Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

scriptingNews outline for 12/10/2000

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:12/10/2000; 5:01:48 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 12/10/2000
Msg #:22015
Prev/Next:22014 / 22016

Press release: Software AG Supports SOAP.

LA Times: "For weeks, Florida has riveted the nation with a mind-numbing array of failures: misleading ballots, contradictory counting standards, discarded votes--19,000 in one county alone. But an examination by The Times in a dozen states from Washington to Texas to New York shows that Florida is not the exception. It is the rule."

I spoke this afternoon with Randy Ray, the Red Hat engineer who posted improvements to XML-RPC over the weekend, and caused quite a stir on the mail list. He's a good guy who wandered into a community a little too quickly. I'm going to help him communicate his ideas, and see if we can't get some motion. To be clear, I think XML-RPC is frozen, but there's no reason new protocol(s) can't emerge that extend it. I support forking, I supported SOAP (a fork from XML-RPC), and there's no reason other ideas can't take root. To me, it's essential that milestones be left clearly marked, so people can claim proper artistic credit, and so new ideas get a chance. New ideas from Microsoft as well as new ideas from a random engineer at Red Hat. All the same to me.

12/2/96, on Solitaire: "Got a good game going but hit a dead-end? Here's a sure-fire way to create some new moves. Go for a walk. Come back. They're there. You just can't see them."

Bend your mind with WordPerhect. Fantastic!

The Y2K Scripting News Christmas Tree is up. Maybe we'll get a new President for Christmas? It could happen tonight or tomorrow. You never know what those nutty Supreme Court judges'll do. You can celebrate too with a tree on your UserLand-hosted Manila site by typing "Christmas Tree" into your template. Sometime in the next few days an Easter Egg may show up in your tree. You never can tell!

W3C: SOAP Messages with Attachments.

NewsIsFree has an XML-RPC interface.

While waiting for the Supreme Court tape on NPR, I wrote a review of printing in Radio, and what I want from it, and also include a point of view from Joel's book.

I got a quote in Zeldman's Glamorous Life.

Sheldon Sam is looking for help with Hypercard scripting.

Today's NY Times has essays on seven years of the WWW.

To be complete, I have to point to this. You already know how I feel about it. Here's why. Some people agree.

Last night on 60 Minutes, the opening segment was on the dotcoms. Their thesis -- there may be no way to make money on the Internet. Very Zenlike. Everyone goes nuts about how much money everyone will make on the Internet. Some do make money, not on the Internet itself, but on the hype. When the hype dies, what's left? Just us squirrels. Is there any way to make money to pay for the writers, designers, graphics people and programmers? Hmmm. ";->"

Now, what do we want the Internet to be? I'm thinking (again) that it's time for a new conference. As the "business models" fade away, let's return to technology. There's still a lot of work to do. The Web browser got lost inside Microsoft, tied to their mission (ie don't threaten Word). I read in Joel's book that Excel wasn't used for spreadsheets, it was used for lists. That's why Improv didn't have the impact everyone thought it would. (Remember Improv?) So let's make great list tools. (I have a few ideas about that.) I hear that Groove's killer app is file sharing. It really works, no sysadmins to screw it up. That makes sense. (Remember mainframes?) If I were going to run a conference (still thinking about it) the common thread would be What Really Works? and then How Can It Work Better?

Look at our track record as an industry. Take the prosaic explanation for every revolution that happened, and take note of every supposed revolution that was supposed to happen but never did. The Web was a revolution. But was it really that different? It marked the maturation of networking, the commercialization of networking. Anyone with a mind in the 60s, 70s and 80s could see it coming, and many did.

Another common track -- no one wants to challenge Microsoft in desktop apps, even where Microsoft has no software. This is wrong. You don't have to beat Microsoft to have a successful product. Even a niche in one of the Microsoft-dominated categories could be an excellent market. I suggested to Dan Greening of Macromedia a long-time pet idea of mine. I want a Flash word processor. The editor renders in Flash. It's wizzy. It saves in Flash. Since the Flash runtime is so widely deployed there should be no problem rendering the text for the reader. Flash text looks so much better than Microsoft text. This is a no-brainer. Let's do it.

In James Tauber's session on Web Services, the question of Why SOAP? (and not CORBA) came up. Simple answer. SOAP is inclusive and CORBA was Unix arrogance. SOAP came from the best practices of Mac and Windows, adapted to the standards of the Internet. Therefore it includes users of all popular platforms. CORBA did not embrace the popular platforms. That's the only real difference (other than simplicity -- a SOAP implementation takes a fraction of the time of a CORBA implementation). If you have a killer idea, it won't go anywhere unless you factor in the inevitable route-around, at the beginning. Lock-in is death, it's not a viable business model. See the part about making money on the Internet. Can't do it.

BTW, it's a little bit of a pun. I think (hope) that there are still ways to make money, but the Internet part of what we do is not the way.

I'd also like to talk about Users Taking Responsibility. If you use computers the state of the technology industry must be disturbing, if you're thinking. If your vendors are delivering what you want, I imagine you're in a small minority. What would it take to get a new industry in place that wasn't selling airbags, but was focused on giving you and your users what you want.

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