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

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why Unix?

Why ask?

Bungle

Something screwy happened with blogger. I cannot tell, but I may have lost several comments from today. If you don't see yours and you are so motivated, please try again. Sorry.

Flair

Sun gets in the game of replacing java, at least on the desktop. I would *never* make the mistake of underestimating Dan Ingalls, now a Sun Distinguished Engineer and previously the primary implementor of Smalltalk at Xerox PARC, Apple, HP, and elsewhere up through and including Squeak.

"AJAX deals with all of the old way of doing things. It makes it simpler, which is great, but underneath it’s still all this junky HTML, Document Object Model, cross site scripting, all that stuff, where 30 years ago, we knew how to do that stuff cleanly with a dynamic programming language and a simple graphics model," Ingalls said.

I Love This

Adobe and MSFT going head to head, competing for the most appealing, most open, next-generation web client technology. All of a sudden the web is a lot more interesting than just tracking what ajax toolkits run in which versions of what browsers in order to get us more than green screens of zzzzzzzzzzz.

Browsers and HTML were great because they got the UI out of the widget builder era. All of a sudden there were no rules for how pleasingly creative a UI could be. But that was the 1990s.

Now the new tools are putting back good things from the structured graphics era, including those widgets, but they retain the creative flair of the HTML era.

Let the atom, json, structured graphics era begin!

Apollo May Become The Best Ajax Platform

James Robertson writes...

Microsoft is trying to create the kind of walled garden they stumbled into on the desktop out on the net. The problem is, a lot of us would rather develop/deploy on Linux (because it's easier to manage a Linux server remotely). At present, Silverlight is completely uninteresting if that's where you are, and they aren't likely to change that...

Adobe's Apollo, on the other hand - it's going to end up inside and outside. It's the game to watch, IMHO.

James on silverspoon vs. ajax...
Ajax doesn't limit you in the same ways.
And the cool thing about apollo is its support for flex *and* ajax. Apollo may become the *best* ajax platform. One, because it has all the other apollo features. Two, because it will be the *same* ajax environment on all platforms.

I think the ball is solidly in adobe's hands. It is their ball to drop. They can leverage their proprietary components and their open source directions into quite a sweet spot.

Pilgrimage to Someplace Better

Mark Pilgrim rants about something to do with Apollo, Flex, Flash, etc.

Not that Apollo is the final destination, but it is a helluva better step towards something useful than the place browsers seem to be going anytime soon.

These things *are* becoming more open and they are "on the web". And they are a helluva lot more programmable than browsers.

How long as SVG been around? And it can do what, again? With how much complexity?

Have fun. Fuzzy explains it.

HTTP Is Pushy

There's a lot of rest-related stuff about push vs. pull, and how pull is just fine. I really like Sean McGrath's recent explanation of rest. I am wondering about this one thing, though...

Is there a dramatically simpler solution to the push-centric, transactional, reliable once-and-only-once one that human language has a way of veering us towards?
Just a thought: rest emphasizes that "push" does not have to go hand-in-hand with "enterprisey". Looking at the Atom Publishing Protocol, isn't the big point of APP that it *is* about "push"?

We pretty much all *get* GET, hmm? It's the other stuff we don't really *get* yet, like "A and B pushing changes into the URI space" as Sean puts it. That's good stuff.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Do What I Say Dept.

(Via Steve Dekorte), comes this...

George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
"I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."

Cross Platform Development -- Is Java The Loser?

From an article on silverspoon...

The outstanding question is whether Microsoft plans to offer Silverlight support for Linux. Although support for Flash for Linux lags behind Windows and Mac, Warriner noted that his company can still count on Flash Web applications running on Linux.
Yeah, but here's the other thing about cross platform internets...

I want to *develop* on other platforms than Windows. Not just deliver. (Moot point for silverspoon -- it neither delivers nor develops on Linux, apparently.)

