Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Winer's Back!

This is really good news.

Dave Winer finally comes out with a decent outliner in the browser.

I've been looking for one for a long time. (Thought of trying to write it too, but it's not my speciality. Now you get one from the world's biggest Outlining evangelist.)

This is also great news for Winer himself, I think. As always, he has a lot of crucial ideas for where the web should be going. But for a while it's seemed like the main thing holding him back has been a code-base that's a Windows desktop application. (Which is NOT where either users or developers want to party these days.) The few times I've thought I'd like to look into the open-sourced Frontier / OPML Editor I've been put off by that.

A new browser-based UI (and Javascript-based server?) hopefully means that he'll be able to get more people involved in his code, interacting with his services, and start to have an impact via technology as well as evangelism.

And me, I'm holding on for the OPML export / import ... ahem ... cough ...  GeekWeaver ... cough. ;-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bret Victor Showreel

Bret Victor is one of the few programmers for whom it makes sense to release a showreel.

Elm Lang

I must confess, I'm very intrigued by Elm-Lang.

For me there are four virtues :

1) FRP. All the attempts I've seen to graft FRP onto existing languages have looked clunky to me - ahem ... Trellis? - Requiring the explicit definition of special types of fields. This is the kind of thing that I think needs a new language feature, not a new library.

Elm-lang's "lift" looks a much cleaner way of going about it.

2) It's in the browser. That's where code has to run.

3) I like the way that it reunifies the document / graphics structure back into the same file. The problem is not so much that style and content shouldn't be separated. It's that there are more serious divisions of modularity to respect and forcing HTML and JS into different trees of the filing system has typically pushed highly interdependent data-structure and logic too far apart. I like the ability to bring them back together for small programs.

4) Perhaps it's a way to get familiar with and more into Haskell. Obviously it's not full Haskell. But it seems like a way to get more into that mind-set while doing some practical work.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I'd better go and try something ...  :-)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

SocialCalc and Javascript

Dan Bricklin gives an update on WikiCalc / SocialCalc (the browser-based spreadsheet he wrote). It seems to be having a new lease of life as a web-app embedded in native Android / iOS apps.


Also some interesting news about javascript.