Yesterday I was dealing with a peculiarity that seems typical of today's programming: I had been chatting with the lead developer for the new Netscape news project and he said something about the 80% attitude ... I won't go into the philosophical here and now except to share my concerns; rolling out a major website but not offering any way for users outside the USA to register their location? Gone the typical pull-down country menu, absent the functionality that switches from "State" to "Province" when Canada is selected ... only the clever widget that localizes according to zipcode ... no option. And the strangely narrow text input box for comments? And the inability of entering any markup, even a blank line? That's all lower down on the list ... long after launch.
It seems that the basics aren't worth doing right the first time! I don't want to be mean ... the young fellow is very nice and pleasantly interactive ... but still.
My point is this: my "participatory deliberation" project is intended to cut through the information clutter while providing the enjoyment of online interaction, but it relies on on solid fundamentals, it needs to rest on solid foundations ... and that hasn't yet come into being. Or, perhaps and better, it's just about to.
What moves me to write all this just now is that my "BlogThis!" bookmarklet has stopped working ... probably a namespace collision with some other Firefox extension. Anyhow, in the process of finding an alternative I came across this bit by Jon Udell ... it's dated, so I'm not sure it's still accurate, but it touches the core of the issues I'm focussing on.
In Jon Udell's ''Interactive Microcontent'' there's a section titled "Working with Calendar Fragments"
"Ray Ozzie recently touched off a flurry of discussion about sharing calendar objects. I did some experimenting and wrote up some observations on the matter, to which Adrian Cuthbert responded as follows (email quoted with permission):"The idea of being able to click on a link and have embedded page content delivered to a helper application seems reasonable enough. But there doesn't appear to be an easy way to embed XML data into XHTML and use it."