Twice in one day…
Scoble responds to lots of criciticism that he’s evangelizing a crappy format, and really misses the forest for the trees. Actually, he misses the trees too. Earlier today I recorded this podcast, which I wasn’t going to post, but if Scoble’s going to go on, I think it actually merits it.
See, as a user, I really don’t care about the spec. I can’t read them. I don’t appreciate them. And, all they seem to do is lead to religious arguments one way or another.
I’m a user. Shoot me.
But what Dave did was give me an application. It works. And, as a user, I wonder “if the format is so crappy, how did Dave get it to work in his own application?”
And, as a user, I wonder “why can’t the developers just get their OPML to work with Dave’s application?”
The reason that developer’s just can’t get their OPML to work with Dave’s application is because the specification sucks. There is simply no way for anyone to tell if the OPML file generated by their application is really compliant with what Dave’s editor implements, or only just happens to never tickle a bug or an ambinguity which wasn’t specified.
It’s really not that hard to write an application: the trick comes from interoperability. To be useful, these files must be able to be routinely exchanged between applications written by different people, and that simply isn’t feasible without a clear, complete specification of what the format actually entails.
The crappy format is good enough until someone comes up with something better. And that’s what you’re all missing.
What Scoble is missing is that currently he’s in a position to help dictate what gets adopted and what users are going to be seeing for the next five, ten, or even more years, and if he had any concern for those users, he’d work to ensure that the technology underlying that growth is as robust and reasonable as possible. OPML doesn’t qualify. RSS doesn’t even qualify. Did we learn nothing from the whole HTML standards process?