Here’s a little thing that I thought was inventive and sort of charming. There’s an app called Kosmos that lets you render OpenStreetMap maps at high resolution on your desktop. (This might be useful if you were… say… making a map for a book…)
Of course, the map rendering rules are insanely granular and configurable—colors, borders, line weights, symbols, labels, do you want to show cow-paths, etc.
Instead of presenting a UI for those rules, Kosmos reads in a big rules file. So far, this sounds like the setup for an awful experience, right? Very developer-y, very command-line-y.
Except that Kosmos can read a rules file from a URL, too. In fact, your rules file is supposed to come from a URL. Specifically, it’s supposed to come from the OpenStreetMap wiki. Here’s how it works: You find an existing rules file that you like. You copy it into a new wiki page of your own (here’s mine). Modify as needed. And then, list it for others to use.
Kinda cool, right? Public preset-sharing in the cloud.
For some reason, the fact that Kosmos is specifically designed to read its rules in wiki-page format really delights me. It’s like writing a letter to your software. “Dear MySQL. How are you? I would like to request the following database tables.”
As another example, Adobe’s Kuler collaborative color-palette sharing system is integrated right into Photoshop, and it’s cool for a lot of the same reasons. But Kosmos has a special home-grown, copy-and-paste charm.