Scoble’s Guidelines for Judging Linking Technologies / Extensible Software

Standard

I don’t normally link to Scoble’s posts, simply because I feel confident that anyone who’s reading this will already have seen half a dozen pointers to anything that I might link to in his blog. I’m making an exception for this post on linking technologies, however, because it’s both interesting to me and in line with another topic that I’ve been thinking about.

Go now. Read it, if you haven’t already.

Now…I’m on board with the whole thing, but the elements of this that are most interesting to me are guidelines four and five:

4) Can the linking technology be programmed by the user?
5) Can the user package up new linking behaviors and distribute those to other users of the linking technology?

My interpretation of those two points can be summarized as “Any linking technology must be user-extensible,” and I’m strongly inclined to push that guideline out to include most Web-based technologies. A9’s “Open Search,” the newly customizable Google News interface, the idea of “Open Source Ad tags” (otherwise known as “sell side advertising”), the possible Google Desktop Search API, the growth of collaborative taxonomic tools and systems (no, I’m not going to say the word “folksonomy”), Yahoo’s Web Services API…pretty much everything happening on the Internet that is of interest to me — whether or not I think it’s a good idea — is based around providing tools or frameworks that can be extended to do things that the original developers might never have imagined.

This doesn’t mean that I think that these things all need to be open source, or that placing some restrictions on what users or developers can do is a Bad Thing; I’m very much in favor of OSS and use a fair amount of it, but I’m even more in favor of software that’s designed to let me do the interesting things that pop into my head. OSS is by definition sort of extensible — you can hack in and do whatever you want with it, licensing permitting — but right now my excitement is coming from tools that are specifically designed to be tweaked and extended, whether or not I can get at the source.