[vagueware] Re: is less really more?

  • From: Paul Robinson <paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: vagueware@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2004 20:12:08 +0100

On Fri, Oct 01, 2004 at 08:12:15PM +0100, Peter McGarvey wrote:

> We all motivate ourselves.  And as life keeps getting in the way I
> doubt we can motivate each other.  I always saw VagueWare as somewhere
> people could drift in and out when they had the time... because they
> want to, not because the feel they have to.

Absolutely. But like any other site, the admin (i.e. me) needs to make
sure the site is there for when you do. I pay the bills, I'm root on the
servers, it makes sense I end up doing more than most. The last couple
of months, I've done virtually nothing.

It would be nice if the site was so compelling people wished to give up
their jobs, start a cult, worship me and give me all their worldly
belongings, but it's not required. Ok, it wouldn't be that nice
actually. Unless I end up getting it on with more cute women. :-)

> Wiggy's project.  We're all part of it.  It is "ours".  But I think we
> should agree that Wiggy still has the power of veto, and the right to
> dictate direction.

I pay the bandwidth bills. It's my site. If somebody sues VagueWare for
something up on the site, I go to court, nobody else. The project
however, can be shared. Legally though, the site is very much my
property. I don't care too much what people do with it, but ultimately,
yes, I will retain veto if for no other reason, to try and avoid being
hauled into court.

> My view of VW at the moment is that we've hit a singularity.  We don't
> really know what we want or where we are going (yes we /know/, but we
> don't *KNOW*).   So we need to stop and work it out.  Now is the time
> for argument and discussion.  And bikesheds.  But once we've decided the
> direction, or if we can't decide and Wiggy dictates, we stick to the
> plan.  Until the next singularity emergers.

Yes, I think you may be right. I'm getting through it though. I plan
spending much of tomorrow afternoon in a comfortable coffee shop, my
laptop in front of me, armed with vim, ruby and an apache install and
we'll see what comes out of the other side. :-)

> would sound like one word.  Perhaps we should look at WebDAV.  If I
> understand correctly then it's designed to facilitate exectly what we
> want VW to support.

I'll look into it, but I've heard bad things about WebDAV. I could
ignore locking for now and bolt it in later once the interesting bits
are done. :-)

> Can we agree, no evil software?  If it's not a defined _open_ standard,
> then it's just plain wrong.  The sample SWF may look cool, but I doubt
> you can export the spline info.  Making it a little bit useless - even
> if I could be bothered to get it running on my desktop.

Yes, I'm inclined against Flash as well. It can be very powerful, but
when there are tools available out there that can do almost as good a
job, I'd like to give it a go with that. If there is one thing VagueWare
should support above all else it is open standards. I want as much of
the code as possible to be BSD licensed, and although there are hooks in
PHP to build SWF, there is a problem with some platform's support of
Flash. :-(

> Well I'd say the same.  But, well, a little bit of initial focus would
> probably make it more likely to hit critical mass.  Ultimate Vagueness
> can be reserved for a future implementation by A.N Other (using the VW
> software).

Yup. I think we were having so much fun with the idea of a wiki that we
kind of forgot the focus. I made a blog entry on kuro5hin.org a few
months back talking about VagueWare and one guy said "Look - make your
site have a point. Once it has a point, it'll rock. Right now, I don't
get it". He's not wrong. :-)

> Graphical... that's cool.  Because my forte is "conceptual overview".
> But that's only because my coding skills rarely extend beyond "hack".

And my degree is Software Engineering and I am about to take my PRINCE2
exams, so between us we have all bases covered - I think. :-)

Actually, verbose - I might really need some XHTML voodoo soon if you
know how to do that. I might also need some CSS/design voodoo soon as
well. I hate the look of VagueWare (i.e. a rip off of Wikipedia) but I
don't know what I want. Something like kuro5hin meets rubyonrails.org I
think.

> I think we should focus on 2 abstractions... the current one, and the
> next one.  In other words, write what we need now but pay attention to
> maintaining "openness" to allow stuff to plugin later.  More
> absstractions mean more work.  Only the effort required is a geometric
> progession.

Seems sensible.

> Agreed.  I'd kill for some decent webby flowcharting.  And if I could
> click on a box and see a wiki explaining it... well...  I could think of
> a 1001 different uses.  The ability to abstract the config of my mail
> servers for example....

Ooooh. You've just given me another idea. Can you VW up that idea you've
just had and I'll build on it a little... 

I think one thing I have realised is that I need to make this ultra,
ultra modular. I really want a little stand-alone mapping/flowcharting
tool that works over the web as well. In fact, there are hundreds of
tools I want decent web-based versions of. 

You know, this is how VagueWare started? We had big todo lists of code
we wanted to write, and we needed somewhere to store them? Look at the
conceptual monster that has grown out of it!

> But we also need a meme dictionary to explain word-concepts (like, for
> example meme, singularity and bikeshed ;-0  ) to newbies.  And
> integrated mailing lists.  And todo lists.  And outline editing.  And a
> URL database.  And a "Just Do It" button for when we feel lazy.  And a
> satelite laser display system.

I *really* want a swimming pool with sharks. And a moonbase. :-)

What I'm working on at the moment is a basic wiki -> article -> comments
workflow. Once I have my head around that, I can start building on it.
The design is to make it SOAP-able, which means hooks should be quite
nice and easy to whack on the side.

> So shall we start with Wiggy's roadmap and work from there?  I'll need
> to refresh myself on it... and I don't have the time atm... but I seem
> to remember it was reasonably well reasoned.  Flesh it out abit and
> we'll have a decent plan.

Well, like I say, you should get access to some code pretty soon, and
I will of course be filling out the design docs. Probably on VagueWare
itself actually. Just waiting for firefox to build on my newly rebuilt
laptop. I lost data. Including some pictures from my sister's wedding.
:-( 

Anyway, to the codeface!

P.S. - Pete, if you're at the BSDUG I'll try and remember to bring my
laptop with me and we might get 20-30 minutes to hack away at a few bits
and bobs on docs or something if you want.

-- 
Paul Robinson

http://vagueware.com/
"The key to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" - Einstein

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