As Time Goes By, It Makes a World of Diff

Prompted by a DevCSI Developer Focus Group conference call just now, I had a quick look through the list of Bounty competition entries (and the winners to see whether there was any code that that might be fun to play with.

One app that’s quite fun is a simple app by Chris Gutteridge (Wayback/Memento Animation) that animates the history of a website using archived copies of the site from the Wayback Machine. So for example, here’s the animated history of the OU home page

And here are links to the history of the current Labour Party and Conservative Party domains: The animated history of: http://www.labour.org.uk/ and The animated history of: http://www.conservatives.com/.

The app will also animate changes from a MediaWiki wiki as this link demonstrates: Dev8D wiki changes over time.

(I can’t help thinking it needs: a) a pause button, so at least you can scroll up and down a page, if not explore the site; and b) a bookmarklet, to make it easier to get a site into the replayer;-)

The Dev8D pages also suggest a “Web Diff” app was entered in one of the challenges, but I couldn’t see a link to the app anywhere?

Diffs have been on my mind lately in a slightly different context, in particular relating to the changes made to the Digital Economy Bill on the various stages it went through as it passed through the Lords, but here again a developer challenge event turned up the goods, in this case the Rewired State: dotgovlabs held last Saturday and @1jh’s Parliamentary Bill analyser:

So for example, if we compare the Digital Economy Bill as introduced to the Lords:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldbills/001/10001.i-ii.html
and the version that was passed to the Commons:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmbills/089/10089.i-iii.html
here’s what we get:

Luvverly stuff :-)

PS @cogdog beats me to it again in a comment to Reversible, Reverse History and Side-by-Side Storytelling, specifically: “maybe this is like watching Memento backwards?” Which is to say, maybe the Wayback/Memento Animation should have a “play backwards” switch? And of course, this being a Chris Gutteridge production, it has. So for example, going back in time with the JISC home page

(Sob, I have no original ideas any more, and can’t even think of them before other people do, let alone implement them…;-(

One comment

  1. Alan Levine

    I love the history of web site animation. IMHO, it ought to be built into the Internet Archivs, woudst I have Brewster’s ear (as a side, I smiled at the name of the server, “graphite”, back when I was setting up servers at maricopa, all of mine were minerals, I had zircon, quartz, ruby, jade…)

    Actually in addition to a reverse play, would be a desire to have a scrubber bar, so you can jog to anywhere in the range, like Google Wave or EtherPad had/has.

    And shoot, Tony, I am about a million ideas behind you ;-)