9 Apr 2003 bigbuba   » (Observer)

Starting the blog with some random rants

Nasty things about wikis

It's funny that people are so excited about wikis, which employ nonstandard markup and are a step backward from the semantic web. What's more, wikis tout full public writability at a time when we should be thinking about and building reputation networks.

Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to implement the wiki on the browser end? The web server would just hand out static ".wiki" files, and have a simple cgi for posting new ones. Too bad we don't have better standard browser scripting. Maybe a javascript clientside wiki would be good.

Nasty things about blogs

I wonder how many blasted html template tools have been written in the last five years. It's a shame that blogs have been built on top of the traditional web and lurch so clumsily towards semantic web goals.

If blog builders focused a little more on comment structure compared to presentation, many semantic improvements could easily be made. For example, parts of comments could be marked up as being either summarizing or adding to referenced links. (Among other things, this would enable readable cross-blog threads.)

Nasty things about xml

OK, so the secret's out. No one likes the xml format. But that's fine, because everyone can work with it anyway, and that's all we ever really wanted. (Especiallly since reasonable apis are available e.g. pulldom.)

If xml is no more than a standard document exchange format, then why should the primary serialization of any language be xml? It's fine to want all the spiffy benefits that xml confers, but when is it ever important for a human being to author in raw xml? The only example that I can think of is for self-modifying xslt code to work just like plain xslt code, but is that really worth it?

Maybe this is an important idea to promote: write your human meaningful language first, and then write your machine meangingful xml serialization dialect. Having xml be a binary format would certainly encourage this (as well as discouraging programmers from individually disgorging poorly formed xml, instead of using a fast, free, and relatively bugless library).

Apology

I haven't figured out how I feel about publishing personal matter that may be applied out of context, so this blog will be pseudonymous for now.

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