It’s just data

iCalendar Validator?

Jon Udell: If we recapitulate the RSS/Atom experience with ICS, and lots more ad-hoc ICS feeds arrive on the scene, charts like this will go even redder.  To make them go green, we’ll need a more robust ICS validator.

Jon has done an excellent first step: demonstrating that there is a problem.

The next step is harder.


Benefits of Uniformity

Jon Udell: These are, of course, best practices for an ecosystem sustained by web standards like URI, HTTP, and XML. But it was wonderful to see those best practices clearly demonstrated in a PDC keynote.

In many ways it feels like we are now about at the point in the evolution of the web where we were two decades ago with respect to GUIs.  For that reason, it pleases me greatly to hear that Don Box was on stage demonstrating the value of Hi-Rest.  And it pleases me that Atom/AtomPub played a role in this.


Hasty Generalizations

Jon Udell: It’s also true that, as Sam Ruby has elegantly shown, SOAP can be used in a RESTful way that does not markedly differ from any other kind of XML-over-HTTP scenario w/respect to payload, but that can inject various kinds of enterprisey bits into the header.  From that perspective I suspect that SOAP and RSWS wind up being roughly the same.

Please don’t confuse SOAP with WS-*, as this leads to hasty generalizations.


MSFT += Jon Udell

Jon Udell: My last day at InfoWorld will be Friday Dec 15. On Jan 15, after a month-long sabbatical, I’ll become a Microsoft employee.

Prediction: despite the fact that this “acquisition” of the unique “Udell brand” will likely cause Microsoft to change more than Jon himself will; what (quite unfortunately) will change most of all is how most people will interpret Jon’s insights.  Thankfully, Jon’s established track record prior to joining Microsoft and the quite evident freedom of expression that Microsoft permits its employees will mitigate this somewhat.

Best of luck with this new endeavor, Jon.


Jon Udell: Now that we’ve shared our OPML, will SYO share it back so we can create and contribute our own data mashups?

Apparently, on the same day I reported that there were over three hundred people subscribed to TechMeme’s HTML page, every single last one of them, and a few more, unsubscribed from it, and subscribed to the XML feed.

While the intentions behind this particular change are innocent, the fact remains that SYO in its current state is essentially un-auditable.

Family Friendly Calendaring

Jon Udell: the calendaring problem is just one of the many ways that real life challenges on our prevailing enterprise security model, with its bankrupt notion of an inside and an outside divided by a wall.

The longest living application I wrote for my personal use is a family calendar.  It is written in PHP.  It is password protected.


OpenID by way of examples

Jon Udell: I learn poorly from API documentation, and rely almost exclusively on examples.

Me too.


Ruby 1.8 vs LINQ

Jon Udell: I’ve been checking out the LINQ technical preview, and it’s definitely an eye-opener. The following snippet does a three-way join across an XML data source and two CLR objects. The XML data source is the content of this blog. The objects are a dictionary of date mappings, and an array of strings. The output is constructed as XML.

As an educational exercise, I’ve converted this to Ruby


Simple Single Sign-on

Jon Udell: Today’s 2.75-minute screencast features Nic Wolff’s ingenious solution to the vexing problem of single sign-on to websites.

Another example of the Long Tail Of Software Development, a.k.a., pushing integration to the edges.

Things to note:

Related: Situated Software.

Modifying Google

Jon Udell: does Google really get that the future is services co-created by the people who use them?

Consquences of Standards (and the lack thereof)

Jon Udell: This time, though, I heard something I hadn't the first time -- about standards. When the construction project drew in artisans from the 13th-century French countryside, the first order of business was to agree on standard weights and measures.

It seems to me engineers who were brought up in the late 20th century could learn a lot from the 13th century artisans.


How Rich

Jon Udell: A GUI that doesn't embrace linking can never be truly rich.

Introducing Syncato

Kimbro Staken: Syncato is the new Weblog system that runs this site now. It is written in Python and uses Sleepycat Berkeley DB XML for its database. The system is heavily based around XPath manipulation of XML data. All presentation is handled through XSL-T and I built some extension modules that tie Berkeley DB XML into libxslt. [via Jon Udell]

Way cool!  By any chance is the source available for this?  I'd seriously consider converting to such a system.

Well Formed Writing

Jon Udell: To ante up for this game, you have to produce well-formed content. The mainstream blog-writing tools aren't helping at all. Most well-formed writing is done in emacs, still. Can we please change that soon?

It can be done with SGML.  It can be done with regular expressions.  But, in general, I agree.  Converging on well formed XML will encourage spontaneous integration.

Jon's conversation with Mr Safe

Jon Udell: I'm never a fan of fixing what ain't broken. Arguably, though, there was no other way forward in this case. The worm at the core of the weblog apple had to be extracted. It's true that vast numbers of yet-to-be-written RSS applications need no more than what RSS already does, or can be extended to do using the mechanisms it sanctions. It's also true that vast numbers of yet-to-be-written RSS applications will require RSS to evolve. It had to become possible for that evolution to occur in an open and vendor-neutral way, and when the dust settles I think it will be possible.

APIs, protocols, and rogue plumbers

Jon Udell: The technical superiority of the Web services approach is well understood, but I don’t think we fully grasp the political impact.

Robust, fluid transactions

Jon Udell: I wonder about this a lot, lately, when thinking about the differences between LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl|Python|PHP) and .NET/COM+ or J2EE/EJB. Where's the inflection point between these two styles? When you harden an architecture for robust transactions, how do you preserve the fluidity that the agile enterprise requires?

It's pretty dry reading, but my belief is that the answer lies in here, though a much better place to start is in the introduction.  The first implementations of this spec likely are going to focus on atomic transactions which work well when you control both ends of the wire, but the life doesn't work that way.

Producing and consuming XML content

Jon Udell: The kinds of searches shown here are fun, up to a point, But the novelty quickly wears off because the only XML available for searching is metadata (channel titles, item titles, dates), not content. Here's where the other shoe drops. I've long dreamed of using RSS to produce and consume XML content. We're so close.

xhtml:body in Radio

Jon Udell: Sam Ruby and Don Box have both demonstrated valid RSS 2.0 feeds that include a <body> element, properly namespaced as XHTML. Quietly, last week, I joined the party.

Way to go Jon!  I'm very much looking forward to your upcoming O'Reilly Network column.

Shipping the Prototype

Jon Udell: In a world of distributed services in constant flux, when does exploration stop?