mark nottingham

all entries

Consensus in Internet Standards

Standards   Friday, 24 May 2024

It’s common for voluntary technical standards developing organisations (SDOs such as the IETF and W3C) to make decisions by consensus, rather than (for example) voting. This post explores why we use consensus, what it is, how it works in Internet standards and when its use can become problematic.

Modularity: Enabling Interoperability and Competition

Tech Regulation   Friday, 10 May 2024

Mandated interoperability is often highlighted as a way to improve competition on the Internet. However, most of the interoperability we see there today was established voluntarily: mandating it is relatively uncharted territory, with many potential pitfalls.

No One Should Have That Much Power

Internet and Web   Monday, 29 April 2024

It’s a common spy thriller trope. There’s a special key that can unlock something critical – business records, bank vaults, government secrets, nuclear weapons, maybe all of the above, worldwide.

Considerations for AI Opt-Out

Tech Regulation   Sunday, 21 April 2024

Creating a Large Language Model (LLM) requires a lot of content – as implied by the name, LLMs need voluminous input data to be able to function well. Much of that content comes from the Internet, and early models have been seeded by crawling the whole Web.

There Are No Standards Police

Standards Tech Regulation   Wednesday, 13 March 2024

It happens fairly often. Someone brings a proposal to a technical standards body like the IETF and expects that just because it becomes an RFC, people will adopt it. Or they’ll come across a requirement in an RFC and expect it to be enforced, perhaps with some kind of punishment. Or they’ll get angry that people don’t pay attention to an existing standard and do their own thing. This is so common that there’s a ready response widely used by IETF people in these situations:

RFC 9518 - What Can Internet Standards Do About Centralisation?

Internet and Web Standards Tech Regulation   Tuesday, 19 December 2023

RFC 9518: Centralization, Decentralization, and Internet Standards has been published after more than two years of review, discussion, and revision.

How to Run an Australian Web Site in 2024

Australia   Monday, 27 November 2023

A while back, the eSafety Commissioner declined to register the proposed Industry Codes that I’ve previously written about. Now, they’ve announced a set of Industry Standards that, after a comment period, will likely be law.

Technical Standards Bodies are Regulators

Tech Regulation Standards   Wednesday, 1 November 2023

There are lots of ways to view what Internet standards bodies like the IETF and W3C do. They are horizontal agreements between competitors as well as mission-driven public-good charities. One might believe they’re the homes of innovation that brought us the Internet and the Web, or that they’re boring, ineffective and slow committee talking shops. Some see them as vibrant, diverse communities, while others believe they’re completely dominated by big tech.

How we Build Platforms

Tech Regulation   Sunday, 19 February 2023

I’m fascinated by the Metaverse. Not because I want to use that steaming pile of legless avatars, but because it’s the latest prominent attempt to establish a new platform. As Mark Zuckerberg said in internal emails about it:

What I Learned in Law School

Tech Regulation   Thursday, 5 January 2023

In the last decade or so, it’s become increasingly apparent that the Internet is going to be subject to more legal regulation. Because it’s a global network, this is tricky; fragmentation risk grows if regulation isn’t consistent between jurisdictions. And of course, there are all the other pitfalls of regulation — it’s difficult to agree on societal goals, much less change working systems to meet those goals without ill effect.

A Safer, More Centralised Australian Internet

Australia Tech Regulation   Sunday, 11 September 2022

There are many potential criticisms of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth)1. While my own concerns are mostly about whether there are appropriate checks and balances on the eSafety Commissioner’s powers, I will give credit where due; the current Commissioner’s implementation of it has – so far – demonstrated nuance and thoughtful balancing of the legislation’s goals with the preservation and enhancement of the unique properties that make the Internet so valuable to society. See, eg, ‘Explainer: The Online Safety Bill’, Digital Rights Watch. ↩

What willwould a Chromium-only Web look like?

Internet and Web   Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Most of the complexity and nuance of the Web is stuffed into browser engines. Even though they’re a huge burden to develop and maintain, the world is lucky enough to have three major ones, and they’re all Open Source.

Yet More New HTTP Specs

HTTP   Wednesday, 8 June 2022

The HTTP “core” documents were published on Monday, including a revision of HTTP semantics, caching, HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2, and the brand-new HTTP/3. However, that’s not all that the HTTP community has been up to.

A New Definition of HTTP

HTTP   Monday, 6 June 2022

Seven and a half years ago, I wrote that RFC2616 is dead, replaced by RFCs 7230-5.

Server-Sent Events, WebSockets, and HTTP

HTTP HTTP APIs   Sunday, 20 February 2022

The orange site is currently discussing an article about Server-Sent Events, especially as compared with WebSockets (and the emerging WebTransport). Both the article and discussion are well-informed, but I think they miss out on one aspect that has fairly deep implications.

How the Next Layer of the Internet is Going to be Standardised

Standards Tech Regulation   Monday, 21 June 2021

A big change in how the Internet is defined - and who defines it - is underway.

No news is... a sign of a stagnating Internet

Australia   Thursday, 18 February 2021

Today, Facebook shut off the news in Australia – all of it, and much more besides. For example, when I tried to post a link to this blog entry on Facebook, they responded:

RFC 8890 - The Internet is for End Users

Standards   Friday, 28 August 2020

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has published RFC8890, The Internet is for End Users, arguing that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) should ground its decisions in what’s good for people who use the Internet, and that it should take positive steps to achieve that.

What limits legal access to cloud data in Australia?

Australia   Monday, 29 June 2020

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 20181 has proven controversial both before and after passage,2 with considerable debate about its industry assistance framework and its potential for systemically weakening encryption on the Internet - a framing emphasised by the explanatory memorandum which introduced the legislation as ‘measures to better deal with the challenges posed by ubiquitous encryption.’3 Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (Cth). ↩ See, eg, Stilgherrian, ‘What’s actually in Australia’s encryption laws? Everything you need to know’ ZDNet (online, 10 December 2018) ↩ Explanatory Memorandum, Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (Cth), 2 [1]. ↩

On RFC8674, the safe preference for HTTP

HTTP Standards   Thursday, 5 December 2019

It’s become common for Web sites – particularly those that host third-party or user-generated content – to make a “safe” mode available, where content that might be objectionable is hidden. For example, a parent who wants to steer their child away from the rougher corners of the Internet might go to their search engine and put it in “safe” mode.

How Multiplexing Changes Your HTTP APIs

HTTP   Sunday, 13 October 2019

When I first learned about SPDY, I was excited about it for a number of reasons, but near the top of the list was its potential impact on APIs that use HTTP.

Moving Control to the Endpoints

Internet and Web   Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The introduction of encrypted DNS is a natural step in the process of securing the Internet, but it has brought a considerable amount of controversy, because it removes a means of control for network operators -- including not only enterprises but also schools and parents. The solution is to move control of these services to the endpoints of communication -- for example, the users’ computers -- but doing so has its own challenges.

Eight #aabill Predictions

Australia   Thursday, 6 December 2018

As I write this, the Australian Senate is in the final stages of passing the Assistance and Access Bill 2018 (with some but not all amendments).

Australian Assistance and Access Bill 2018: Amendments

Australia   Thursday, 6 December 2018

In a great hurry, Australia’s house of representatives today passed the controversial Assistance and Access Bill 2018. However, there were some last-minute amendments slipped in. Currently, it’s being debated in the Senate.

Designing Headers for HTTP Compression

HTTP HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 27 November 2018

One of the concerns that often comes up when someone creates a new HTTP header is how much “bloat” it will add on the network. This is especially relevant in requests, when a little bit of extra data can introduce a lot of latency when repeated on every request.

Do you Trust Australia? Part Four

Australia   Thursday, 15 November 2018

On 20 August, I went to Canberra to participate in an Internet Society experts' panel on encryption.

Do you Trust Australia? Part Three

Australia   Sunday, 19 August 2018

Not that long ago, the US government attempted to compel Microsoft to reveal a customer's data that was located in Ireland.

Do you Trust Australia? Part Two

Australia   Thursday, 16 August 2018

After a couple of sleeps, I think my concerns about the proposed Assistance and Access Bill 2018 have crystallised.

Do you Trust Australia?

Australia   Tuesday, 14 August 2018

This morning, the Australian Department of Home Affairs released the Assistance and Access Bill 2018 for consultation.

How to Read an RFC

Standards   Tuesday, 31 July 2018

For better or worse, Requests for Comments (RFCs) are how we specify many protocols on the Internet. These documents are alternatively treated as holy texts by developers who parse them for hidden meanings, then shunned as irrelevant because they can’t be understood. This often leads to frustration and – more significantly – interoperability and security issues.

How (Not) to Control Your CDN

HTTP Caching HTTP   Wednesday, 7 June 2017

In February, Omer Gil described the Web Cache Deception Attack.

How to Think About HTTP Status Codes

HTTP HTTP APIs   Thursday, 11 May 2017

There’s more than a little confusion and angst out there about HTTP status codes. I’ve received more than a few e-mails (and IMs, and DMs) over the years from stressed-out developers (once at 2am, their time!) asking something like this:

The State of Browser Caching, Revisited

HTTP Caching   Thursday, 16 March 2017

A long, long time ago, I wrote some tests using XmlHttpRequest to figure out how well browser caches behaved, and wrote up the results.

Ideal HTTP Performance

HTTP   Friday, 22 April 2016

The implicit goal for Web performance is to reduce end-user perceived latency; to get the page in front of the user and interactive as soon as possible.

Alternative Services

HTTP Standards   Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The IESG has approved “HTTP Alternative Services” for publication as a Proposed Standard.

Why 451?

HTTP   Friday, 18 December 2015

Today, the IESG approved publication of “An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles”. It’ll be an RFC after some work by the RFC Editor and a few more process bits, but effectively you can start using it now.

Will there be a Distributed HTTP?

HTTP   Tuesday, 18 August 2015

One of the things that came up at the HTTP Workshop was “distributed HTTP” — i.e., moving the Web from a client/server model to a more distributed one. This week, Brewster Khale (of fame) talked about similar thoughts on his blog and at CCC. If you haven’t seen that yet, I’d highly suggest watching the latter.

Snowden Meets the IETF

Standards   Monday, 20 July 2015

Last night, we had a screening of CITIZENFOUR at the IETF meeting in Prague, and about 170 people showed up to see the movie about Edward Snowden’s relevations — information that led the IETF to declare such pervasive monitoring as an attack on the Internet itself.

HTTP/2 Implementation Status

HTTP   Monday, 15 June 2015

RFC7540 has been out for about a month, so it seems like a good time for a snapshot of where HTTP/2 implementation is at.

Improving Captive Portals

Standards   Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yesterday at IETF92 in Dallas, we had a “Bar BoF” (i.e., informal meeting) about improving the behaviour and handling of Captive Portals — those login pages that you have to click through to get onto networks in hotels, airports, and many other places.

HTTP/2 is Done

HTTP   Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The IESG has formally approved the HTTP/2 and HPACK specifications, and they’re on their way to the RFC Editor, where they’ll soon be assigned RFC numbers, go through some editorial processes, and be published.

Dissecting Australia's Proposed Data Retention Law

Australia   Monday, 19 January 2015

Much has been written about the societal impact of Australia’s proposed data retention laws (see some examples here and here) which I won’t repeat. However, they are quite interesting — and worrisome — from a more technical perspective.

Why Intermediation is Important

HTTP Standards   Saturday, 27 December 2014

A few months ago I went to the Internet Governance Forum, looking to understand more about the IGF and its attendees. One of the things I learned there was a different definition of “intermediary” — one that I think the standards community should pay close attention to.

Python 2 and TLS SNI

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Python 2.7.9 was recently released, and that means that it supports TLS Server Name Indication.

What is the Web?

Internet and Web   Thursday, 4 December 2014

This post is mostly for folks who haven’t been following Web standards closely — especially IETF folks. If you have been, there’s probably not much new here (but feel free to poke holes!).

RFC2616 is Dead

HTTP   Saturday, 7 June 2014

Don’t use RFC2616. Delete it from your hard drives, bookmarks, and burn (or responsibly recycle) any copies that are printed out.

Chrome and Stale-While-Revalidate

HTTP Caching   Sunday, 1 June 2014

Chrome is looking at adding support for RFC5861’s stale-while-revalidate, which is really cool. I wrote about the details of SwR when it first became an RFC, but its application to browsers is something that’s a new. Seems like a good time to answer a few potential questions.

If You Can Read This, You're SNIing

HTTP   Friday, 9 May 2014

When TLS was defined, it didn’t allow more than one hostname to be available on a single IP address / port pair, leading to “virtual hosting” issues; each Web site (for example) now requires a dedicated IP address.

How Many Package Managers Should I Support?

Monday, 5 May 2014

For whatever reason, my little hinclude JavaScript library is mildly popular. It’s just a bit of JS that you stick in a page to do declarative includes client-side; mostly, it was an experiment in doing composition a la ESI in the browser. However, Symfony picked it up, and since then, I’ve had a trickle of e-mails, issues and pull requests.

Trying out TLS for HTTP:// URLs

HTTP   Monday, 17 March 2014

The IETF now considers “pervasive monitoring” to be an attack. As Snowden points out, one of the more effective ways to combat it is to use encryption everywhere you can, and “opportunistic encryption” keeps on coming up as one way to help that.

Nine Things to Expect from HTTP/2

HTTP   Thursday, 30 January 2014

HTTP/2 is getting close to being real, with lots of discussions and more implementations popping up every week. What does a new version of the Web’s protocol mean for you? Here are some early answers:

Strengthening HTTP: A Personal View

HTTP Standards   Saturday, 4 January 2014

Recently, one of the hottest topics in the Internet protocol community has been whether the newest version of the Web’s protocol, HTTP/2, will require, encourage or indeed say anything about the use of encryption in response to the pervasive monitoring attacks revealed to the world by Edward Snowden.

Five Reasons to Considering Linking in Your HTTP APIs

HTTP APIs   Sunday, 23 June 2013

There’s been a lot of interest in and effort expended upon “hypermedia APIs” recently. However, I see a fair amount of resistance to it from developers and ops folks, because the pragmatic benefits aren’t often clear. This is as it should be, IMO; if you’re not able to describe concrete benefits without hand-waving about the “massive scale of the Web.”

A Few Thoughts about PRISM

Standards   Friday, 21 June 2013

The NSA PRISM story broke while I was on the road; last week I was in Tokyo for W3C meetings, moving to San Francisco for a HTTP meeting and Velocity.

Indicating Problems in HTTP APIs

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A common part of HTTP-based APIs is telling the client that something has gone wrong. Most APIs do this in some fashion, whether they call it a “Fault” (very SOAP-y), “Error” or whatever.

A Short Note

Sunday, 20 January 2013

In 2001, Charlie was born, and (understandably) we were freaking out a bit, having a new child and all. However, at about the same time, I met this really remarkable kid at the W3C, and I asked him what advice he could give me, from his perspective.

