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Dave Winer on CityDesk

http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/09#lb13eaf716a49235978b68d4a8521aba0

"It almost goes without saying that I think Joel is indulging in premature congratulation. ... And Joel, some people do like editing Web pages in the browser."

Guan Yang
Sunday, December 09, 2001

And besides, those grapes are sour anyhow.

Mike Gunderloy
Sunday, December 09, 2001

Self Important Blowhard is the best way I have seen Winer described.

http://winerlog.editthispage.com

Mr Cranky
Sunday, December 09, 2001

Well, Dave is a king of blowhards, which makes him endearing.  But the real cost of Citydesk's lack of XML/browser editing support is how slowly it takes for Fogcreek to build it in if needed.

If the demand is there, Fogcreek will probably hear all about it.  Putting your hand on the customer's hearbeat is just as important as listening to an architecture evangelist.

Roger Hobson
Sunday, December 09, 2001

Mr. Winer says "If Joel doesn't support XML, his users are going to suffer at least a little lock-in."

There's almost no lockin-in.  There are two easy ways to get the data out of a .cty file.

- Write templates to produce an easy to parse file containing your data. This is the technic used by MoveableType http://moveabletype.org to get data out of Blogger or GreyMatter.

- Open the file in Microsoft Access and munge, modify an export the tables in any way you want. A .cty file uses Microsoft Access's native file format.

Nona Myous
Sunday, December 09, 2001

There's more info relevant to lock-in issue here: http://discuss.fogcreek.com/citydesk/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=867

Nona Myous
Sunday, December 09, 2001

As his Atomz article shows, Joel would never give away a free editiion of Citydesk unless without lock in.

Ged Byrne
Monday, December 10, 2001

What exactly does Dave Winer mean by "supporting XML"? Frontier doesn't use XML all that much if I remember correctly.

Guan Yang
Monday, December 10, 2001

Part 5 of the CityDesk articles is on the money.  It's time to move beyond the browser if you want to build robust, low-latency applications. .Net and other platforms will (slowly) move in and leave browsers with what they do best: display text-based information.

Some Links
http://www.fourthworld.com/embassy/articles/NetApps.html

http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2701166,00.html

BrittleStar
Monday, December 10, 2001

What does Winer mean by "supporting XML?"

Winer refers to supporting XML in the context of lock-in.  From this (and the posts above), I infer that Mr. Winer is referring to the Manila/Radio feature of exporting his closed and proprietary database to XML.  If you get your data as XML, presumably you can move it wherever you want to.

anon
Monday, December 10, 2001

There's not lock-in with CityDesk. I think Dave is talking more about "weblog syndication". The CityDesk file format is not terribly proprietary. It's just an Access DB. FogCreek wellcomes you to open it in Access or interact with it in other ways. Would likely be trivial to write an XML translator. What FogCreek has stated is that they reserve the right to change the format. And again, I do not believe it is because they are trying to mess around with developers or lock-in. If you read Joel's (excellent) writing, you get a very fresh approach of making decisions based on what's best to make the product they are trying to make. They clearly have little interest in handicapping their product in order to support hyped-up concepts with questionable benefits.

Patrick Breitenbach
Monday, December 10, 2001

Even if Mr. Winer's complaint about lack of XML support applies to weblog syndication, that's not a problem for CityDesk.  It should be easy to create a template to produce the RSS format.  And even if it's not easy, then there's the fallback of reading the Access MDB directly.

Nona Myous
Monday, December 10, 2001

More on the XML issue here: http://weblog.masukomi.org/2001/12/10.html.

Nona Myous
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Yeah, that article wasn't technically correct. It's easy to get your CityDesk data out in XML using any schema you like. Creating an RSS feed, for example, is two steps, documented here:

http://www.fogcreek.com/CityDesk/kb/fog0000000056.html

Creating any other kind of XML is just as easy.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

> Creating any other kind of XML is just as easy.

Another way to get XML is to render to HTML as usual, and run "tidy -asxml" on it:

    http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett/tidy/

This gives you perfectly valid XHTML, which can be processed by any XML tool.  (And unlike Userland's tools, it produces correct XML no matter what you throw at it ;-)

Fredrik Lundh
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

If you have tidy installed on your system, then you can just add tidy as a menu option in the "preview" menu shown after publishing.  This way you could just publish and push a button and your data is in perfect XML (even if you didn't write it that way).

Michael Pryor
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

More on this at http://www.voidstar.com

<quote>
So what's wound me up this time? Well Dave often has an air of moral superiority about him, especially when he's talking about the software community and especially when it relates to Microsoft. But the reality is that he and UserLand use FUD in a very BigCo manner, taking cheap shots against potential competitors or others in the industry. A classic example of this has just appeared in the last few days. Dave criticises Joel for a very well argued piece that Joel published on software design choices in Joel's latest product. Specifically, Dave says "If Joel doesn't support XML, his users are going to suffer at least a little lock-in."  This bit of received wisdom is then picked up by another site and repeated, and Dave then links to it pulling out a quote to support his own position. "By not supporting XML or any similar means of communicating with other apps they have created their own little Galapagos". So far this looks like valid criticism. At least until you actually read Joel's article.
</quote>

anon
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Things are looking up!  Dave just publicly mentioned that Citydesk does RSS.

http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/11#l9ba4e6b7b107f98d6039cf42fc8a3c3d

And the end result is that people know more about Citydesk's virtues than they did before.  Controversy is good, as long as things proceed in good faith.

Bret Harbinson
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Why is everyone so aghast at the creation of a Windows app? And why does *everything* have to have a crappy Java or HTML front-end and some sort of native XML support (whatever that is)? It's even more surprising given Joels lengthy, public and reasonable explanations about many CD design decisions. Unbelievable.

Patrick Breitenbach
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

"Why is everyone so aghast at the creation of a Windows app?"   

Is it everyone?  I have only seen one person aghast at this issue and he is a competitor.

anon
Tuesday, December 11, 2001

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