ev­i­dence and finds that it points more or less where Joe He­witt says it points. Could be, but I pro­pose we rea­son by al­le­go­ry. Let’s step through Alice’s mir­ror in­to an al­ter­nate uni­verse and see if we can learn any­thing about this one from what we find there ...
 
GUIs and Browsers, Again · Jon Udell has an­oth­er very sol­id piece on the GUI/brows­er ten­sion. This is­sue isn’t go­ing away, be­cause I (and a lot of oth­er­s) think that Mi­crosoft has nev­er re­al­ly got­ten com­fy with a browser-centric world. For ex­am­ple read this, from Scoble last Ju­ly, about all the ways HTML isn’t good enough and how they’re fix­ing it over in Red­mond. My heart is on my sleeve; I think a mod­ern standards-compliant brows­er hits such a huge sweet spot that it’s go­ing to be hard to move the world past it. At Antarc­ti­ca we’ve cre­at­ed a re­al­ly rich, snap­py, in­ter­ac­tive and very graph­i­cal in­ter­face with­out push­ing the edges of the brows­er very hard. Now if we could just get Mi­crosoft to give IE a shot in the arm some­time be­tween now and Longhorn.
 
There’s Still No Such Thing as a Web Site · I orig­i­nal­ly cov­ered this sub­ject back on Fe­bru­ary 27th, 2003, the same day that I an­nounced on­go­ing to the world. I think it’s worth re­vis­it­ing, be­cause it sure would be handy if there were such a thing as a Web Site, as Dave Win­er, Sam Ru­by, and Jere­my Za­wod­ny have all ob­served ...
 
CSS Print Argh · I have re­ceived many emails telling me that I re­al­ly ought to make on­go­ing eas­i­er to print. Giv­en that I write prob­a­bly the second-longest en­tries in the whole uni­verse of blog­dom (trail­ing on­ly Chris Brumme) I thought my cor­re­spon­dents had a point. Through the mag­ic of CSS, this ought to be easy to achieve. How­ev­er, it has so far more or less en­tire­ly de­feat­ed me so far. This is an ap­peal to the CSS mavens out there; I know one or two of them are among my read­er­s. After they get it work­ing, I shall of­fer some pay­back in the form of a don’t-be-a-moron-like me tu­to­ri­al so you too can make your death­less prose more print­able ...
 
Setting up Mom · Visit­ing my Mom, I drop in­to sysad­min mode and do some main­te­nance on her com­put­er. Hours of Win­dows Up­date, check. Mozil­la 1.4, check, so she doesn’t see spam any more (brought it on a CD, not think­able on dial-up). Her 1999 Ema­chines Celeron500 box is still just fine for her, but the 64M isn’t cut­ting it, so I get in­to all sorts of trou­ble try­ing to in­stall PC133 mem­o­ry in PC100 slot­s, weird­ly it sort of kind of work­s. Now she needs to get some sort of ag­gre­ga­tion thing hap­pen­ing, she’s a news-hound (I come by it hon­est­ly). Hm­m, I don't know from Win­dows news-readers, and can’t stom­ach the thought of any sig­nif­i­cant di­alup down­load­s, so I set her up with Blog­lines, which seems to do the nec­es­sary and get out of the way.
 
Unflash · At Antarc­ti­ca, for ver­sion 3.0 of Visu­al Net, we added a Flash-based us­er in­ter­face to our tra­di­tion­al HTML fla­vor. For 4.0, which ships some­time be­fore end-of-year, we’ll be back­ing it out and stick­ing to dy­nam­ic HTML. It’s the right thing to do, but the choice wasn’t a slam-dunk. Here­with a look at the pros and con­s ...
 
The Revolution Will Be Bitmapped · Yes­ter­day I post­ed an es­say on the fact that the us­er ex­pe­ri­ence of the Net is ripe for rev­o­lu­tion, and pro­posed that we start telling the world that if they use any brows­er but Mi­crosoft In­ter­net Ex­plor­er, they will have a bet­ter brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. A cou­ple of peo­ple pro­posed graph­ic­s, here they are, along with an in­vi­ta­tion for more ...
 
