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Dave Winer

Dave Winer
Dave Winer circa 2007
Born (1955-05-02) May 2, 1955
Brooklyn, New York City, USA
Residence USA
Known for
recorded October 2012

Dave Winer (born May 2, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York City) is an American software developer, entrepreneur and writer in New York City.[1] Winer is noted for his contributions to outliners, scripting, content management, and web services, as well as blogging and podcasting. He is the founder of the software companies Living Videotext, Userland Software and Small Picture Inc.,[2] a former contributing editor for the Web magazine HotWired, the author of the Scripting News[3] weblog, a former research fellow at Harvard Law School, and current visiting scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.


  • Family background and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Early work in outliners 2.1
    • Years at UserLand 2.2
    • Writer 2.3
    • Berkman Fellow at Harvard 2.4
    • Visiting Scholar at New York University 2.5
    • Return to Outliners 2.6
  • Projects and activities 3
    • 24 Hours of Democracy 3.1
    • Edit This Page 3.2
    • Podcasting 3.3
    • BloggerCon 3.4
    • 3.5
    • Share your OPML 3.6
    • Rebooting the News 3.7
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Family background and education

Winer was born on May 2, 1955, in Brooklyn, New York City, the son of Eve Winer, Ph.D., a school psychologist, and Leon Winer, Ph.D., a former professor of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Winer is also the grandnephew of German novelist Arno Schmidt and a relative of Hedy Lamarr.[4] He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1972.[5] Winer received a BA in Mathematics from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1976. In 1978 he received an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Early work in outliners

In 1979 Dave Winer became an employee of Personal Software, where he worked on his own product idea named VisiText, which was his first attempt to build a commercial product around an "expand and collapse" outline display[6] and which ultimately established outliners as a software product. In 1981 he left the company and founded Living Videotext to develop this still-unfinished product. The company was based in Mountain View, CA, and grew to more than 50 employees.[6]

ThinkTank, which was based on VisiText, was released in 1983 for Apple II and was promoted as an "idea processor."[7] It became the "first popular outline processor, the one that made the term generic."[8] A ThinkTank release for the IBM PC followed in 1984, as well as releases for the Macintosh 128K and 512K.[9] Ready, a RAM resident outliner for the IBM PC released in 1985, was commercially successful but soon succumbed to the competing Sidekick product by Borland.[10] MORE, released for Apple's Macintosh in 1986, combined an outliner and a presentation program. It became "uncontested in the marketplace"[11] and won the MacUser's Editor's Choice Award for "Best Product" in 1986.[12]

In 1987, at the height of his company's success, Winer sold Living Videotext to Symantec[13] for an undisclosed but substantial transfer of stock[14] that "made his fortune."[15] Winer continued to work at Symantec's Living Videotext division, but after six months he left the company in pursuit of other challenges.[6]

Years at UserLand

Winer founded Userland Software in 1988[11] and served as the company's CEO until 2002.

UserLand's original flagship product, Frontier, was a system-level scripting environment for the Mac, Winer's pioneering weblog, Scripting News, takes its name from this early interest. Frontier was an outliner-based scripting language, echoing Winer's longstanding interest in outliners and anticipating code-folding editors of the late 1990s. Winer became interested in web publishing while helping automate the production process of the strikers' online newspaper during San Francisco's newspaper strike of November 1994,[16] According to Newsweek, through this experience, he "revolutionized Net publishing."[17] Winer subsequently shifted the company's focus to online publishing products, enthusiastically promoting and experimenting with these products while building his websites and developing new features. One of these products was Frontier's NewsPage Suite of 1997, which supported the publication of Winer's Scripting News and was adopted by a handful of users who "began playing around with their own sites in the Scripting News vein."[18] These users included notably Chris Gulker and Jorn Barger, who envisaged blogging as a networked practice among users of the software.[19]

In 1997 Winer was appointed advisor to Seybold Seminars due to his "pioneering work in web-based publishing systems."[20] Keen to enter the "competitive arena of high-end Web development,"[21] Winer then came to collaborate with Microsoft and jointly developed the XML-RPC protocol. This led to the creation of SOAP, which he co-authored with Microsoft's Don Box, Bob Atkinson, and Mohsen Al-Ghosein.

