# Thursday, 11 March 2004

Browse, aggregate (read news) and blog all in one (iMunch)

Over there, a web log has appeared to support iMunch.

iMunch is a bit different because it isn't written in .NET, but does rely on IE 6.0 or later. It is written in XHTML+JScript which wires the OS components you already have installed on your machine (XML reading, database read/write) together with the UI facilities of the Zeepe framework to create something that looks and behaves like a windows app.


  • Import/export OPML
  • Supports RSS 0.91 onwards (including RSS 1.0)
  • Performs if-modified-since news reading.
  • Automatically scales back reads on in-frequently updated feeds.
  • 'Newspaper' style news listings (this isn't a three paned aggregator).
  • Tabbed browser.
  • 'Blog this' feature for news articles and browsed to web pages.
  • Blogger, metaWeblog and Moveable Type APIs for blogging.

In other words, this is an all-in-one seamless environment for browsing news feeds, the web and blogging what you find interesting.

It is free, with full source available.

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Zeepe 7.1 Released

Zeepe 7.1 has been released over at MeadCo. This has a bunch of new things that enable building of complex UIs.

Although you can write "windows applications" with Zeepe, that really do look like windows applications, the applications can be delivered to the local disk, or run over the internet/intranet (that Whidbey thing that is now a year off).

Even more useful, you can provide a clean UI around web based applications - and Zeepe 7.1 includes MaxiPT for fine control of printed output. If you use ScriptX, Zeepe should be of interest.

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Binary XML - its all in the presentation (BMX)

XML: Getting dirty with BMX.  

...  If I could invent a format that was easier to parse than XML, it would be a big win.  ... So I revived BMX and went to work making a prototype that I could put to the test.  What I came up with was very different than the original.  It is actually just a tokenized stream, because decoding tokens is extremely fast and why mess with the text itself?  The big news is BMX encoded files read faster than XML text, approximately 10 times faster! ...Take a look at the code.  It's here all crammed into a single file for your downloading pleasure.  All the comments with foul language have been removed. Matt [via Microsoft WebBlogs]

If I'm understanding this right, it seems like a really good idea (I think I'm understanding this right). Lots of people are now compressing (e.g gzip) their html/xml streams delivered from a web server - so why not a specific 'compression' scheme for XML, it may not be as great a compression ratio but that wouldn't matter so much (?) if the parser win was big enough.

But, I think the really big win here would be that the xml wouldn't compress/encode unless it was valid and so the need for liberal parsers could disappear. By definition, a parser of the encoded stream would know it was valid.

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# Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Whidbey and Yukon slip to 2005 - Ouch! (Or why I'm glad I didn't follow Mr Scoble's suggestion for a business plan).

From Microsoft Watch: Yukon and Whidbey have slipped to 2005, Microsoft is confirming. This is more than just another date slip, folks. This is a big one, with big ramifications for Microsoft's suite of current and future product lines. Check out our take on the domino effect of Microsoft's date slips here. [via The Domino Effect (Microsoft Watch)]

Ouch, from all the blogging activity around Whidbey one would have expected it to make it this year - its beginning to make all that blogging and MSDN articles about you can do this that and the other look really pointless. And Whidbey is surely an important release for many reasons, that it has slipped to one years time has a big impact (no .NET 2 and no click-once etc for at least another year).

Worse still is the analysed knock on effects (the domino effect of Microsoft's date slips here.) on Longhorn etc - if Longhorn is now 2007 what the flippin' heck are those guys bloggin' about - some of us have work to do.

Some time ago Mr Scoble recommended I develop a business model to write compelling Longhorn Apps (sorry I've lost the ref) - as usual, never follow the advice of MS that are dependent on release dates. There may have been a PDC, there may have been bits shipped, but this is getting precious close to vapourware.

Rob Relyea commented here that:

Next they are discussing ways to make accesskey simpler as well - still in design discussions. Thanks for bringing this up.

Goodness knows what the next set of bits will look like then and though current code may be compatible, you've probably wasted your time writing it.

Hey, if you want to write stuff now for delivery over the web, is flexible, cute, small and generally rather good - take a look at Zeepe (it does great printing via ScriptX/MaxiPT as well)

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# Tuesday, 09 March 2004

Merge RSS and Atom?

