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Archive for December, 2006

NUKLEOS WEBLOG 2006-12-30

Wishes.

Happy 2007!

Happy 2007!

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Yet Another Debate. Micosoft filed a patent on RSS, and Dave Winer isn’t too happy about that (start reading his blog here). And then everybody started to talk about it… Yes, there is a lot that can be said about this subject:

  • RSS is about ‘syndication’. Syndication isn’t happening if nobody aggregates whatever is available for syndication. So maybe legally speaking Microsoft’s patent isn’t about the RSS definition itself… but you can’t separate the format RSS from syndication plus aggregation. And looking at it like that there’s sufficient “prior art” to make this patent (and possibly others like it) null and invalid.
  • Some Microsoft honcho writes: “Patent portfolios are the best defense against patent infringement lawsuits. Many times there are overlapping patents or very similar patents on any technology. When a big company is sued the first thing they do is look at their own patent portfolio for a similar patent so they can counter sue“. In other words: patents can be very dangerous for a company, so we need to have them too… That’s like: guns are very dangerous, so we need to have them too. Or should I infer from this blog entry’s title that the author considers that “lunatic” as well? If so, why defend that point of view?
  • How do you use in invalid or non-existing patent in your struggle against patent trolls (who are probably owning a lot of extermely questionable patents as well) ? Is having deep financial pockets really sufficient to play in this game? And if so, what does that tell you about the word “justice”?
  • If patent trolls are the biggest winners in the patent war, what do we need patents for?
  • ‘RSS’ may well be the abbreviation of ‘RDF Site Syndication’, not “Really Simple Syndication’ (the Wikipedia seems to prefer an evolving definition)

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Content Versus Community? Dries Buytaert (mister Drupal, so to speak) introduced me to the term ‘Community Management System’. It’s true: when a system integrates web pages, forums, faqs, blogs, wikis, and more, like SharePoint or Drupal, you have a collaboration system for a community. But I don’t feel that this makes the term ‘content management’ less important or less appropriate, as long as we know what we mean by it! Currently, the acronym CMS is used almost exclusively for ‘Website Content Management Systems”, but that is a bit shallow. Documentum and Alfresco, to name just two of them, mostly do something different: Content Management (be it for enterprises or individuals) deals with the storage, accessibility, versioning, archiving and ‘publication’ of content. WCMS is a subdomain of CMS, that deals with content destined for publication in websites. Blogs, like wikis, edit and present ‘content’ in a website, and thus they are parts of the WCMS domain. ‘Document Management’ is another part of CMS, electronically handling paper documents like letters, contracts, etc. that are usually scanned in before being dealt with in the DMS.

Now where do ‘communities’ enter the picture? Let’s be clear about one thing: if you just want to store your digital photographs and emails so as not to lose them, any filing system will do – even a closet with printouts. Once you want to capture and support “conversations” within “communities” you need tools to support that. E-mail is one way of doing that; ‘news groups’ or forums are another; chatting may well become another major medium in the same group. And what about telephone conversations, or just plain speech? Audio-annotated slide presentations? These conversations may (or may not) talk about ‘content’ in a WCMS or DMS, and at the same time the conversation itself is another type of ‘content’ to be handled. Do the existing CMS solutions have all it takes to take that new content into account? Mostly not, and that’s not entirely illogical given the vastness of the terrain.

What we will need in the (near) future are systems that can integrate specific solutions for specific content types, each of whom may well have specific requirements in terms of how, how long and for whom they have to be stored. The integration part will have to take into account that it makes not much sense to keep an e-mail that references a paper document that is no longer available – or does it? Anyway, it’s the integration of specific separate ‘content systems’ that makes for a collaborative environment, tailored to the community in question. When talking about integration, some kind of standard will be required to couple these systems to the base functions of a true generic ‘content store’. I don’t think any single provider will have such an encompassing solution ready in the short term; I do think that the classic ‘content management’ systems have the best chance to build the ‘content’ equivalent of relational database systems, probably around an API like JSR-170 or an extension thereof. Does that make SharePoint and Drupal bad solutions? Of course not. But if their functionality does not exactly match your requirements, you’ll soon find out whether and how they can be integrated into the system you need – not just now, but also in say ten or twenty years. SharePoint e.g. is a strong contender when it comes to collaboration on MS Office documents, but is certainly far from the ‘best of breed’ solutions for web site management. How will you “integrate” a better WCMS into Sharepoint when you need it?

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The Debates Continue… Here are a few topics I’m more or less following:

… But Feed The Right Wolf. Debating is quite OK with mee, but let’s keep it polite and to the point. I found a small but wholly appropriate story while cleaning up my mailbox – here’s a link to a version in English: Two Wolves

Een oude indiaan neemt zijn kleinkinderen op de schoot. Hij zegt: “Er woedt een strijd diep in mezelf. Een strijd tussen twee wolven. Eén wolf staat voor vreugde, vrede, hoop, gulheid, nederigheid, vriendelijkheid, empathie, sereniteit en vriendschap. De andere wolf representeert afgunst, woede, verdriet, hebzucht, ego, zelfmedelijden, schuld, minderwaardigheid, arrogantie en angst. Die strijd tussen de twee wolven woedt ook bij jullie”, sprak de indiaan, “elke dag weer.” De kinderen laten dit even bezinken, tot uiteindelijk één van hen vraagt: “En wie van de twee wolven haalt het?” Antwoordt die indiaan: “De wolf die je het meeste voedt?…”

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NUKLEOS WEBLOG 2006-12-23

Woopsee. I was searching for holiday destinations for next summer, and stumbled upon this overview of The Most Dangerous Roads in the World. I guess we’ll be staying closer to home with the kids!

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Hot Topic: OO In Coldfusion. There’s an interesting debate going on in the Coldfusion world. Three blog entries (read the comments too, please) to get you going: Hal Helms proposes New Vision for ColdFusion, Sean Corfieldreacts and so does Vince Bonfanti. My view: CF needs a bit more object-orientation, no matter whether you’re going to use it for “prototyping” or for “serious development”. Even “prototyping” isn’t harmed by well-designed code.

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Javapolis Is Over, and here are the pictures of the last two days: Javapolis 2006 (Day 4) and Javapolis 2006 (Day 5).

Google On A Mac: according to Matthew Russell in Making a Smooth Move from .Mac to Google, Google offers a lot of tools that can make .Mac (which I have never used myself) almost completely superfluous. And even if you didn’t plan such a move, you can learn a lot from the text – at last I now know where to find the list of addresses from people that have sent you some email stored by the Mail application!

Something That Did NOT Happen At JavapolisSpeakers and attendees of the Le Web conference weren’t too happy when the organizer hijacked the conference by putting French top-level politicians on the stage, instead of the announced session about Second Life additions. Luckily we didn’t have to sit through anything like that at Javapolis!

2012-10-18: Tabblo is no more, so you’ll have to make do with my pictures of the event on Flickr…

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