In December 1997, acting on the desire to "offer much more timely information,"[22] Winer designed and implemented an

  • Scripting News Dave Winer's weblog
  • Dave Winer on Twitter
  • CV and autobiographical sketch
  • Dave Winer's company
  • Frontier developer site
  • Useem, Jerry (2000-10-30). "Dot-Coms: What Have We Learned? Profile: David Winer". Fortune 142 (10). Archived from the original on 2000-11-10. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  • Winer, Dave (2004-07-29). The Gillmor Gang: This week's special guest is Dave Winer. Podcast with Doc Searls, Jon Udell, Dana Gardner. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  • Winer, Dave (2005-09-06). Dave Winer: Father of RSS and Web Logging. Video with Robert Cringely. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  • Winer, Dave (2006-04-20). Interview with Dave Winer. Video with Amanda Congdon. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 

External links

  1. ^ Winer, Dave (2010-06-20). "Getting back to New York". Scripting News. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  2. ^ "Dave Winer debuts 'classic' Little Outliner". CNET. March 25, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Winer, Dave. "Scripting News". 
  4. ^ Winer, Dave (1994-12-27). "Spindler Speaks!". DaveNet. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  5. ^ a b Dave Winer's Personal Website: Curriculum Vitae
  6. ^ a b c  
  7. ^ Sandberg-Diment, Erik (1983-05-17). "'First idea processor'". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  8. ^ Sandberg-Diment, Erik (1986-04-01). "New Software for making note scribbling easier". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  9. ^ Bartimo, Jim (February 25, 1985). "Macintosh: Success and disappointment". Infoworld 7 (8). p. 32. 
  10. ^ Winer, Dave (1995-04-12). "Get up, and do it again". DaveNet. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  11. ^ a b Winer, Dave (1988). "Outliners & Programming". Userland. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  12. ^ "Eddy Awards 1986". MacUser. 1986. Archived from the original on 2001-02-14. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  13. ^ Dyson, Esther (1987-07-09). "Critical Mass". Release 1.0. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Software Units Plan to Merge". New York Times. 1987-07-09. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  15. ^ a b  
  16. ^ a b Rosenberg, Scott (2009-06-16). "The unedited voice of a person: Dave Winer". Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters (eBook ed.). New York: Crown. p. 50.  
  17. ^ "50 For The Future". Newsweek. 1995-02-27. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  18. ^ a b c d Rosenberg, Scott (2009-06-16). "The unedited voice of a person: Dave Winer". Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters (eBook ed.). New York: Crown. p. 59.  
  19. ^ Ammann, Rudolf (2009). "Proceedings of the 20th ACM conference on hypertext and hypermedia". Torino, Italy: ACM. pp. 279–288.  
  20. ^ "The Seybold Institute". Seybold Seminars. 1997. Archived from the original on 1997-10-18. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  21. ^ Morgenstern, David (1998-06-26). "Frontier blazing Internet trail". MacWeek. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  22. ^ Gillmor, Dan (1998-12-06). "Small portals prove that size matters". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  23. ^ Tim O'Reilly (2005-09-30). "Blogging and the Wisdom of Crowds". O'Reilly and Associates. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  24. ^ Winer, Dave (1997-12-15). "Scripting News in XML".  
  25. ^ RSS 2.0 specification
  26. ^ Kanes, Margaret (March 20, 2003). "Old data update tool gains new converts". CNET News. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  27. ^ " Expands Its RSS Feeds to 27 Categories". New York Times (press release). July 20, 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  28. ^ Festa, Paul (2003-08-04). "Dispute exposes bitter power struggle behind Web logs". CNET News. 
  29. ^ Gillmor, Dan (2004). "The Read-Write Web". We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  30. ^ a b c d Cone, Edward (May 2001). "Almost Famous". Wired 9 (5). Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  31. ^ Udell, Jon (2002-02-27). "Top ten technology innovators: Dave Winer". Infoworld. Archived from the original on 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  32. ^ Gillmor, Steve (January 3, 2003). "And the winner is ...". InfoWorld. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  33. ^ Winer, Dave (2007-03-12). "An untold story of UserLand". Scripting News. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  34. ^ Jones, K. C. (2008-07-31). "NowPublic Lists Silicon Valley's Most Influential Web Voices". Information Week. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  35. ^ Winer, DAve. "DaveNet". 
  36. ^ Markoff, John (2001-04-09). "An Internet Critic Who Is Not Shy About Ruffling the Big Names in High Technology". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  37. ^ Lappin, Todd (1995-05). "Davenet". Wired 3 (5). Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  38. ^ Nolan, Chris (1997-10-13). "Talk is Cheap". San Jose Mercury News (San Jose). 
  39. ^ Winer, Dave (1995-01-02). "What is an Agent?". DaveNet. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  40. ^ "Still Cool Archive". Cool Site of the Day. March 1995. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  41. ^ Einstein, David (1995-08-29). "Wozniak chastises his Apple: Biggest blunder was not sharing its OS". The San Francisco Chronicle (Final ed.) (San Francisco). pp. B1. 
  42. ^ Michalski, Jerry (1995-06-23). "What's a zine?". Release 1.0 13 (6). pp. 1–24. 
