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Joel on Software

31

by Joel Spolsky
Friday, October 31, 2003

URLs are clickable in the forums, again. We turned it off temporarily because of a new technique called blog comment spam ... basically, robots which post URLs to blog comments in order to improve that URL's page rank with Google, which is determined, among other things, by the number, PageRank, and diversity of incoming links.

We've reengineered it so that URLs become links to a redirect server hosted by Fog Creek which, we hope, means that posting a URL in our discussion group will not boost its PageRank.

Microsoft PDC

The Microsoft PDC is over. I loved having an opportunity to talk to so many of you in person at the Apress booth.

The PDC consisted mostly of what used to be called vaporware: preannouncements of cool products that are years and years away. But cool products they are, indeed. XAML is lightyears ahead of the old GDI/USER style of programming the user interface. WinFS, the new filesystem, means you never have to decide whether to use a relational database or a big-mess-of-files. In WinFS a file is a database row, with arbitrary fields, and you can run efficient SELECT statements on files. No, none of this is brand new. XAML's vector oriented display model reminds me of an XML version of NeWS (15 years old). BeOS apparently used to have the ability to add attributes to files which were indexed and queryable.

And, no, none of this works today. There's a prerelease version of Longhorn available, but many aspects of the design are sure to change before the beta, currently scheduled for "about a year from now," with the final operating system shipping "about two years from now," which means nobody will actually have Longhorn for about three years, if Microsoft keeps their schedule, which they won't.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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