Exploring Header Compression in HTTP/2.0

HTTP   Friday, 4 January 2013

One of the major mechanisms proposed by SPDY for use in HTTP/2.0 is header compression. This is motivated by a number of things, but heavy in the mix is the combination of having more and more requests in a page, and the increasing use of mobile, where every packet is, well, precious. Compressing headers (separately from message bodies) both reduces the overhead of additional requests and of introducing new headers. To illustrate this, Patrick put together a synthetic test that showed that a set of 83 requests for assets on a page (very common these days) could be compressed down to just one round trip – a huge win (especially for mobile). You can also see the potential wins in the illustration that I used in my Velocity Europe talk.

"Why Don't You Just…"

HTTP   Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A proposal by John Graham-Cumming is currently doing the rounds:

HTTP Status: 101 Switching Protocols

HTTP   Friday, 7 December 2012

The HTTPbis Working Group met in Atlanta last month; here’s how things are going.

Evolving HTTP APIs

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 4 December 2012

One of the most vexing problems that still seems to be facing people when I talk to them about HTTP APIs is how to handle versioning and extensibility – i.e., how they evolve.

OPTIONS is Not the Method You're Looking For

HTTP HTTP APIs   Monday, 29 October 2012

Once in a while, people ask me whether they should use the OPTIONS HTTP method, and whether we should try to define formats for discovering resource capabilities with it.

Production Notes

Sunday, 28 October 2012

I’ve (finally) moved this server to another Rackspace cloud server; same (small) size, but with a fresh OS.

Caching POST

HTTP Caching   Monday, 24 September 2012

One of the changes in Apple’s release of iOS6 last week was a surprising new ability to cache POST responses.

Akamai, Again

Thursday, 13 September 2012

I’ve spent the last year working at Rackspace, and it’s been quite a ride. However, I joined there thinking that our work on HTTP was winding down.

Why PATCH is Good for Your HTTP API

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A common problem for APIs is partial update; when the client wants to change just one part of a resource’s state. For example, imagine that you’ve got a JSON representation of your widget resource that looks like:

HTTP in Vancouver

HTTP   Saturday, 4 August 2012

The HTTPBIS Working Group is in a transitional phase; we’re rapidly finishing our revision of the HTTP/1.1 specification and just getting steam up on our next target, HTTP/2.0.

Bad HTTP API Smells: Version Headers

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 11 July 2012

One thing I didn’t cover in my previous rant on HTTP API versioning is an anti-pattern that I’m seeing a disturbing number of APIs adopt; using a HTTP header to indicate the overall version of the API in use. Examples include CIMI, CDMI, GData and I’m sure many more.

HTTP API Complexity

HTTP APIs   Monday, 25 June 2012

@dret: if your scenario is homogeneous and models are harmonized across participants, #REST is of limited utility for you.


HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Erik Wilde - otherwise known as dret - has published an Internet-Draft for a “profile” link relation type:

User Personas for HTTP APIs

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 14 April 2012

When you’re designing HTTP APIs, you need to keep a lot of concerns in mind. Stealing a page from XP, let’s look at some possible personas and their user stories for HTTP-based APIs:

JSON or XML: Just Decide

XML   Friday, 13 April 2012

When people create HTTP APIs, one of the common decisions is about what format to use, usually revolving around “JSON or XML?”

What's Next for HTTP

HTTP   Saturday, 31 March 2012

We had two great meetings of the HTTPbis Working Group in Paris this week — one to start wrapping up our work on HTTP/1.1, and another to launch some exciting new work on HTTP/2.0.

Linking in JSON

HTTP APIs   Friday, 25 November 2011

To be a full-fledged format on the Web, you need to support links – something sorely missing in JSON, which many have noticed lately.

Web API Versioning Smackdown

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A lot of bits have been used over on the OpenStack list recently about versioning the HTTP APIs they provide.

Why ESI is Still Important, and How to Make it Better

HTTP Caching   Friday, 21 October 2011

More than ten years ago, I was working at Akamai and got involved in the specification of Edge Side Includes (ESI), sort of a templating language for intermediaries.

Thinking about Namespaces in JSON

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Since joining Rackspace to help out with OpenStack, one of the hot topics of conversation I’ve been involved in has been extensibility and versioning.

RFC6266 and Content-Disposition

HTTP   Friday, 2 September 2011

HTTPbis published RFC6266 a little while ago, but the work isn’t finished.

Better Browser Caching

HTTP Caching   Sunday, 28 August 2011

In discussing my whinge about AppCache offline with a few browser vendory folks, I ending up writing down my longstanding wishlist for making browser caches better. Without further ado, a bunch of blue-sky ideas;

And now for something completely different... again.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Today is my last day at Yahoo!, after five and a half years (yes, I got a gumball machine). It’s been a lot of fun and I wish all of the folks there that I’ve worked with over those years well; I’ve learned and done a lot, and Y! has given me a lot of room (both metaphorical as well as physical, given that for most of it, I’ve been more than 7,500 miles from my boss), which is much appreciated.

Distributed Hungarian Notation doesn't Work

HTTP Standards   Wednesday, 24 August 2011

It used to be that when you registered a media type, a URI scheme, a HTTP header or another protocol element on the Internet, it was an opaque string that was a unique identifier, nothing more.

HTTP Pipelining Today

HTTP   Friday, 5 August 2011

Last week, highlighted how mobile browsers use HTTP pipelining.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

FYI, I’ve implemented Content Security Policy on this site. If your’e a Mozilla user, please tell me if you have any problems.

What Proxies Must Do

HTTP   Monday, 11 July 2011

The explosion of HTTP implementations isn’t just in clients and servers. An oft-overlooked but important part of the Web ecosystem is the intermediary, often called just a “proxy”*.

Fixing AppCache

HTTP Caching   Sunday, 19 June 2011

HTML5’s AppCache mechanism is one confused little puppy. Purporting to be for taking web applications offline — a compelling and useful thing — it’s more often used by performance-hungry sites that want to use it as an online cache.

Linked Cache Invalidation

HTTP Caching   Friday, 27 May 2011

After designing and deploying Cache Channels, it quickly became apparent that one Web cache invalidation mechanism wasn’t able to cover the breadth of use cases.

On HTTP Load Testing

HTTP   Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A lot of people seem to be talking about and performing load tests on HTTP servers, perhaps because there’s a lot more choice of servers these days.

HTTP POST: IETF Prague Edition

HTTP   Monday, 4 April 2011

Your REST worries have ended.

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Now, you can test any URL to instantly determine if it’s RESTful.

htracr in Two Minutes

HTTP   Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I made a quick and dirty screencast to show off some of the newer features in htracr.

Last Call: Content-Disposition

HTTP   Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The IESG has received a request from the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Bis WG (httpbis) to consider the following document:

Digging Deeper with htracr

HTTP   Saturday, 27 November 2010

There’s a lot of current activity on the binding between HTTP and TCP; from pipelining to SPDY, the frontier of Web performance lives between these layers.

HTTP Roundup: What’s Up with the Web’s Protocol

HTTP   Friday, 1 October 2010

I’m going to try to start blogging more updates (kick me if I don’t!) about what’s happening in the world of HTTP.

Thou Shalt Use TLS?

HTTP   Friday, 23 July 2010

Since SPDY has surfaced, one of the oft-repeated topics has been its use of TLS; namely that the SPDY guys have said that they’ll require all traffic to go over it. Mike Belshe dives into all of the details in a new blog entry, but his summary is simple: “users want it.”

Падручнік па кэшаванню

HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Patricia Clausnitzer has kindly translated the Caching Tutorial to Belarusian. Thanks!

The Winter of Our Disconnect

Monday, 21 June 2010

A few weeks ago I was browsing through My Bookshop in Hawksburn, where on a whim I picked up The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart. As I write this, I’m at 30,000 feet, and have just finished one of the more enjoyable and informative reads I’ve had in a while.

Why Our New TV Doesn't Like the Web

HTTP Caching   Thursday, 3 June 2010

A while back we used an absurd amount of reward points from our credit card to get some Myer gift certificates, and on the weekend these miraculously turned into a new TV, the Sony 32EX600.

RFC5861: HTTP Stale Controls

HTTP Caching   Thursday, 6 May 2010

On a bit of a roll, RFC5861: HTTP Stale Controls has (finally) been published as an Informational RFC.

Thoughts on Archiving HTTP

HTTP   Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Steve Souders and others have been working for a while on HAR, a HTTP Archive format.

RFC 5785 - Well-Known URIs

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 7 April 2010

One of the nagging theoretical problems in the Web architecture has been finding so-called “site-wide metadata”; i.e., finding something out about a Web site before you access it. We wrestled with this in P3P way back when, and the TAG took it up after that.

Caching-Tutorial für Webautoren und Webmaster

HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Thomas Hühn has graciously translated the caching tutorial into German. Thanks!

Are Resource Packages a Good Idea?

HTTP   Thursday, 18 February 2010

Resource Packages is an interesting proposal from Mozilla folks for binding together bunches of related data (e.g., CSS files, JavaScript and images) and sending it in one HTTP response, rather than many, as browsers typically do.

WS-REST (heh, heh)

HTTP APIs   Friday, 15 January 2010

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the Call for Papers for the First International Workshop on RESTful Design (WS-REST 2010), where I’m on the program committee, along with many of the usual suspects.

HTTP + Politics = ?

Australia   Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Australia has apparently decided, through its elected leaders, to filter its own Internet connection.

Will HTTP/2.0 Happen After All?

HTTP   Friday, 13 November 2009

A couple of nights ago, I had a casual chat with Google’s Mike Belshe, who gave me a preview of how their “ Let’s make the Web faster” effort looks at HTTP itself.

Traffic Server

HTTP Caching   Friday, 30 October 2009

A long time ago*, the word in high-performance proxy-caching was Inktomi’s Traffic Server. It was so fast it was referred to being “carrier grade” and this could be said without people smirking, and it was deployed by the likes of AOL, when AOL was still how most people accessed the Internet.

Working with the US on Education

Australia   Monday, 19 October 2009

Dear Ms. Gillard,


Australia   Thursday, 13 August 2009

Although I’m a bit concerned to see so many references to “Web 2.0”, it’s very exciting to see Australia talking about opening up government.

RED gets a blog

HTTP   Sunday, 12 July 2009

Just FYI, for those interested: RED now has a blog detailing news and other developments. I’ll still post about it here occaisionally, but most RED-related things are going over there…

Come to the Stockholm IETF!

Standards   Friday, 3 July 2009

The Stockholm IETF meeting is shaping up to be an interesting one (and not just because it’s in such a beautiful city).

The Resource Expert Droid

HTTP Caching HTTP   Thursday, 25 June 2009

A (very) long time ago, I wrote the Cacheability Engine to help people figure out how a Web cache would treat their sites. It has a few bugs, but is generally useful for that purpose.


HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The caching tutorial is now available in Chinese, courtesy of Che Dong (and apologies for taking so long in linking to it!).

What to Look For in a HTTP Proxy/Cache

HTTP Caching   Friday, 12 June 2009

Part of my job is maintaining Yahoo!’s build of Squid and supporting its users, which use it to serve everything from the internal Web services that make sites go to serving Flickr’s images.

Opera Turbo

HTTP   Friday, 5 June 2009

HTTP performance is a hot topic these days, so it’s interesting that Opera has announced a “turbo” feature in Opera 10 Beta;

Most Revealing Google Wave Comment

Friday, 29 May 2009

Everybody’s atwitter (yeah, sue me) about the Google Wave developer preview. Lots of new stuff there, but for me the most revealing comment, almost a throwaway, was here:

Counting the ways that rev="canonical" hurts the Web

Internet and Web   Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I had a lovely holiday weekend in Canberra with the family, without Web access. Perhaps I’ll blog about that soon — Canberra being in my opinion one of the nicest overlooked cities in the world — but that will have to wait. Going offline for a few days always brings a certain dread of what one’s inbox will hold when you get back, and this one was no exception.

The FSF, IETF and Use Patents

Standards   Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Over the past few weeks the Free Software Foundation has had its knickers in a twist about TLS authentication — specifically, its patent encumbrance;

Caching When You Least Expect it

HTTP Caching   Tuesday, 24 February 2009

There’s a rule of thumb about when a HTTP response can be cached; the Caching Tutorial says:

Cobbler / children / shoes / etc.

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Rob Sayre points out that this blog still doesn’t show a preference for Atom, embarrassingly enough.

Stop it with the X- Already!

HTTP HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 18 February 2009

UPDATE: RFC6648 is now the official word on this topic.

Have a Drink (or hundred)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Now here’s a good meme for the New Year…

OAuth in Minneapolis

Friday, 21 November 2008

There are lots of new “Web 2.0” specs emerging — many beginning with “o” — that are both exciting and concerning.

Dev-Friendly Web Caching

HTTP Caching   Monday, 27 October 2008

Ryan Tomayko announces Rack::Cache, a HTTP cache for Ruby’s generic Web API;


HTTP APIs   Thursday, 16 October 2008

Metadata discovery is a nagging problem that’s been hanging around the Web for a while. There have been a few stabs at this problem (including at least one by yours truly), but no real progress.

The WS-Empire Strikes Back... feebly

Web Services   Friday, 4 July 2008

Here’s a gem on a little-used mailing list:

The Pitfalls of Debugging HTTP

HTTP   Thursday, 22 May 2008

Some folks at work were having problems debugging HTTP with LWP ’s command-line GET utility; it turned out that it was inserting Link headers — HTTP headers, mind you — for each HTML <link> element present.

Atom gets a new audience

Web Feeds   Thursday, 15 May 2008

Huh. The Atom Format RFC has been out for a while, and as one of the authors, I get the odd mail now and again asking a question or just saying “thanks.”

Moving the Goalposts: “Use” Patents and Standards

Standards   Wednesday, 2 April 2008

It’s become quite fashionable for large IT shops to give blanket Royalty-Free licenses for implementation of “core” technologies, such as XML, Web Services and Atom. I’ll refrain from linking to any of them, as the purpose of this post* is not to pick on any single one**.

Moving Beyond Methods in REST

HTTP APIs   Thursday, 20 March 2008

Having complained before about the sad state of HTTP APIs, I’m somewhat happy to say that people seem to be getting it, producing more capable server-side and client-side tools for exposing the full range of the protocol; some frameworks are even starting to align object models with resource models, where HTTP methods map to method calls on things with identity. Good stuff.


HTTP   Monday, 3 March 2008

Not many people that I know outside of IETF circles realise that a new *DAV effort has started up; CardDAV.


HTTP   Sunday, 17 February 2008

It’s 7am, I’m sitting in the Auckland Koru Club on my way home and reading the minor kerfuffle regarding PATCH with interest.

Location, Location, Location

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

I’m back in the Bay Area for work, and out of curiosity I thought I’d check in on the housing market here. After updating my super-secret source of housing sales, I tried something new; charting price paid for square foot by county.

