Dave Winer offers us 2 views of the scripting world in 2005.
August 31, 2001 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Dave Winer offers us 2 views of the scripting world in 2005. He says that 'in one view, we are all inside Microsoft's box, sharing a common set of libraries and object hierarchies. In the other, we use our favourite tools and runtimes, our communities stay independent.' Frighteningly, he may well be absolutely right. What a great diagram; it reminds me of drawing when I was a kid.
posted by Atom Heart Mother (17 comments total)

I've no interest in invoking a religious argument, but I can't see it going the .NET way.

Who wants that? Not me. I want the freedom that an open standard -- XML-RPC & SOAP -- would allow. And Microsoft claims to support the standards, btw.

That said, the diagram is pretty whack. Not sure how "everyone else" would run inside the Microsoft box. AND...Who's developing w/.NET now anyway? Far, far from taking over the world.

Nothing to worry about. We may have some co-workers attending .NET seminars these days, but there's no real issue here.

I say throw a .NET bubble on the right-side diagram and be done with it.
posted by BoatMeme at 12:38 AM on August 31, 2001

Although the things described in his line "the glue that connects us is xml-rpc and soap" are decentralized, it only takes a quick look at the RSS world to see how things like this could pan out.

As I read the RSS list archives, it seemed like most people in the RSS world collaborated and agreed on the improvements from RSS 0.90 to 0.91, but Dave protested, took his toys and went home to make up RSS 0.92 on the spot. So if you're developing RSS output now, you have two specs to write to, and RSS viewers have to account for both versions.

What will the scripting world look like in 2005 when a hypothetically proposed xml-rpc 3.84 spec is battling against a similarly proposed xml-rpc 3.84a spec that Dave authored?

The right side of Dave's image is supposed to represent total freedom, but remember as a xml-rpc/soap developer, you have to drink the Dave kool-aid and you may feel trapped in Dave's box if things go sour.

And this isn't pushback, it's constructive criticism. When someone wants to lead the troops in a new direction, it helps to know the leader's motivations and previous actions before making a decision of the best way to move forward.
posted by mathowie at 12:54 AM on August 31, 2001

Did you work for IBM in the 80's? They threw Microsoft in a bubble as well.

Microsoft have developed a modular plan set 5, 10, 15 year forth. Their intention is very clear, they want to create a non operating systems based monopoly for all connected devices. Now whether they succeed is another matter.

The Internet is not the free environment that everyone dreams it to be, and enclosing users is not impossible.

For example, take this article listed at Slashdot yesterday. It points out somewhat surprisingly that:

'Websites operated by just four corporations account for 50.4 percent of the time that U.S. users of the Web are now spending online, the authoritative Jupiter Media Metrix research firm reported in early summer. At the top of the heap were AOL Time Warner's sites, with 32 percent of all minutes spent online in the nation, followed by Microsoft (7.5 percent) and Yahoo (7.2 percent). '

Well, Microsoft's aim is to alter that situation and take control. They want an enclosed net run by them. They may or may not succeed, but as the guy stated, it is one of 2 possibilities.
posted by Atom Heart Mother at 12:56 AM on August 31, 2001

In the long run, I believe developers will use the tool set that does the job well and comes with the most support. The lines aren't as stark as Winer's diagram would have you think, as Microsoft has hooks into the "open" web, and the folks on the open source end would like to tap into Microsoft's user base.

And this just isn't a Open/MS thing. AOL figures in here as well, and as large as they are - they have sucessfully worked below the radar as everyone focuses their vitriol on Microsoft or the Open Source fellows. What Case & Co. lack in tech skills they more than make up for in marketing might and the ability to run the press - framing the debate in their favor - in a way that Microsoft could not hope to achieve anytime soon.
posted by owillis at 2:12 AM on August 31, 2001

Background on Winer's RSS-fork.
posted by owillis at 2:14 AM on August 31, 2001

Please bear with me as it is after 2AM and I've been staring at code all day long. :)

Am I the only (web) developer who's tired of the whole .NET/future of XML issue? After working "professionally" on the web for the last 6+ years I am more than ready for standards, and quite frankly I don't care if it's on the Open Source side, the Microsoft side, or from some new company/movement. I'm tired of running ragged trying to please everyone's browser/technology/etc. Although I must admit that my current programming/scripting environment of choice is an Open Source one.

There will always be some sort of entity that dictates the future of a particular product, technology, etc. And somehow, someway; that entity is usually vilified at some point or another based on what things that others disagree with (adding/subtracting features and/or other changes). Yes, I could go into the whole "MS is evil, yadda yadda yadda..." rant, or playing devils advocate (as I tend to do) I could spin a fine yarn on how Open Source development isn't as viable for (big) business because of the lack of (tech) support, documentation, blah blah blah. Who couldn't? A religious tech war is not what I am talking about. What I'm talking about is my constant source of tech-frustration: the lack of standards. I just want us all to pick one and move on.

Anyhow... "The Internet is not the free environment that everyone dreams it to be, and enclosing users is not impossible. ". Truer words have never been spoken. And anyone who doubts it, I must assume, has never worked for a tech company that does any sort of for-profit work (most, I would assume). Software, online retailers, content-management, web building... the end goal of most businesses is to make cold, hard cash. That's business and that's life. Why should we expect something as complex as the Internet to be free? Sure it'd be a nice thing, but there truly is no such thing as a free lunch.
posted by crankydoodle at 2:15 AM on August 31, 2001

posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:24 AM on August 31, 2001

Am I the only (web) developer who's tired of the whole .NET/future of XML issue?

