We are obsessed with managing and extending our knowledge.
We are obsessed with communication and collaboration (C&C).
These are good times for us, but they could be much better. We've seen the pieces of the C&C puzzle come and go, almost coming together than spinning away.
Things have gone better on the discovery/notification/subscription side of C&C. We have had email lists and usenet newsgroups (yes, I am old); now we have Atom/RSS Pub/Sub standards, Google Reader (tragically dying), Facebook, Twitter and Google+. There's even Yammer, a corporate clone of Facebook with some G+ thrown in.
Alas, the publication side of C&C has stalled. We have had these pieces wax and wain:
- Vermeer/Microsoft's FrontPage 98 (RIP @1999) -- a true ancestor of the Wiki
- The wiki. I've largely used Sharepoint, which is more than a little similar to FrontPage.
- Blogs with APIs that support rich editing tools (sorry, web tools aren't there yet).
- Onfolio/Microsoft's Windows Live Writer and Red Sweater's MarsEdit (OS X). The former is in maintenance mode (at best), the latter is much less capable but is being actively maintained.
It's frustrating to have the pieces, but not the puzzle. We want a solution that has these features
- The power and authoring speed of Windows Live Writer/FrontPage 98 client.
- Content display that support both item based and web-like navigation. We had much of this with FrontPage 13 years ago and you can see much of this in Sharepoint 2007's odd wiki. It's very easy to imagine a set of articles appearing as both a blog and a wiki.
- Change notification.
Incidentally, we also want this publishing platform to be easily used as a personal platform and a public platform, and we want to the two to optionally synchronize via Dropbox or the equivalent.
Oh, yeah, and it needs to have a published and open API (though it doesn't need to be open source).
This isn't so hard, really. Give me $30 million and I'll make it happen. I promise.
- Vermeer/FrontPage lives in Sharepoint Wiki (6/08)
- Chaos at Microsoft: the story of Windows Live Toolbar, Onfolio and Writer (10/2006)
- RIP Onfolio - the last of the standalone XP feed readers (9/2008)
- Gordon's Notes: Lessons from Microsoft SharePoint (5/2008)
- Front Page 97/98/2000, Personal Web Server: my old FP web page. Lots of prior art there for better or worse.
- MarsEdit 3.1.3 - Still not Windows Live Writer, but definitely worth the money (5/2010) - it continues to slowly improve. The image management is still minimal and the editor still struggles with Google quirks (WLW doesn't have problems).
- Blogger's text editor: I make another plea for a rational approach to paragraph formatting (3/2011) - I'm not in love with Blogger.
- Project Xanadu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Old ideas aren't necessarily wrong
Update: Since writing this I decided to install the latest version of WLW, which is version 2011. It's dead. I feel the pain of the original Onfolio team. Seeing quality software die is a bit like watching a good kid turn into a career criminal.