Another Kind of HTTP Negotiation

HTTP   Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Here’s one that I’ve been wondering about for a while, for the LazyWeb (HTTP Geek Edition);

Watching WADL (and other rambling thoughts)

HTTP APIs   Monday, 21 January 2008

I’m following the discussion of RESTful Web description in general, and WADL in particular, with both difficulty and interest (see Patrick and Joe’s thoughts for a nice contrast).

Cache Channels

HTTP Caching   Friday, 4 January 2008

The stale-while-revalidate and stale-if-error extensions aren’t the only fiddling we’ve been doing with the HTTP caching model. Now that Squid 2.7 is starting to see daylight, I can explain about a much more ambitious project — Cache Channels.

Two HTTP Caching Extensions

HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 12 December 2007

We use caching extensively inside Yahoo! to improve scalability, latency and availability for back-end HTTP services, as I’ve discussed before.

Why Revise HTTP?

HTTP   Sunday, 9 December 2007

I haven’t talked about it here much, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last year and a half working with people in the IETF to get RFC2616 — the HTTP specification — revised.

WADL Documentation XSLT Updated

HTTP APIs   Friday, 2 November 2007

I’ve updated the WADL documentation stylesheet, primarily to:


Web Feeds   Saturday, 8 September 2007

Feed Paging and Archiving (nee Feed History) has finally made it to a standards-track RFC.

ETags, ETags, ETags

HTTP Caching HTTP HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 7 August 2007

I’ve been hoping to avoid this, but ETags seem to be popping up more and more often recently. For whatever reason, people latch onto them as a litmus test for RESTfulness, as the defining factor of HTTP’s caching model, and much more.

URI Templates Redux

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 28 July 2007

URI Templates -01 is now an Internet-Draft.

Vic Schools Mashup

Australia   Saturday, 30 June 2007

For the somewhat limited audience of parents looking at neighbourhoods and schools in Victoria, Australia, I present the Victorian Schools / Google Maps Mashup. Note that there are two pages; one for secondary schools, one for primaries.

The State of Proxy Caching

HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 20 June 2007

A while back I wrote up the state of browser caching, after writing a quick-and-dirty XHR-based test page, with the idea that if people know how their content is handled by common implementations, they’d be able to trust caches a bit more.

Safari 3: Protecting Client-Side State

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

It’s a little thing, but I’m very pleased to see that Safari 3 will check with you before you discard a page where you’ve entered data on a form.

Expires vs. max-age

HTTP Caching   Tuesday, 15 May 2007

I occasionally get a question from readers of the caching tutorial about whether to use the Expires header or Cache-Control: max-age to control a response’s freshness lifetime.

Intelligent Design, Eames-Style

Thursday, 10 May 2007

For a while, I’ve had the fairly well-known Charles Eames quote “Design depends largely on constraints” as the tagline on my blog (if you read this in a feed aggregator, you’ll have to go to one of the HTML pages to see it).

Australia != America

Australia   Monday, 7 May 2007

We were… refreshingly reminded that we’re not in Kansas (or even California) any more while watching The Daily Show on TV tonight, and this commercial came on;

httperf rev

HTTP   Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Martin Arlitt makes an exciting announcement;

Squid is My Service Bus

HTTP Caching HTTP APIs   Sunday, 29 April 2007

The QCon presentation ( slides) was ostensibly about how we use HTTP for services within Yahoo’s Media Group. When I started thinking about the talk, however, I quickly concluded that everyone’s heard enough about the high-level benefits of HTTP and not nearly enough details of what it does on the ground. So, I decided to concentrate on one aspect of the value that we get from using HTTP for services; intermediation, as an example.

Around the World in 24 Days

Sunday, 22 April 2007

I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been on the road, a lot. Although I got back a while back, I’m just now catching up.

WWW2007 Developers’ Track

Thursday, 5 April 2007

We’ve announced the program for this years’ Developers’ Track, and I’m very excited about the lineup.

REST Issues, Real and Imagined

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 27 February 2007

I think that most of the debate about REST focuses on the wrong things, leading developers down the garden path at the expense of their productivity and the success of their projects. Time and time again, I’ve seen folks who are new to REST get caught up on small stuff like this;

Things to Remember when Moving Country

Australia   Monday, 12 February 2007

It’s always more expensive than you plan.


HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Yahoo! (finally!) released Pipes as a beta today; congrats to the very talented team that put this together.

Developers, Developers, Developers

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

A reminder: proposals for the Developers’ Track at WWW2007 should be in by February 16th.

Week Two in Victoria

Australia   Wednesday, 3 January 2007

I say “Victoria,” not Melbourne, because we’re currently staying in Forest Hill, courtesy of Roger and Marg, who are on holiday.

Connectivity in .au - Help!

Australia   Wednesday, 3 January 2007

So, no that we have a place to live, there are a few choices;

Week One in Melbourne

Australia   Sunday, 24 December 2006

It’s Christmas Eve, and Charlie and I have been on the ground in Melbourne for a week. So far, we’ve got a new mobile phone (sweet), checked in with his school, and looked at a lot of apartments, trying to find somewhere to live for a few months while we house-hunt. Not quite as fast as I’d like, but not too shabby. Meanwhile, most of our possessions are about two months behind us, somewhere between San Francisco and Singapore.

SOA Jumps Shark

Web Services   Monday, 4 December 2006

Uche calls it;

Schema for JSON

HTTP APIs   Thursday, 30 November 2006

One of the perceived deficiencies of JSON is that it doesn’t have a schema language. I say “perceived” because the problems that a schema language brings often outweigh the benefits; after all, look at the mess that XML Schema is in.

Seven Year Itch

Australia   Wednesday, 15 November 2006

In a nutshell: After a lot of angst, back-and-forth, and false starts, we’re moving back to Melbourne next month, seven years and a few days after we arrived in San Francisco. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows us well, although many of our Australian friends have expressed that they won’t really believe it until we step off the plane.

Friday Fun: I Hate Cookies

HTTP   Friday, 27 October 2006

There are plenty of reasons to hate HTTP Cookies, but there’s one thing that especially annoys me; their syntax.

Thoughts on Declarative Ajax

HTTP   Thursday, 19 October 2006

Dave Johnson writes up a nice summary of the issues of adding new elements to HTML for declarative Ajax, something that I ran into when doing HInclude.

Wanted: HTTP Yahoo!s

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 17 October 2006

My team at Yahoo! is looking for a mid-level developer (5-10 years experience) to help build our HTTP/REST toolkit, among other things.

The Flipperdex

Monday, 16 October 2006

I’ve been playing with sales data for houses in the Bay area for a while, and have always wanted to come up with an index of same-home sales — reputed to be one of the more accurate ways to do an index, because you’re not having to compensate for differences in intrinsic value between different houses.

Does the Enterprise (Vendor) Get the Web?

Web Services   Friday, 13 October 2006

A couple of interesting things have happened recently; first, Jonathan Marsh has a new job;

URI Templating, the Spec

Internet and Web   Wednesday, 4 October 2006

As mentioned a while back, there are a variety of places where it would be useful to be able to describe the structure of a URI, rather than just convey a URI itself. I took a stab at this in the Link Header draft, and have also been working in the background with DeWitt Clinton, Joe Gregorio, Marc Hadley, Dave Orchard, and James Snell on a more general specification, URI Templates, the first draft of which we (finally!) got published today.

More JavaScript Updates

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Hot on the heels of the last batch, Stefan pointed me to Jesse Skinner’s addDOMLoadEvent, which seems to avoid the problems I found earlier (you know you’re in for some debugging when you’re cutting-and-pasting code from blog comments!).

Javascript Updates

Thursday, 28 September 2006

I’ve updated the url_template.js and json_form.js libraries to fix some bugs, to make the demo I gave at XTech run more smoothly. It should work well on Safari, Mozilla and IE6 (despite some glitches at a showing inside Y! the other day; the demo gods were not smiling). It does not work in Opera; it seems like the more I use XHR in that browser, the more bugs I find. I’m thinking of updating the XHR tests to catch more of them, but it’s a fair amount of work.

Surfing the Barcoded Web

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Apple’s shipping an iSight camera in just about everything these days, and one of the coolest apps to use it is Delicious Library. If you follow that to its logical conclusion, everything should be barcode-enabled, by Web-enabling it.

Some Questions for Software Vendors

Standards Web Services   Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Everyone seems to be gushing about Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise. While any headway is good in the horrible landscape that is Intellectual Property, my initial reaction is that it — like most such vendor promises — is too little, too late.

This Site Powered By...

Sunday, 3 September 2006

A while back, I mentioned that I was considering changing my hosting setup. In the end, I decided to outsource, for a few reasons;

Caching Performance Notes

HTTP Caching   Monday, 21 August 2006

There have been some interesting developments in Web caching lately, from a performance perspective; event loops are becoming mainstream, and there are lots of new contenders on the scene.

Un tutoriel de la mise en cache

HTTP Caching   Friday, 18 August 2006

Many thanks to J.J. Solari for translating the Caching Tutorial to French!

Putting the Web back in Web 2.0

HTTP   Monday, 14 August 2006

Timbl has this great term “ Webizing” that he uses to talk about giving existing systems the benefits of the Web architecture. Despite the first part of “Web 2.0”, I think AJAX is in severe need of some serious Webizing.

On Patents, Briefly

Monday, 10 July 2006

This would be funny, if this wasn’t so scary.

Friday Fun: Percent Encoding

Friday, 30 June 2006

If you boil down the BNF in both RFC2396 and RFC3986, path segments can contain the following characters without percent-encoding them:

Welcome, Hugo!

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Hugo has finally blogged the big news. He’s left one of the coolest jobs in the world — working for the W3C — to come to another one of ‘em, working for Yahoo. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with him; there’s lots to do!

Bringing Back the Link - With a Twist

HTTP APIs   Thursday, 22 June 2006

Recently, there’s been a resurgence for the Link element in HTML; everything from Microformats to Atom autodiscovery is using it. This isn’t surprising; as machines start processing Web documents more, it’s necessary to use hyperlinks — the foundation of the Web — to tie resources together, without getting in users’ faces.

Microsoft's RESTful Robots

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 20 June 2006

A friend (who shall remain anonymous) pointed me to Microsoft’s announcement today regarding their foray into robotics, of all things. My eyes glazed over until they rested upon the Microsoft Robotics Application Model;

Friday Fun: Feed Authentication with Cookies

Web Feeds   Friday, 9 June 2006

See if your aggregator can subscribe to this feed (username/password: test/test) and post the results in comments.

Web Services are Dead, Long Live Web Services

Web Services   Thursday, 25 May 2006

When I joined Yahoo, one of the biggest adjustments I had to make was to their use of “Web Services”. There, that phrase means any kind of machine-to-machine communication using HTTP; SOAP isn’t assumed (or preferred).

Caching Web 2.0

HTTP Caching   Tuesday, 16 May 2006

I just finished my XTech presentation, “ Web 2.0 on Speed”. here are the slides [pdf]; I’m going to try to s5 them soon. There isn’t much new in this talk; it’s just a synthesis of a few different observations;

Yaron Uncloaks!

Web Services   Thursday, 11 May 2006

Yaron publicly says what he’s doing at Microsoft (scroll down);

The State of Browser Caching

HTTP Caching   Thursday, 11 May 2006

Updated 2006-06-03


Web Services   Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Anne-Thomas Manes extolls the virtues of WS-*;


HTTP Caching   Sunday, 23 April 2006

It’s official; I’ve got a last-minute slot at XTech, talking about all things Web caching.

Housing Derivatives

Sunday, 23 April 2006

The Economist gives a heads-up [subscription required] about the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s plans for housing derivatives;

DOM vs. Web

HTTP   Thursday, 20 April 2006

Back at the W3C Technical Plenary, I argued that Working Groups need to concentrate on making more Web-friendly specifications. Here’s an example of one such lapse causing security problems on today’s Web.

Three Months at Yahoo!

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

I’m quickly coming up on three months as a Yahoo, and a bunch of people have been asking me how things are going, as well as what I’m doing.

Another WS-*

Web Services   Friday, 14 April 2006

A friend in the trenches put me on to the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Viva Italia!

Thursday, 13 April 2006

According to ABC Online (that’s Australian Broadcasting Corporation to the Americans out there):

Bug Syncronicity

HTTP   Thursday, 13 April 2006

I’ve had a lyric running through my head for the last day or so, thanks to a couple of bugs.

Looking for a Big House? Wait!

Sunday, 9 April 2006

Most discussion you see about the housing market these days tends to focus on a) whether there’s a bubble (reliable sources say yes, at least in many places) and b) when and how it will pop (it already is, and agonisingly slowly).

Are Namespaces (and mU) Necessary?

HTTP APIs Web Services XML   Friday, 7 April 2006

It’s become axiomatic in some circles — especially in WS-* land, as well as in many other uses of XML — that the preferred (or only) means of offering extensibility is through URI-based namespaces, along with a flag to tell consumers when an extension needs to be understood (a.k.a. mustUnderstand).

What good is SOAP to HTTP?

Web Services   Thursday, 6 April 2006

I’m a little confused by Mark Baker’s stance regarding SOAP; he seems to encourage the Web services world to use SOAP on top of HTTP in a fashion compatible with HTTP.

Workers of the World, Untie

Australia   Sunday, 26 March 2006

A few snippets from the day;

Don’s False Choice

Web Services   Monday, 20 March 2006

True to form, Don’s using his witty charm and good looks (such as they are ;) to shape discussion of a topic… in this case, REST, where he splits the RESTifarian world into two; “hi” and “lo.”

Web Authentication

HTTP   Thursday, 16 March 2006

There’s some excitement out there about “ Cookie-less HTTP Authentication.”

WS-Transfer, WAKA and the Web

HTTP HTTP APIs Web Services   Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Microsoft and friends (of the keep your enemy closer variety, I suspect) have submitted WS-Transfer to the W3C. I found the Team comment interesting; e.g.,

Feed History Redux

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Over the weekend, I submitted a new draft of Feed History.

Invalidating Caches with POST

HTTP Caching   Saturday, 18 February 2006

Have you ever posted a comment to a blog, found it missing, so you re-posted it, only to find two entries? Annoying, huh?


Wednesday, 15 February 2006

So, a few weeks ago, I was sitting in the Galleria with Pete and Brian, having a coffee and talking about work. When, up comes two women with clipboards, asking us to take a survey. We’re bored, and want distraction, so why not?


Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Interesting; there are not one but two sessions at the upcoming ETech about taking Web applications offline.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Friday, 27 January 2006

For the past three and a half years, I’ve learned a lot, had a tremendous amount of fun, and made some really good friends working at BEA Systems in the Office of the CTO. I’ve also enjoyed working with the great people at WS-I and in the W3C’s Web Services Working Groups (particularly, the folks in Web Services Addressing).

