Welcome to The Cafes

Welcome to The Cafes, a new site from Elliotte Rusty Harold for content that’s longer than a blog posting and shorter than a book.

This site is currently alpha at best. While I encourage you to bang on it, please do not expect it to be stable, at least not yet. As The Mythical Man-Month taught us, “Plan to throw one away. You will anyway.” This is the one I plan to throw away. If you post really long, well thought-out comments, please, please, please save your work on your local system first. I make no promises that early comments will be preserved here or even accepted into the database in the first place. The comments system is held together by duct tape and spackle (and PHP, and MySQL, and a few other tools). Even if it actually works for long enough for a comment to be posted, the likelihood I’ll be able to preserve all those comments over a period of years or even weeks is not good. I expect I will need to do major reengineering on the back end sooner rather than later that may involve throwing it out and starting over from scratch.

Given these admitted problems, why roll my own system from scratch rather than use any of the much better engineered open source systems? The answer will be found not in the back end but the front end, which in at least one crucial way is going to be a huge leap forward from any commenting system I’ve ever seen. Of course, after I reveal it to the world, I’m sure somebody’s going to point out that www.somewhere.I’ve.never.seen.org has been doing exactly this for the last six years; but none of the content management