"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, January 03, 2004

Small pieces loosely joined, but how?

Just some thoughts on my current favorite hammer and nail, the XML-based nested tuple space and some coordination systems I'd like to know more about...

It seems to [Tim O'Reilly] that the original Unix/Linux architecture, and the architecture of the internet, are based on a model of "small pieces loosely joined" (to quote David Weinberger). Web services can also operate on this model. However, there are alternate visions, including .Net and J2EE, in which there is a quest for "one ring to bind them all."

Tim also wishes that Nat Friedman (of Novell/Ximian) would finish up Dashboard for Linux

I'd like to learn more about Dashboard in 2004. In fact there are three "connecting" systems I'm wondering about...

Central and Groove do many things, but to boil them down to their essence, at least the parts that interest me most right now, I would say the following. Central provides awareness of selected information among a set of Internet-enabled applications all under my control. Groove provides awareness of distributed actions among a set of shared Internet-enabled applications under a small community's control.

Dashboard on the other hand peeks into the more or less internal information of less deliverately cooperative applications.

Kind of the downside of each of these, from my cursory understanding, is that these underlying connecting mechanisms are each tied to larger frameworks. Apps in Central almost have to be Flash from top to bottom as far as I can tell. Apps in Groove have to be Windows based or at least use SOAP to get to Groove on Windows.

Apps in Dashboard... there are no apps "in" Dashboard from what I can tell. But Dashboard has to be able to peek into the apps your interested in, and they seem to have to run on Linux.

Would each of these capabilities benefit from more loosely coupled "connective tissue"?

Central-like connections could be made by having any application's selections be published to a local blackboard (aka nested tuple space).

Groove-like connections could be made by having the distributed applications communicate by implementing persistent shared spaces and/or queues (aka nested tuple space).

And Dashboard... perhaps Dashboard-like connections would be enabled to work with any app that uses a local searchable tree as its working memory (aka nested tuple space).

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.