# Monday, 30 September 2002

Does This Mean That The

Does this mean that the regex-based screenscraping that Watson does is less important to Sherlock 3 ... [Jon's Radio]

Another useful tidbit of information. But, once more I am coming to realise that there is just too much knowledge in the world. This, I think, is the second reference to Watson that I have come across today - never heard of it - which make me ignorant of a fact. At what point does the lack of factettes count in a domain become critical?

I'm not sure that tools are helping, they simply serve to show you more and more of your ignorance which is hardly good for one's morale.

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B2B And DocumentLiteral SOAP This Article A Hrefhttpwwweweekcomarticle2

B2B and Document-Literal SOAP

This article - XML: New Options, New Worries in eWeek last week makes the point that:

"the difference between a Web service and two applications exchanging data over EDI is largely semantic".

The article then goes on to talk about the problems associated with the fact that, even within the world of EDI , there are semantic differences which require document conversion. As those of us who've worked in that area know from bitter experience, this is an awkward process, which isn't helped by fact that EDI files generally mix syntax and semantics. With, let's say, an EDIFACT purchase order document, there is no DTD or Schema to help out with a line like this "DTM 137 19961015                            102", which includes semantics ("DMT" means that the line refers to a "Date and Time", 137 refers to the specific format of the time and 102 is the action to which the date refers, all to be looked up in the EDIFACT documentation). "19961015" is the date itself.

With XML, syntax like angle brackets divides up the data and the semantics of the data. This reminds me of an insightful paragraph in XML Topic Maps (edited by Jack Park) which begins:

Excuse me for saying so, but there is no such thing as “unstructured information.”
Even the simplest kind of information has a sequence in which there is a beginning,a middle, and an end, some concept of unit, and, usually, several hierarchical levels of subunits.

With XML, the structure and hierarchies are just more obvious to the naked eye. With EDI, they are still there. So - it's not only EDI and Web Services data which may only differ on semantics (which is the same thing as saying they're "semantically the same" - funny thing, the English Language) it can be any kind of data.

The eWeek article then goes on to way that:

"While previous electronic data interchange-based B2B systems were essentially advanced document management systems, XML and Web services have made it possible to build B2B infrastructures that are truly integrated, removing lots of midlevel steps that either needed to be performed manually or required heavy API-based integration"

It's true that extended family of XML technologies certainly helps to ease data integration. However, one of the strengths of EDI is the fact that it is like an "advanced document management system". With EDI, two systems can agree on what documents they would exchange, but didn't have to go any further than that. They don't have to agree to make RPC calls to each other, or even to perform synchronous communication - they can use store-and-forward systems like X.400 mail. They don't have to share an object model, or even use the same platform. All of this points to Document/Literal SOAP, not RPC, as being the likeliest candidate for EDI over Web Services. Of course, you can do both.

[Mark O'Neill's Radio Weblog]

Since I had a 'phone discussion on this topic only last week (the UK Government is feverishly trying to 'web service' everything, and as far as I can determine, its not going well, lots of words but not a lot working) - just posting this for my own reference.

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Well I Have Absolutely No Interest In Being On The RSS Battlefield So Ive Switched To Using A Hrefhttp

. Well, I have absolutely no interest in being on the RSS battlefield, so I've switched to using Bill Kearney's excellent RSS 1.0 generator tool for Radio, this includes support for a bunch of RSS 1.0 modules as well, the RSS url continues to be exactly the same, thanks Bill !. [Simon Fell]
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BTo To Ditch 247 Unmetered Service Sources C

BTo to ditch 24/7 unmetered service - sources. Caps and quotas [The Register]

Hmmm, wonder if this will flow through to other ISPs or whether Surftime will be affected.

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# Friday, 27 September 2002

Custom Paging In DataGrid ASPNET DataGrid Ha

Custom Paging in DataGrid. ASP.NET DataGrid has built-in functionality of paging. However, it has one disadvantage. Even though you are displaying only a small part of entire DataSet, you need to populate the DataSet with whole data. This works well when your DataSet is small but certainly not with huge amount of data. To overcome this problem DataGrid also allows custom paging. In custom paging you fetch only the data that is required to display the current page.
[Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]
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Clones To Be Rerendered Displayed On Imax Suppo

"Clones" to be re-rendered, displayed on Imax. Supposedly, there's a digital printer for the IMAX that prints 8000 x 6000 resolution. And then also, one supposes, they can render the scenes using the appropriate "lenses" (I once saw 2001 on an IMAX screen and the obelisk looked like a melted power bar). Lessee: 8000 x 6000 x 24 FPS x 143 minutes = 9,884,160,000,000 pixels. Sheesh. Who would have guessed that computers would produce a 10 terapixel movie before they were capable of competent speech recognition? [Thinking In .NET]

Well it made me chuckle.

