I posted a call for comments last night on RSS-Public, the mailing list of the RSS Advisory Board, asking what people think the board should do in response to the ongoing effort to revise the RSSCloud Interface. The interface has been a part of the RSS specification since the publication of RSS 0.92 in December 2000. It determines how software can use the cloud element in an RSS feed to connect to a server that offers real-time notifications when the feed has been updated. In a nutshell, here's how it works: A ... read more

WordPress and Dave Winer are working together to bring real-time, Twitter-style updates to RSS feeds using the cloud element and the accompanying RSSCloud Interface. Yesterday, WordPress added RSS cloud support to "all 7.5 million blogs on WordPress.com." Winer's documenting the ongoing work at RSSCloud.org. Although some tech sites are reporting this as a new initiative, cloud has been around since RSS 0.92 in December 2000. I was getting real-time RSS updates as a Radio UserLand blogger back then, and it was a ... read more

Over the past few months, I've gotten back into contact with more than a dozen old friends and coworkers through Facebook. After blogging for nine years, I prefer hanging out here on Workbench over social networking sites, but I'm beginning to feel like an anachronism. It's easier for people to keep up with their BFFs on sites like Facebook than to visit a bunch of personal blogs, even with the help of RSS and a feed reader. I recently began linking my posts on Facebook using Simplaris Blogcast, a Facebook ... read more

I became the first subscriber on Bloglines to the feed for the new White House web site, which launched at 12:00 p.m. as Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. As a syndication dork, I was interested to discover that the feed employs Atom as its format: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">   <title>White House.gov Blog Feed</title>   <link href="http://www.whitehouse.gov" /> ... read more

I recently relaunched SportsFilter using the site's original web design on top of new programming, replacing a ColdFusion site with one written in PHP. The project turned out to be the most difficult web application I've ever worked on. For months, I kept writing PHP code only to throw it all out and start over as it became a ginormous pile of spaghetti. Back in July, SportsFilter began crashing frequently and neither I nor the hosting service were able to find the cause. I've never been an expert in ColdFusion, ... read more

As it turns out, Sweden did not intentionally declare war on my web server earlier this month. Programmer Daniel Stenberg explains how the international incident happened: A few years ago I wrote up silly little perl script (let's call it script.pl) that would fetch a page from a site that returns a "random URL off the internet." I needed a range of URLs for a test program of mine and just making up a thousand or so URLs is tricky. Thus I wrote this script that I would run and allow to get a range of URLs on each ... read more

I spent some time today digging into treemaps, a way to represent information visually as a series of nested rectangles whose colors are determined by an additional measurement. If that explanation sounds hopelessly obtuse, take a look at a world population treemap created using Honeycomb, enterprise treemapping software developed by the Hive Group: This section of the treemap shows the countries of Africa. The size of each rectangle shows its population relative to the other countries. The color indicates ... read more