Monday, October 18, 2004

The rise of the common coder

I almost feel guilty for putting this on the radar, for fear of it getting knocked down by stiff-collared boardroomers, but maybe the BBC will see the light.

Wikiproxy is from one of the guys behind the coding behind such jewels as Up My Street and They Work For You. What is it? Well, check out his full announcement complete with background ramble, but in a nutshell it allows you to browse BBC News On-line, but with outgoing links as appropriate to other fantastically useful services such as Wikipedia (for more info on a subject) and Technorati (so you can see who's linked to the story you're reading).

For a good example, try this "Army deployments 'not political'" story.

Complicated project? Not really. Certainly something that others can take and adapt to other sites/mirror if necessary.

Just as with They Work For You, I wonder just how much of a climate-change in terms of information-processing this represents. I want to believe that this is important, for two reasons. Firstly, it's a shift towards individuals and ad-hoc collections for data-handling and presentation - information as we, the public, want it, not as some far-off company want to hand it to us. Secondly, it's a push in the direction of the same big companies, to provide information in as open a form as possible, or failing that, to provide links to services that others find useful, all in the face of their corporate blandness.

Remembering back, this could be a repeat of the Odeon accessibility debacle. They may not have liked the accessible version, but it prompted a huge, concentrated outcry from all the disgruntled users, and maybe it had some effect. (We wait to see if an accessible booking form is on the way...)

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