Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Yahoo RSS Pipes, etc.

February 20, 2007

Just heard about Yahoo pipes. Thank you Jean-Christophe.

Summary: Yahoo pipes is cool stuff for RSS addicts. Some related thoughts about RSS as a multi purpose protocol…

Yahoo pipes is a very interesting system for managing RSS feeds including:

  • content filtering
  • adding a user interface (a search form dedicated to a feed)
  • aggregating several feed together.

The system is a little bit complex to setup but looks very powerful. A very useful brick in the RSS layer… When Web 2.0 empowers Web 3.0 🙂

RSS has the potential to be used widely in the information chain. We currently are using only a fraction of this potential, mainly for news… I mean, we have with RSS an information protocol that is categorised, has meta data we can read, search and organise in various ways.

The protocol could be used to replace site maps (Google site maps or other), navigation panels in websites, monitoring events in enterprises (hardware, system, organisation, teams). Probably some other application too…

So what is missing in the layer for achieving these results (applications):

1) better categorisation of RSS items (server side): currently under used because of the lack of intelligent RSS clients able to render them..

2) start using RSS “channels” (most RSS feeds have only one channel…): channels are a great way to offer different views on the same information space, or related ones..

3) having RSS readers that make better use of RSS item categories: I haven’t found yet a RSS reader that can display more than a single view on a RSS item list, or that can display them in a tree view (assuming category namespaces are tree based of course).

4) implementing HTTP security (basic, digest, etc.) in all RSS readers: security enabled RSS readers allow RSS Applications in intranet or extranet spaces.
For example: Mr MD can follow his company events (commercial/project/hardware events) whilst he is on a business trip somewhere..
Mr Network Mgr can check his server health when offsite.
Mr Everybody could safely check his emails through a RSS feed (some are already doing it…).

5) having mobile phone/PDA RSS readers: RSS feeds are smaller in size than full web pages and easier to write than WAP pages. Would be useful to follow RSS events on phones/ Blackberry etc.

example of RSS feed with categories (only one level shown in rss reader):

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Windows Live toolbar

October 24, 2006

Thanks JC for the link to the Windows Live toolbar. This is the first post I try with this software. It is also the opportunity to have a quick look on this toolbar and see how it fits  in  the “gadgetisation” of the web through our desktops..

The software is made of a toolbar with nice features such as a blog writer, link to RSS feeds, tabbed browsing, a synchronisation tool with server for favourite links (overlap with delicious?), popup blocker (yet another one?), desktop search (overlap with Google desktop) and also the ability to create new menus.

This is similar to other gadget engines in the sense as it provides an interface to web resources. It is still in beta so we’ll have to wait until the end of the program to see what can actually be done with the system (the button gallery is not yet very large)…

Adding new applications/buttons seems to be done as a standard MSI download.. This probably means applications and smart buttons in the toolbar require .NET development. Huh! Compared to other systems based on html/js/css, this could be quite complex to develop a simple menu and this is likely to deter a lot of people from adding their own gadget/menu.. However this toolbar seems a bit more useful than tabs we find in the messenger (which are pure marketing tools and related to a young audience). It then looks like the toolbar could be more targeting a professional audience and/or bloggers.

About “Blogging”

May 19, 2006

Blogs are great way of sharing information but have we got the right tool?

(Is "time" the right navigation system through information?)

Blogging is one of the major event that happened in human hystory: people wherever they live are now able to express their thoughts to the rest of the world. Information democracy! That's great!

Now, the thing I find the most surprinsing is the fact we use tools that are not fit for the purpose! They are not fit because they are meant to be used by journalists, by people telling the world about daily events etc. It is organised by "time" and not by "subject" (ok we can categorise article, but that is atill a weak categorisation of information..).

What we really need is a way of publishing information in an organised way: by subject zones, with categories etc. Just like on a standard website. Because for the information we post, time is rarely the most important factor. Subject and categories are. And when time is important, it is merely because the article previosuly written are out of date when new stuff or thoughts arise..

INFORMATION = AUTHOR + SUBJECT + CATEGORY + CONTENT + RELATED STUFF + TIME

The order we want this to appear in news is:

SUBJECT + TIME + AUTHOR + CONTENT + related stuff

and this is where blogs are useful.

But the order we need when talking about business and technology is often:

AUTHOR + CATEGORY + SUBJECT + TIME+ CONTENT + RELATED STUFF

And we all know that the category dimension on the web translated to a good navigation and search systems. Navigation systems in blogs are really poor and mostly focused on timelines and that's whay they are not fit for the purpose of information sharing. So why are they so popular? The reason is that they are EASY to use and FREE, and their popularity is translated into search engine ranks. And until an alternative shows up with the same level of simplicity, we are stuck with these systems.. But having said that, they are great tools for publishing stuff. But we cant expect to get a final result that look like a well categorised set of information we can read like a book…

Are there alternatives? Well the world today is focusing on collaboration. Blogs are only the tip of the iceberg showing this strong need for collaboration. Collaboration in every aspect of our lives reach us through the web now… While I was writing this article, my 8 years old god daughter wanted to tell me that a little boy has given her a kick and she wanted to tell that to her god father. And She lives south of france, 1000 km form here in london. Isn't it a form collaboration…? Ok, that's a bit offtrck but the new world is showing up and we need the right types of showels to dig it, isnt't it?

New Technology Blog!

May 19, 2006

ok, finally decided to try out this blog platform..

I am involved in web technology, architecture, web products, etc. and will publish stuff related to this type of technologies. There are quite a lot of hot things happening on the web these days (well it has ben like that for a looonnnng time) and there are always new trends and exciting stuff coming out. The thing is everybody gets excited when the "new stuff" arrive and publishes a lot of articles, invest plenty of energy. But it is only when the wave has passed that we can see the actual business and practical benefits for organisations. We have seen thius happening in "recent years" for C++, java, .net, soap/web services, etc. And now we have web 2.0 and it is not difficult to see the same pattern. There is a great value in web 2.0, but we still dont know exactly what will be the final outcome… But hey!, we love our toys and technology would be so boring without them 🙂

So this blog is about deciphering the new technologies and trying to figure out what it means and where it can be used… Well that's only a try, isn't it?

As it will be a kind of brainstorm, I probably wont filter things too much. Sensitive souls should then wear protective filter glasses where needed.. 🙂 Shoutings and reactions whatever they are are welcome…