Little Orange “feed” Buttons

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 25 January 2006

About two years ago, I got a little grouchy about those little orange XML buttons, and exhorted people to label them properly with RSS.

How Web-Ready is XMLHttpRequest?

HTTP   Monday, 23 January 2006

I’ve been playing around with some ideas that use XMLHttpRequest recently, but I keep on bumping up against implementation inconsistencies on IE vs. Safari vs. Opera vs. Mozilla. Although the interface exposed is pretty much the same, what it does in the background is very different, especially with regards to HTTP.

Para publicadores de conteúdos e Webmasters

Web Feeds   Friday, 13 January 2006

The RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters has been translated to Brazilian Portuguese, thanks to the efforts of Maurício Samy Silva.

Safari and Content Sniffing

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

It took two years, but Apple has finally taken steps to limit Safari’s content-sniffing ways;

Making headway on OPTIONS

HTTP   Monday, 9 January 2006

On the heels of mod_cgi, PHP now does the right thing (at least in 5.1) when setting the Allow header. mod_dav is still broken, though.

Colour Management in OSX

Sunday, 8 January 2006

After hearing about how I lusted after Bob’s D100 in Japan last November, Anitra kindly splurged on a Nikon D50 for my birthday, and I was re-introduced to serious photography.

2005 in Feeds

Web Feeds   Monday, 26 December 2005

Another year has gone by, and rather than cataloguing music, movies or books that I liked, here are some feeds on the Web that I enjoyed reading throughout the year. I’ll avoid repeating the obvious news, technical and blogroll feeds.

RFC 4229: HTTP Header Field Registrations

HTTP   Saturday, 24 December 2005

The useful end of RFC 3864 (at least regarding HTTP) is finally* here. When you need to know where a particular header is defined there’s now one place to do it; IANA’s Message header registry and repository have been filled with HTTP-related headers by RFC 4229.

How to Throw a Holiday Party

Thursday, 22 December 2005

One thing I detest about many technology companies is their tendency to treat employees like overgrown 15-year-olds with no social skills. This was most evident at Java One’s “Social Event” as previously discussed, but you also tend to see it in Silicon Valley holiday* parties.

Choosing a School in a Global Marketplace

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Every parent should take a flip through the OECD’s Education at a Glance*, their annual look at the state of learning in most industrialised countries.

Where have the Professional Journalists Gone?

Australia   Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Like a blogger trying to pump up their buzz, the New York Times declares;

The End Is Nigh?

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Bloomberg calls it;

RFC 4287: The Atom Syndication Format

Web Feeds   Monday, 5 December 2005

Atom has finally realised its most important advantage over the various flavours of RSS — it’s a Standards-Track RFC.

Leveraging the Web: Caching

HTTP Caching   Saturday, 26 November 2005

The first in an occasional series about the real-world benefits of REST and the Web architecture, as applied to HTTP.

It's Official: Blogs are Everywhere

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

One of the oldest continuously-run enterprises in the world (and a former employer of my wife), Oxford University Press, first publisher of the King James Bible, namesake of a punctuation mark, now has a weblog.


Friday, 18 November 2005

Just got an e-mail from Progressive, who want people to sign up for Tripsense;

REST vs..?

HTTP APIs Web Services   Monday, 7 November 2005

More and more people are getting turned on to the advantages of using REST as a higher-level abstraction for networked applications, often comparing it favourably to SOAP and Web services.


Sunday, 30 October 2005

Stumbled across this, from Ian Bicking;

Calendar <-> Feed?

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Does anybody know of a program or service that will look at a calendar file (e.g., vCalendar, iCalendar, hCalendar) and publish the entries on it as an RSS feed, where each entry in the feed has a link to that one calendar entry?

Emulating W3C ,tools with mod_rewrite

Sunday, 23 October 2005

I don’t know if this has already been done (it’s not exactly rocket science), but for the benefit of those who want to emulate the W3C’s cool ,tools functions with mod_rewrite;

Why Just GET and POST?

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 22 October 2005

Why is it that Web browsers — Amaya excluded — don’t support PUT and DELETE? After all, if there are enough VCs foolish enough to part with their money for something like Flock, surely we could at least support all of HTTP’s methods.

OPTIONS Getting Better

HTTP   Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Roy Fielding has just closed a bug that’s been around since 1996, and which I’ve previously lamented here;

XSLT for the Rest of the Web

XML   Tuesday, 18 October 2005

I’ve raved before about how useful the XSLT document() function is, once you get used to it. However, the stars have to be aligned just so to use it; the Web site can’t use cookies for anything important, and the content you’re interested in has to be available in well-formed XML.


Wednesday, 5 October 2005

Does anybody else chortle quietly when they see “2.0-this” and “2.0-that”?

Bennet Murray Nottingham

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

…has entered the building.

Feed History -04

Web Feeds   Monday, 5 September 2005

Feed History draft -04 is out, with the only major change being the replacement of fh:stateful with fh:incremental, with corresponding changes throughout the document, to make the concepts a bit clearer.

RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters

Web Feeds   Thursday, 1 September 2005

I took a pass at a revision of the RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters on the train this morning, as I realised it was dreadfully out of date. 0.8

Semantic Web   Monday, 29 August 2005

I’m happy to announce that version 0.8 of sparta, a simple API for RDF, is now available. As always, feedback and suggestions are appreciated.

Wanted: Blogging Fund Manager

Thursday, 25 August 2005

Does anybody know of a mutual fund manager who also has a blog? I’d be interested if someone in the financial industry had such a rich channel to their customers (and potential customers).

Bubble Fun

Thursday, 25 August 2005

It seems that the debate has switched from if there’s a housing bubble to when and where it will pop.

Putting History in Your Feed

Web Feeds   Monday, 15 August 2005

I’ve had a few e-mails asking how I got this site’s RSS feed to include its history, so here are the instructions for doing it in Moveable Type (the software that I use to manage this site). If you have instructions for other feed-generating software, please either leave them in comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Feed History -03

Web Feeds   Monday, 15 August 2005

Draft -03 of Feed History: Enabling Stateful Syndication is now available. Significant changes include:

Advertise on the BBC!

Monday, 15 August 2005

Is it just me, or is this a thinly-veiled press release?

Adding Semantics to Excel with Microformats and GRDDL

Semantic Web   Saturday, 13 August 2005

When I worked in the financial industry, I quickly noticed that Excel spreadsheets contain the bulk of the data in the enterprise. It may make IT execs tear their hair out, but having the data nearby and ready for analysis is sloppy, but oh-so-effective. The challenge is to make the data reusable elsewhere.

Separating the Data Model from its Serialisation

XML   Wednesday, 10 August 2005

For some time, I’ve noticed that people defining XML formats spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the structure of the format. This is especially apparent in standards working groups, where hours — no, days — can be spent agonizing over whether to make something an attribute or an element.

HTTP Performance (again)

Web Services   Monday, 8 August 2005

Some folks at IONA have written a paper entitled Where HTTP Fails SOAP. I had a chance to look at this before I got it published, and their conclusions make a lot of sense — if you accept the premise that SOAP (and Web services) is about integration with existing applications.

Who Do We Work For?

Saturday, 23 July 2005

The FT Global 500 is pretty much what you see when you look up “capitalistic orgy” in the dictionary. It’s a compilation of the largest 500 mega-corporations in the world, as measured by the market.

Transformational Standards

Standards   Friday, 22 July 2005

Don Box (whose blog doesn’t seem to be taking comments any more, so I’ll do it over here) points out some very cool technology he’s using, Microsoft’s Office Communicator. Sounds very slick, I’m jealous (with my old tech phone line and last year’s GSM mobile)!

John Kerry, Spammer

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Both my wife and I signed up to’s mailing list during the last federal election cycle.

Core Image Fun House

Monday, 18 July 2005

Am I just behind, or is Core Image Fun House the coolest thing ever?

Making Syndication Enterprise-Grade

Web Feeds   Saturday, 16 July 2005

After more than five years, syndication is maturing rapidly. It’s being used for more than blogging — whether it be stock quotes, system logs, or order lists — and even blogging will change in nature as it gets more popular; people will be using blogs to fundamentally change the way they do business, inside and outside the firewall.

Don’t use the ‘feed’ URI Scheme

Web Feeds   Friday, 15 July 2005

It’s been covered before elsewhere, but just a friendly reminder: ‘feed’ URIs are bad for the Web, as are any that are used solely for dispatch (e.g., ‘itms’, ‘ pcast’).

Naked & Angry

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Talk about ground-breaking online business models! Naked & Angry lets you submit your own patterns that people will vote on for seven days; the winners will get $500 and free product, and the winning designs will be made into limited-run numbered neckties (and, apparently, other silk things too) that are for sale on the same site.

Never Mind the Corporate Blogs; Here’s the Wiki

Saturday, 9 July 2005

While a lot of companies are exploring blogs as a means of building communities, Intuit* (makers of Quicken, TurboTax, etc.) has skipped directly to the next logical step; using Wikis.

One Description to Bind them All? Nah.

HTTP APIs Web Services   Friday, 8 July 2005

You can describe just about anything with sufficient precision in plain English, given enough words. In practice, this doesn’t happen; specialised fields — whether science, finance or art — develop specialised jargon as a shorthand for concepts that are well-understood in that field. It gives greater precision, easier flow of ideas, and yes, it raises the bar to entry for newcomers.

(Statistical) Information Wants to Be Free

Australia Semantic Web   Friday, 1 July 2005

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that as of today, their online publications and tables are now free to download, instead of requiring an account and a per-download charge, as before.


Thursday, 30 June 2005

So, this week was my first JavaOne. It felt like most other industry conferences; an exhibition floor, free lunches, good technical sessions, and so forth.

Perspectives on the Addressing Experiment

Web Services   Monday, 27 June 2005

I don’t talk much about it here, but I’m honoured to be the Chair of the W3C Web Services Addressing Working Group. This is something of an experiment for the W3C, so I gave an update on its progress as part of a panel discussion at the Advisory Committee meeting a few weeks ago. I’d like to share some of what I presented there.

Another, More Disturbing Reason Not to Buy a House

Thursday, 23 June 2005

As you might guess, I’m not too keen on buying a house at the moment, due to what I (and others) perceive to be a bubble in prices.

Bubble News Roundup

Monday, 20 June 2005

This week the Economist continues casting doubt upon the notion that housing prices will continue going up, up, up:

Getting Rid of QNames in Content

XML   Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Or, What’s Wrong with XInclude?

Web Description at the W3C

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 24 May 2005

The W3C has just started a mailing list for discussion of Web description formats;

Prefetching (again)

HTTP Caching   Sunday, 22 May 2005

There’s been quite a kerfuffle over Google’s Web Accelerator, because it prefetches Web content.


Sunday, 22 May 2005

After hearing a review on NPR and reading the Economist’s, I was (as was once said) with child to read Freakonomics. After finding myself in a queue of 411 other people putting it on hold in the Peninsula Library System, I broke and bought it.

XML Base: Evil?

XML   Saturday, 21 May 2005

If you accept that QNames in content are evil, the next logical question is whether XML Base is any better. In fact, if you turn your head a certain way, it appears that there’s very little difference between a default namespace and XML Base.

WADLing towards Web Description

HTTP APIs   Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Marc Hadley has released WADL in the wild, and I’m intrigued; based on a first look, I’d say it’s the most promising Web (as opposed to Web Services) description language yet.

OxygenXML, Now with Visual Schema Editing

XML   Tuesday, 17 May 2005

OxygenXML 6.0 is out, and it sucks even less. The biggest news is — finally! — a visual Schema editor. This may be the biggest threat yet to Gudge’s job security, as Human Schema Editor. :)

Effects of Australian Tax Cuts

Australia   Sunday, 15 May 2005

Last week, the Australian government announced a new budget. It included a number of tax cuts that were even more ambitious than expected.

Google's Cache-Control Extensions

HTTP Caching   Thursday, 12 May 2005

I happened to look at the HTTP headers returned from Google News just now (what can I say, I’m a HTTP geek), and I noticed something unusual;

Notes on Generational Accounting

Australia   Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Social Security represents a pact between generations—a financial and social commitment among people of all ages. — US Social Security Administration

Greasemonkey and the Web

Monday, 9 May 2005

There’s a lot of cool apps emerging for GreaseMonkey (and GreaseMonkIE and PithHelmet, for IE and Safari respectively). It seems like these extensions have a love/hate relationship with the Web, philosophically.

Arguments for Buying a House Now

Sunday, 1 May 2005

In the interest of equal time, two quotes attributed to Keynes;

Questions Leading to a Web Description Format

HTTP APIs   Friday, 29 April 2005

A while back, I published a series of entries ( 1, 2, 3, 4) about would-be Web Description Formats, with the intent of figuring out which (if any) is suitable, or whether a new one is required.

Data Modeling and Abstraction

Semantic Web XML   Friday, 29 April 2005

Today’s release of Tiger includes a new but little-discussed framework for developers, CoreData. What’s most interesting to me is its similarities — and differences — to SDO, IBM and BEA’s* effort to abstract away the specifics of how data is stored.

Syntax for Distributed Computing

XML   Sunday, 24 April 2005

XML is arguably one of the bigger things to come onto industry’s radar for a while, and as a result programming languages (e.g., ECMAScript, Comega, Java) are changing to accommodate it. This isn’t just happening in libraries; the syntax of the languages is changing.

Personalised RSS and Cookie Sharing

Web Feeds   Sunday, 24 April 2005

Should cookies be shared between your RSS aggregator and your Web browser? If they were, sites would be able to automatically personalise the feeds you subscribe to; would people be interested in that, or see it as an intrusion in their privacy?

Try This RSS Experiment

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Way back when I put the first Atom drafts together, I included a placeholder for a section that I hoped would allow reconstruction of feed state. Presently, this often isn’t necessary, because you have to be away for a seriously long time (e.g, on vacation) before you actually miss anything. However, I’d put forth that this state of grace is going to be increasingly unlikely.

Tempest in a Teacup, Counterclockwise*

Australia   Sunday, 10 April 2005

Those who have been preoccupied by Two Funerals and a Wedding may have missed news of a developing diplomatic crisis in Australia.

Coffee, Tea, or Shove that Phone Right Up Your…?

Sunday, 10 April 2005

As if flying wasn’t enough of a trial already, you may have heard that the FCC is considering lifting their ban on mobile phone use in airplanes. While the FAA may still restrict their use, this is just one barrier less to having a person yammering away for hours on end, one foot away from your ear.


HTTP   Sunday, 3 April 2005

Web metadata discovery is not a new topic, and one on which the final word has not been spoken. However, one of the most basic means of discovering something about a resource, the HTTP OPTIONS method, is not widely enabled by current implementations.

Can Somebody Explain to Me...

Semantic Web XML   Friday, 1 April 2005

RDF has a simple, usable, universal model; everything’s nodes and arcs, so it avoids the problems of the Infoset, which IMO are brought by its complexity and special cases. Years of disquiet about attributes by portions of the XML cognoscenti support this view unintentionally, I think.

