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).
The obvious and simple fact is that, yes, there is quite a bit of functional overlap between spreadsheets and databases. They both, basically, are representations of tables of data and most folks want to perform interesting operations against those tables. Databases are more structured, spreadsheets appear more flexible and easier to use...
Task mind meld aside, what is more relevant about the application is that it's web-based. No, strike that, the big deal is it's DATABASED. Ahhhhhhhh. Sure.
I spent the day yesterday at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with my wife, youngest son (11), and his friend across the street.
The whole place is "hands on", but the physics and chemistry labs are the best.
2004 will be the year of the Posi-Blog for me. Every post will be about something I think is good, or I won't post. It's too easy for me to slip into disconnected curmudgeon mode.
A have several drafts that have been sitting around for a while so my first excercise will be enlightening for me, to find out which ones are Posi-Action and which ones can be edited to be so. And which ones can't --- you'll never know.
Happy New Year!
Signing off for 2003. One last post...
Dan writes about good news for organic beef farmers. "They're not allowed to feed animal remains to their cows."
Here in Portland, Oregon we get Painted Hills beef.
Another break in the holiday festivities to note that Don Box is asking us to think good thoughts...
Think HyperCard. Think VB 1.0. Think classic ASP.
I think it's going to matter big time going forward as the industry wakes up from its C++/Java-induced haze and starts thinking about making computers programmable again.
Via Wired, Rael Dornfest, author of Google Hacks and the mobilewhack weblog, with a wish worth wishing for 2004...
"I'd like to see consumer mobile devices -- palmtops, hiptops and handsets --scriptable. It was scripting that drove the Web, taking it from a static online catalog of content to an operating system. Gaining simpler programmatic access to the contacts, calendars and other assorted user data; Bluetooth; messaging; image capture and manipulation on the phone will open up the mobile to the people prototyping the next generation of applications."