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Open Design

Posted by webmink on July 2, 2003 at 8:33 PM PDT

I have commented to a few people that Blogging is a Big Deal. Not, I hasten to add, because I think that anything more than a core of special people (special can have many meanings, but I like Halley's article...) will ever decide to participate in a meaningful way in that specific activity. Rather, it's because of the work that it's catalysing, both extending blogging and going way beyond, as Jorgen Thelin hints and Tim Bray explains.

Weblogs are, in my opinion, the most successful application of web services to date. They have been successful because a combination of social factors and sufficiently OK technology have come together at the right time, and because they have a universally almost-agreed format for the content of the conversations. Most of the fuss in the world that calls itself web services has been about the plumbing, and no doubt one day there will be wonderful things happening there, but for now the big win has been for the application with a standard content format, transferred using whatever communications method comes to hand (for the most part, HTTP - XML-RPC has and continues to be crucial too, and while I don't share Tim Appnel's distaste for mentioning it I do share some of his reservations about its future).

That's why I consider the current online debate about whether XML-RPC should be used for nEcho divisive (Update: and is seems Sam agrees). It does a great job baiting certain individuals but fundamentally nEcho has to be about a content description first and then later about a way of communicating it.

Blogging was already a fascinating social crucible, empowering millions to express themselves and thousands to engage in distributed, accountable conversation. Now it's spawned a unique technology encounter. Open source has given us a development methodology for the massively-connected era. We now see the spontaneous formation of a potential design methodology for the massively-connected era.

[Also posted to Webmink : the Blog]

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