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From Python for .NET: Lessons learned (MS Word document).

Python is a very popular dynamic language often categorised as a scripting language.  It has a number of dynamic features that make it very attractive in certain problem domains, but these very dynamic features are the ones that cause the most friction with .NET.

Hmmm, given that I am interested in those very same problem domains, this whole area warrants further investigation.

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Perhaps One Should Reward Their Efforts With A Visit Gua

Perhaps one should reward their efforts with a visit: Guardian British Top Blogs.
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IE WebBrowser Control problem

In what version has this appeared (IE6 SP1?). Flash Com Server Page - displayed in any application using the web browser control some of the links don't work (e.g. Home, Products or the Flash Communication Server MX Components etc links).

Well no, neither Zeepe host nor Netcaptor have the problem, but a plain VB host does and wpx.

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# Thursday, 26 September 2002

RSS 20 Template RSS 20 Template For Movable Ty

RSS 2.0 template. RSS 2.0 template for Movable Type, ready to copy and paste over your existing RSS 0.91 template (index.xml). There are several design decisions at work in this tempate that bear explaining. (952 words) [dive into mark]
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Theres An Interesting User Interface Here Its Not Interesting In Terms Of L

There's an interesting user interface here. Its not interesting in terms of look and feel but in terms of capabilty. Apparently built on radio (?) there's one heck of a lot of categorisation going on - wonder how he does that - with organisation of information.

As usual, it might look interesting but does it work - something to return to.

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# Wednesday, 25 September 2002
# Tuesday, 24 September 2002

If Youre Interested In This Sort Of Thing A Hrefhttpnewsbbccouknolsharedsplhimiddleeast02ukdossieronira

If you're interested in this sort of thing: Why I Want to Bomb Iraq by Mr T. Blair.

I dunno, isn't it a rather odd phrase to use 'Executive Summary'. I know that's the standard style, but it seems horribly inappropriate.

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Developers Reexamine R

Developers Re-examine Rich-Client Apps. "Some corporate developers last week said they will consider switching from Web applications back to their old, familiar rich-client applications because of unpromoted features that they're just now discovering in Microsoft Corp.'s .Net framework."

Carol Sliwa [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Emphasis on the some and the consider but people are thinking (mind you we spend a lot of time thinking about new MS technologies, waiting to see if it will stick).

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Why NET Will Conquer The WorldnbspA Hrefht

Why .NET will conquer the world. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Well argued, very good points - quite whether the world of programming is as logical as this implies is another question.

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CNN Headline News To Blog Or Not T

CNN Headline News: To Blog or not to Blog. [Scripting News]


  • Several sources put the total number of blogs in the range of 200,000 to 500,000. Google returns 2 million hits on the word "blog."
  • Not to be outdone, a number of corporate and mass media outlets are starting to support in-house blogs by their own journalists or as part of intranets, called k-logs or knowledge-logs.

Blog Software

Blogger: http://blogger.com

Moveable Type: http://www.movabletype.org

Greymatter: http://www.noahgrey.com/greysoft

Radio Userland: http://www.userland.com

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New Toys Shelley Powers I Thought The

New toys. Shelley Powers: "I thought the stuff this weekend on FOAF was a joke -- a bunch of people playing with new toys." (147 words) [dive into mark]

It really does seem to get around - interesting, feed a community a tid-bit and it whizzes down the street over all the garden fences in the modern equivalent of hanging out the washing.

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# Monday, 23 September 2002

More On Flash MX Java And NET Backends

More on Flash MX - Java and .NET backends.

One wonders if we now have more solutions than we have problems (well, that's probably always been so...).

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More hmmmm,

Of course, since UXP is a frame into which scriptable controls can be put, we can use the same code to put scriptable controls inside the view element of the frame (so you can have html view or XML defined UI inside the view, or multiple 'panes' in the view, some scriptable XML defined UI controls, some html, depending on what you want to do). Further, the scriptable controls can be put into the html as behaviours (e.g. so toolbars can be put above editable html).
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The latest 'fad'

Friend of a friend in the little group of blogs I subscribed to has picked up some momentum all of a sudden.
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Hmmm Now That Im Sold On The Whole UI As XML Idea Im Going To Seriously Dive Into That A Hrefhttpbooks


Now that I'm sold on the whole UI as XML idea, I'm going to seriously dive into that free Mozilla book. But once again, it's too bad that Luxor is GPL which I'm not a big fan of. I may have to start playing with it anyways because XUL's that cool.