  43. ^ Brockman, John (1996). "The Lover". Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  44. ^ Gillmor, Dan (2004). "From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond". We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  45. ^ Gallagher, David F. (2002-06-10). "A rift among bloggers". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  46. ^ Ammann, Rudolf (2010-03-27). "Scripting News: Launched on 1 February 1997". Tawawa. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  47. ^ Mitchell, Dan (2006-12-02). "A Bubble Watcher Watches Google". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  48. ^ Gilbertson, Scott (2011-02-03). "A DIY Data Manifesto". Webmonkey. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  49. ^ Rosenberg, Scott (2009-06-16). "The unedited voice of a person: Dave Winer". Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters (eBook ed.). New York: Crown. p. 58.  
  50. ^ Paul Festa (2003-02-25). "Newsmaker: Blogging comes to Harvard as".  
  51. ^ "Weblogs at Harvard Law School". Harvard University. 
  52. ^ Lin, Sam J. (February 28, 2003). "'Blog' expert hopes to bring trend to Harvard". Harvard Crimson (Cambridge, Mass.). 
  53. ^ Rosen, Jay (2010-01-14). "Dave Winer, Welcome to NYU". Rebooting the News. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  54. ^ a b What is Fargo?
  55. ^ Little Outliner press guide
  56. ^ ""24 Hours In Democracy" Protests Telecom Act". Newsbytes. 1996-02-22. 
  57. ^ "Next Step on the Net". The Washington Post. 1996-02-26. pp. A18. 
  58. ^ Rosenberg, Scott (2009-06-16). "The unedited voice of a person: Dave Winer". Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters (eBook ed.). New York: Crown. pp. 47–69 [67].  
  59. ^ Stone, Biz (2002-09-11). Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content (1st edition ed.). New York: New Riders. p. 8.  
  60. ^ Winer, Dave (1999-12-08). "EditThisPage.Com". DaveNet. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  61. ^ Winer, Dave (2001-02-13). "How to Make Money on the Internet v2.0". DaveNet. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  62. ^ Kitchens, Susan A. (2005-11-28). "Bye bye, (free) Editthispage!". 20/20 Hindsight. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  63. ^ Chen, Brian X. (2004-08-13). "This Day In Tech - Podfather’ Adam Curry Launches Daily Source Code". Wired. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  64. ^ Naze, Jodie (October 27, 2004). "Podcasting: The latest buzz". Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  65. ^ Winer, Dave (2000-10-31). "Virtual Bandwidth". DaveNet. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  66. ^ Winer, Dave, 2000-12-25 RSS 0.92 Specification
  67. ^ Winer, Dave, 2000-12-27 Scripting News: Heads-up, I'm working on new features for RSS that build on 0.91. Calling it 0.92...
  68. ^ Winer, Dave (2001-01-11). "Payloads for RSS". The Two-Way Web. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  69. ^ Udell, Jon (2005-03-18). "Hypermedia: Why Now?". O'Reilly. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  70. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (2004-10-28). "New Food for IPods: Audio by Subscription". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  71. ^ Winer, Dave, 2001-01-11 Scripting News: Tonight's song on the Grateful Dead audio weblog is Truckin...
  72. ^ Curry, Adam, 2002-10-21 UserNum 1014: Cool to hear my own audio-blog...
  73. ^ Gilchrist, Harold 2002-10-27 Audioblog/Mobileblogging News this morning I'm experimenting with producing an audioblogging show...
  74. ^ Winer, Dave (2003-07-18). "How to support enclosures in aggregators". RSS 2.0 at Harvard Law. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  75. ^ Marks, Kevin (2003-10-04). "Bloggercon live video". Epeus' epigone. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  76. ^ Curry, Adam (2003-10-12). "RSS2iPod". Adam Curry's Weblog. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  77. ^ Hammersley, Ben (2004-02-12). "Audible revolution". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  78. ^ Winer, Dave. "An occasional podcast". Morning Coffee Notes. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  79. ^ Kramer, Staci D (2004-11-19). "Two Cities, Two Gatherings for Two Kinds of Content Creators". Online Journalism Review. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  80. ^ Lord, Timothy (2004-06-15). "Hosting Service Closes 3000 Blogs Without Notice". Slashdot. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  81. ^ Lord, Timothy (2005-06-17). "Slashback: Munich, Harlan, Alacrity". Slashdot. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  82. ^ Kramer, Staci D (2004-06-23). " Rises From the Flames". Wired. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  83. ^ Calore, Michael (2007-03-01). "Best Blogfights of 2006". Wired. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  84. ^ Naraine, Ryan (2005-10-06). "VeriSign Acquires Dave Winer's". Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  85. ^ Arrington, Michael (2006-05-07). "Share Your OPML". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  86. ^ Bellinger, Amy (2006-10-17). Getting Acquainted with OPML. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc. pp. 5–7.  
  87. ^ Winer, Dave (2008-01-23). ", retired". Scripting News. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  88. ^ Windsor, Tim (2009-04-20). "Rebooting The News: Dave Winer and Jay Rosen on saving journalism". » Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  89. ^ Rosen, Jay (2011-07-01). "We’re on summer break for a bit". » Rebooting the News. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 


