[uf-new] New uF: Version
mephtu at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 8 14:36:00 PDT 2008
From: Scott Reynen <scott at makedatamakesense.com>
To: For discussion of new microformats. <microformats-new at microformats.org>
Sent: Friday, August 8, 2008 8:19:50 AM
Subject: Re: [uf-new] New uF: Version
On [Aug 7], at [ Aug 7] 5:03 , Samuel Richter wrote:
> What about a version microformat. Something like this:
> for tagging versioned files. Keeping software up to date can be a
> hassle. By placing version information on download websites, this
> process can be automated. Please respond.
Let's talk about the general concept first. If it seems worth
pursuing, we'll get into markup later.
I guess I'm not yet convinced by your use case here. An application
would periodically reload the web page for each application to see if
it's been updated? How would the appropriate web pages be
identified? Maybe you could walk us through the entire process of how
you see this working? And how would this system compare to existing
software update systems? Most of the software I use already checks
for automatic updates.
Also, do you have any additional use cases in mind for this?
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Well, what I see is a consolidation of the update process. First, it seems to me that having each software package with its own update mechanism is a duplication of effort and a not very efficient use of space. Second, there are plenty of open source packages, Apache, PHP, etc. which don't have an automated update mechanism. Third, by formalizing the version information for software packages on their web pages, an update service running in the OS could periodically check the web page for updates. As far as real world examples go, there was an article in Dr. Dobb's Journal a few months ago featuring a piece of software somebody wrote to scrape version information off of these web pages using regular expressions (cf. http://www.ddj.com/architect/206503286). This approach, however, is subject to breakage as conventions change.
In short, the immediate(?) outcome of having this type of microformat could be a centralized update mechanism which would be automated by a standardization of the version information. Using firefox plugins like Operator, clicking on a download link with the version microformat could interface with the update server, register the software package with it, periodically checking the page for updates and making installations as controlled by the user.
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