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

Its the whole UI thats the problem as far as UXP is concerned.

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I wonder if anyone actually uses this: Yahoo WebLog Directory
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# Saturday, 21 September 2002
# Thursday, 19 September 2002

Make your mind up.

.NET Framework 1.1 Beta Overview.

Make up your minds lads:

Enable Execution of Windows Forms Assemblies Originating from the Internet

Assemblies originating from the Internet Zone—for example, Microsoft Windows® Forms controls embedded in an Internet-based Web page or Windows Forms assemblies hosted on an Internet Web server and loaded either through the Web browser or programmatically using the System.Reflection.Assembly.LoadFrom() method—now receive sufficient permission to execute in a semi-trusted manner. Default security policy has been changed so that assemblies assigned by the common language runtime to the Internet Zone code group now receive the constrained permissions associated with the Internet permission set. In the .NET Framework 1.0 Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2, such applications received the permissions associated with the Nothing permission set and could not execute.

Note: While we are re-enabling code from the Internet Zone, the defaults do not give this code full access to the user's machine. By default, thanks to code access security, this code runs in a restricted manner and is allowed access only to a limited set of resources that are safe to use. This code cannot damage your data or system, nor can it steal private information that you do not explicitly give it.

Presumably they got the jitters that there was, or they found, a major problem in 1.0 that could only be fixed by 'remove the feature'. They are now happy that the problems are gone and that when it says cannot damage your data or system, nor can it steal private information that you do not explicitly give it, it means it.

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A call to arms?

John Robb: "If you had complete control over a browser connected to Radio, what would you add to it that would improve the experience?" [Scripting News]

I'd use Radio Case, 'cos I have (complete control) <G> - there are some ideas in the comments I can do (and thought of), like the unload handler. Others are a bit more problematic 'cos they mean altering the output from Radio or writing one's own pages.

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# Wednesday, 18 September 2002

Semantic Web

One day I might understand RDF, if here's a document aimed at beginners who don't know what a triple is (other than the obvious): http://infomesh.net/2001/swintro/ (wander around a bit to referred articles and you get more introductions).
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# Tuesday, 17 September 2002


Discourse in the RSS community has reached new lows. "None of this means that RSS 2.0 will be delayed by even one moment." [Scripting News]

Ray Ozzie said he joined blogging 'cos it was (I paraphrase) 'more mature' than newsgroups/discussion forums where flaming is par for the course. It would seem that he is/was wrong and this corner of blogverse is decending into the pit. So where does that leave the Ozzies and Allaires and Winers et als brave new world of communication and cooperation?

Don't even know why I bothered to write the above, but never mind - the time has wasted now (I make the excuse I'm testiung this here software).

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A bit of history

Just how many times is a variation of this story going to appear (How mobile phone masts 'vanish')? As one who was there back in 1985 (launch of UK Cellular services), I think the first variation on this story was a (Cellnet) mast in the flagpole on top of Ely Cathedral in 1987.
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Daniel Brandt Googles Original Sin A Hrefhttpwwwscripting

Daniel Brandt: Google's Original Sin. [Scripting News]

"The cure for cancer might already be on the web somewhere, but if it's on a new site, you won't find it."

Absolutely correct and an extremely important problem. It is the major drawback of page ranking (see Jon Klienberg); it might appear 'democratic' but it isn't - it does represent the results of peer review but this assumes that you can get your peers to review your work and most importantly link to it. (So here I agree with the article to the extent that Google's use of 'democratic' is inappropriate, but then it is one of those words that is bandied about these days).

Brandt's problem seems to be that he wants to find a particular page "the best" page on a subject (in this case a cure for cancer might be considered the best page on cancer). The trouble is that "best" is subjective not objective - there is no objective measure that Page A is a better result than Page B. Brandt evaluates that a page with relevant heading, content etc ought to appear on the results - but is it better than any of the (1000s) of pages already out there on this subject? How do you judge better, only people do and page ranking is extraordinarily effective at this in an entirely objective way, because it is based upon collected subjective judgements.

What is the purpose of a search engine - it is to provide a list of pages relevant to your enquiry - it is up to you to provide your subjective judgement as to which of these is "best" for your purposes. It can do no more than that.