Since 2009, Winer has collaborated with New York University's associate professor of journalism Jay Rosen on Rebooting the News, a weekly podcast on technology and innovation in journalism.[88] It was announced on July 1, 2011 that the show would be on break, as NYU itself was, from June to September. However, no new episodes have been released since, making show #94 released on May 23, 2011 the last.[89]

Rebooting the News

Winer opened his self-described "commons for sharing outlines, feeds, and taxonomy" in May 2006.[85] The site allowed users to publish and syndicate blogrolls and aggregator subscriptions using OPML.[86] Winer suspended its service in January 2008.[87]

Share your OPML provided a free ping-server used by many blogging applications, as well as free hosting to many bloggers. After leaving Userland, Winer claimed personal ownership of the site, and in mid-June 2004 he shut down its free blog-hosting service, citing lack of resources and personal problems.[80][81] A swift and orderly migration off Winer's server was facilitated by Rogers Cadenhead,[82] whom Winer then hired to port the server to a more stable platform.[83] In October, 2005, VeriSign bought the ping-server from Winer and promised that its free services would remain free. The podcasting-related web site was also included in the $2.3 million deal.[84]

BloggerCon is a user-focused conference for the blogger community. BloggerCon I (October 2003) and II (April 2004), were organized by Dave Winer and friends at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society in Cambridge, Mass. BloggerCon III met at Stanford Law School on November 6, 2004.[79]


Winer also has an occasional podcast, Morning Coffee Notes,[78] which has featured guests such as Doc Searls, Mike Kowalchik, Jason Calacanis, Steve Gillmor, Peter Rojas, Cecile Andrews, Adam Curry, Betsy Devine and others.[5]

Winer's weblogging product, Radio Userland, the program favored by Curry, had a built-in aggregator and thus provided both the "send" and "receive" components of what was then called audioblogging.[72][73] In July 2003 Winer challenged other aggregator developers to provide support for enclosures.[74] In October 2003, Kevin Marks demonstrated a script to download RSS enclosures and pass them to iTunes for transfer to an iPod.[75] Curry then offered an RSS-to-iPod script[76] that moved MP3 files from Radio UserLand to iTunes. The term "podcasting" was suggested by Ben Hammersley in February 2004.[77]

Winer has been given "credit for the invention of the podcasting model."[63] Having received user requests for audioblogging features since October 2000, especially from Adam Curry,[64][65] Winer decided to include new functionality in RSS 0.92[66] by defining a new element[67] called "enclosure,"[68][69][70] which would pass the address of a media file to the RSS aggregator. He demonstrated the RSS enclosure feature on January 11, 2001 by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News weblog.[71]


