However, I do have some of the same reservations that Tim Bray mentions:
It’s almost physically painful for me to think about these things in the abstract, because I’m suspicious that if the people doing it won’t show me the bits on the wire, when they whip away the curtain I’m going to be looking at an API or object model or UML diagram.
Agreed. I don’t want to see Corba for Weblogs. There is a Wiki for recording the progress and it is filling out quite rapidly. There are quite a range of people participating, and all with no flaming. Very good signs that this is going someplace.
I will disagree with both Shelly and Tim, reverse chronological order is important. Reverse chronological order is the only thing that distinguishes a weblog from a wiki, or from just a personal web page on the internet.
Time, at least chronological time, is a very under-used metaphor in user interface design. Look at the primary metaphor we have now, the Desktop. Ugh. Wouldn’t software be that much better if it took time into account? Even limited use of time adds to the power of a program, think of good programs that offer unlimited undo levels, a way of walking back in time. But wouldn’t that manipulation be more effective if I could look at my changes across time, do diffs between specific points in time? Why can’t I open a word document and have it highlight the pieces that were changed in just the last 5 days?
Yes, I know CVS and SourceSafe and other version control programs allow this, but that is adding the feature on after the fact. And they have a limited ability when working with binary formats. A consciousness of time is not baked right into the programs themselves, only added on as an after-thought. And becuase it isn’t baked in, the time related features end up in odd corners of the program and difficult to use. Revision protection in Word is something that is off by default, you have to remember to turn it on, and you can do diffs between copies of Word documents, but only if you can find the menu item.
Further reading on chronological metaphors can be found at:
- TimeScape – A Time Machine for the Desktop Environment [PDF]
- Technology Review – The Next Computer Interface
On Links, I will want perma-links. Look at all the grief I give the NYTimes for not having accessible archives. A member in good standing of the web has unique URLs that do not change.