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Marketing Software Part 2 TidBITS

Marketing Software, Part 2. TidBITS:


Other than releasing updates, which I recommend you do every six weeks or so, the single most effective way I've found to drive traffic is media coverage. That's especially true for online media, where a direct link to your site can be included. Every time we sent out a press release about a Sustainable Softworks product, we saw a significant spike in the number of software downloads, even if only one media outlet picked up the story.


Yes, fine on its own as a statement, but just a bit misleading? How well were Sustainable Softworks known for this level of drag through?


Learn to write a good press release. You may have heard of the traditional five Ws of journalism - who, what when, where, and why - but more and more editors want to know the "how" of the story as well; and who's better equipped to talk about it than you? .... If you take the time to learn something about the journalism profession, and can show editors by your releases and by how you treat them that you respect what they do, you can see a tremendous payoff in coverage of your product.


A good press release should (will) appear basically untouched other than a bit of top and tailing.

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A Note To Developers Of RS

A note to developers of RSS aggregators about a feature in RSS 2.0 that they may want to take advantage of. [Scripting News]

A most sensible change - I was wandering what kludge way round I was going to use!

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# Monday, 16 September 2002

No Interop For Serviced Components In NET Thanks To

No Interop for Serviced Components in .NET.

Thanks to Clemens Vasters for clearing up a place of confusion for me on whether COM/Interop marshaling happens for COM+  components in the EnterpriseServices namespace of .NET or ServicedComponents.  It doesn't. This would have been rather inefficient if it did. He says "Replicating a post to the DM dotnet list here. The most common misconception about ServicedComponents is that they require the use of COM/Interop and really everyone has bought into that belief. And it is simply wrong."

"The Enterprise Services team went a long and very smart way to separate COM Marshaling from COM Transport when they built System.EnterpriseServices and they've done it in such a smart way that only a few people seem to see that they did it. In fact, ServicedComponents make COM transport (including the LRPC mapping) an alternative way of transport that's deeply integrated with the Remoting infrastructure. However, the difference is that ServicedComponent will bypass the channel architecture and replave that with the COM channel architecture:

COM/Interop marshaling does not happen for ServicedComponents."

[Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]
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Rich Client Database Interactions With ADONET Shawn Wildermut

Rich Client Database Interactions with ADO.NET. Shawn Wildermuth and Chris Sells. Rich Client Database Interactions with ADO.NET. Shawn Wildermuth and Chris Sells

"In the .NET Framework, rich clients can bring database servers to their knees, just like Web-based applications. But with the disconnected nature of ADO.NET, your rich clients can manipulate and analyze database data without impacting the database server. Once you have the data in the rich client, you can do high-performance analysis of the data—including sorting, filtering, and querying—without expensive server calls. In this article we will show you how to use DataSet, DataView, and XmlDataDocument to make your rich clients work with database data in a disconnected way." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News] [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]
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Jeremy Allaire Realtime

Jeremy Allaire: "Real-time computing is essentially a new, uncharted world." ... snippet


Another hypothetical example is the metaphor we'll need to use for real-time user assistance in online applications. A great example would be applying for insurance online. At first the application is a 'private' application where the user is progressing through a series of forms providing information needed for the insurance application. At a certain point, the user needs to get help and answers from their agent. With the click of a button, a notification is sent to the agent who can then choose to join the user in the application. A small panel slides out into the application and on it is a real-time video of the agent, as well as a text messaging box where the end-user can type and ask questions. More importantly, though, the consumer can grant control of the application to the agent, who can then progress through the forms and even help fill out elements that the consumer is uncertain about. In this case, the 'call for help' and the ability to share a forms-based data-centric application in real-time provides a different kind of social computing experience.


Isn't this already being done, and hence not hypothetical?

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Crash Course In RSS Development A Hrefhttpdiveintomarkorg

Crash Course in RSS Development. Dive into Mark today is a great place to start for anyone trying to get up to speed on the weblog-mediated RSS development collaboration. [Radio Free Blogistan]Crash Course in RSS Development. Dive into Mark today is a great place to start for anyone trying to get up to speed on the weblog-mediated RSS development collaboration. [Radio Free Blogistan]
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# Sunday, 15 September 2002

KM Wiki Maintains An Evolving List Of Information Sources On Knowledg

KM Wiki maintains an evolving list of information sources on knowledge management. The idea of sorting them "in order of originality, consistency and KM focus" is great. I encourage anyone who puts lists online to order the items. However subjective that order may be, it's still more informative than random order. [Seb's Open Research]
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Reinventing Link Types Seb A Recent Addition To My Agg

Reinventing link types. Seb, a recent addition to my aggregator talks of Properly mapping weblog conversations...

