Content Management Systems, and Google Web Accelerator
MattWilcox.net and CMS’s
Well, I have more or less decided I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and re-code MattWilcox.net again. I can’t face losing all the content from the last three or four years by shifting over to WordPress, or TextPattern, or Movable Type, or Symphony - as great as those applications are, and as much as I’d like to play with all of them. As I’ve said before, I’m a geek at heart and I like to know exactly what’s going on in the code. Using a third party system means I don’t know what’s going on, and most of those applications are produced by some seriously talented experts who use techniques I can’t understand yet. Also, if a feature of those applications is good enough to intrigue me then I’ll learn it for myself and bolt it into MattWilcox.net (as I did by adding RSS support, and before that by adding a comment system). That way I get to understand how it all works. I definitely have intentions to ‘get in bed’ with this new-fangled AJAX stuff myself, once I receive my new book.
Having said all that I’m still keeping my eye on Symphony and TextPattern, both of which look like very clever applications that I could use in future projects. If there wasn’t all my back-content to consider I’d likely use one of the two to power this website. In fact I might see if porting back content is feasible with these two…
Google Web Accelerator: do no evil?
As many of you will know by now (especially if you keep track of my ‘Of The Moment’ column on the homepage) Google have released a new tool by way of their Google Labs Beta program: the Google Web Accelerator. For once, I think Google have broken with their motto: ‘Do no Evil’. I’ve been following the blogosphere closely on this one, and it’s kicking up one hell of a fuss.
It gets worse. Remember how Google own a copy of anything you view through the utility? It all gets indexed for search too - which means any PM you read is freely available to anyone who searches for it. As is all your email. As is anything else you look at which could be private material. Google claim to not cache https:// links, so in theory your bank account details ought not be stored - but there have been whispers of errors on this.
Clearly this utility creates some seriously big problems. It will break a lot of Web Applications, delete content, and completely bypasses your privacy. What’s even worse is the very concept of what it aims to achieve is critically flawed. By clicking on every link on every page you visit in order to cache it the Accelerator actually increases traffic to the site by orders of magnitude - which makes the site slower. It also skews advertising revenue by generating huge quantities of false clicks. And if a user views your webpage - well, Google now own a copy of whatever content there is on that page. google doesn’t look at when a webpage was last updated either, and users can end up looking at out of date copies of your webpage as served by Google Cache rather than your real one - and the end user will not know.
Google are trying to address a problem which doesn’t even exist - I don’t know about you, but viewing pages on broadband is not slow, and even if you feel it were, retrieving the page from Google’s cache instead of the real site will only shave a few percentage points off speed. It feels more like Google is trying to create it’s own copy of the Internet, which it will then own, as opposed to helping Internet users.