Dave Winer (born May 2, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York City, USA) is an American software developer and entrepreneur in Berkeley, California. A pioneer in the areas of RSS as "Really Simple Syndication", XML-RPC, OPML, outliners, and the MetaWeblog API, he is also the author of Scripting News, one of the oldest weblogs, established in 1997. He is generally credited with the exposition of RSS as "Really Simple Syndication", now a world-wide phenomenon, and the first to implement the feed "enclosure" feature, one of several necessary ingredients for podcasting at the time it first emerged. He's also the founder of the software companies Living Videotext and Userland Software, and a former contributing editor for the Web site HotWired and former research fellow at Harvard Law School.
In 1994 Winer began publishing his personal column DaveNet, and in April 1997 founded the weblog Scripting News, although the word "weblog" was not coined at that time. The focus on blogging influenced the development of Userland online publishing products, with Winer enthusiastically promoting and experimenting with new features on his blog and website. During this period, Winer also, along with Microsoft, developed the protocol XML-RPC, which led to the creation of SOAP, which he co-authored along with Don Box, Bob Atkinson, and Mohsen Al-Ghosein at Microsoft.
The origins of web syndication technology can be traced back to earlier resource-description formats like MCF, XML, and RDF. In 1997, Dave Winer designed and announced his own XML syndication format for use on his Scripting News weblog. (Similar work was also being done elsewhere--for more detail of work by others see the main article on History of web syndication technology.)
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 History of podcasting for information about podcasting and RSS, as well as the work of many other people in early audioblogging and podcasting.)
Winer and Userland continued to develop the branch of the RSS fork originating from their RSS 0.92, releasing in 2002 a version called RSS 2.0..
Winer's evangelism for web syndication in general and RSS 2.0 in particular convinced many news media organizations to syndicate their news content in that format. For example, in early 2002, the New York Times entered an agreement with Userland to syndicate many of their articles in RSS 2.0 format.
In June 2002 Winer had coronary artery bypass surgery to prevent a heart attack. Afterwards, he quit smoking and left his job as CEO of UserLand, although he maintained ownership of the firm and control of Weblogs.com, kept blogging, and kept promoting RSS.
For its first two years, the enclosure element had relatively few users and many developers simply avoided using it. Winer's company incorporated the new feature in its weblogging product, Radio Userland, the program favored by Curry, audioblogger Harold Gilchrist and others. Since Radio Userland had a built-in aggregator, it provided both the "send" and "receive" components of what was then called audioblogging. All that was needed for "podcasting" was a way to automatically move audio files from Radio Userland's download folder to an audio player (either software or hardware) -- along with enough compelling audio to make such automation worth the trouble.
Winer also has an occasional podcast, Morning Coffee Notes. His podcast has featured guests such as Doc Searls, Mike Kowalchik, Jason Calacanis, Steve Gillmor, Peter Rojas, Cecile Andrews, Adam Curry, Betsy Devine and others.
In October, 2005, VeriSign bought the Weblogs.com ping-server from Winer, promising that services currently free there would still be free. The podcasting-related web site audio.weblogs.com was also included in the $2.3 million deal .
A later collaboration between Winer and Cadenhead, though, ended less happily. Winer had paid Cadenhead $5,000 to code improvements for another of Winer's projects, "Share Your OPML." (The site helped bloggers to make public and syndicate their blogrolls using OPML, an outlining tool developed at Radio Userland during Winer's years there.) Disagreement between the two escalated into a (blogged) confrontation which ended in 2006 with Cadenhead's keeping the $5,000 but abandoning all claim to the disputed code.
Others speak of Winer with admiration and affection. "Dave is one of my favorite sources of information and opinion on the Web. His opinions are passionately held, well-informed, intelligent, argumentative, and quite often wrong," quipped Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Doc Searls, a long-time friend of Dave Winer, expressed his sense of indebtedness in some detail: "When they scroll the credits of my life, Dave's is going to be one of the first names on the list. And when they scroll the credits for blogging, outlining, writing, scripting, journalism, XML, RSS, SOAP, podcasting and a pile of other technologies, standards and practices we will all eventually take for granted, the same will be true for those as well."
After a public confrontation with entrepreneur Jason Calacanis at the Gnomedex conference in August 2007, Winer resigned from the panel of experts for the TechCrunch20 conference organized by Calacanis. Winer interrupted Calacanis' speech during the event, deriding it as "conference spam" and igniting a war of words on their blogs. "I'm not interested in having someone berate me like this," Calacanis wrote on his blog.