Excellent to see the weblog community getting to the notion of link types, affirming my earlier observation of weblogs rediscovering hypertextual principles (see Hypertext in the Blogdom). [Surf*Mind*Musings]

Expect a lot of reinventions of the wheel as the exploding blogosphere tries hard to satisfy its information architecture needs. Lots of good ideas already in journals and conference proceedings; the problem is that we don't know how to dig them up, so it's often easier to reinvent stuff (and make the same mistakes all over again).

[Seb's Open Research]
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Soda Constructor Of All The Virtual Playthings On The Inter

Soda Constructor.

Of all the virtual playthings on the Internet, Soda Constructor has got to be one of the deepest and most playworthy. There's a Soda Zoo full of amazing critters to play with and a community of critter-makers to join. The little critters look innocent enough when in their conceptual cages. [DeepFUN Weblog]

I wholeheartedly agree with Bernie. SC is incredible. A few clicks and you're literally drawn in. A big part of this is because the physics seems so natural.

[Seb's Open Research]
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# Friday, 13 September 2002

Flash MX

So Jeremy Allaire's blog extolls the virtues of Flash MX. I don't get it. Flash as a program has to compete with .NET and Java. I'm not up to speed on what Flash MX contains, but is their (runtime) library (classes) as rich as Java or .NET and if not, what are the advantages of MX over those platforms - ease of development, OS independence what - I am not at all clear.

He (and others) point to a rich text editor as 'cool' new things in MX, heck this is old hat - Mozilla and IE (and others?) support content editable. Here, I'm typing into an IE IFrame that has had editmode set on - seems pretty rich to me. There was an interview on InfoWorld in which the abilities of MX to do part content updating rather than whole page refresh are extolled -  again this is very old hat - dHtml + Soap or dHTML + Rpc via an IFrame have been doing this for years. dHtml is a rich environment - a static demo of something I wrote in 1996/7 shows this (maybe it was the worlds first <g> IDE entirely in a web browser) - dunno - Active Learning Framework. The ALF IDE used 'web services' to provide XML/CSV data for rendering and performed client side dynamic update of content after succcessful rpc 'web service' calls.

And if you put this whole wonderful Flash MX inside a browser what have you got - a programmable environment inside a programmable environment. This is, IMHO, plain silly.

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Boeings Big Bird Unveiled An Advanced Concept Pl

Boeing's 'big bird' unveiled. An advanced concept plane¸ which if built would be the largest aircraft ever to fly¸ is being studied by Boeing. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]

Worth it to look at the picture. 'Unveiled'? Ah, its being studied by Boeing, presumably something one of the staff's kids drew.

This is being written in my Radio Casing 3rd pane, so now I can flip around at will (if this post works).

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Note to self

So, I want to write a piece, I need to see the news aggragator, some web pages to bring the references together, but as soon as I browse away from this to see those things I've lost what I've written so far. To which the only solution is multiple browser windows. And why is that not acceptable (and hence all the tabbed browser madness)? Because, I suspect, it feels wrong - an application represents a workspace; starting another browser feels like you a restarting another workspace disjoint from the one currently being used for the task in hand.

Anyway - this Radio Case needs a separate 'tab' for writing.

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Tabbed Browsers are It

Not seen this before: NetCaptor - via  Confessions of a Mozillian article in which there's a rather nice to see admission of the "inspiration" for the Mozilla tabbed browser feature - an admission we all look around for inspiration elsewhere and build upon others ideas (there's a long link with all the patenting garbage here, but I can't be bothered), although in this cases there's also 'ooops, we ripped off the whole thing, better make it look a bit different'.
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# Thursday, 12 September 2002

Saloncom On Browser Wars Mozilla And Internet C

Salon.com on Browser Wars, Mozilla and Internet Clients. This article makes for an interesting read for a variety of reasons. The theme of the "end of the browser wars" has been active for some time, with popular opinion being that Internet Explorer won.

It's been really frustrating to see this worldview. Quitely, in the background, Macromedia has been working on an agenda to re-establish the importance of the client software environment on the Internet, and dramatically evolve past where the HTML-based browser has left us (nearly stagnant for the past four years).

