It’s just data

Hobgoblin of Little Minds

Brendan Eich: So, you kids want CoffeeScript, do you?

I tried out CoffeeScript, and was impressed.  A clean and consistent syntax, optimized for modern use cases including string interpolation and event based programming, and one that generates human readable JavaScript.  Couple it with HAML and SASS, and the maintainability of web pages goes way up.

Apparently, Brendan has a thing against significant newlines, but has no problem with the word in having different meanings depending on whether or not its usage is surrounded by parenthesis or not.  My preference leans towards languages with a higher degree of internal consistency.

Astral-Plane Characters in Json

In Characters vs. Bytes, Tim Bray mentions the Gothic letter faihu.  Whether such a character will display properly in your browser depends on what operating system you use and what fonts you have installed.  Whether or not you can handle such characters programmaticly, however, depends on what programming language you use.



Dalibor Topic: I think you simply landed in a corner their business plan didn’t foresee

This is an important topic.

Registration Update

To all of you who have registered for comments, and gave a XMPP id, you should be receiving new ‘buddy’ requests from an ID I just obtained from  For those who have already sold your souls to the big G, you will be unaffected, but for everybody else the messages will route around the Google complex.


HTML5 and Distributed Extensibility

Since the workgroup demands use cases for any proposed new feature, I will provide one up front: this feature’s use case is to enable features without use cases.  But before I proceed, it would be helpful to review a bit of background.


Persai Feedcorpus Status

Kyle Shank: I present to you the Persai feed corpus: 118,254 feeds of pure greatness.

Let’s check on the status of these URIs.


The Fremantle Correction

Paul Fremantle: Another software problem that can never be solved by adding another layer of indirection is providing a simple, transparent and easy-to-use code [via Stefan Tilkov]

application/atom+json ?

Gordon Weakliem: I’ve run into a few references to Atom - JSON mappings, but nothing really canonical yet.

In addition to NewsGator, there seems to be some interest at Google, AOL, and the ASF.

Perhaps it is time for an RFC?

Equal Time

In this echo chamber, it is important to listen to the other side.

What puzzles me is the one size fits all mentality I see everywhere.


Feedback on XHTML

Anne van Kesteren: I hope we can all agree that sending XHTML as application/xhtml+xml is silly

Ah, the sweet smell of flamebait.



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.

Recreational Programming

For recreation, some people like to do NY Times crosswords puzzles in ink.  Me, I like tackling small, incremental, computer programming tasks.  A few years ago, that was Gump, these days it is the Feed Validator.  And until I wrote that sentence, it hadn’t occurred to me how similar those two tasks are: the immediate goal of each is to get consumers and producers talking about interfaces, with the ultimate goal of improving plug and play.


Distributed State Machines

State machines are a fundamental concept in computer science.  The concept is simple: sequentially feed a series of inputs, in a particular order, to a black box in order to obtain a desired result.


Atom + MIME?

I've mocked up what I think an Atom POST request for Tim Bray's How Fast is This Thing Growing? blog entry would look like using the MIME Multipart/Related Content-type.  I chose this particular entry as it has a title, a summary, full content, and two pictures - one displayed inline, and one by reference.

I've posted two versions: a 7 bit safe version using Quoted-Printable and Base64 transfer encodings, and a 24% smaller 8 bit version using 8-bit and binary encodings.  Clients would be permitted to transmit any combinations of these.  Note: what you are seeing is the actual bits that would be transmitted - HTTP + MIME + XML + Atom + XHTML + PNG, complete with authentication.

Unless somebody identifies a showstopper, I'll submit a proposal.

Non-reversable transformations

Jay Allen: In fact, these days, there are tools and plugins that make this a bit easier like wiki formatting, Textile and, most recently, Markdown.  So what’s not to like? Why don’t I personally use one? Because of lock-in.

Exercise left for the student

Roy Fielding: Getting two components to communicate is a trivial process that can be accomplished using any number of toolkits (including the libwww ones).

It is fun seeing one of the primary authors of the HTTP spec lecture one of the original designers of a key portion of what is the dominant web browser on the internet as to what exactly is and what exactly is not trivial.


Inclusiveness and Feedback

I probably met with 70 to 80 people over the last few days.  Some were from large companies/organizations, many more were from small companies or informal organizations.  I have a large number of specifics that I will inject into the wiki over the course of the upcoming weekend, but for now, some overall themes.

The final overall theme that seemed consisitent is the importance of security in an API.  Given the number of people blogging in conferences and public locations, simple md5 or sha1 hashes of passwords is not sufficient.  What's needed is a solution that is not only easy to implement, but also one that is easy to administer.



Dave Winer: Here's the Wiki page where people are deciding whether to use XML-RPC and/or SOAP. You can express your opinion if you like. That's how it works.  Excellent!  Now lets see if we can have a respectful dialog on the subject?


Escaped HTML discussion

An update on yesterday's position, based on feedback.


Making encoding explicit

I'd like to see a single element, say <encoded>, be introduced that makes such encoding explicit.  We can decide where such elements are allowed.