Memory, Sweet Memory...

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

Just added a 512M module to the Powerbook for a total of 1G (was 768M), for a pittance — $79! — courtesy of Amazon.

Site Updates

Friday, 25 March 2005

After a deeply wounding comment about this site’s design from SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHO THEY ARE last week, I’ve refreshed the stylesheets and front page design.


HTTP APIs   Monday, 21 March 2005

A while back, I wrote up a description of a pattern for avoiding messages like “ click submit only once.” I didn’t do much after that, because I’ve been a bit busy, and because I wanted to do some implementation of a more general HTTP framework before I wrote a more formal document. 0.7

Semantic Web   Thursday, 17 March 2005

I’m happy to announce that version 0.7 of, a simple API for RDF, is now available. As always, feedback and suggestions are appreciated.

Travel Warning

Thursday, 17 March 2005

I personally like Airbus planes, especially the A340, but Risks Digest has given me a reason to avoid some of them;

More notes on the Bay area housing market

Saturday, 5 March 2005

Carlos sent me an interesting summary page about the Bay area housing bubble. I wish there were more links substantiating the assertions there (a few ring false), but it is thought-provoking.

Using XML in Data-Oriented Applications

XML   Wednesday, 2 March 2005

So, you’ve got some data that you need to give to somebody else, and you want to use XML to do it; good for you, you’ve seen the light / hopped on the bandwagon / drunk the Kool-Aid.


XML   Tuesday, 22 February 2005

I love the XSLT document function. With it, you can access the whole Web from a stylesheet; this gives a lot of flexibility, in the right situation.

The Map is Not the Territory

HTTP APIs Web Services   Monday, 7 February 2005

Werner makes an excellent point;

Who’ll Clean Up?

Saturday, 5 February 2005

Listening to people talk about the economy — and the housing bubble in particular — makes me wonder; what happens after it bursts?


XML   Monday, 24 January 2005

I’m intrigued by the JSON effort. While many people (and vendors) have chosen XML for data interchange because it’s not platform- or vendor-specific, these folks have chosen the other path; by leveraging the serialisation of data structures in ECMAScript (nee JavaScript) — a nearly ubiquitous language, on every desktop that has a browser — they get an automatic installed base and at least one API for free.

WS-Who's on First?

Web Services   Sunday, 23 January 2005

There are MEPs in SOAP and MEPs in WSDL; both describe patterns of messages, but at potentially different layers.

On How Google Fixed Comment Spam

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

More than a year after my modest suggestion, Google takes a step to fix comment spam. Hopefully, other people who re-publish Web content (like mailing list archives) will start doing this as well.


Australia Web Services   Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Since the W3C Web Services Addressing Working Group is visiting my (sort of) home town in a couple of weeks, I’ve updated the Opinionated Guide to Melbourne that I sometimes give to people by e-mail and put it on the Web.

Tufte would be Proud

Australia   Friday, 17 December 2004

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a very cool SVG-based animated population pyramid ( non-SVG preview) that very nicely visualises the change in that country’s population over time. While the pyramid technique is fairly common, the addition of a fourth dimension — time — and the ability to track a cohort through it really brings the data to life. Try the “highlight surplus of males or females” feature to see when you’ve got the least competition.


Wednesday, 15 December 2004

I’m thinking about whether it would be a good idea to have a media type for Python source files, call it “text/python.” 0.6: RDF (and RSS!) Made Easy

Semantic Web   Monday, 6 December 2004

Version 0.6 of is now available. Changes include:

Shop ‘til you Drop

Friday, 26 November 2004

Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a public reputation for being bearish. But you should hear what he’s saying in private. Roach met select groups of fund managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity. His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic “armageddon.” Press were not allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has obtained a copy of Roach’s presentation. A stunned source who was at one meeting said, “it struck me how extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public.” — The Boston Herald

What's Going on at Amazon?

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

I tend to use shopping carts at online stores as to-buy lists; if I’m interested in something, I’ll hold it there and muse on it for a while. This lets me build up an order over time and get it shipped in one go; I won’t buy everything at once, but eventually, everything gets bought.


Australia   Friday, 5 November 2004

For some reason, people are considering a change, such as this one. Might I make another suggestion [pdf].

Partisan Hackery

Saturday, 16 October 2004

I’m not the first to blog this by any means, but it’s notable enough to interrupt our regular… err… broadcast. Stop what you’re doing and see John Stewart take on Crossfire. A taste;

Why POST is Special

Web Services HTTP APIs   Sunday, 10 October 2004

In a recent post, Don gave his take on the enlightening nature of WS-Transfer:

Is there a Web Services Architecture?

Web Services   Wednesday, 29 September 2004

As I’m sure many others were, I was intrigued to see that Microsoft published their idea of an Introduction to the Web Services Architecture and Its Specifications the other week.

The ‘Web’ in Web Services

Web Services   Monday, 27 September 2004

I was very interested to see the reaction to WS-Transfer [PDF] over the last few days. While the SOAP Resource Representation Header had opprobrium heaped upon it (see previous discussion), Transfer passed by with nothing more than a few nodding heads and people saying “aha.”


Australia   Sunday, 19 September 2004

If you’re wondering where the promised travel stories from Melbourne got to, you’ll have to wait a bit longer; other events overtook me.

And now for something completely different: Roadblog!

Australia   Wednesday, 8 September 2004

I’m typing this from the Red Carpet Club in San Francisco International Airport, about to depart on a snap vacation to Melbourne.

HTTP Header Registries

HTTP   Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Ever wonder where the heck a particular HTTP header is defined?

Saving the Village with Wal-Mart

Monday, 6 September 2004

In BusinessWeek, Chris Kenton brings us a thoughtful piece about the Faustian bargains that localities are making in the name of progress;

Innocent Fraud

Thursday, 2 September 2004

…I have learned that to be right and useful, one must accept a continuing divergence between approved belief — what I have elsewhere called conventional wisdom — and the reality. And in the end, not surprisingly, it is the reality that counts.

HTTP Authentication and Forms

HTTP   Thursday, 26 August 2004

It’s no secret that HTTP authentication isn’t used as often as it should be. When I talk to Web developers, there are usually a few reasons for their use of cookies for authentication;

“It seems that the housing party is over”

Wednesday, 25 August 2004

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article, “Hot Housing Market Simmers Down.” I can’t reference it directly because I’m not a subscriber, but it basically notes that, according to the Association of Realtors, existing single-family home sales declined 2.9% in July, while in California the housing inventory has increased to 3.3 months, surpassing three months for the first time since February 2003. 0.5: RDF made easy

Semantic Web   Saturday, 21 August 2004

Version 0.5 of is now available; with this release, I think it’s roughly feature-complete.

On Jargon and Applicability

Thursday, 19 August 2004

Alfred Marshall, who is credited with turning economics from a sideline to a proper discipline of its own, had this to say:

Resistance is Futile

Sunday, 8 August 2004

Bill points out the inevitability of the Pythonification of the world. I couldn’t agree more; if you listen to the whispers in the halls, all of the old objections are falling away, and people are taking a serious look at dynamically typed languages.

Preliminary Experimentation Indicates...

Sunday, 8 August 2004

Baileys Irish Cream (2 measures) Kahlúa (3 measures) Macadamia nut liquor, or dark rum (e.g., Myer’s) (1 measure) Coconut Milk (4 measures) Cream, or half and half (3 measures) Banana (1 whole) Ice (to suit)


Thursday, 5 August 2004

Oh LazyWeb, please give me software that lets me use my Powerbook as a Bluetooth speakerphone…

The ‘Document’ in Document-Oriented Messaging

Web Services   Thursday, 5 August 2004

(Another instalment in “XML Heresies.”)

The Age Gets RSS Feeds

Australia Web Feeds   Monday, 2 August 2004

Melbourne’s The Age now has RSS feeds available — hooray! I’ve been scraping them and bugging the staff for a while, so it’s nice to see that Fairfax (now “Fairfax Digital” instead of “f2”… whatever) finally get it.

The Whole Web in a Python Dictionary

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 31 July 2004

A few days ago I blogged a straw-man API for client-side HTTP based on dictionaries. This turns out to be well-aligned with a project I’ve had on the back burner for a while; coming up with some Python APIs for HTTP that are usable, encourage good practice, and well-aligned with the specifications.

Corporate Citizenship

Friday, 30 July 2004

Apple is making an executive summary of the 9/11 commission report and the major speeches from the Democratic National Convention available for free on the iTunes Music Store. They deserve a lot of praise for this, and I hope they continue this practice.

Dictionary as API?

HTTP APIs   Monday, 26 July 2004

From the Daily Python URL comes another noteworthy API for XML; XMLFragment. I haven’t tried it yet (it doesn’t appear to be separately available, hint, hint), but I like the look of it.

A Monkey’s Lunch is…

Sunday, 25 July 2004

Baileys Irish Cream Kahlúa Macadamia nut liquor, or dark rum (e.g., Myer’s) Coconut Juice Cream Banana Ice

Web-izing The Finder

Sunday, 18 July 2004

Timbl has talked about Web-izing databasesand languages; what about operating systems? Despite Microsoft’s legal troubles brought about trying to integrate the browser into Windows, it’s a good idea.

Safari as HTML Editor?

Saturday, 3 July 2004

Surfin’ Safari hints that the next version of WebCore will be able to edit as well as render HTML.

Geopolitical Arbitrage

Friday, 2 July 2004

To develop a previous theme;

Internet Mapping For the Little Guy

Thursday, 1 July 2004

When Tim O’Reilly gave his keynote at eWorld this year, one of his major points was that Internet-based mapping (e.g., Yahoo maps, Mapquest) had failed to take off, despite their obvious utility, because they were walled gardens; unlike eBay and Amazon, they don’t integrate user data and third-party applications very well.

Come One, Come All

Web Services   Thursday, 1 July 2004

The W3C Workshop on Constraints and Capabilities for Web Services promises to be a quiet, calm, tightly-scoped discussion of a well-understood topic, lacking any controversy whatsoever.

SOAP: Protocol or Format?

Web Services   Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Way back when the XML Protocol Working Group started kicking around, Henrik and I had a long-running, low-level “discusssion” about whether SOAP was a protocol or a format.

More on the Housing Bubble^H^H^H^H^H^HMarket

Wednesday, 30 June 2004

HSBC has apparently been indiscreet enough to call it a bubble, but I can’t find the actual report (“The U.S. Housing Bubble — The case for a home-brewed hangover.”). Anyone have a link?

Social Security

Monday, 28 June 2004

If you work in the United States or intend to retire there, grab yourself a copy of today’s Wall Street Journal, which contains a special section that covers this topic with unusual lucidity.

XML Language Bindings Done Right

XML   Wednesday, 23 June 2004

John Schneider was in the office last week and gave me a demo of something he’s been working on for a while, E4X — by far one of the coolest technologies I’ve seen in some time. I think that every language is going to want one when they see this stuff.


Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Check out the W eb H ypertext A pplication T echnology Working Group; it looks like our last, best hope for extending the browser platform to grow the Web.

Use Cases for Web Description Formats

HTTP APIs   Monday, 14 June 2004

One thing about Web description formats that hasn’t seen much discussion yet is how people intend to use them.

Send Wiki and Comment Spammers a Message

Saturday, 5 June 2004

Netcraft reports that “Search Engine Optimisers” are unable to resist the siren call of spamming.

Extreme URL Scraping and Debugging

Saturday, 5 June 2004

Because Web sites often don’t make information available to us in the way we’d like, we have to bring the mountain to Mohammed and scrape screens.

Why I Won’t Be Buying a House in the Bay Area Soon

Monday, 31 May 2004

Benjamin Wallace-Wells’ “ There Goes the Neighborhood” captures what many have been saying for a while now; it’s a bubble, a bubble, a bubble.

Ubiquitious Fragment Identifiers

Sunday, 30 May 2004

Tim Bray is trying out “purple number signs” on his Web site to make fragment identifiers ubiquitous and easy to find.

WebDAV Access Control Protocol

HTTP   Friday, 28 May 2004

RFC 3744 has been published:

Rename with Date.applescript

Friday, 28 May 2004

Hey mac fans —

XML Infoset, RDF and Data Modelling

Semantic Web XML   Friday, 28 May 2004

I’ve been talking with a few people about my previous assertion that the Infoset is a bad abstraction for data modelling, and my subsequent post about the informational properties of the Infoset.

The Syndication Sky is Falling!

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 18 May 2004

A few people got together in NYC to talk about Atom going to the W3C this morning. One part of the minutes of this discussion raised my eyebrows a fair amount; 0.4: Data Binding for RDF in Python

Semantic Web   Saturday, 15 May 2004

After a short pause (OK, nearly three years), I’ve released version 0.4 of

Informational Properties of Infosets

XML   Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the influences that using the Infoset has on the information you place in it.

OxygenXML is Good Enough

XML   Tuesday, 11 May 2004

I’ve been playing around with the new OxygenXML 4.0 plug-in for Eclipse M8. 0.2

Web Services   Friday, 7 May 2004

To help inform discussion of XOP (and to save Sam the trouble ;), I’ve put together a quick-and-dirty (we’re talking two hours) XOP parser in Python. It isn’t particularly efficient, nor is it well-tested or robust; it’s only to demonstrate how a XOP parser might behave.

What is

Friday, 7 May 2004

It looks like Google is starting to index books and magazines; I came across this in a Google search I did today, but can’t find any reference to it on their public pages.


Wednesday, 5 May 2004

I’ve got to say that iTunes 4.5 is scary addictive.


XML   Wednesday, 5 May 2004

Without pointing fingers, some people have a bee in their collective bonnet about the dangers of allowing binary content to be represented in XML, care of XOP. Others are up in arms about re-inventing HTTP in SOAP, courtesy of the Representation Header. Both of these are products of the XML Protocol WG, of which I’m a member, so I’d like to share my viewpoint (which is not that of either my employer nor the working group, etc., ad nauseam).


HTTP   Monday, 3 May 2004

It looks like the HTTP PATCH method proposal might be based on Delta Encoding, which is IMO one of the cooler and lesser-known HTTP technologies.

Taxing Wages

Sunday, 2 May 2004

I probably shouldn’t go around interpreting OECD statistics, as I’m not an economist (I just play one on the Web). However, the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration has made some excerpts of its 2002/2003 edition of “Taxing Wages” available, and there’s some interesting reading therein.

Economic Indicators from the Web

Sunday, 2 May 2004

An idea for the LazyWeb:

Stupid Compression Tricks

Saturday, 1 May 2004

I’m watching a company called Riverbed with interest, because they just released a new product, “Steelhead”. In a nutshell, it’s IP datagram compression done with a shared, dynamic dictionary.

Using WebDAV as a Description Format for REST

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 27 April 2004

In the past, I’ve talked about reusing WSDL as a format for describing Web resources, as well as coming up with a bespoke format.