I can say without fear of contradiction: No, you are not.. I can almost as assuredly guarantee you that, like Whiner, no one who gets all wrapped up in this religious mania has a real job. This is what they do: they make this stuff up, they argue about it, they treat it as if the creation of whatever the current fad might be is actually the end game. The playground antics of Whiner and his friends over all this is meaningless, as meaningless as any discussion of "Open Source vs. Microsoft" is meaningless because it has no application in real life. There's nothing wrong with pure R&D, there's nothing wrong with academic discussions, there's nothing wrong with attempting something just to see if it can be done - but don't confuse those efforts with the realities of just getting the job done on a daily basis, with all the myriad tradeoffs that implies.
posted by m.polo at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2001

this was just a subliminal way to get his satanist ideas across to the metafilter readers (see pentagram in right hand diagram).
posted by afx114 at 9:04 AM on August 31, 2001

HOLY CRAP! That drawing has shown me the light. Microsoft are totally basing their strategy around the three-circles-in-box strategy, when those 2 sentences of speculation obviously prove that the alternative bunch-of-circles-connected-by-lines strategy will obviously benefit us all. Just reading all that great proof included with this drawing has convinced me, WE MUST UNITE UNDER XML-RPC!! I am going to get my cousin to work on drafting up a unified strategy white paper once he's done eating glue.

p.s. I forgot to mention UserLand SoftWare when I mentioned XML-RPC, oops!
posted by beefula at 9:08 AM on August 31, 2001

I can almost as assuredly guarantee you that, like Whiner, no one who gets all wrapped up in this religious mania has a real job.

Winer, for all of the blather about the perils of open source advocacy, is more interested in getting the job done than in theology. The guy's a scripter -- the ultimate in paste-this-together-and-see-if-the-glue-holds programming. XML-RPC isn't a brilliantly constructed protocol that was lovingly crafted by a committee somewhere. It's a hack that lets diverse systems communicate with each other now over HTTP using XML rather than waiting for CORBA, RMI, or some other more complex solution to take hold. RSS, which he did not create but pushed into widespread use as much as anybody, is another hack.

I don't buy into his grim notion of 2005 -- Microsoft has failed miserably to dominate the Web programming development area, offering no reason to even think about Microsoft if you're working in Perl, Java, PHP, Java Server Pages, MySQL, or Apache. Why is this going to change because Microsoft discovered the significance of a common runtime more than six years after Sun and Netscape did?
posted by rcade at 9:25 AM on August 31, 2001

y'know ... when all else fails, one can always fall back on the Internet Cloud ...
posted by webchick at 9:44 AM on August 31, 2001

Microsoft has failed miserably to dominate the Web programming development area, offering no reason to even think about Microsoft if you're working in Perl, Java, PHP, Java Server Pages, MySQL, or Apache.

But that's the whole point of the .NET runtime. You can use your favorite language in an environment that makes it so easy to do. I'm speaking from experience here: we're beginning to work with .NET where I work, and the overall reaction from the developers here is: it's bitchin' kewl. And some of these guys come from a pretty hard-core open-source philosophy.
posted by scottandrew at 10:22 AM on August 31, 2001

Who's developing w/.NET now anyway?

*raises hand timidly*

I'm a programmer in the IT department of a manufacturing company, and we're just barely starting to get into .NET for internal and web development. It's been primarily a Microsoft shop since long before I got here, and even though there's a lot about Microsoft programming I like, it's not that bad. (Not that I don't occasionally poke around with Linux at home in my Copious Free Time.)

Everybody talks about Microsoft's "vision" for .NET, but a lot of it sounds like pure hogwash to me. .NET seems to be a label slapped on a whole bunch of assorted new technologies that Microsoft is trying to promote at the same time — the Good (SOAP support), the Bad (Passport authentication), and the Ugly (Server Controls, maybe). Take the pieces of .NET that you find useful, leave the rest.

Overall, I think BoatMeme is probably right about ending up with a .NET bubble in the right-side diagram. One of the nicer elements of .NET is a lot of built-in support for SOAP; Microsoft may screw it up, but right now, it looks like it will be a lot easier to make non-Windows apps interact with new Windows .NET apps.
posted by harmful at 11:53 AM on August 31, 2001

I'm not really interested in the actual topic, since I'll just use whatever is most popular at the time I want to do something. However..

sure is easy to be an Internet guru nowadays. A few circles, squares and lines and you're set. Seems like some people have been taking consultancy lessons from some of those Dilbert books.
posted by wackybrit at 3:31 PM on August 31, 2001


I think me may have meant Visual Basic.
posted by john at 12:02 AM on September 1, 2001

Still an active thread? Chiming in anyway...
Company I work for is evaluating web services as a way to distribute web application work among remote servers. Echoing Scott Andrew's point, .NET's appeal of a runtime environment for web services that supports many languages isn't new (and, it could be argued, is in many ways a catch-up game), but Microsoft's marketing power and presentation is reaching our executives, decision-makers, and developers quickly and effectively. The inspiration for Dave's drawing seems very real to me.

Nevertheless: For what it's worth, our company is leaning toward a Sun/IBM solution. Which is teaching me a valuable lesson. The difference between millions of dollars spent on one company's technology strategy and another's can sometimes be something as small as the fear inspired by "Smart Tags."

Ugh. I'm disgusted by my own topic shift. Will try to summarize: Um...the scripting environment as relates to web services may or may not consolidate into two popular methodologies.

So there. :)
posted by massless at 2:34 AM on September 1, 2001

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