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Wed, 29 Sep 2004
Frontier is a message in a bottle

I spent some time tonight listening to Dave Winer's Coffee Notes regarding the open source release of Frontier. I remember when Frontier came out -- it was during my first Macintosh user lifetime. Listening to Dave's notes took me back to those days -- 3M Machines -- 1 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 1 MegaPixel display. And here I sit at 1.25GHz, 1GB RAM and more than 2M 24bit color pixels. I'm glad that Dave was able to convince UserLand to do this. There's been a ton of software over the years that's just died and gone away, which is real shame. That entire effect is one of the reasons that I want to see open source software succeed.

I'm curious to see the internals of Frontier. The integration of a scripting language and an object database is exactly what we're building at OSAF. The outliner in Frontier is a cousin of the ThinkTank/More outliners, which are still better than any other outliner (commercial or open source) that I've seen. Just getting a glimpse of that will be worth it.

I like the thought of Frontier as a message in a bottle for the future. I also wonder how many other bottles there could be if we could unlock some of the software that's died away. Symantec More? Apple Dylan? Symbolics Genera? Lotus Agenda? Common Knowledge Arrange?

[00:46] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Bloglines Services: a step towards rich client web services

Early Tuesday, Mark Fletcher posted the news on Bloglines' new REST based web services API. I'm glad to see that NetNewsWire and FeedDemon, the RSS aggregators of choice in our house, among the initial supporters. Marc Hedlund has an article showing a Groovy implementation of RSS aggregator that leverages the Bloglines services. The initial support in the API is for notification, syncing and getting a blogroll.

A rich client like NetNewsWire/FeedDemon integrated with a web based service like Bloglines has the potential to offer users the best of both worlds, and I believe this is a glimpse of the world yet to come. While I've looked at Bloglines and seen some features that I like (most of which related to social aspects like recommending feeds that I'd like), I've never considered using it seriously because it won't work for offline mode, and because I believe that RSS aggregators are going to talk to my mail, address book, calendar, and other applications running on my machine. If Bloglines services exposed that social information, then I could have my rich client that integrated with local services, and still get the benefits of the Bloglines service -- that means being able to leverage the social information harvested by Bloglines within NetNewsWire. The API doesn't support it today, but there's no reason that it couldn't.

This general architecture applies to situations other than RSS aggregation, of course. This sort of thing is what I envisioned when I read Tim O'Reilly's essay All Software Should be Network Aware.

[00:15] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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