The difference between using Windows and Linux for software development tools, etc. is *immense*. (Well, maybe *you* like futzing with cygwin to achieve a fairly lame ersatz unix.)

Although a Flex Builder tool for Eclipse on Linux would be worth trying, I sure don't miss it now. I use the SDK and a command line very well inside Emacs.

The one thing I noticed today though, is a co-worker is using Flex Builder's "suggest" capabilities and found a method on DisplayObject I was looking for. Good command line tools would help, but such is the way of the IDE these days -- use it or lose it. In lieu of really good search tools, using "suggest" only as a search tool is an option - my co-worker had his second screen set up for this.

Apollo is *clearly* the internet platform to beat at this point. Given that Adobe has also donated Flex and the Actionscript VM to open source, esp. Mozilla/Firefox, I wonder how long before Firefox becomes an open source, cross platform browser with built-in Flash/Flex and oh by the way has Apollo-ish desktop capabilities right there, USB access, OS, User Profile access, and so on. And apparently SQL in the not too distant future.

Cross platform. Virtual machine. Development tool. The works. -- Peter Fisk has interpreters running in Flash, but the Flash VM will give people access to the byte codes so they can run all kinds of languages directly ultimately.

Microsoft is not about to take their WPF-lite into the cross platform desktop domain. Competition is good - Adobe and MSFT can push each other on into the future -- fine with me.

With all this MSFT Silerspoon vs. Adobe Flex/Apollo the real loser on the desktop is *java*. Adobe is heavily into Java on the server, but Flex/Apollo works at least as well with all kinds of servers. (Flex Data Services notwithstanding -- that's not a huge enticement to me even for server-side Java.)

No Thanks Netflix

I use Linux. I've been thinking about Netflix, but also considering other services such as the one from Tivo and Amazon, since I already have Tivo. But I also have iTunes and a video-capable iPod, which I love dearly, so I am kind of watching where Apple TV is going. I would have to buy a Mac *and* Apple TV. I got rid of my last old Mac a while back. But that's a net positive. I almost have Windows out of the house entirely and do not want to build any more dependencies on the one my wife still uses.

But now that Netflix has declared my business to be unimportant...

Netflix plans to adopt Silverlight as the foundation for its instant-viewing feature; a demo showed off high-quality streaming video overlaid with DVD-like menus and controls.
My decisions just got one step easier. Maybe next time, Netflix, when you decide not to rule me out of your internets.

The Simple Things You See Are All Complicated

Note: IronicPython actually *adds* to the CLR to achieve a DLR.

Step forward? Whatever.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Maybe Knot

From http://astoria.mslivelabs.com/...

The goal of Microsoft Codename Astoria is to enable applications to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by web clients within a corporate network and across the internet. The data service is reachable over HTTP, and URIs are used to identify the various pieces of information available through the service.
But, em, er, to find out more about Microsoft's "data service... reachable over HTTP" you are expected to download several Microsoft Word documents.

Bzzzt. Next?

On The Other Hand: Don't Fidget With Widgets

Peter Fisk puts the net in its place. Well, he makes reasonable parallels anyway.

As for "newer" things like flex, xaml (silverspoon or something?), hey, the same ideas have been around quite a while too. Sending GUIs and graphics over a network was not unheard of in dynamic languages in the late 1980s.

If only someone had made NeWS a bit more available.

Don't fidget with widgets, draw!

When run on workstations with 10 MIPS or faster processors, interactive response is excellent, indicating that ezd’s simple structured graphics drawing model can be widely applied.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Short Stack

Don Box on books...

I’ll read the shortest book on the topic.

Let me repeat that.

I’ll read the shortest book on the topic.

Amen. I just saw a pre-announcement for a book on Continuous Integration. The book is supposed to run at 320 pages. That seems kinda big for a book on CI. Either the book is incorporating a lot of related topics, which I'd rather not have included, or there is a lot more to read on CI than I'd imagined.

And I'm doubting I want to *know* that much about CI, let alone *read* that much on it.

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About Me

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.