How do we use SOAP Headers?

Web Services   Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Way back when in the XML Protocol Working Group, one of the concerns that came up was the processing model for SOAP headers. In particular, while SOAP 1.2 does a good job of specifying how that model operates, a key peice of information is missing; how to order the steps in processing a message.

Understanding Arnie

Tuesday, 27 April 2004

I think I’m starting to sympathise with Our Great Governor in California; the state senate has passed a bill banning the production or sale of foie gras.

Typography Out of the Box

Monday, 26 April 2004

Don Box:

Madonna Dead

Semantic Web   Saturday, 24 April 2004

This is why heuristics aren’t such a hot idea.

Sean’s Words of Wisdom

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 20 April 2004

Sean McGrath always has carefully considered positions, and he hits it out of the ballpark with this one. A few thoughts;

Asynchrony: There Is No Spoon

HTTP APIs   Monday, 19 April 2004

One of the things that people find compelling about Web services is its promise of asynchrony. “HTTP is only request/response, and therefore synchronous; it’s terrible for long-lived business processes, where the server needs to contact the client at some arbitrary time in the future” they say.

Describing Generative Identifiers in WSDL

Web Services   Friday, 16 April 2004

To use WSDL to describe RESTful interactions, you need some way of accommodating generative resource identifiers. In a nutshell, this means some part of the URI is dynamic. For example, with HTTP I might describe an address book where someone named “Jones” has a corresponding entry URI;

Five Favourite Protocol Design Papers

Internet and Web   Thursday, 15 April 2004

Lots of papers come and go over the years; take a look at any tech conference, online bibliographies (even subject-specific ones; Webbib is a favourite), and you’ll be inundated.

A(nother) Description Format for REST

Web Services   Wednesday, 14 April 2004

I’ve talked before about describing RESTful Web resources, going as far as prototyping a new format. That work was predicated on the assumption that WSDL wasn’t adequate.

More Software that Everybody Should Download

Tuesday, 13 April 2004

Spike is a networked clipboard that allows you to easily share text, pictures and other interesting things with others near and far.


Tuesday, 13 April 2004

People of Fremont, you might want to consider your voting choices a little more carefully. Liz Figueroa (your senator) has decided that Google’s GMail is “like having a massive billboard in the middle of your home,” and therefore wants to outlaw it.

Leading from Afar, or Out of Touch?

Monday, 12 April 2004

From the Washington Post:

xml:id is Coming

XML   Friday, 9 April 2004

This is a good idea for so many reasons. The media type registration will have to be changed to take advantage of it, but I believe that RFC3023 is under review anyway.

Elegance in Integration

Friday, 9 April 2004

Elegance in integration is multiplicity — solving one problem in ways that aid another. Elegance is optimization. Elegance is assembly — an apparatus readily put together and taken apart. Elegance is tolerance-ordering, where tolerance means uncertainty in some manufacturing operations. Elegance is simplification. As engineering designs evolve, they gain false sophistication — empty but seductive ingenuities. Ruthlessly, agonizingly, these must be stripped away. Elegance, finally, is work-arounds — minimizing the risks, endemic to all [projects], of… failures or costly delays during fabrication.

The Market for AdWords

Thursday, 1 April 2004

Google’s AdWords program allows advertisers to target their dollars at specific words; for example, I can say that I want to buy advertising on search results when the terms are “ elephant cookie.”

Python Just Got a Whole Lot Cooler

Monday, 29 March 2004

OK, so I know they’ve been around for a while, but I haven’t really got into Python’s metaclasses until just now, because I’ve been… well… busy.

Behind the Scenes at Your (very) Local Music Store

HTTP APIs   Monday, 29 March 2004

Aaron Swartz has started to document the iTunes Music Store; this is a good example of a non-browser, cross-platform application reusing HTTP. It would be interesting to see the interface documented on a per-URI basis.

Growing the Web

Sunday, 28 March 2004

Ian Hickson is thinking about client-side technologies (scroll down a bit). Some of his ideas resonated;

XGrid and BEEP

Tuesday, 23 March 2004

I just stumbled across Apple’s new preview of XGrid, their ad hoc clustering technology. It’s got lots of cool features, like discovery via Rendezvous (aka ZeroConf), a job control dashboard, and a bioinformatics demo app.

Thoughts on a Suburban Nation

Monday, 22 March 2004

Interested in living in actual communities, rather than subdivisions or “pods”? Tired of spending most of your life in a car?

Outage in the Web: Server Configuration

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 17 March 2004

In an otherwise excellent article, Jon Udell blames the lack of one-click subscribe in syndication formats on lack of vision;

Google Spam Redux

Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Someone calling themselves Scott Wiseman has started sending messages to the HTTP-WG mailing list. Although anyone has a right to make on-topic posts to the list, Scott is stretching it; each of his posts responds to someone else’s in a trivial fashion (e.g., “That is so deep”), and includes a lengthy signature containing a variety of URLs for sites he’s presumably promoting (I won’t reproduce the mail here, lest I encourage them).

The Problem With Infosets

XML   Sunday, 7 March 2004

An interesting issue poked its head up at the W3C Technical Plenary last week. XML Protocol (known as SOAP to mere mortals) is defined in terms of XML Infosets — it describes how to move Infosets around and process them, as the basis of Web services.

The Powerbook is Dead; Long Live the Powerbook

Friday, 5 March 2004

I’ve just got back from a two-week business trip, during which my 15” Titanium Powerbook showed increasing signs of shaking off this mortal coil. Specifically, the bottom 1/3 of the screen kept on flickering white. At first, I was able to tap the screen to make it better, but as time went on, tapping became hitting, and by the end, it was unresponsive. Considering the work this machine has done, I’m not terribly displeased.

Atom Theme Song?

Web Feeds   Monday, 1 March 2004

This just popped up on the iTunes “new releases” list. I think we’re going to see some Atom-related products called “Tomato.”

A Strategy for Atom Migration

Web Feeds   Sunday, 15 February 2004

One of the problems facing the syndication community as a whole is the number of formats that have been minted. This a particular concern for Atom as the newcomer; a common argument against it is that RSS content will never go away, so it’s just adding to this problem.

Economic Approaches to Spam

Sunday, 15 February 2004

SPF is getting a lot of attention, but it’s got some pretty fundamental limitations, as well as some shorter-term practical problems. What else is there?

Caching Tutorial Update

HTTP Caching   Sunday, 15 February 2004

I’ve published a revision of the Caching Tutorial for Web Authors and Webmasters, the first non-trivial edit in some time almost since I wrote it in 1998. That said, there aren’t any substantial changes; this is mostly tweaking and incorporation of new information.


Web Services   Saturday, 14 February 2004

The XML Protocol Working Group (of which I’m a member) has released a first draft of XOP, XML-binary Optimised Packaging, and a revised draft of MTOM, the Message Transmission Optimisation Mechanism, that leverages XOP.

Krugman on Bush

Saturday, 14 February 2004

Paul Krugman points out continuing efforts to shore up George Bush, the Myth;

Redefining the Ability to Pay

Saturday, 14 February 2004

I know little about the politics or economy of Canada, but a proposal by Tony Clement (Conservative) is interesting. Mike Moffatt explains;, version 0.45

Tuesday, 10 February 2004

This minor revision fixes the “admin” namespace’s URI to agree with the feed validator and pretty much all other implementations.

Irony Defined

Monday, 9 February 2004

In the same week that Melbourne is yet again called the most liveable city in the world (a regular occurrence), John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, has negotiated a free-trade agreement that allows US businesses to invest as if it were just another state in the union.

Video Chat — It’s Here

Monday, 9 February 2004

We’ve been playing with iChat AV, and I’ve got to say that it puts video chat in the same class as E-Mail and Web; killer app.

Delusions of Churchill

Sunday, 8 February 2004

George Bush on why he should be re-elected:

Messages vs. Files

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 7 February 2004

Jon Udell is thinking about the benefits of data being globally available, rather than localised to a machine. I’m in complete agreement; in the last two years, I’ve used Linux, Windows and Mac OSX on the desktop, leading me to be ruthless about data portability.

XPointer: Friend or Foe?

XML   Saturday, 7 February 2004

One of the uglier corners in the Web architecture is the relationship between fragment ids (the bit of the URI at the end, after the “#”) and content negotiation. In a nutshell, because dereferencing a single URI can return multiple formats, and because the fragID is interpreted by the client based on the format, it’s possible to have a fragID mean wildly different things across representations of a single resource.

Caltrain Scheduling Changes (and other thoughts on Public Transport policy)

Friday, 6 February 2004

Caltrain has proposed a set of schedules that re-introduce weekend services and tweak a number of trains’ timings and stops, to enable “bullet” service.

Singing the Brief

Wednesday, 4 February 2004

I’m so sick of watching presidential candidates confidently telling news anchors that they’re doing well in the race, and explaining how well their ideas are going across.

What is NetKernel?

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Just got some mail regarding the Cacheability Engine which led me to NetKernel;


Thursday, 29 January 2004

I have to confess to being a bit underwhelmed by Orkut after all the hype; it feels like just YASN. I’m not complaining — it’s cool, and until I write my own social networking software, I don’t have the right ;) — but it isn’t everything that such a beast could be, and I don’t think it would take that much to get it there.

Anybody in the house know Latvian?

Thursday, 29 January 2004

I found a link in the referrers to a Latvian blog where they’re discussing a previous entry here. Can anyone offer a translation? Google and Babelfish don’t do Latvian (something I’m sure Google, at least, will soon correct, with their forthcoming influx of cash).

Can we stop it with the orange XML buttons already?

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 28 January 2004

It’s like having a “get your ASCII here” button; completely meaningless.

Legal Implications of Feedback on Weblogs

Sunday, 25 January 2004

As alluded to before, you’re taking on legal risk when you allow people to say things to you. Yes, this is crazy, but hey, it’s the US legal system. Go figure.

Rebates and Privacy

Saturday, 24 January 2004

Last weekend, I bought a Pioneer DVR-A06U DVD/CD Writer from Fry’s, for about $120, after a $30 manufacturer’s rebate.

iTMS does RSS

Web Feeds   Thursday, 22 January 2004

This is the way syndication should be; user-customisable and aligned with the Web view of the resources it talks about. Cool.


Thursday, 22 January 2004

Over the past month or two, I’ve been noticing a little link on larger news organizations’ Web articles, such as that of the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor.


Wednesday, 21 January 2004

Just got this:

Papa Leave

Tuesday, 13 January 2004

This week’s Economist has an interesting article about parental leave in Sweden (alas, the Web version requires a subscription), a long-standing and generous benefit; they can take up to 13 months of leave, paid at 80%. Furthermore, it’s possible to divide this time between both parents, and it can be taken until the child is eight.

XQuery on the Web

XML   Monday, 12 January 2004

There’s a lot of interest out there about exposing XQuery 1.0 / XPath 1.0 / XPath 2.0 in Web interfaces. On the face of it, this is quite a compelling idea; it allows you to reuse a generic query mechanism (goodness) to access arbitrary data based on the client’s needs (more goodness) and only the bits of data that you want go across the wire (yet more goodness).

Jeffrey Record

Monday, 12 January 2004

From the Washington Post: The Army War College has published a paper questioning the scope and approach to the war on terror.

Decentralised Registration

HTTP APIs   Monday, 12 January 2004

Wouldn’t it be great if, whenever a business, government organization or just the guy down the block came up with a new format for their documents, they could easily get a media type, so that the format would be a first-class citizen on the Web?

Paul O’Neill

Sunday, 11 January 2004

Well, this should liven things up…

Officially Unofficial

Thursday, 8 January 2004

Rod Chavez has posted an article about running BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 on OSX to O’Reilly. It’s really, really cool that this works, and I’ve had the entire platform (including Workshop) running on my TiBook happily for several months, thanks to Sam’s efforts.


Wednesday, 7 January 2004

Anitra is trying to beat a head of traffic that’s built up behind an accident upstream; was able to check on the excellent SF Bay area real-time traffic map. I used one of these when I first moved to the Bay area, but it went away; Google found us another one.

Cheap Eats

Wednesday, 7 January 2004

What a steal. If you live near San Francisco, or are visiting this month, make sure you check out Dine About Town — three-course, chef-selected prix fixe menus at over a hundred restaurants, $19.95 for lunch, $29.95 for dinner, all through January.

More blogs

Tuesday, 6 January 2004

Welcome to the jungle, David Orchard, Chris Ferris and Tom Glover (Tom, we need RSS, OK?).

Extensibility and Interoperability

Standards   Saturday, 3 January 2004

In his blog, Sean McGrath wonders about two potentially competing faces of standards; extensibility and interoperability. and X-Faces

Saturday, 3 January 2004

Mail already shows you a little picture of someone when they’re in your address book. Why doesn’t it send and display X-Faces? Can somebody write a plugin to do this?

The Semantic Web’s Dirty Little Secret

Semantic Web   Tuesday, 30 December 2003

Browse through the W3C Semantic Web pages and you’ll see this notice in a few different forms:

Comment Spam and Google

Monday, 29 December 2003

Hyperlinks have been disallowed in comment bodies on this blog for a while now, and I’ve just removed the link associated with comment authors as well.

What I want in a digital camera

Sunday, 28 December 2003

Before all of this “Web” stuff came along, I was a photographer; I designed an… unusual university program that had me study fine art photography, photojournalism, aesthetics and the physics of light. After that, I spent a little time doing newspaper and studio work before realising that I wanted to do something else (long story here; buy me a beer).

Next trip: Molvania

Saturday, 27 December 2003

Inger put me onto a new travel guide, and I’m already planning the trip.

What’s after Red Hat?

Friday, 26 December 2003

Shortly after I moved to Melbourne in 1995, I set up a Red Hat Linux box in a little corner of our apartment on Flinders Lane. Shortly after that, the box was connected to the Internet via a 33.6k permanent dial-up connection with a static IP address, and it became, later

Travel Notes: Vienna, Venice, Bolzano

Friday, 26 December 2003

We’ve lived in California for more than four years now, and Anitra grew up in Melbourne, with the result that she first saw snow falling from the sky when she was 25. When we had an opportunity to take a week’s holiday right before Christmas, we decided against somewhere sunny; why more of the same?

Cool OS X Software roundup

Monday, 15 December 2003

Small apps that make my life much, much easier:

For those who've had kids recently.

Saturday, 13 December 2003

Anitra turned me on to what happened to Steve from Blue’s Clues. As he would say, “Cool!”

Now I remember why I switched...

Friday, 12 December 2003

The other day, I bought a copy of an extremely nifty piece of software, Virtual PC. It didn’t come with an OS, but that’s OK, because I have a copy of WinXP Pro on a box that I’m not using, so I can move it over to the mac (after appropriate decommissioning, etc.).

