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

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Emacs of the Web

Bill de hÓra contributes to the "one click subscription" discussion, or what he dubbed "clicksub"...

I don't use browsers much anymore and will be using them even less next year. Aggregators are so much better than browsers for following content. Really, if you have to read stuff on the web and are using a browser for that, you should try an aggregator. And then, what's the browser good for?...

To be honest, next year's browsers need to be aggregators, else I don't see the point in using them...

Instead this would be great: at some point weblogs flip over and the HTML website bits will become secondary fluff to the XML content, like how PDFs are secondary web fluff to HTML today. The frontpage would be the feed, the archives would be Atom entries...

Honestly, permalinking to a html file is starting to look more and more like a bug. Why not point to the XML entries?

I was going to blah blah about some analogies with Emacs. Hard-core emacs users find themselves snickering about artificial boundaries around "applications" -- there is very little concept in the world of Emacs that "this thing is a word processor" but "that thing is an email reader" and "some other thing is a directory explorer". And the list goes on for outliners, class browsers, PIMs, etc.

The underlying problem may be there is no (not yet) Emacs of the Web. But Bill what I get from Bill's post is my Emacs perspective is mostly a "front-end perspective". There is a whole back end perspective on the future of feeds, pages, formats that is in its infancy.

Emacs was born as a set of flexible front-end parts in the 1970's. Even in the world of objects and MVC, a significant number of programmers were just starting to grasp the same concepts in the late 1980's and early 1990's. By and large, looking at our software landscape, we still have not grasped the concept. In fact, the browser may be the closest thing we have to this on a widespread basis!

Not only does Bill show this is not seriously the case, by now we really should have moved on to the back end of resources, formats, and hyperlinks. The head spins. We have a lot of catching up to do.

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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.