The Door Is Ajar · To­day, the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence of the Net stands at a cross­road­s, paths di­verg­ing in­to the fu­ture, and no­body knows which one we’ll be on in a year. A lot of peo­ple who will read this have the chance to make a dif­fer­ence in the de­ci­sion. Let’s look at the op­tion­s ...
 
Sharecropping Redux · One nice thing about be­ing slash­dot­ted, as hap­pened with my re­cent The Web’s the Place, is the qual­i­ty and depth of feed­back you get. Here­with a lit­tle bit more cov­er­age of the is­sues. I made a cou­ple of cor­rec­tions in the orig­i­nal piece, ain’t the Web great? Al­so notes on share­crop­ping, the agri­cul­tur­al va­ri­ety ...
 
The Web’s the Place · I’ve been fol­low­ing some dis­cus­sions about the fu­ture of soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tion­s, and a phrase that came up in my din­ner with Robb Beal has been echo­ing in my mind. What it comes down to is this: if you want to de­vel­op soft­ware, you can build for the Web and/or Unix and/or OSS plat­form­s; or al­ter­na­tive­ly, you can be a share­crop­per. Your choice, but I think it’s an easy one. Espe­cial­ly since the users out there want you to do the right thing. (Up­dat­ed to fix a cou­ple of in­ac­cu­ra­cies. See here for de­tail­s.) ...
 
A Web Interface for Web Publishing · To­day Sam Ru­by launched a dis­cus­sion of API op­tions for we­blogs, or more gen­er­al­ly for Episod­ic Web Pub­lish­ing, or even more gen­er­al­ly for the Write­able We­b. This is in con­junc­tion with the on­go­ing ef­fort to de­vel­op a next-generation syn­di­ca­tion for­mat aimed at the same prob­lem. This es­say con­sid­ers the tech­ni­cal is­sues around a pure Web in­ter­face ...
 
Robotrivia · This one for web-tech afi­ciona­dos on­ly. Those of you who watch your web­serv­er logs, go do a fgrep msnbot ac­cess_log (MSNbot got to on­go­ing to­day). Un­like any robot I’ve seen or heard of, MSNbot tells you the ref­er­er, so you can ac­tu­al­ly watch the trails it takes in­to and through your on­line pres­ence. Neato. Or­di­nary peo­ple who are well-integrated with the re­al world can safe­ly ig­nore this fas­ci­nat­ing dis­cov­ery and be fair­ly sure it will not im­pair their quality-of-life. Move along, now; noth­ing to watch here. (Up­date: I’m baf­fled, this makes no sense.) ...
 
Aggregator = Ticker? · I don’t play the stock mar­ket a lot, but I have a few bits and pieces. This morn­ing I had a look to see how I’m do­ing, and it oc­curred to me to won­der why my port­fo­lio isn’t there in my ag­gre­ga­tor? (Up­date: It is now.)  ...
 
Antibiotic Days · James Herriot’s Yorkshire-vet sto­ries in­clude at least one about the ear­ly days of an­tibi­otic­s, when the pathogens had no re­sis­tance and they rou­tine­ly got mir­a­cle cures. This is a war sto­ry about when the Web was like a newly-arrived an­tibi­otic; It’s here for nostalgia’s sake, be­cause it’s kind of amus­ing, and because—something that means a lot to me—we achieved a good re­sult by ap­ply­ing just a lit­tle tech­nol­o­gy in just the right place ...
 
DC, Day Five · A cou­ple of new on­line lifestyle lesson­s, and the moon at the tip of a vir­tu­al pyra­mid ...
 
