My (alternative) definition of blogging

How do people usually define blogging?

They tend to say that it's about organizing posts by reverse chronological order. That it's about writing in the first person. That's it's about being more personal. That's it's a social thing. That it's about personal sites.

Yeah right. Like we had no news sites before? No forums with personal opinions before? No personal home pages before? No discussion boards before?

To me, the main difference blogging makes is this:

  • Before blogging, all kinds of people tended to talk about a specific subject in a specific place (forum, mailing list).
  • After blogging, a specific person tends to talk about all kinds of subjects in a specific place (his personal blog).

This central paradigm shift now triggers a series of changes all other the web: we need trackback & aggregators to replace discussion threads & forums. We need new website ranking algorythms based on more complex criterias than inbound links alone. We have new forms of (referer, comment...) spam to cope with...

Then... comes collaborative blogging... where bloggers unite their efforts to publish a multi-authored blog. This then very much looks like an old-school news site or forums. Well it's still clearly different from forums since the authors are limited/selected and the new guy can only post in the comments section.

But as far as news sites are concerned, I'm not sure there really is a difference with what existed before... Maybe it's just easier than before to set up the tools needed for collaborative publishing. (Well, with b2evolution it certainly is! ;D)

Inside the iPod nano

Wanna look inside your iPod nano? This guy does it right in front of your eyes!

PHP: why use DOM/XML writer functions?

There's one thing I was wondering about: why would you actually want to use the DOM/XML writing functions of PHP to generate XML? I mean: we've been generating HTML without specific functions for over 10 years, so why would we need a library to build a DOM tree instead of outputting XML directly??

Well... I got an answer at PHP Forum: it makes sure your XML is well formed when you spit it out!

Ha! I could have thought about that!

Now I'm wondering if I should be using this as a replacement for echo in order to make sure I generate well formed XHTML all the time... ;) I mean... generating a DOM tree would be overkill, but generating the XHTML code on the fly with XMLwriter might actually work out pretty well...

Hum...

Status of PHP 5

Here are a few bits of information I collected at PHP Forum (Nov 9 & 10, 2005):

  • It is estimated than no more than 5% of the servers running PHP have switched to PHP 5 yet
  • PHP 5.0 is a feature release, not a performance release. Therefore it is slower than PHP 4.x. Therefore it makes no sense running apps designed for PHP 4 on PHP 5.0.
  • PHP 5.1 should almost match the performance of PHP 4.4
  • Rasmus will probably migrate Yahoo's servers from PHP 4 to PHP 5 once PHP 5.1 has undergone a few weeks without any major issue.
  • It is extremely painful for everyone to make code that works on PHP 5 as well as PHP 4, especially because you cannot redefine the clone statement in PHP 4 for compatibility.

Okay, that's all I can recall right now! :P

Rasmus on templating engines

At PHP Forum, Rasmus said this about the "templating engine question coming back every year":

PHP *is* a templating engine by itself. Adding another templating engine on top of it just doesn't make sense. The only situation where it makes sense, is when you don't trust the template to contain nice behaving code.

I so much agree...

Of course, in b2evo, you can't always trust the template/skin... so we'll need to implement some kind of templating... but we're really gonna make it lightweight!