The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Yes, but what are you?

The last few days I have been scouring the net (no, not with AJAX) finding as many tools, applications, web-apps and projects related to feeds as I can. For each one I find I put a stub page into our project wiki with a Quick Info heading. It gives an ordered summary of what the tool/app/project is, what technologies it is based on, requirements etc. I'll then go back over the list and start filling in details so that by the end we will have an overview of the "state of the art" of feed systems on the net.

That is the idea. In practice finding out even the simplest details of the various feed systems is a nightmare. You are lucky if you can tell whether it is a desktop or web-application. There is a lot of marketing on these sites but very little useful information. Sure, you don't want to put your technology requirements on the front-page but you definitely should have them on the download/sign-up or the FAQ page. On a couple of projects I have had to download the app before I was able to figure out exactly what it is. On another I had to open the source files to see that it was a PHP application.

SourceForge projects do a good job of quickly informing you what technologies the project uses. But opposite to the other projets they contain very little marketing info. You end up knowing that a project is a Windows desktop app built using C# but you have no clue what the app actually does.

And this applies from the smallest open-source projects to the largest commercial projects. Very few give you the info you need to decide if it is worthwhile.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:58 PM

 
Anonymous Michael Butler said...

Some interesting points here.

I'll remember that when I'm rebuild the WDevs site.

9:43 PM

 

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