What’s the RSS Soundbite? · The prob­lem is, it’s 1994 again. Back then, I would meet some­one whose busi­ness or life or project would re­al­ly work a lot bet­ter with this new Web stuff, and I’d try to tell them about it, and they’d get this blank look and say “Well, we re­al­ly don’t have time to in­ves­ti­gate spec­u­la­tive new tech­nolo­gies right now, we have to get the job done”—or some­thing of a sim­i­lar­ly “go away, don’t bug me kid” nature—and this would make me crazy. It’s hap­pen­ing again, twice in the last mon­th, on­ly what I was telling them about was RSS. The ques­tion is: how do we ex­plain it to peo­ple who don’t need know that they need to know? ...
 
Subscribers Redux · Re­cent­ly I talked about the dif­fi­cul­ty of know­ing how many sub­scribers there are to an RSS feed. Not much joy to of­fer on this one, but some new in­for­ma­tion and a startling (to me) bit of so­ci­ol­o­gy. Plus one last ex­hor­ta­tion for the ag­gre­ga­tor guys: watch out or Red­mond will get ya! ...
 
Counting Subscribers · By far the biggest names in the referrer-log are Ra­dio User­land and NetNewsWire, with the oth­er ag­gre­ga­tors (Syn­dirella, Am­phetadesk, and so on) well up in the list. Which is just fine, but we're miss­ing a piece of in­for­ma­tion which will soon be re­al­ly im­por­tan­t, com­mer­cial­ly. (Up­dat­ed 'round mid­night Sun­day. And again Mon­day, more in­put.) ...
 
Bye-bye Home Page? · My brows­er home page is an HTML file on my hard drive. It has 58 links on it, and I used to use all of them, but I use less and less all the time, and I think the im­por­tance of the “home page” is de­clin­ing steadi­ly ...
 
Googleswarmed · Some­thing hap­pened to on­go­ing to­day that I haven't seen be­fore. Sud­den­ly, for a few min­utes this af­ter­noon, the Google crawlers were all over me, and I'm won­der­ing if this hap­pens of­ten and what it mean­s ...
 
Technorati Lessons, Take Two · A cou­ple of days back I wrote about the new Tech­no­rati API, con­sid­er­ing the trade-offs of var­i­ous kinds of Web APIs. It turns out I was se­ri­ous­ly wrong on one of those points, and what falls out is im­por­tant enough for a new es­saylet ...
 
Apple Store XML Shutdown · Ste­fano Maz­zoc­chi re­ports that those Ap­ple Mu­sic store URIs which used to yield XML no longer do so, ap­par­ent­ly it's all en­crypt­ed. I tried and he's right. A quick look at a cou­ple of the is­sues ...
 
The SOAP/XML-RPC/REST Saga, Chap. 51 · To­day Dave Sifry of the ex­cel­lent Tech­no­rati an­nounced an API for the world. The API, as an­nounced, is about as pure­ly Web­by a thing as you can imag­ine. Dave Win­er pushed back, sug­gest­ing a more SOAP/XML-RPC kind of ap­proach. This is maybe the sin­gle cen­tral is­sue in ar­chi­tect­ing Web apps right at the mo­men­t, so I think it's OK to take a few more whacks at the supine equine. Fur­ther­more, I think the is­sue is sim­ple enough that any­one who us­es the we­b, not just geek­s, ought to be able to un­der­stand it. So I've pro­vid­ed an in­tro­duc­tion for the non-geeks who read on­go­ing, all three of them, and looked a lit­tle more close­ly at the Tech­no­rati sit­u­a­tion ...
 
RSS and the S-word · Over the last month or two, there have been desul­to­ry swirls of con­ver­sa­tion on What To Do With RSS? In par­tic­u­lar the drum­beats are loud right now chez Sam Ruby. (Snick­er: here it is 9PM Pa­cif­ic on Satur­day and all the geeks are rockin' out by de­bat­ing RSS syn­tax.) I'm won­der­ing if it's time to bring in the dread­ed S-word: stan­dard­iza­tion. This will re­quire a brief sur­vey of what stan­dards are good for and what writ­ing a stan­dard is all about ...
 