With the introduction of Flash MX and Flash Player 6, Macromedia has released what we've dubbed "a next-generation rich client" that integrates media, communications and applications functionality into a runtime that can deliver desktop-like (better) experiences both within the browser and standalone on desktops and devices.

HTML browsers are great as document display mechanisms, and for simple hyper-text based application interfaces, but fall down as the sophistication and complexity of the interface or media grows.

The other thing that's interesting is the discussion about the use of Mozilla as a platform for Internet client software. There's a lot to learn from mozilla.org and mozdev.org. It's a great, active and successful open source platform that I suspect will continue to innovate for years to come. More interesting is the nascent standards around XML user interface languages, such as XUL.

I think there's an inevitable intersection that will come about when the world of XML-based data and user interface languages meets rich clients like Flash and the CLR. One project I'm tracking along these lines is the DENG project to deliver a full XML-centric content runtime (CSS2/XML/XForms/XPath/XSLT) on top of Flash Player 6. [Jeremy Allaire's Radio]

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Everybody Seems To Be At It Where Everybody Is Used In The Loosest Possible Sense A Hrefhttpwebloginfoworldcomudel

Everybody seems to be at it, where everybody is used in the loosest possible sense: Jeremy Allaire's blog. A new addition to my CTO blogroll is Jeremy Allaire, Macromedia's CTO. ... [Jon's Radio].

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# Wednesday, 11 September 2002


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Site Searching

One day, when I need to, I'll be bothered to find out how many more of this sort of thing there is: http://www.freefind.com/.
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Yep Worth A ReadnbspA Great Article On Marketing Software In

Yep, worth a read: A great article on Marketing Software in todays TidBITS [rebelutionary]

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Via You Wont Make Money Bloggingnbspdont Bothernbs

Via You won't make money blogging (don't bother, citing the source), this article is much more interesting.

I paricularly like the concept of Conduit Content (it gets you to somewhere) as opposed to Destination Content (where you wanted to be). Overall, I see no business model in blogging per se, the blogging concept only maps to the "News" section of a magazine - you need the magazine to go with it.

I'm not convinced by the model that blogging will enhance your reputation and hence you employability either - will it really (other than for  journalists) be a really useful entry on your CV - my blogg is read by 500 people per day? And just how many persons of high repute is their room for? To which the answer presumably depends upon the population size and the number of communities this population has fragmented into - each community will have its persons of high repute - aka Shaman or Guru? If you have reached such status it is likely that one has done so via a route outside of the normal employments paths and such paths are of no interest to you. But having reached a dead end on that path, perhaps that's why people are trying to monetize (horrid phrase) bloggs?

Ahhh - a paragraph of only questions - comes from working in the UK public sector where only questions are allowed, no answers (in case the answer is wrong).

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# Tuesday, 10 September 2002

Radio Casing in Zeepe

A UI wrapper for using Userland Radio is now available, built using the Zeepe Toolkit from MeadCo. The wrapper presents the local Radio Website and browsed to pages on the web within a single application frame window - creating a similar effect to a tabbed browser. The wrapper automatically routes page requests outside of the Radio application to the web browser page, and Radio requests (e.g. News feeds subscriptions) to the Radio site browser page.

Why? Because I found it totally frustrating using IE and the Radio News Aggregator - all the back button pushing was just too much.

Please see the Zeepe Applications page for Radio Case.

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# Monday, 09 September 2002

Why don't people write?


Fear of failure. Fear of criticism. Fear of reprisal. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of removing all doubt. Fear of permanence. Fear of strangers. Fear of invaded privacy. Fear of falling behind. Fear of the blank page. [...]

[a klog apart]

[Seb's Open Research]

Seems 'bout right.

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A useful a wiki link to followup.
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Bad day at the office.

We all suck - I'd agree with that - though to "... Our products just aren't engineered for security." I might add that their products are not documented properly for use by anybody else either. <sigh>
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Internet applications

Flash MX and the bigger picture. "As the Internet continues to evolve into an "Internet operating system"--programmable interfaces, ubiquitous access, and distributed computing resources--the document-centric browser is an awkward solution to a growing number of emerging needs. The browser is not dying by any means; it just needs a mate." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

What Flash has is cross platform, it also has an IDE? But is it quite as flexlible as the Zeepe total package - I'm doing this in my "Radio casing"; a Zeepe application to wrap radio and web browsing in a single application frame; does Flash MX encompass a browser as well?

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# Friday, 06 September 2002

An intersting bit of social history.

