"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, June 28, 2003

Weblogs and RSS: What's the big deal? The Wiki Wiki Web

Weblogs are sub-optimal. RSS is sub-optimal.

The best thing to come of this recent RSS/Echo issue is that Sam Ruby has demonstrated the value of the Wiki Wiki Web.

Funny that Echo could not have been designed very well with weblogs and RSS, er, Echo.

What's the best thing about aggregators? The fact they mainly visit weblogs? No. The fact they use RSS? No.

The best thing about aggregators is that they are better user interfaces for browsing the web than Mosaic, which is really what we're still using when we use IE.

Well at least Mozilla and Safari have tabs, for crying out loud.

What do we need, another Echo? Nope. We really need better applications. What happened to that Web Services revolution anyway, that the heat generated in 2003 is about HTTP.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Agile development methods are being credited with increasing numbers of successful software projects. Can you find them mentioned in the SWEBOK? I did not read all 200+ pages. But I searched for several terms I would have expected.

I can't either. Via James' blog, Cem Kaner has some serious concerns about the implications of SWEBOK. This work is almost frozen, having been developed in parallel over the last few years alongside the agile approaches.

I would have assumed a SWEBOK-like effort would be intended to eradicate ignorance, not institutionalize it. Sponsored by the IEEE, which has published a fair bit about agile approaches, this gap should be considered a deal breaker for adoption.

I am genuinely surprised and will look a little more closely at their proposal to see what I missed just by searching.

Capabilities vs. Access Control Lists

Phil Windley presents another effort (or two or three) to take some existing functionality and express it as an XML-based standard.

XACML is the language of the Policy Decision Point, of PDP. The PDP is the chunk of code that recieves access requests, checks to see whether they should be granted, and returns an appropriate response. The PDP is not necessarily the same as the place where credentials are stored. It merely needs access to that service, ideally via SPML. The PDP could be a module running in the local system or a remote system accessed over the Internet.

Again I have to plead ignorance and plea for the principles, guidelines, and scenarios for when to use this functionality. Why is this the right thing to do? Is it ready to use? When would I choose something else? I hope I can dig into the references and find this information.

For example why are ACLs the right model? A capability-based model might be more appropriate, e.g. as provided by Waterken.

SOAP Opera: There's really not much mystery about this stuff

Update: John Robb's FUDeflection. Or redirection. Too soon to tell. The SOAP opera continues.

As someone with zero investment in RSS or Echo, I have enjoyed the past week or so from afar. Mostly waiting for Dave Winer to speak up, which he did, and did well. Now Jon Udell adds his take, which is not surprisingly insightful, but is surprisingly sarcastic.

He pulls it off. Here's the crux, though, in his more typically pragmatic style...

Anyway, Dave showed everybody how to use RSS. That's his crowning achievement in my book. Not the format...

Now that the dam has broken, Dave has endorsed the new effort. It must have been an incredibly hard thing to do. I have a teenage daughter and when it's time for her to leave the nest, in a couple of years, I hope I'll handle that transition as graciously as Dave is handling this one. Meanwhile, the Echo designers are -- not surprisingly -- converging on a core that looks a lot like RSS. So far they've discovered that a blog entry has a link, an author, a publication date, and one or more semantically-equivalent content items. Any day now, they'll conclude that it also has a description. There's really not much mystery about this stuff.

I did not realize what was coming with Echo when I reacted positively to Steve Gillmor's take on Microsoft and RSS a couple weeks ago. Of course when I was suggesting RSS might be supplanted over time, I did not think it would be for apparently political reasons. I certainly did not think the effort would begin any time soon.

My reaction to Echo is along the lines of many others: RSS (regardless of its many forms and politics, I mean the collective sense of "RSS") has just in the last months taken a spot in the zeitgeist. My god, it takes ages for these concepts to make their way into large corporations. And now we have to explain Echo? I'm not going to rush that one.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.