Noteworthy is an interesting tool, in that people are able to use it as a central repository for a great deal of information. This information can come in the form of blog posts, Tweets, IRC logs, and just about anything else that can be stored as text. One of the advantages of a system like this is that people are given the opportunity to quickly search, manipulate, and otherwise display information from a database containing a great deal of disparate information in a clear and simple fashion. I use the search bar on this site to look up things I've written before going to Google because Google just isn't specific enough when it comes to my content. I look forward to enabling other people to enjoy the same luxury. Kenji and I were discussing the project a bit yesterday and he asked a question that I've considered several times myself: would I save people the time and hassle of configuring their own API by simply hosting everything myself?
Building Another Blogging Network?
There are a number of advantages to building a blogging network that integrates with Evernote. I may get to earn some street cred in the blogging community. If I hosted the network, I'd be able to create some sort of revenue stream1. The ability to see firsthand what some of the different note formats look like would also be helpful in creating the appropriate filters to translate Evernote's HTML to HTML HTML2.
That said there's something about my servers accessing other people's Evernote accounts to synchronize their content that scares me. When I'm asked to do things for people and it involves sharing password information, I get nervous. I have never, and will never, abuse this level of trust thalt people put in me. But I am uncomfortable with the knowledge that people have put their faith in my ability to keep their information safe. Information that could have life-altering consequences should it be abused.
Let's examine what I store in Evernote as an example. As of this writing I have several thousand records in Evernote which include:
- medical records
- scans of paychecks from five companies
- scans of taxation records for six years
- scans of government forms
- scans of federally-issued ID
- software ideas and concepts
- Japanese study notes
- client notes
- blog posts
- saved web pages
- photos of the various train stations that I've visited over the years
... and that's just what I've managed to do in less than two years. Evernote's been around for quite a bit longer, and some people undoubtedly post a whole heck of a lot more to the company's servers.
When Noteworthy connects to the Evernote servers, it checks which notebooks need to be synchronized and downloads all of the appropriate information from there. If my servers were to have access to a person's account, what would stop me from downloading absolutely everything a person might have stored in the cloud?
Absolutely nothing. I would have full access to their account because we can't, yet, give an application access to specific notebooks in Evernote.
Are there ways around this? Absolutely. A person could simply give Noteworthy a link to a publicly shared folder and the API will poll that content on a set schedule. That said, this is not exactly the most elegant way to maintain a blog.
For the first few releases of Noteworthy, I strongly believe that people will need to host the software on their own servers. If they choose to run a blog network using Noteworthy3, then that will be up to them. At this point, however, I am not comfortable with the idea of having access to people's information or storing content that is not mine. This isn't due to legal ramifications or anything of that sort; it's due to my comfort level with other people's trust. I work hard to earn it, and the last thing I want is some poor block of code to ruin years of relationship building.