Portrait of Edd Dumbill, taken by Giles Turnbull

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What I make

a conference management web application

XTech Conference
a European web technology conference

On the internet, everyone can see your underpants

The controversy over Apple's "photocast" extensions, and the strangeness of their iTunes RSS enhancements, is illustrative of the transition that software companies need to make as they become web-enabled. It's no longer enough to make your applications and hardware pretty and functional, but the guts that other people get to see must look good too.

This is one reason that people prefer RELAX NG over XML Schema, for instance. Where markup is concerned, it turns out that the excuse "only computers will read it, and we'll provide tools to generate it" doesn't cut it. The web's had a view-source mentality since it started, and the aesthetics of markup matter a great deal.

They matter not only because they're nice for geeks to look at, but also because well-structured and standards-compliant markup is simply more interoperable. The end user experience is ultimately improved.

Microsoft now gets this, I think. It's not hard--you just need to have your engineers exposed to the web, not hidden in some blinkered bunker.

It's a shame that Apple doesn't yet understand that the aesthetics of markup count. Even their new web tool, iWeb, lacks somewhat in this department. Apple do so well in the rest of the computing experience, these poor web efforts really stand out. It was rather sad to read the disappointment OS X-hugging web developers felt with the iPhoto RSS use.

Will Apple "get" the web better someday? I hope so, because we'll all benefit.

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