On CSS · It would seem to be de rigueur these days for any­one in this space to have an opin­ion about the use of CSS, so here's mine: us­ing CSS is bet­ter than not us­ing CSS. But some­times you can't. I've got a cou­ple of ex­am­ples and a few gen­er­al CSS gripes ...
 
iTunes Music Store and the WWW · I should say off the top that I'm a huge fan of Ap­ple iTunes Mu­sic Store (here­inafter iMS). There are so many things right about it, and once they fig­ure out how to in­clude in the in­dies and bou­tiques, it may just turn the mu­sic biz in­side out in a good way. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, I'm a pedan­tic geek and a lover of the WWW, and so I just have to point out a few ways in which iMS could be made a bet­ter Web cit­i­zen with ben­e­fits all around ...
 
Speaking of Browsers... Hooray! · We had a meet­ing at work this af­ter­noon and de­cid­ed to drop prod­uct sup­port for re­lease 4 browser­s! I'm so hap­py. If you do browser-based soft­ware, you should give this se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion too; it buys you a lot and doesn't cost very much ...
 
Browser Market Shares · I guess one of the best mea­sures of brows­er mar­ket share would be on the (very good) Google Zeit­geist page, and what I see there match­es my per­cep­tion of the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom. The re­al­ly good news on that page is the ero­sion of the 4.* browsers in­to in­vis­i­bil­i­ty. But it's sure not what I'm see­ing here on on­go­ing ...
 
RSS Needs Fixing · There are two big prob­lems with RSS that aren't go­ing away and are just go­ing to have to be fixed to avoid a train-wreck, giv­en the way this thing is tak­ing off. They are first, what can go in a <description>, and sec­ond, the is­sue of rel­a­tive URIs. (Warn­ing: yet an­oth­er in­ces­tu­ous self-referential post by a blog­ger about blog­ging, of in­ter­est on­ly to syn­di­ca­tion geek­s.) (Sub­stan­tial­ly up­dat­ed 11AM Pa­cif­ic time) ...
 
Lap to Lamp · A slight re­work this evening for on­go­ing, most vis­i­ble in the side­bar ma­te­ri­al to the left and right. The pre­vi­ous cut was Lin­ux/Apache/Per­l, this one adds Mysql to the mix. But the LAMP acronym comes up short, there re­al­ly ought to be an X in there for XML, time for Udell to think up some­thing. I thought it might be in­ter­est­ing to write up some of the de­sign is­sues, but then I de­cid­ed no, that wouldn't be in­ter­est­ing at al­l, so this is just to ask for feed­back if I've bro­ken any­thing, make a cou­ple of gen­er­al ob­ser­va­tion­s, and note that I now hate SQL much less ...
 
Browsers · c|net is cel­e­brat­ing the tenth an­niver­sary of the Web brows­er with a pret­ty good se­ries of ar­ti­cles. What caught my eye was the dis­course on brows­er mar­ket shares in this one, which is well worth read­ing. But their snap­shot of the cur­rent state of re­al­i­ty is way out of line with what I'm see­ing ...
 
Anything to Say? · If you spend any time at all watch­ing Web serv­er log­files (and trust me, there's noth­ing like it) you learn that the Web Suck­s. By which I mean, there are a lot of com­put­er pro­grams out there cre­at­ing neg­a­tive pres­sure around any remotely-plausible source of any­thing at all re­mote­ly in­ter­est­ing, that they may in­gest it and then have it ready to de­liv­er to somone who might care ...
 
Weblogging and Poetry · There's been an amus­ing on­go­ing flame re­cent­ly di­rect­ed by the acer­bic An­drew Or­lows­ki of The Regis­ter at the mighty Google. Or­lows­ki scores some points, but his take on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween blog­gers and their au­di­ence is back­ward­s, he's miss­ing the par­al­lel with po­ets and their au­di­ence ...
 
Infopath · c|net says that Mi­crosoft won't be in­clud­ing In­fopath (former­ly known as XDoc­s) in the ba­sic MS Of­fice bundle. This seems all wrong, I don't get it ...
 
