Monday, December 15, 2008

Be Open

I usually am the kind of guy that is easy going and is willing to bend my principles for good reason. But I was greatly annoyed today at instances around the internet where content providers still put content out there in closed formats.

In this day and age of open systems, collaboration and standards, I wonder why this is so. There I was trying to go through my mailbox and sort the chaff from the important stuff. I stumbled upon an email from SpringSource and I was interested in seeing a past webinar about their tweaks to the Tomcat application server that we all know and love. Err wrong! I couldn't or lost the appetite to continue, as they had decided in their infinite wisdom that we all had to be Windows users or that our playback kit on our computers had to understand Windows Media Video.

Why they couldn't support a format like MPEG-4 beats me. They had in making this decision put up a hurdle to my use of the webinar content, along with any sales they may or may not have made as a result of my accessing it.

My advice to them would be, to become a bit more open and aware of the content they put out there, especially seeing that they play in a market that prides itself on open, collaborative standards. I will be assuming this is an oversight, unlike a similar oddity from Yahoo! with their launchCAST offering (rebranded as Yahoo! Music), which one would expect they would have redesigned as well to support Flash and standard JavaScript.

They lost the chance to turn me into a user of the past webinars part of their site. To turn 1st time users of your application (web site and other content included) into return/repeat users, take Joshua Porter's advice in Designing for the Social Web - get out of their way! In this specific case getting out of their way is being open.

'Nuff said.