November 22, 2002

Still not dead yet

If you’ve been wondering: No, I’m not dead. I just haven’t been able to do much work on ZedneWeb lately, due to a variety of circumstances, including:

As a result, I not only haven’t been updating ZedneWeb, I haven’t even been doing my usual scouring of the web for interesting things to mention here, like the working Mac SE/typewriter that Mark Pilgrim pointed out a while back.

I don’t know how much activity to expect around here in the near future. I’ll do my best to make it “more than zero”, but I can’t make any promises about things like—say—my stalled fiction projects. #

TDL revised

The Thread Description Language continues to evolve, and the November revision incorporates a considerable amount of new thinking over the past few months. (See the list of changes for some specifics.)

Many of the changes were prompted by actual implementation experience on my part. Using Python and rdflib, I was able to make a simple spider which reads pages following the (now outdated) web threading profile and pulls out a great deal of information, mostly relating to links made between weblog entries here at ZedneWeb. One lesson, which does not surprise me, is that the graph of links between weblog entries can get pretty damn complicated.

Also created was a simple mediator; a local web server which sits between your browser and the internet. Whenever the page you request conforms to the web threading profile, it inserts any backlinks it knows about. This allows you to follow threads forward in time with virtually no investment of effort on the part of anyone involved. It’s really neat, and it makes me wish I had somewhere I could stick it on-line so that people wouldn’t have to download all the software and run it locally. (Not that they can anyway, since I haven’t posted it and won’t until I’ve had time to revise it to match the current specs.)

In related news, the Weblog Metadata Initiative saw some activity recently, with the posting of an experimental method for embedding information about weblogs in web pages. At some point, I hope to make another parser that can generate TDL from pages formatted according to that spec. (You know, in my copious free time.) #