Winning Business With a Good Web Site · I just now this morn­ing had to book a short lit­tle trip with­in the Pa­cif­ic North­west. There's this re­gion­al car­ri­er called WestJet, and they got my busi­ness, among oth­er rea­sons be­cause their web­site is done right while the competition's are lame and ir­ri­tat­ing ...
 
TV vs. the Web · I don't have a TV (ok, we do, but it on­ly plays DVDs, it doesn't get any chan­nel­s). I miss it ev­ery Oc­to­ber dur­ing the World Series, and I miss it at times like now when hot news is break­ing. Many for­tunes have been lost bet­ting on the no­tion of "convergence" and it was al­ways sil­ly; the Web doesn't need to be more like TV and TV doesn't need to be more like the We­b ...
 
On Being Slashdotted · There may be those who write in pub­lic and don't care who and how many peo­ple read, but I'm not one of them. So when I turned on the com­put­er Tues­day morn­ing and dis­cov­ered by vis­it­ing Slash­dot that they had a point­er to my XML Is Too Hard for Pro­gram­mers piece, I woke up re­al fast. Here­with a bunch of ran­dom ob­ser­va­tions on the ex­pe­ri­ence ...
 
W3C Patent Policy Draft · The lat­est draft, pub­lished to­day, is a land­mark. You can't pos­si­bly imag­ine the num­ber of hours of hard think­ing and nasty wran­gling that have gone in­to pro­duc­ing it. My per­son­al take is that it's about done and it's good enough and we're not go­ing to end up with any­thing bet­ter. Warn­ing: long and bor­ing, but I think im­por­tan­t. ...
 
Mosaic Plus Ten · Slash­dot has re­port­ed it, but it's worth echo­ing - ten years ago to­day Mo­sa­ic 0.10 shipped. It had the ba­si­cal­ly good un­der­ly­ing ar­chi­tec­ture due in large part to TimBL, and Andreessen's mag­ic ex­tra: the IMG tag - Web pages with pic­tures! Web purists sneered then, and maybe some still do, but the ar­rival of pic­tures was (and re­mains) huge. The world in gen­er­al and I in par­tic­u­lar both owe these guys con­sid­er­able thanks, be­cause the Web is bet­ter than what came be­fore, and, for the mo­men­t, bet­ter than the al­ter­na­tives ...
 
Illustrated Conversation With the World · Alice was be­gin­ning to get very tired of sit­ting by her sis­ter on the bank, and of hav­ing noth­ing to do: once or twice she had peeped in­to the book her sis­ter was read­ing, but it had no pic­tures or con­ver­sa­tions in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pic­tures or conversations?" [Lewis Car­rol­l] And what is the use of a we­blog, etc? ...
 
Find Me! · When you're run­ning a web site, as pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed you can spend a lot of time watch­ing your log files to see what's go­ing on. One of the things that go on is that peo­ple do Google search­es and one of the re­sults points at you. I wrote a lit­tle script to run through the log and print out the Google queries that found on­go­ing ...
 
The Online Salesvoice · This morn­ing Doc Searls has a point­er to a re­al in­ter­est­ing at­tempt to use blogs to do vi­ral mar­ket­ing for a teen drink. They spec­u­late as to how big this might be. At the end of the day, though, we're all here to sell some­thing, aren't we? ...
 
RSS... Oops! What? · (For RSS wee­nies on­ly). Sam Ru­by thought­ful­ly point­ed me at the RSS Val­ida­tor, which whined at me that my RSS was bro­ken, which it was, so I fixed it, so if your feed read­er is show­ing ev­ery­thing here un­read that may be why. Ex­cept for I'm re­sist­ing one change that the val­ida­tor wants ...
 
Is This Thing On? · Over the last 24 hours I learned a lot about how the Web of A.D. 2003 work­s, and it's not like it used to be ...
 