Mark Pilgrim: "This is a brief history of RSS from July 2000 to November 2000, during which time RSS 0.9x and RSS 1.0 forked. I try to focus on specific people and conversations that document why the fork occurred. I was not involved in any of this, but much (not all) of the discussion has been publicly archived." [Scripting News]
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# Wednesday, 04 September 2002

Maybe useful oneday

ASP.NET View State Decoder. "Have you ever wondered what was *really* stored in the view state of your .aspx pages? Well, now you can find out with the free view state decoder utility [1]. Just type in the URL of the page whose view state you would like to decode, and view the contents of the view state through a tree-view, as raw text, or as parsed XML. You can also copy and paste the view state string by hand to decode it. For a screenshot of this utility in action, check out: http://staff.develop.com/onion/images/decoderscreenshot.gif"

I've used this and loved it. It works a treat! [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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# Tuesday, 03 September 2002

More links to follow up and throw away.

Here are some of the sites or links I may mention or display on today's show (hmm, megan hosting, cool ... no listing for me... hmm) ... or not: [Radio Free Blogistan]
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A Couple Of Interesting Pieces To Read In Order Joel On Platfor

A couple of interesting pieces to read, in order: Joel on Platforms and Ray Ozzie's response.

Zeepe is a platform so the above discussion applies. The key point is probably developer usability - an area where we are, as everyone starts, at v1.0 capability. Joel is really, at the end of the day, asking for a platform that he can develop on for free (to him); as Ray says, he wants the customer to pay.  Is this because Joel is a small organisation, with low product cost, selling in a low cost arena - the 'extra' for the 'platform' would make his product unattractive? He has a choice to develop a p2p platform himself, at which point he would probably want to increase the price of his product (or add a new version to the portfolio with increased price) - would that too make the product unattractive? If so, then the market does not exist for the product.

A key point from both discussions is that applications sell platforms, platforms don't sell themselves. Lisa partly failed due to a lack of compelling applications (as a potential customer said to me - yes its loverly, but what do I do with it?). Microsoft can't sell Windows without a significant catalogue of applications - Linux will struggle until there is a significant catalogue of games for the platform?

Ray implies that route 1 for a platform vendor is to develop compelling applications that start the snowball rolling and route 2 is a set of documentation/tools/obvious development techniques that makes development easy.

Once the snowball is rolling, Joel then gets what he wants - the platform for 'free' because all his potential users already have it.

So who pays, the developer or the customer?

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Bunch Of Useful References Cool Links

Bunch of useful references?

Cool Links. Found some good stuff tonight - sorry if I've lost the blogs I got them from... I'll add the reference later if I see it again. (Later... ahh found it... Thanks to Codaland.)

RSS 0.92 Reference - very clear and useful. Out of laziness I only implement RSS .91 right now in my webstuff... I need to upgrade to this.

RSS 1.0 Reference - not as good as above, but still pretty informative. Still debating which to support. (Happy Moof? :-p )

Eclipse plugins list - this is great as I'm starting to use Eclipse now. The DB browser and Tomcat integration are cool. Thanks Raible!

Jakarta Commons - There's just so much good stuff in here. It's not exactly new or news, but every time I look I find something I need. HTTPUtils and SequencedHashMap right now. Beautiful.

An Introduction to Object Prevalence - I haven't really groked the whole article yet, but from what I get it looks really good. Today, data persistence for object-oriented systems is an incredibly cumbersome task to deal with when building many kinds of applications... One solution to this problem is object prevalence. Interesting... in 350 lines of code I can get better performance and easier maintainability than something like Torque or Castor? Yeah, baby. That's for me.

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

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King For A Day Sam Ruby Really Simple Syndicatio

King for a day. Sam Ruby: Really Simple Syndication. A history of RSS and thoughts for its further evolution. (18 words) [dive into mark]
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# Monday, 02 September 2002


This really is great fun from Joel Spolsky. I agree with probably about 98% of it - though I think he goes just a teensy bit overboard in places. I significantly disagree that "... and only 0.01% of them can figure out Microsoft ATL programming. (And all of them, without exception, have beards and glasses.)" - then again am I kidding myself that I have really figured out ATL programming?

A good summary is that UI design is a balancing act full of compromises and that the solution you first thought of is not the best - but if you've done it right it won't be far off.

I've lost it now, but there's some pie menu been "invented" by someone - just what problem is it that they were trying to solve by coming up with this system? Its like why write menus/toolbars in DHTML that look so different to 'native' - there's a perfectly fine implementation in Windows. (Which brings us to the rant of why MS don't use it......).

