September 13, 2005
@ 11:32 PM has always been an innovative service but today's announcements have kicked it up a notch. In his post A Preview of Web 3.0, Scott Isaacs writes

Today's preview of the Developer illustrates fundamental shifts in web programming patterns:

  • DHTML-based Gadgets consumes DHTML-based components called Gadgets. These Gadgets can be created by any developer, hosted on any site, and consumed into the experience. The model is completely distributed. You can develop components derived from other components on the web.
  • Adding Behavior to RSS
    RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an incredible platform for sharing content and information. Today all RSS feeds are treated equally by aggregators. integrates the world of RSS with Gadgets enabling any feed to optionally be associated with a rich, interactive experience. Some feeds present information that may be better presented in an alternative format. Other feeds leverage extensions or provide extra semantics beyond standard RSS (e.g., Open Search, Geo-based coordinates, etc). By enabling a feed to define a unique experience or consume an existing one, the richness of the aggregator experience can improve organically without requiring a new application. Of course, we also allow the user to control whether a custom experience is displayed for a feed.
  • Open-ended Application Model is what I call an open-ended application. An open-ended application consumes Gadgets and provides core application services and experiences. This is and has been the model since its inception (how do you think they released new features every week?). By opening up, we have removed the boundaries around features and experiences. The community of developers and publishers can now define and control the richness of the experience.

These are the web-applications of the future - applications that can integrate not only content (e.g., RSS) but associated behaviors and services. Today, via, the developer community can preview MSN's client technology and infrastructure. At, you will find early samples and documentation. This site will be continually improved with more documentation and samples. Go and build Gadgets and custom experiences for your feeds. Most importantly, since we are far from finished, please give us feedback. The platform can only improve with your feedback. Also, we are always looking for interesting Gadgets and custom RSS experiences.

I'm not sure I'm feelin' the "Web 3.0" monicker but the extensibility of the site is definitely cool beans. I remember a conversation I had with Steve Rider I had during the early days of the site where I asked if it would be possible to customize how different RSS feeds were displayed. At the time, I had noticed that there were three primary widget types for weather reports, stock quotes and headlines. I suggested that it would be cool if people could add annotations to the RSS feed to tell it how to display on the Being an XML geek I was was thinking of extensions such as a start:display-style element which could have values like "columns", "headlines" or "rows".

Steve thought my idea was cool and chatted with Scott Isaacs about it. Since Scott is the DHTML guru of DHTML gurus, he kicked the idea up a notch and actually designed an infrastructure where sophisticated rendering behavior could be associated with an RSS feed using JavaScript. The rest is history.

Damn, I love working here.


Categories: MSN | Web Development
Tracked by:
"Ton of Posts - to appease the Aggregator God" (Marc's Voice) [Trackback]
"do me in the button [1" button design and production]" (do me in the butto... [Trackback]
"Do Me In The Button Order Form" (Do Me In The Button Order Form) [Trackback]
"Pharmacy Benefit" (Pharmacy Benefit) [Trackback]
"Slika_4" (Slika_4) [Trackback]
"Slika_5" (Slika_5) [Trackback]
"Tom Fun & the Holy Microphone Machine" (Tom Fun & the Holy Microphone M... [Trackback]
"Planinska jama" (Planinska jama) [Trackback]
"" ( [Trackback]
"news" (news) [Trackback]
"Lokacija" (Lokacija) [Trackback]
"i was a spy (for about 6 years)" (i was a spy (for about 6 years)) [Trackback]
"qnazk" (qnazk) [Trackback]
"Najdena jama" (Najdena jama) [Trackback]
"movin' on up..." (movin' on up...) [Trackback]
"yellow." (yellow.) [Trackback]
"one day late" (one day late) [Trackback]
"paid to take surveys" (paid to take surveys) [Trackback]
"the campaign records (photos)" (the campaign records (photos)) [Trackback]
"yellow is a rock band based out of sydney, nova scotia. formed in" (yellow is a... [Trackback]
"Lokacija" (Lokacija) [Trackback]
"Rent Apartments" (Rent Apartments) [Trackback]
"bands: i was a spy one day late great plains the ditchpigs" (bands: i was a spy... [Trackback] [Trackback]
"Rakov Skocjan - Naravni most" (Rakov Skocjan - Naravni most) [Trackback]
"Planinska jama" (Planinska jama) [Trackback]
"the following two tracks are from our first album, "the heat'll be" (t... [Trackback]
"the campaign records" (the campaign records) [Trackback]
"Planinska jama" (Planinska jama) [Trackback]
"i was a spy - progressive punk rock / coffee-core" (i was a spy - progressive p... [Trackback]
"Caving Information" (Caving Information) [Trackback]
"the campaign records messageboard!" (the campaign records messageboard!) [Trackback] [Trackback]
"shoes and boots search" (shoes and boots search) [Trackback]
"Krizna jama - Pirate ship" (Krizna jama - Pirate ship) [Trackback]
"yellow can be contacted by paper mail at the following address" (yellow can be ... [Trackback]
"get work from home" (get work from home) [Trackback]
"Pic_4" (Pic_4) [Trackback]
"i was a spy (for about 6 years)" (i was a spy (for about 6 years)) [Trackback]
"content" (content) [Trackback]
"news" (news) [Trackback]
"Jama na meji" (Jama na meji) [Trackback]
"Welcome to!" (Welcome to!) [Trackback]
"boston table tennis online" (boston table tennis online) [Trackback]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 4:32:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
" Damn, I love working here"