The Universal Republic of Love · There's No Such Thing as a URL Strange, but true, even though we talk about them all the time, those things that be­gin http://... and are paint­ed on the sides of bus­es and build­ings ev­ery­where. Th­ese things are de­signed to be used by com­put­er pro­gram­s, right? So ask your friend­ly lo­cal pro­gram­mer to write a pro­gram to use them for some­thing, and she'll go try to dig up the of­fi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion on what to do, and pret­ty quick­ly find that there isn't any for URLs; ev­ery­thing on the sub­ject of­fi­cial­ly ex­pired years ago. It turns out that all the of­fi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion is now about "URIs" not "URLs", so that's what you've been us­ing in re­cent years, whether you know it or not ...
 
Udell on Infopath · Jon Udell has a thought­ful piece on Microsoft's new In­fopath. I can con­firm that when I got my ear­ly de­mo from Jean Paoli, Jean con­firmed that they re­al­ly didn't have any in­ter­est in XForm­s. But I'm hav­ing trou­ble see­ing Infopath's fu­ture ...
 
Search Lives! · As of to­day, Google is the pre­mier play­er in the world of search. Is the game over? I re­al­ly doubt it; Google's big in­no­va­tion - rank­ing pages by the de­gree to which they're point­ed at - is clev­er, and it's hard to im­ple­ment ef­fi­cient­ly, but it's not that orig­i­nal; aca­dem­ic ci­ta­tion anal­y­sis has used this tech­nique for a long time. So I think we'll see new search play­ers com­ing along and grab­bing mar­ket share away from Google based on one in­no­va­tion or an­oth­er. Ob­vi­ous­ly, I'm prej­u­diced, but I think that the area ob­vi­ous­ly cry­ing out for in­no­va­tion is the us­er in­ter­face; I am tired of see­ing Re­sults 1-20 of about 2382923452 ...
 
Apache Fan Club · In the pro­cess of get­ting on­go­ing staged, a cer­tain amount of serv­er twid­dling was called for. This pro­cess has fur­ther deep­ened my already-profound re­spect for the Apache Web server ...
 
Organizing Infomorsels for the Author · I've de­cid­ed that it's usu­al­ly cor­rect to or­ga­nize in­for­ma­tion (Web in­for­ma­tion, any­how) by date. For ex­am­ple, when I wrote the first few en­tries in on­go­ing, I was or­ga­niz­ing them by cat­e­go­ry; see the lay­out un­der What? to your left. That turns out to be a bad idea for a bunch of rea­son­s ...
 
Ward Cunningham on Naming and Being Finished · Jon Udel­l, cur­rent­ly at In­foworld, ex­cerpts a long note from Ward Cun­ning­ham here. A cou­ple of these re­marks have been cre­at­ing rum­bling echoes that won't die down in the back of my brain ...
 
NetNewsWire 1.0 · NetNewsWire 1.0, the pay-for-it ver­sion, came out this week. <Disclosure>Brent of Ranchero gave me a free­bie, but I would have paid, honest.</Disclosure>. Ac­tu­al­ly, off the top there are no ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ences from the "Lite" ver­sion I've been us­ing for month­s. Ex­cept for the busi­ness of mov­ing to the next-unread ar­ti­cle ...
 
Center Dot (·) · Uni­code U+00B7 CENTER DOT like so: ·, I was try­ing to fig­ure out how to ren­der the date and tax­on­o­my hi­er­ar­chies, and fid­dling with var­i­ous kinds of lame line-drawing tricks (stretched GIFs and so on) when I re­al­ized that just about ev­ery font in the known uni­verse has this thing and it lines up nice­ly in rows and columns and looks pret­ty good ...
 
Stupidly Repeated Text · You will prob­a­bly have ob­served that ev­ery en­try in on­go­ing has the same ma­te­ri­al on the right side of your screen, the lit­tle hom­i­lies on Truth and Busi­ness and so on. Why can't I store them and serve them just on­ce? ...
 
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