Tiny Steps and Big Leaps

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Challenged by Clay Shirky, Ben Hammersley has created a special post to collect trackbacks related specifically to the LazyWeb.

What is the LazyWeb? Well, do you have an idea and need help with technical implementation? Do you need specific functionality or an application or utility, but you’re not a coder? Capture the idea as a LazyWeb request and ping Ben’s special site. Chances are the request will be filled before the ink is dry on the page.

Ben’s idea, a demonstration of LazyWeb in action, is great. I agree with Poetic Geek’s delight in the concept, though I’m not sure that I’m “…giggling with girlish delight” over it.

I think we’re seeing a new form of open source development, based on technology developed for the community and its immediate, expressed needs. A case of community searching for technology rather than technology on the hunt for a users.

I would like to see additional efforts associated with this. For instance, it would be great if people would flag weblog posts that provide solutions for LazyWeb requests, or that provide technical help, especially within the weblog community. A case in point is my MT Comment How-To, further refined by other contributions in the comments. By isolating these items we can begin to build online technology centers that are anything but centered — true distributed technology, and true distributed technology documentation. There are just some things that shouldn’t roll back into the dustry reaches of the archives.

Perhaps Ben can stretch his LazyWeb post to a complete LazyWeb weblog, tracking LazyWeb implementations and providing a focal point for this effort in 2003? Not that I’m volunteering Ben’s time, and I am more than willing to volunteer to do this myself if Ben would rather. After all — we want to track fulfillment as much as request.

Additionally, I would also like people to start putting their code online. This last week there was a great deal of discussion about the CITE tag and how it can be used to provide specialized processing. Well, that’s great and good, but let’s see the processing? Can we see the code that Mark used. Or Sam’s code? I played with CITE a bit and created some code, which I then packaged for people to download. Not great code. Maybe not even good code. But at least it’s there if anyone wants it.

For instance, the code allows me to reach into Ben’s new LazyWeb RDF/RSS file and pull out existing topics and descriptions, as shown here.

There. I guess that’s my LazyWeb request — put your code online, let us take a peek. We promise if we shoot ourselves with it, we won’t blame you.