In December 1999, Winer became the "proprietor of a growing free blog service"[58] at,[59][60] hosting "approximately 20,000 sites"[61] in February 2001. The service closed in December 2005.[62]

Edit This Page

In February 1996, while working as a columnist for Communications Decency Act. As part of the protest, over 1,000 people, among them Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, posted essays to the Web on the subject of democracy, civil liberty and freedom of speech.[56][57]

24 Hours of Democracy

Projects and activities

On December 19, 2012,[54] Winer co-founded (with Kyle Shank) Small Picture, Inc., a corporation which builds two outlining products, Little Outliner and Fargo. Little Outliner, an entry-level outliner designed to teach new users about outliners,[55] launched on March 25, 2013. Fargo, the company's "primary product",[54] launched less than a month later, on April 17, 2013. Fargo is a browser-based outliner which stores the user's outlines in their Dropbox account. It is a free product; in the future, Small Picture may offer paid-for services to Fargo users.

Return to Outliners

In 2010 Winer was appointed Visiting Scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.[53]

Visiting Scholar at New York University

Winer spent one year as a resident fellow at the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he worked on using weblogs in education.[50] While there, he launched Weblogs at Harvard Law School[51] using UserLand software,[52] and held the first BloggerCon conferences. Winer's fellowship ended in June 2004.

Berkman Fellow at Harvard

Winer's Scripting News,[3] acclaimed as "one of the oldest blogs,"[45] launched in February 1997[18][46] and earned him titles such as "protoblogger"[47] and "forefather of blogging."[48] Scripting News started as "a home for links, offhand observations, and ephemera"[49] and allowed Winer to mix "his roles as a widely read pundit and an ambitious entrepreneur."[18] Offering an "as-it-happened portrait of the work of writing software for the Web in the 1990s,"[18] the site became an "established must-read for industry insiders."[30] Scripting News continues to be updated regularly.

Winer started DaveNet,[35] "a stream-of-consciousness newsletter distributed by e-mail"[36] in November 1994[37] and maintained Web archives of the "goofy and informative"[38] 800-word essays since January 1995,[39] which earned him a Cool Site of the Day award in March 1995.[40] From the start, the "Internet newsletter"[41] DaveNet was widely read among industry leaders and analysts,[42] who experienced it as a "real community."[43] Dissatisfied with the quality of the coverage that the Mac and, especially, his own Frontier software received in the trade press, Winer saw DaveNet as an opportunity to "bypass"[44] the conventional news channels of the software business. Satisfied with his success, he "reveled in the new direct email line he had established with his colleagues and peers, and in his ability to circumvent the media."[16] In the early years, Winer often used DaveNet to vent his grievances against Apple's management, and as a consequence of his strident criticism came to be seen as "the most notorious of the disgruntled Apple developers."[15] Redacted DaveNet columns were published weekly by the web magazine HotWired between June 1995 and May 1996.[30] DaveNet was discontinued in 2004.

As "one of the most prolific content generators in Web history,"[30] Winer has enjoyed a long career as a writer and has come to be counted among Silicon Valley's "most influential web voices."[34]


In June 2002 Winer underwent life-saving bypass surgery[32] to prevent a heart attack and as a consequence stepped down as CEO of UserLand shortly after.[33] He remained the firm's majority shareholder, however, and claimed personal ownership of

In February 2002 Winer was named one of the "Top Ten Technology Innovators" by InfoWorld.[31]

With products and services based on UserLand's Frontier system, Winer became a leader in blogging tools from 1999 onwards,[29] as well as a "leading evangelist of weblogs."[30] In 2000 Winer developed the Outline Processor Markup Language OPML, an XML format for outlines, which originally served as the native file format for Radio UserLand's outliner application and has since been adopted for other uses, the most common being to exchange lists of web feeds between web feed aggregators. UserLand was the first to add an "enclosure" tag in its RSS, modifying its blog software and its aggregator so that bloggers could easily link to an audio file (see podcasting and history of podcasting).

[28].Harvard University Winer resisted calls by technologists to have the shortcomings of RSS 2.0 improved. Instead, he froze the format and turned its ownership over to [27] entered an agreement with UserLand to syndicate many of their articles in RSS 2.0 format.New York Times For example, in early 2002 the [26]

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