Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Next Frontier

Outlines have been a popular way to organize information on computers for a long time. While the history of outlining software is unclear, a rough timeline is possible.

Probably the first outliner was developed by Doug Engelbart, as part of the Augment system in the 1960s.

Living Videotext, 1981-87, developed several popular outliners for personal computers. They are archived on a UserLand website,

Dave Winer was the first programmer to bring outlining to the desktop for non-programming use.
ThinkTank and MORE were some of his killer applications in their own space, leading to widespread use of the outlining phylosophy.

He wrote or contributed to a number of relevant specifications, including SOAP, XML-RPC, RSS and OPML.

SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol to let applications exchange information over HTTP.
XML-RPC A remote procedure call protocol encoded in XML. It became what is now SOAP
OPMLOutline Processor Markup Language is an XML format for outlines
RSS A family of XML file formats for Web syndication

XML 1.0, the format that OPML is based on, is a recommendation of the W3C.

Frontier, first shipped in 1992, is built around outlining. The text, menu and script editors in Frontier are outliners, as is the object database browser.
A high performance Web content management, object database, system-level and Internet scripting environment, including source code editing and debugging.
Dave Winner explained the rationale for releasing Frontier as open source on Scripting News on May 17, 2004.

Frontier Kernel
Developing the Frontier kernel in the 21st Century

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