Notes on Atom

Web Feeds   Friday, 12 December 2003

As you may know, I’m editing the Atom format draft in my copious spare time, but not actively participating in the community (I am watching, but I don’t have the time to really dig in).

Tim and Sam talk about offline content

Web Feeds   Thursday, 11 December 2003

Tim Bray’s latest missive contains a passage about offline RSS;

Oh, for shame, Apple, for shame.

Wednesday, 10 December 2003

mnot-laptop:~> uname -a Darwin localhost.local 7.0.0 Darwin Kernel Version 7.0.0: Wed Sep 24 15:48:39 PDT 2003; root:xnu/xnu-517.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC Power Macintosh powerpc mnot-laptop:~> echo "<a href='/'>test</a>" > ~/Sites/test.txt mnot-laptop:~> chmod a+r ~/Sites/test.txt mnot-laptop:~> curl -is http://localhost/~mnot/test.txt | grep Content-Type Content-Type: text/plain mnot-laptop:~> open http://localhost/~mnot/test.txt

Python for the CLR

Tuesday, 9 December 2003

IronPython is an implementation of Python for the CLR with some intriguing initial perf numbers. [via Jeremy Hylton’s Weblog ]

Perspective Enhancement

Monday, 8 December 2003

The BBC reports that the UN is a bit concerned about population growth. Pretty much everybody knows this, I’m sure, but the degree of their concern is a bit of a shocker;

Why Do Web Server APIs Suck So Much?

HTTP APIs   Monday, 8 December 2003

HTTP provides considerable benefits to Web applications that take advantage of it; everything from scalability (through caching), client-integrated authentication, automated redirection, multiple format support and lots more.

A Description Format for REST

HTTP APIs   Sunday, 7 December 2003

Adam asks if there’s a description format for REST. I don’t know of any that have wide acceptance (and I think the hard-core RESTafarians will answer “REST is self-describing, that’s the point” ;) but I have been noodling on something for my own purposes.

The New RDF

Semantic Web   Sunday, 7 December 2003

I spent a little time on the plane the other day reading the latest WD of the RDF Primer. I didn’t attempt to review the entire document set, as reading a 71 page primer is quite enough!

QNames are Evil

XML   Saturday, 6 December 2003

How’s this analogy:

Hoping for Better XML Editors

XML   Wednesday, 26 November 2003

I’m getting a few requests for clarification and additional information from 3rd party vendors regarding my previous rant on XML editing. With any luck, XML editing will get much more interesting soon…


Sunday, 9 November 2003

I’ve done some adjustment to this Web log; you may or may not notice the differences. Most of is is cosmetic and tightening up of the templates, but I’ve also changed the URI layout (thanks, Mark), and as a result RSS aggregators may act strangely before they settle down. Or not; mine, Shrook - a very fine aggregator for OSX indeed - doesn’t get tripped up.

DIME is dead.

Web Services   Thursday, 30 October 2003

‘cause Gudge says so, and as we all know, Gudge is always right.

You say tree, I say URI...

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

I can’t help but wonder if what Adam wants could be had using plain old HTTP by just defining a new format that is nothing but a list of links to stuff that’s in-scope for a query.


Friday, 17 October 2003

[Love your work, Banksy]( “BBC NEWS Entertainment Graffiti star sneaks work into Tate”).

Cross-Platform DRM and other artefacts of Hell freezing over

Friday, 17 October 2003

Now that hell has frozen over, it’s interesting to speculate how far Apple will dip their toes in, and what their market opportunities are.

Humboldt Fog

Tuesday, 7 October 2003

Saute Wednesday has exposed one of our vices… ashed goat’s cheese is like nothing else on earth.

RSS-Data and Web services

Web Feeds   Friday, 3 October 2003

Jeremy Allaire is writing about something he calls RSS-Data, and I must say it touches on a lot of interesting points. A few;

Loose Coupling, Late Binding and REST

HTTP APIs   Friday, 3 October 2003

Mark Baker says that REST is SOA + late binding. While I see the truth in this, I think it’s pretty orthogonal, and it’s not that compelling for most SOAish folks.

Why do XML editors suck so much?

XML   Thursday, 2 October 2003

I’m seriously sick of using programs that call themselves “XML editors” because they colourize markup. I’m talking about XML Spy, Oxygen, BBEdit, and thousands of lesser programs. All of them are just glorified text editors - they still operate on the level of characters, not information items.

Modularity by reference

Thursday, 2 October 2003

Many XML-based formats could benefit from using references to promote modularity. For example, imagine a catalogue format;

RSS and E-mail

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Tim Bray wonders what the difference between an RSS feed delivered via HTTP and an e-mail folder (e.g., via IMAP) is; I’ve wondered the same thing myself. As far as I can tell;

Seen this week's Economist?

Saturday, 20 September 2003

A rodent of *truly* unusual size

Thursday, 18 September 2003

The BBC [reports]( “BBC NEWS Science/Nature Giant rodent astonishes science”) an… inconceivably large rodent, aka “Guinea-zilla”.


Saturday, 13 September 2003

Next time somebody says “let’s install Bugzilla to track that” consider Roundup instead (unless you like painful, bloated software).

Click Submit Only Once

HTTP APIs   Saturday, 13 September 2003

I shudder when I see these words. Everyone I’ve asked has, at least once, gotten two orders of something online (personally, I’ve had the SonyEricsson store ship three duplicate orders); “Click Submit Only Once” is intended to stop that. The problem is, it puts me and every other shopper between a rock and a hard place.

Anna Lindh

Friday, 12 September 2003

I was in Stockholm earlier this summer as a stopover on the way home from Helsinki. One morning, Jorgen and I were walking along Strömkajen, waiting for a ferry, when a well-dressed man walked by, just a few feet away. This wasn’t unusual, but the larger man in sunglasses with a discrete earphone behind him at a discrete distance was. This was the only sign that he wasn’t an ordinary person; a single bodyguard.

iPod update

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

Our problems continue.

The Gherkin

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

One of the most interesting examples of architecture I’ve seen in a while is the nearly-finished Swiss Re building (aka 30 St. Mary Axe) in London, also known as “The Gherkin” by locals there.

Frank Chu update

Thursday, 28 August 2003

As previously noted, I often pass San Francisco figure Frank Chu on the way to and from work.

The 'i' stands for 'idiot'

Monday, 25 August 2003

I got Anitra an iPod (an intensely desirable object) last week, because the new car (new to us, at least) doesn’t have a CD player, and she’s got a long commute. Along with an iTrip, it seemed just the ticket.

Atomic Draft

Web Feeds   Sunday, 24 August 2003

Somehow, I’ve been drafted into editing the Atom syntax specification, and have just thrown up a first draft.

Registering Media Types

Standards   Saturday, 23 August 2003

I’ve had a fairly large and annoying bee in my bonnet for the past few months, regarding media type registration. It started buzzing when I tried (and failed) to register a media type for RSS, and has continued to grow as I attempt to do the same for SOAP, on behalf of the XML Protocol Working Group.

HTTP Performance

HTTP   Thursday, 21 August 2003

I’ve heard several people in the industry assert that HTTP fundamentally limits the performance of applications that use it; in other words, there’s a considerable disadvantage to using it, and that therefore other protocols (usually proprietary or platform-specific systems that those same people happen to sell) are needed to “unleash the power of Web services.”

Web Services

Web Services   Monday, 18 August 2003

If you’re lost in a sea of specs, pundits and opinions, might I suggest two very well-written, thoughtful papers:


Tuesday, 12 August 2003

Here’s something different. WebCapture “is a secure capture and playback system that records, in context, all web session pages that comprise an e-business transaction.”

Structured URIs

HTTP APIs   Monday, 11 August 2003

I just found a draft finding that the W3C TAG published about a month ago, regarding the use of metadata in URIs. This is very cool, and I especially like the emphasis on authorities’ ability to embed metadata in URIs.

Photos and metadata

Monday, 11 August 2003

I love iPhoto’s interface and its functionality, but the fact that the metadata is so closed is frustrating. I think I’m going to be able to import the RDFPic metadata embedded in most of my photos, with a short detour through IPTC metadata, courtesy of Caption Buddy (great stuff, a real gem) and a bit of Perl scripting.


Web Feeds   Monday, 4 August 2003

RSSJobs looks interesting; hopefully, we’ll see more of these “non-traditional” uses of RSS as time goes by.

iDisk Offline

Monday, 4 August 2003

Marc Hadley points out that the version of iDisk in OSX Panther looks like it will enable offline functionality with caching; it also looks to do some synchronization.


Saturday, 2 August 2003

Boy, I’d sure like some of whatever the Boeing folks are smoking.


HTTP   Tuesday, 29 July 2003

Ted Leung points out that caching PUT (and other WebDAV methods) would suit Subversion - probably the most interesting WebDAV application under open development - quite well. The only thing he says that I disagree with (and it might just be a misunderstanding) is in regard to a need for a Subversion-specific client cache; the whole point of doing this with Web protocols it to avoid application-specific infrastructure. A well-designed WebDAV cache should work equally well for any application, not just Subversion.


HTTP   Tuesday, 29 July 2003

Mark Baker is the latest in a series to weigh in on the TAG issue regarding what a HTTP URI can identify.


Saturday, 26 July 2003

I spent more time today saying “dude” than I ever have before (proportionally), because I took a little drive. As you may have guessed, Antibes left me a little cold, despite the weather; I’m not a big fan of seaside resorts.

Caching PUT

HTTP Caching   Saturday, 26 July 2003

If we WebDAV-enable Web applications, people will be able to interact with them like filesystems. To blog something, you’d be able to write an entry in the text editor of your choice, and then drag-and-drop them into what MSFT has called “Web folders.”

Blogging with WebDAV

Saturday, 26 July 2003

One of my personal background tasks in the last couple of months has been finding sample applications to excercise Tarawa with. Although my load is high and I’ve only got a single processor - me - I’m still trying to push this.

Profiling HTTP

Web Feeds HTTP   Friday, 25 July 2003

Mark Pilgrim is starting to think about issues surrounding the transport, transfer and general moving around of the Format Formerly Known as Echo (nee Pie).

On Antibes

Friday, 25 July 2003

Pros Makes everybody jealous when you say you’re going there Great beaches and the Alps nearby Sailing!


Friday, 25 July 2003

Adam Bosworth gives us a small taste of his thoughts re: Web services, with a promise of more.

RSS Profile Testbed

Web Feeds   Monday, 21 July 2003

Back when we were exploring the possibity of a profile of RSS, I set up a wiki on the topic and promptly let it run wild, to see what would happen.

The RSS Advisory Board

Web Feeds   Friday, 18 July 2003

Dave Winer has announced a few changes to RSS, which seem positive at first glance, but need a little closer inspection.


Tuesday, 15 July 2003

I’m very happy to say that, after using Windows on the desktop for about a year, and various flavours of Unix on the desktop for about six years, I’ve Switched back to the Mac (which I happily used for about six years before that).

Hey Dave

Web Feeds   Friday, 11 July 2003

This is exactly what namespaces are for.

Too much money, not enough sense

Thursday, 10 July 2003

Adam Curry explains how he’s bought placement in RSS aggregators. Trouble is, RSS isn’t universally supported, as evidenced by the echo project, and he feels cheated.

On Helsinki

Saturday, 28 June 2003

Pros: They’re serious about this “midnight sun” thing Discovered I actually like herring Fantastic mobile phone coverage Hima & Sali Free bicycles!

Caching is often enough

HTTP Caching   Saturday, 28 June 2003

I feel compelled to respond to Norm Walsh’s thoughts on caching.

Starting Fresh

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 24 June 2003

Sam Ruby suggests a roadmap for a new effort that may very well replace RSS.


Web Services   Tuesday, 24 June 2003

We finally did it. More than two years ago, I went to North Carolina almost by accident; at the last minute I asked David Fallside if I could come to the first meeting because it sounded “interesting.”


Tuesday, 24 June 2003

You might notice a few ads in the Weblog and a few other places on the site; I’m playing with Google AdSence, first pointed out by AaronSW.

Bees and Ants

HTTP APIs   Tuesday, 24 June 2003

The W3C Semantic Web wiki has an entry called ‘BeesAndAnts’ that very effectively conveys something that I’ve been trying to articulate for a while (and, as usual, failing). It’s not about the Semantic Web in my mind, so much as it’s about REST and Web Services (which means that there’s something to this Web architecture stuff yet, I think).

On Tallinn, Estonia

Monday, 23 June 2003

Pros: quick 1.5-hour boat ride from Helsinki cool, still-foreign-looking passport stamps full of beautiful european architecture / city planning

RSS History as state transfer

Web Feeds   Sunday, 22 June 2003

Mark Baker responded to my thoughts on RSS history a while back, and I’m finally getting around to responding (nothing like a hotel lobby to clear your thoughts…).

Economics of standards

Standards   Sunday, 22 June 2003

Looks like a good to-read list: John Beatty: Economics of Standards

Question for the day

Friday, 20 June 2003

Is a Weblog a medium or is it a genre?

Spot the difference...

Tuesday, 17 June 2003

What does this interesting new, ad hoc work have to do with this interesting , new standards work and this interesting, new-ish effort by GK?

Weblog data modeling

Web Feeds   Monday, 16 June 2003

Sam Ruby has announced a Wiki about what a weblog entry is.


XML   Saturday, 14 June 2003

Sean McGrath, Macintouch and others point out OxygenXML, a pretty slick-looking XML editor. Either it’s pretty new and only now coming onto the scene, or I’ve had my head deeper in the sand than is typical.

Web-izing the Palm Pilot

Thursday, 12 June 2003

Having a network-enabled (even if only through BlueTooth and infrared) is a heady experience; the ability to access the Web and sync applications from anywhere - really anywhere - is quite liberating.

Identifying RSS-Like Formats

Web Feeds   Thursday, 12 June 2003

I’m surprised by Dave Winer’s continuing reluctance to identify RSS 2.0 with a namespace, given how strongly he feels about interoperability and respecting format definitions.

Newest Toy

Friday, 6 June 2003

Got the Palm Tungsten T the other day ($309 from, - $50 trade-in). Nifty, much better than the aging handspring I was toting around.

RSS Soundbite

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 4 June 2003

Tim Bray is looking for an RSS soundbite, what some people would call an elevator pitch, I suppose (aren’t they supposed to be level? Never mind).


HTTP APIs   Thursday, 29 May 2003

Jonathan Rosenberg published a new Internet-Draft, XCAP, to the SIMPLE Working Group in the IETF. Here’s the skinny:

Real-World RDF

Semantic Web   Thursday, 29 May 2003

Jo Walsh has created a Semantic Web system that appeals quite strongly - a means of using RDF to map to the real world in “gonzo geographical data collection”.

While we're talking about standards...

Standards   Wednesday, 28 May 2003

I agree with just about everything that Jim Waldo says here (at least for protocol standards). Well said!

One-Man Standards

Web Feeds   Wednesday, 28 May 2003

Dave Winer argues that RSS implementers should toe the line:

RSS, Subscribers and Business Models (oh, my!)

