Marc Canter came back at me, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

February 8, 2007 | Leave a comment

Whoops, I incurred the wrath of Marc Canter, who responded to my post singing Elgg’s praises with one entitled, coming back at Ben Werdmuller. Marc is the founder of Macromedia (formerly MacroMind, now part of Adobe), and one of the giants of modern computing, not to mention an excellent singer-songwriter, so I’ve got to confess to being a little proud to be at the receiving end of his snark.

So, some quick replies to the “missing features” he lists:

Groups Okay, so we call them communities. They’re there, have been for years.

Now where’s that XFN and FOAF support? Actually, we’ve been doing FOAF pretty much since the year dot. Trouble is, nobody actually uses it. Show me the consumer applications. Or, in fact, any significant applications that even produce it. It’s a bit like IMS in the educational world; you can shout all you want about it, and tout it as an important commercial feature, but in reality it doesn’t really make much of a difference to anything. Ditto, SCORM. Or XFN.

What I do agree is that there needs to be some kind of standard that reliably covers the sort of data FOAF was meant to represent, in a flexible way.

Widgets. Dashboard, anyone? Watch out for the profile in version 0.8.

Messages and meta networks You’ve got me there. I’m not really sure what you mean by meta-networks – networks of networks – but there’s a portal for Elgg social networks on the cards.

Full media galleries (video, audio and photos) We’ve got a flexible system that allows anyone to create any kind of file folder. The example one we’ve provided is a photo gallery, and don’t worry – the podcast folder, and a folder that will automatically convert videos to FLV movies you can play straight from the browser, a la Youtube, are coming soon.

MySpace-in-a-Box We have that, and more. Although, compared to Myspace, Elgg users are a lot less likely to show various parts of their body in their photo gallery (whether this is a good or bad thing is up to your personal preferences).

Now, what we also have is a developer community, the ability for anyone to take our software and build it into something that fits their needs for free, and the kind of responsiveness and flexibility that only open source software can provide.

And a promise that I will never, ever, ever sing for you. Probably.

Update: As Dave points out, the real winners here are users. Choice, and competition, can only be a good thing.

Image is by Tom Raftery, and included largely because Marc put my photo on his post.

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