This is progress?
Everybody's raving about it: Don, MSDN Mag, even Steve Gilmore said that "What Bosworth soon will know, and Ozzie already does, is that RSS is nothing less than a new platform for development and deployment." The war of the aggregators is heating up! Threaded navigation! Content push! Right to your desktop! .NET Source code available! The dawn of a new era! Yeah, right...
I've got nothing against this stuff - in fact I'm using SharpReader right now - but all of this is oh-so-familiar. And I'm not talking about the curious fact that nobody got paid to create content, then or now. <g>
Climb into the way-back machine and travel back to 1991 when a number of user / programmers banded together to create Lurker, a (gasp) threaded, customizable, open source, readwriteable front end to CompuServe. The "team roster" in January 1992 showed 58 members (more on that in a subsequent post) who, working together, managed to get about a .8 release together of a program that was actually quite a bit more comprehensive in scope than the aggregators being used today. It had a built-in phonebook, an extensive UI customization including fonts and colors, support for files and libraries (a CompuServe feature similar to a moderated FTP server), rather sophisticated communications code (CompuServe at that time used a proprietary protocol and made it difficult for outside developers to build tools). It even had a pretty cool icon:
Ah, those were the days.
So...in the course of a dozen years, we've moved from tree-navigable, threaded view of content of interest to..the same thing? From a 200K redistributable to something closer to 20MB (times 3 on disk)? A complete develoment environment came on three floppies to one that ships on 6 CDs? From an (ASCII) character stream to an (XML) character stream. From VB to ... C#? And this is supposed to be earth-shaking progress? I'm underwhelmed.