Tag Archives: collaboration

The optimism of a pull request

I was getting old yesterday,with pessimism taking over. But then there’s that Git pull request on your open source project, from an Argentinian developer you don’t know at all. And you discuss the idea and together you build on it, step by step and the merged result is an enrichment not only for your little software-project, but also for you personally. Because it reminds you that too is the web; a place where people collaborate for nothing but the selfless desire to improve things. Thanks for reminding me Pablo!

Obliterating your content with Google Wave

Als je hier terecht gekomen bent op zoek naar een Wave invite, klik dan door naar deze blogpost.


Google Wave is not a content management system. By far. Sure there’s content, but you can’t manage it, you can just release it to the world and hope it doesn’t get obliterated. The current pre-beta implementation indeed lacks some important functionality, rendering the platform useless for anything more than small-time collaboration and chatty communication.

So what is wrong with Wave? Well, basically, there’s a complete lack of rights management. If you start a wave and invite 5 people to participate, all of them immediately have full access. If you make a wave public, everyone has full read/write permissions. There is no official way to make a wave read-only. So from the moment others have access to your wave, your wave isn’t yours any more. That’s might be OK when you’re collaborating with people you know and trust, but if you want to use it for anything more, you’re bound to run into serious trouble.

But wait, the same is the case in the biggest collaborative platform of them all! Because on Wikipedia anyone can read and write everything as well, no? Well, not entirely. Besides the fact that Wikipedia can (and does) protect specific pages, there is another important difference; Wikipedia allows anyone to view and compare revisions and to easily undo or roll back changes to a previous version. Wave, on the other hand, only has the nifty but otherwise rather useless playback-feature. Period. You can playback a wave, you can see the damage being done before your very eyes, but there’s no ‘undo’, there’s no rollback.

So a fellow waver messes up your darling wave and you undid the damage by hand, deleting the garbage and copy/pasting your own undoubtedly valuable content back in. And off course you want to remove the vandal from your wave and … that is not possible. There currently is no means to “kickban” a malicious participant from your wave.

And to finish things up; once you and your fellow wavers finished collaborating and have something that outside world should see, there’s no way to publish that content for non-Wavers. You’ll have to resort to old-fashioned copy/paste to allow others to access your content.

So to summarize; once you add people to your wave, you’re completely at their mercy! There’s no permissions, no workflow and no versioning. And oh, you can’t make your content available for the whole world to see either. But hey, Google makes that lack of basic content management functionality sure look sexy, don’t they?