So from this strength, I've outlined a plan to merge RSS and Atom [via Scripting News]

Relatively peaceful discussion so far, but will it last? Now having written an aggregator (Zeepe iMunch) I suppose I ought to be interested. Atom doesn't particularly thrill me, its another format to support. RssAtom doesn't particularly thrill me, its another format to support. Will such support be easier if peace breaks out? Not particularly, I've still got to write some new code, still got to do the testing and mostly the problems are the garbage you get in feeds (in violation of whatever spec they are supposed to be based on) not with the feed format itself. I'm not sure the discussion is of much relevance to a lot of feed generators or (user) consumers - the BBC is generating RSS .91 (I think), will they change? Not unless it gives them something more. Dave's point is RSS is on a roll, Atom's point is Atom will get on the roll when people see the benefit - my point? Dunno :-)

Still, if peace breaks out, they will have to find something else to fight about and lets face it, it would be nice for them to fight about something else for a change.

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dasBlog and Google searches

I had noted that the search hits on this site from Google seemed to be decreasing since the move to dasBlog. Since I had done some code edits I presumed it was just me, but I've just done a search of this site Google has clearly not indexed anything recent. Found this:

I was reading Steve's blog with my browser earlier today when I noticed his odd permalink url's. Instead of a url like "http://devhawk.net/PermaLink.aspx?guid=9abbd5ea-3a10-44d8-8872-877033b7349c", his look like "http://hyperthink.net/blog/PermaLink,guid,fc99ce5e-b748-44f0-853d-0a261632b885.aspx". Turns out it's a standard feature of dasBlog! Just check "Enable URL rewriting" in the config page and you're set. Now my permalink url's look like Steve's.

Since Google doesn't index pages based on query string, this feature should make my site more easily crawled and googled.

 [via dasBlog">DevHawk - Passion * Technology * Ruthless Competence]

I don't particularly care whether Google indexes these pages (since the latest version of dasBlog does search - hooray), I'm just interested as to whether the above change does make a difference.

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# Monday, 08 March 2004

MSDN Magazine RSS Feed.

Want to be alerted when MSDN Magazine's latest issue is available online?  Subscribe to our RSS feed at http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/rss/recent.xml.  This feed contains information on and links to all of the articles and columns in the most recent issue available online (currently March 2004). [via Microsoft WebBlogs]

The articles might be available on the other MSDN feeds, dunno, but this will likely be a useful feed (especially as I am now out of the habit of reading the back-issues when I get the MSDN Library).

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Dare on patents

On Software Patents.  

I've seen a number of calls for patent reform for software but not any that have any feasible or concrete proposals behind them. ... There have been a number of provocative writings about patent reform, the most prominent in my memory being ... and An Open Letter From Jeff Bezos On The Subject Of Patents[via Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life]

Unusually poor argumement construction by Dare - not any that have any feasible or concrete proposals  and then you look at An Open Letter From Jeff Bezos On The Subject Of Patents - looks pretty concrete set of proposals to me.

Dare also seems to ignore the possibility, indeed obvious solution, of just not allowing software patents and business model patents as in the UK (the change allowing them hasn't got through Europe yet has it?). If you want to protect your property a) don't give the source away and b) use the copyright law.

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# Saturday, 06 March 2004

Another IE team member

IE Team.  

I don't suppose anybody is keeping score, but I'm now working on the Internet Explorer team full time.  More specifically, I'm on the browser UI team along with Jeremy, Jeff, Aaron, and a bunch of others who either don't blog, or who's blogs I don't know about yet.  :-)  [via Tony Schreiner's WebLog]

Another one appears

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SQL Server (MSDE) Admin

SQL Server Web Data Administrator.  

At http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c039a798-c57a-419e-acbc-2a332cb7f959&DisplayLang=en

Whether you are doing Microsoft Windows or Web development, or just need remote access to data for yourself or your clients, the Web Data Administrator is the perfect complement to your toolbox. [via Microsoft WebBlogs]

 The fact that this, apparently works as an administrator for MSDE makes it worth a look.

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