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HTML Based Applications.

The Diminishing Importance of HTML. "HTML-based Web development has dominated application development for the last six years or so and there are no signs of that changing. However, things are changing as the .NET initiative takes hold. Although Microsoft has put a lot of effort into its Web-based interfaces, which include the powerful new ASP.NET Web Forms framework, I am guessing that there will actually be a push back to desktop-driven, forms-based applications once .NET takes hold." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Ahhh, the question I keep asking myself: does .NET "invalidate" the work that has been done on Zeepe or UXP? The central thrust of the above article is that HTML based UIs are primitive or less rich than a UI based upon native OS code, and then dissallows the use of Java/Flash or ActiveX to get round the 'limitations' (there's no Tree control in HTML). Associated with this line of thinking is that HTML based UIs take longer to build than traditional UIs that might be built with say VB or C++.

The reason UXP came into existance was because I was bored to tears of the long-winded machinations that had/have to be gone through to write a simple frame window with a menu bar in VC++. VB/.NET reduce the tears but, as Visual Studio currently ships, I end up with a very dull looking application. As soon as I want a "richer" UI, simply to the level of Office style menu bars I have got to find a library somewhere to do it - OK they exist but now I want some of the richness that appears in html - say a simple pop-up panel with instructional text that is rich in appearance (use of bold/italics and color) or table rows with rich content. There's a quid-quo-pro here, .NET has solved some problems associated with web based applications and enables "rich" controls like tree-view but at the loss of richness elsewhere.

IE .htc components are a non Java/Flash/ActiveX way of adding richness and code re-usability to IE DHTML - the problem is you've mostly got to write them yourself or find others work - like looking for code libraries for .NET.

Way back when, I described (D)HTML as "breadboard" programming - you wire the bits you need together. (D)HTML applications should not be limited to the forms controls provided natively by the underlying browser since it is to miss the underlying strength of the browser - that it provides a framework into which you can plug whatever components you desire and wire them together in an extremely simple fashion. A browser should be, and is, a follower of the philsophy expounded by the originators of TCL and others - the runtime provides the fundamental services that can be scripted together to provide novel solutions.

There's a whole class of programs you can't write in DHTML - a drawing program for one - but why not have a drawing component and put a rich and novel UI around it using DHTML? Similarly, enterprise database  management applications, forms entry whatever. The above article describes the horror of someone using a badly written survey program - it was a badly written program that was difficult for the user to use - it could have been written that badly in any language/development system. I've lost count of the number of times I have drawn dialogs with these wonderful RAD tools at our disposal, which involves adding/removing controls as the design process continues, only to forget that you have to redo the tab ordering once you've done or it works badly.

So, the point of Zeepe/UXP is to fill in some of the gaps in the IE native control set (menu bars, perhaps TreeView) and provide a neat and clean breadboard into which you can plug your components (the source is upto you; xml, .htc, .java, .dll, .net) and wire in a simple fashion. You get all the advantages of HTML based applications (auto code install/update, anywhere availabilty, rich novel UIs, security if you want) and none of the drawbacks of .NET - sandbox that can't be got out of, complex coding once you get beyond the point and click design process, complex coding to ensure users get the latest code versions.

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The Semantic Web

Funny how things first seen two years ago slowly gain momentum and visibility - lots of people seem to be mentioning the Semantic Web:

The Semantic Web: 1-2-3. Morbus Iff has posted a great introduction to RDF and the semantic web. If you have been trying to wrap your head around it like I have then this is the "jumping off" point I have been looking for. He also includes some great pictures. [Bitworking]

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Interesting XML Editing.

First Xopus open source release online.

My colleague at Q42 who runs the Xopus project put a stable release online last friday. There's even some good documentation in the package! You can start making your XML/XSL based website editable in the browser right now. Remember, it runs both in IE and Mozilla.

[Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]
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The New Windows

The 'new' Windows APIs. Nothing of really great import for those working with wrapping the browser control/hosting mshtml, though some of the info would have saved a great deal of head scratching for some other stuff I've done in the past. My highly personal opinion is that this list is not complete - there's still one heck of a lot of stuff passing through IE interfaces (especially IOleCommandTarget) that is not properly documented.


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First Xopus Open Source Release Online My Colleague At A Hre

First Xopus open source release online.

My colleague at Q42 who runs the Xopus project put a stable release online last friday. There's even some good documentation in the package! You can start making your XML/XSL based website editable in the browser right now. Remember, it runs both in IE and Mozilla.

[Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]
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