Web Feeds   Sunday, 25 May 2003

Tim Bray thinks out loud about mechanisms to allow RSS subscribers to be counted. His poison of choice is adding a query components to the URI in the Referrer header.

Look what the browser dragged up...

Monday, 19 May 2003

Oh… My… Gawd… I’m sooo confused. It’s a Web site, and it has an RSS feed, and it uses Moveable Type, and it even has a blogroll down the side, so it must be a blog, right?

A sign of bad times?

Friday, 16 May 2003

Hmm. Passed the 12 Galaxies guy on the way home from work today. Usually, he’s very polite and keeps to himself. This time, he was yelling at passers by and waving his sign at him. Violently.

Are we bored of RSS Standardization yet?

Web Feeds   Sunday, 11 May 2003

Don wants to send RSS to OASIS, of all places. Doesn’t that mean it’ll have to be corporations standardizing it? Urgh.

RSS Profiling Wiki

Web Feeds   Saturday, 10 May 2003

Don, Sam, Ben, Mena and others have started blogging about a profile of RSS.

IT Survey in the Economist

Saturday, 10 May 2003

If you are in “the industry,” you owe it to yourself to go out and pick up a copy of this week’s Economist. Alongside their customary digs at Larry Ellison (what do they have against that guy? I can’t imagine…) are several excellent articles, including topics such as growth, commoditisation, and open standards (although one paragraph was so far off-base that it made me LOL).

We need WikiVerbs!

Semantic Web   Friday, 9 May 2003

Before, I was wondering about the intersection of Wikis and the Semantic Web. I’ve since done some noodling and prototyping, and the idea came together on the train home tonight.

Conneg based on XML Dialect

Web Services   Thursday, 8 May 2003

I know at least one person who will think that this is a good idea. Anybody else? I’d looove to do this work…


HTTP   Monday, 5 May 2003

I’ve finally gotten sick enough of a project that I’ve been working on for waaaay too long to release it to the unsuspecting^H^H^H general public.

The Genius Bar is dry

Sunday, 4 May 2003

Don’t get me wrong - I love Apple and all things apple. But, the Genius bar at the Apple Store never fails to annoy.

Yet more proof of things being seriously wrong in the US these days...

Saturday, 3 May 2003

From the Montreal Gazette -

Semantic Syndication

Web Feeds   Saturday, 3 May 2003

Excellent. Danny Ayers proposes a Simple Semantic Resolution RSS 2.0 Module.

RSS Traffic Characterisation

Web Feeds   Saturday, 3 May 2003

I’m setting up a weblog for a fairly well-known colleague, and doing some traffic estimates to try to size his server. broken?

Saturday, 3 May 2003

One of the joys of moving to a mac for my personal machine is using Apple’s excellent; IMHO it’s the best GUI mail client yet.

ZeroConf is cool

Thursday, 1 May 2003

Anybody know how to get ZeroConf working on Linux, so that I can advertise services on my server to the Macs at home?

RSS Schema and dates

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 29 April 2003

Sam mentions dc:date; that’s what I was thinking, except that ‘date’ on its own is pretty useless. As Bill points out, dcterms gives you different date semantics.

Wiki as Semantic Web?

Semantic Web   Monday, 28 April 2003

Anybody else notice how you can use a Wiki like a Semantic Web engine?

I'm an overlord and I'm OK...

Web Feeds   Monday, 28 April 2003

[I tried to post this as a comment on Sam’s blog, but I think there may still be transitional issues over there… ]

Amazon and Privacy

Monday, 28 April 2003

Amazon sent my wife a nice, juicy bit of SPAM this morning.

RSS history module

Web Feeds   Sunday, 27 April 2003

For discussion: RSS history module (the eventual result of this).

It's alive

HTTP   Saturday, 26 April 2003

For those who have been helping, it’s alive, has been for almost a week, but I still want to do a bit more documentation, hunt down a few bugs, and get some more unit tests down.

now available - Photoblog!

Thursday, 24 April 2003

OK, here’s the deal. As previously reported, we got the nifty Ericsson phones that come with free cameras. They’re Internet-capable. The next obvious step is to hook it up to a blog, and presto! You’ve got photoblog! You get to see people I meet, places I go and the mediocrity of daily life (as well as my struggles with predictive text input) in near-real time!


HTTP   Thursday, 24 April 2003

It’s not necessary to lament the lack of ETags on generated Web pages; cgi_buffer automagically generates and validates them for Perl, Python and PHP scripts.

Current favourite TV

Wednesday, 23 April 2003

Anitra and I have taken to watching What Not To Wear. Yes, it’s a fashion show, but it’s probably the most non-American show on right now; very refreshing and wicked good fun to watch.

Sam wants namespaces

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 22 April 2003

Sam proposes some changes to RSS 2.0 regarding namespaces. My first question was, “why?” but upon reading his next post, I get it.

RSS needs Profiling

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 22 April 2003

Tim says that RSS Needs Fixing. Right on! Some people are intereted in endless tinkering with RSS - I’m not. I’m interested in putting it on everybody’s desktop, and making it transparent to them. This means we need better interop. 0.43

Web Feeds   Saturday, 19 April 2003 has been revved; fixed some problems with addItem (now takes an index argument to say where to add the item; default is first - used to be last), and a few other tweaks.

Pellet, indeed.

Web Feeds   Friday, 18 April 2003

Don’s worried about the glaciating influences of having a stable spec for RSS 2.0. I couldn’t disagree more.

Let's try this.

Web Feeds   Friday, 18 April 2003

RSS needs a bit of stablity (as I’ve often said), so I’ve gotten off of my duff and done something about it.


Thursday, 17 April 2003

There seems to be a a lot of new blogs showing up from inside companies… I can only wonder if it’s becoming the microserfequivalent of flair.

HTTP header sniffing

HTTP   Tuesday, 8 April 2003

LiveHTTPHeaders for Mozilla is the best HTTP header sniffer I’ve seen yet; up till now, I’ve been using WebTee, but for most purposes, this is much better. Enjoy.

Macrosoft, Part II

Thursday, 27 March 2003

Dave seems excited by Macromedia’s announcement.

RSS standardization (again)

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 25 March 2003

Jorgen hits a subject that’s of great interest to me; RSS standardization. I originally started the Syndication list to get RSS moving towards some sort of recognized standard; more recently, my effort to register an RSS media type was stalled by the lack of a stable spec published by a recognized group.


Friday, 14 March 2003

Not sure I like the name, but Friendster looks interesting. In a nutshell, it’s a social networking tool that’s very similar to the FOAF efforts, but with better UI and features.

Prototyping Kirk

Thursday, 27 February 2003

Just finished reading Blue Latitudes, which follows the trail of Captain Cook, both in history as well as geography; Horowitz follows (roughly) the path of cook, sailing and flying to destinations such as New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, the Aleutians and Hawaii, as well as Cook’s native Yorkshire.

Australia thinks twice

Australia   Friday, 14 February 2003

Word is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 Melbournians got out of bed yesterday and decided to give a peice of their minds to the government. Good thing, too; you can argue as much as you like about whether America should be invading Iraq, but Australia has no business there whatsoever; they can barely mind their own back yard.

Why oh why is it so hard?

Thursday, 13 February 2003

One of the goals for me in using computers is to make my data and access to it platform-indenpendent; I’ve switched platforms too many times (Mac->Ultrix/Digital Unix->Linux->SunOS/Solaris->Windows NT->Linux->OSX->Windows2000->WinXP->?); I can’t have my data tied up in proprietary formats or APIs, despite the best efforts of various vendors. Doing so is also a nice complement to the Web.

mnot : Bookmarks : Travel

Thursday, 30 January 2003

Travel bookmarks have been reorg’d and cleaned; the RSS feed gives you the latest additions. Suggestions welcome.

Blogging Zipf

Sunday, 26 January 2003

I always wondered why so many people had their blogs’ comments and even trackback indicators turned off. Go ahead and surf around; it’s a rare blog indeed, at least in my experience, that has these features visible for the world to see.

Interestinger and interestinger...

Tuesday, 21 January 2003

So all the sudden everybody’s talking about RSS again. It came up spontaneously at work - DaveO proclaimed “I’m totally getting into RSS” unprompted the other day. Very cool. Now Tim Bray is pondering the future of RSS. Interestinger still.

Location, location...

Tuesday, 14 January 2003

Dave takes issue with people’s comments about the Bay area.

Master and Commander

Saturday, 11 January 2003

If you haven’t read Patrick O’Brian’s astounding Aubrey/Maturin novels, now’s probably your last chance before at least one is made into film, by none less than Peter Weir.


Wednesday, 8 January 2003

I’m no SVG expert, but this “sample Keynote file” sure seems like it.


Wednesday, 11 December 2002

Aaron points out the Apple Switch commercial starring Yo Yo Ma. Cool; how long before we see a Switch ad with TBL? :)

RSS Wishes

Web Feeds   Sunday, 8 December 2002

Wouldn’t it be great if The Royal Society, the Commonwealth Club and your local council all had RSS feeds available, conspiquous and up-to-date?

Mozilla Prefetching

HTTP Caching   Wednesday, 27 November 2002

I’m extremely wary about the new prefetching feature in Mozilla. The Web caching community has tried this from about every angle, but the general consensus of professionals (with one notable exception) is that prefetching is a bad approach.


Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Hixie, Mark and others are talking about serving up application/xhtml+xml selectively to browsers.

What is an RSS Channel?

Web Feeds   Monday, 25 November 2002

Almost forgot - today I put an exploration of the semantics of RSS:Channel out there for comment. I’ve been thinking about various aspects of this for a while; not sure how far I’ve gotten, but I think it’s important to nail this down if we want to move RSS forward.


Web Feeds   Monday, 25 November 2002

RSS: XHTML Profile, to me, is another proof that syntax isn’t important, as long as you can boil whatever you get down to a format you know. Nice job!

New toys

Sunday, 17 November 2002

We just replaced our phones with Sony Ericsson T300s with T-Mobile; sooo cool.

RDF Model and Syntax

Semantic Web   Saturday, 16 November 2002

Jack William Bell makes a precise, short and readable effort at explaining why RDF is simple and important.

IETF Transparency

Standards   Sunday, 10 November 2002

Finally, the IESG puts its money where its mouth is; this tool allows you to see the status and individual AD’s comments about a particular I-D. It’s only a start, but at least you have some idea of what’s going on, instead of being left out in the cold.

You Are Crazy.

Friday, 1 November 2002

unböring is a great campaign - I’d love to know who their agency is. It’s so… Swedish; the one with the creamer and the guy on the bicycle is classic.


Wednesday, 30 October 2002



Thursday, 12 September 2002

Jeremy Allaire talks about establishing a “rich client” platform because HTML is “stagnant.” Two questions; will it be standards-based, and what about SVG?

So funny... so true...

Tuesday, 10 September 2002

The Story About the Baby is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while, doubly so considering it’s about children. Every geek parent has thought these thoughts. (from memepool)

iCal, youCal

Tuesday, 10 September 2002

iCal is out, and is pushing me ever so closer to taking my perfectly reasonable Dell laptop and shoving it down the throat of the next IT person that I see. Nothing personal.

Pardon our dust...

Friday, 6 September 2002

I’m trying out movabletype, as there were some pretty severe limitations doing it with the bookmarks…

RSS 0.94

Web Feeds   Tuesday, 3 September 2002

I see Dave is once again rev’ing RSS. I have reservations about the some of the new mechanisms (e.g., shoe-horning MIME into XML is a horrible idea) but I’m encouraged by hints that using XML Namespaces is being considered. IMHO the smart thing for Dave to do would be to start a version of “Minimal RSS”; maybe 0.95, that is just the very, very core markup (say, title, link and description, maybe one or two others for channel metadata) and put EVERYTHING else in modules (coordinating the release of them with the spec). This would produce a very stable core spec that would allow him to experiment with new facilities with impunity, whilst strengthening 0.9x’s position; my impression is that most people use 1.0 because of Namepaces, not RDF.

Global house prices

Tuesday, 3 September 2002

I’ve been following the Economist’s new Global Housing Index with some interest. They seem to have softened their view somewhat, but I’m hearing more about a global housing bubble recently - first, in a WSJ article about the author of “Manias, Panics and Crashes” (which I’m now reading, alas, too late) and later in a story on NPR. It is interesting that there aren’t good tools for tracking the state of real estate, even though there’s more money there than in equities, worldwide.

Unequal Relief

Monday, 26 August 2002

This pisses me off. Victims of terrorism certainly should get some support - that’s the function of government in a society. But why should that support take the form of tax relief? People who pay a lot of taxes - and therefore get the most benefit - are the ones who least need this (and witness the high threshold on death taxes forgiven; 8.5 million). They already have substantial assets and generous life insurance to take care of their survivors. The guaranteed $10,000 payout is a joke; I know of at least one victim whose family would have received at least a $20,000,000 tax refund because of this (that’s 20 million, and in reality it was probably closer to 50, but let’s be conservative). Is that family’s loss 200 times greater than someone who only gets $10,000 back? On top of this, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that government compensation for 9-11 victims would be based on… you guessed it, the victim’s salary. Apparently, every man does have a price.

Buzz - Continuing thoughts on F2F

Monday, 26 August 2002

One of the most intriguing parts of this, to me, is section 3.1.2; “How people meet: being in the in-group.” Possibly because I’m usually not in the in-group… Storper theorizes that F2F communication is necessary to maintain the boundries of the in-group, so that one who has been ejected can’t rejoin, but AaronSW pointed out that IRC has a similar function without F2F. Fascinating. I wonder what the intersection of this and the Advogato trust metric is, along with a project-oriented community like SourceForge?


Web Feeds   Saturday, 24 August 2002

Interesting; I’m glad thiswas written, because RDF is good stuff, and this is a good walkthrough.

Face-to-face communications

Saturday, 24 August 2002

This article (you can google for the original paper) is, to me, pivotal to emerging Web standards. Both Semantic Web and Web Services are about machine-to-machine communication; the promise that machines will be able to act as an agent, and to integrate business processes, respectively (yes, there’s a lot more to each). The question is, when will people trust and actually use machines to do this? If Storper’s paper is correct, the pie-in-the-sky visions of a ‘Web of Trust’ and those of dynamic markets of smart Web Services are both without ground. To me, this is a good thing; both technologies have significant benefits to offer the world, if they’ll just get their heads out of the clouds and back down to earth.


Web Feeds   Saturday, 24 August 2002

Harumph. Date is a datatype, not a property.

Don Box on Tolerance

Tuesday, 20 August 2002

Don talks about the evils of tolerance in receiving implementations, and I say Amen, brother! Preach! The classic approach works when there are relatively few implementators; however, when the whole world implements a protocol (whether it’s SOAP or HTML or whatever), you’re asking for trouble if you allow too generously.