Uh huh. No doubt we will see the very next post claiming how you don't find yourself working here in the near future. You really should make up your mind Dare. Or atleast refrain from washing dirty laundry in public.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 5:55:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Or maybe you should pay more attention to what you read. I've never said anything negative about working at MSN.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:23:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"I've never said anything negative about working at MSN"

Sure you haven't. Lets see what you wrote a few days ago:

Since I don't see any reason why the corporate culture will change since the members of our executive leadership who are pushing this kind of thinking are well entrenched, _it's just a matter of time before we start thinking that way at MSN as well._"

Whats the last statement supposed to mean? Cautious pessimism?

In any case, you are entitled to your opinions and fyi, I am not another anti-MSFT bigot. I do think however whatever complaints you have about your own employer there are ways to address/fix it. Publicly commenting about it in your blog doesn't help much to bolster MSFT's much maligned image. This doesn't even have to do with MSFT -- I'd say you are ethically bound by the employer-employee relationship to try to work out things by attempting to fix the system from within. If the system can't be fixed, you are free to walk out -- what I don't support is this kind of drumbeating while still being in the employ of the said company.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:38:13 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I love working at MSN but as the infamous saying goes "This to shall pass" (

My blog is where I post my thoughts and observation about things around me. The fact that my opinions are frank is something that has offended people in the past but not something about myself I plan to change. As frank and outspoken as I am in my blog, I am a lot more so behind the walls at work.

If my comments offend you so much, you are welcome to stop reading my blog.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 6:42:11 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What you do with MSFT or how you manage them is your business. There is nothing in it that offends me -- what do I care? I was just "frankly" "expressing" my "opinion" on one of your blog posts.

BTW, being frank or outspoken has nothing to do with being correct/informed/logical/reasonable. You do know that, don't you?

Also inviting people to stop reading your blog just because they disagree with you doesn't reflect well on someone with your expertise and position.
Thursday, September 15, 2005 3:30:55 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Where I come from, we call these "Dashboard Widgets", "Plugins", and "the Web". *Yawn.

Also, is a PR person writing Scott Isaacs' material? Gotta love those empowering closing sentences at the end of each bullet point.

* You can develop components
* Users control the custom experience
* developers and publishers can now define and control the richness of the experience.

Here's to the richness of the experience!
Thursday, September 15, 2005 4:43:33 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Amusing coming from someone who spends most of his time working on knockoffs of RSS and the various blogging APIs. ;)

Seriously though, the extensibility in the portal is simply not matched by anything out there. Can I add my konfabulator widgets to my homepage on My Yahoo! or use my Apple Dashboard widgets on .Mac?

Unfortunately, the "Microsoft Gadgets" branding has just made this seem like a follow on to Konfabulator and Apple Dashboard instead of highlighting the innovative aspects. In the long run though, what really matters is whether developers and end users enbrace the service or not. That we will have to see.
Thursday, September 15, 2005 1:08:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Would it be fair to say this is like VBA widgets for the web? The installation is smoother, and it runs in the browser. That's good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:56:29 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Pretty cool stuff. I look forward to seeing some gadgets written and learning more about the framework for loading and binding the components.

Some of it reminds me of a suggestion I had for bloglines when it first appeared:
There is still a bunch of problems regarding security to be solved though: apparently can proxy requests to bypass the same domain security in the browser, but in the long run a better solution needs to be found. Also, can we design a way to protect gadgets from each other? Can gadgets persist state between reload (on the server or in the browser)?

Comments are closed.