2004/10/30

Well:

Mr. Bin Laden is helpfully removing any wiggle room that Kerry thought he had on the subject of national security. Probably not quite the "October surprise" the Bush administration was hoping for.

Now let's pray Osama's blowing smoke...

2004/10/25

2004/10/22

The second trend...

...the way web design is changing. Everyone knows nested tables are old-school, clean semantic (-ish) XHTML is newschool. On top of that, ECMAScript is finally being used as it should be in places like GMail etc. etc, leading us to decent webapps that actually take advantage of 6-series functionality (I would argue that Gecko, Opera 7 and Safari will go "7-series", i.e. next generation, if they ever adopt some of the specs that WHATWG is working on.)

However, in terms of UI interactivity and dynamicism, HTTP and SOAP can only take us so far - as far as client-server can take us, after which we need to look to P2P. This is where you're left with the choices of ActiveX or Flash. XMPP is my attempt at a third way, by providing a network layer in which we can do (e.g.) multicast, and all the other stuff that the JEPs offer us.

XMPP and DOM together can offer us a lot more than just a chat sidebar. It can do RSS [as PubSub shows, see comment], VP like Lluna, etc. etc.

However, a dangerous side-effect of giving a DOM full XMPP capabilities could be spam and self-replicating documents. This is something I'm working on. Until I have a 100% bullet- and spam-proof solution my solution is "don't do it". I think that most solutions seen so far, especially those revolving around code-signing, are completely broken, purely because they don't express exactly what TRUST means in this context. Would you trust a company called "click here for your free calendar"? Neither would I, and what this means is that the interface is broken and users are being mislead.

Enjoy your weekends.

2004/10/19

Guess what:

Life is tough. Bad things happen, and sometimes you need a break.

But: the MINUTE you let yourself relax, even a little, you backslide. So don't do it.

2004/10/15

Note to self:

On the 30th I'm going to restart work on Gradient. It's going to be a 1.1, i.e. a feature release. The features:
  • Get rid of XMPP-based document transfer. It's ugly, hard on the network, and goes against the XMPP server model. HTTP will become the primary document transport. Meta tags or tags with alternate namespaces will contain an XMPP "server" JID.

  • (Another approach) Consider adding a JID and/or JID-derived token to be included as an "X-JID" header (or something) in HTTP requests from a logged in client. Interesting problem: can we prove that the XMPP server has authenticated us out of band? If not, there's no point in doing it. Also, it might break the model. (JID != cookie/user info)

  • Get some decent examples up and running. PollingReport.com has good figures, or I could subscribe to Gallup. (Probably contravenes their TOS.)

  • Improve the serverside API, which kinda sucks right now. It should be either interfaced and static-proxied, or dynamically proxied, or EJB...

I also want to fix some things in the known problems list, (UI issues). One or two things from the roadmap, specifically allowing directives to apply to attributes and text nodes, would also be good additions.

The incomparable Smack API now understands Data Forms and Feature Negotiation, as well as Disco, so I now have the freedom to make this a lot more flexible/complicated if I wanted to.

The next release planning was based on the assumption that this would be a real app, and not a demonstrator for a set of very cool DOM extensions, but still has some weight. Some stuff in there should be done too, probably.

My end result, ten years from now, is that I want to be able to do things like: pull up a map of the world, and then chart trade deficits from one server, strategic oil reserves from another, and defense budgets and standing army sizes from yet another, all on the same map/chart, and then make those numbers dance on the resulting infographic.

2004/10/07

The first trend that I am trying to keep on top of:

(Perfection is the enemy of completion. Structure should be inferred, not imposed.)

There are two big things on the web that are undergoing sea changes. The second is the web platform and web design ideology. (I would have loved to be @ Web 2.0.)

FIRSTLY, the continual evolution of the way in which we use the web to communicate, organise, co-operate, and collaborate. The biggest firework in the box is the blog, but this is just one example of a trend that is exemplified by lean, fast user interfaces, attention to information architecture, accessibility, utility. Deli.cio.us, Meetup, GMail, Flickr, etc. Google, of course.

Aspects of related trends include the whole GTD phenomenon, and software like Quicksilver, things like wifi, etc. What these prove are:

(a) That this not just a net-related phenom, but a true change in the way people work and interact
(b) That next-level UI is coming from Geeks hacking neat code on UNIX-based platforms. Duh. (see also: dashboard)

Also, this is a big social thing. Trust, authority, organisation (as per Buzzmachine).