Don Box on SOAP
: "Who all was involved in the Web service SOAP spec, including Microsoft?"
: "So, in March or April of 1998 I got a call from a buddy of mine who was running COM at the time here at Microsoft. He called me up and said, 'Look, we need to do some XML replacement for DCOM... or at least have a more Web-friendly alternative. Do you want to come up and help out?' And I jumped on it because I had worked on the DCOM on Unix project. And, while the engineering was actually reasonable, the problem was that there was such a culture shock getting COM to work on Unix, to make DCOM work. I wanted that vision to pan out, but it was obvious that [DCOM on Unix] wasn't the path to getting there. So, I thought 'yeah, that's a reasonable thing to come up and spend some time on.'
"So it was Bob Atkinson and Mohsen Al-Ghosein from Microsoft, It was me- and at the time I worked at Developmentor, and it was also Dave Winer who is pretty well-known nowadays for doing RSS (Really Simple Syndication). But at the time he was building content management systems based on a scripting engine he had, and he wanted again to do this sort-of cross-machine scripting.
"We got together for few days in Redmond, sketched out what we wanted it to look like, went back to our collective corners and got Interop up and running pretty quickly actually. Then we wrote a spec, and it sat for a year and a half without any public movement. Then we reformed the band in September of 1999 and that's when we really started in earnest trying to push the thing out the door."
Carl: "So it started at Microsoft..."
Don: "Well, the first meeting was at Microsoft."
Carl: "And then somewhere along the line, IBM got involved, and some other companies?"
Don: "We did SOAP 1.0 with just the three companies: UserLand, Microsoft, and Developmentor. With SOAP 1.1 Microsoft was able to convince IBM that this would be a good thing to do, so we brought Noah Mendelsohn and Dave Ehnebuske on from IBM for the SOAP 1.1 spec, which is the one that most people are actually familiar with, and that was the one that got submitted to the W3C."
Alan Cooper on Showing Ruby (pre-VB 1.0) to Bill Gates
Mark: "What was Bill Gates' initial reaction when you showed him Ruby?"
Alan: "Oh it was great, I have to say it was truly great, I was in a conference room and he had brought about a dozen of his druggies in with him. Most of them did not really get it, and still don't. So they started to kinda throw rocks at it, and Bill got it right away. At one point one of them made a nasty remark of what good is this anyway. I was inhaling to respond to this and Bill turned around and starts explaining MY program to him. I thought, 'Yes, this is good.'"
Mark: "That's so cool, Bill got it immediately then."
Alan: "In fact, he got it more than I did!"
Carl: "Well Bill has always loved Basic every since the Altair days when he wrote a Basic compiler. He has always had a thing for Basic."
Alan: "I saw the product as a shell but Bill said 'this is going to affect our whole product line.' I thought... thanks for the compliment, doesn't mean anything, but that is why he is the richest man in the world, because in a couple of minutes he saw that.
"I do want to tell you another thing that happened in that meeting that I'm very proud of. At one point I showed Bill Gates animation, nobody had ever done animation on a Windows screen before. I wrote my own utilities to do sprite animation and I started to drag something across the screen and Bill goes 'How did you do that?' What would you say to a question like that from Bill Gates?
"I said the only thing I couldMAGIC!"