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Archive for August, 2005

26 Aug 2005

by Noel

Google’s Business Plan

How the heck does Google manage to stay in business? has some interesting speculation on Google’s business plan for Google Talk. Giving away software for free, building market share, and only then trying to find ways to make money does seem to be a viable business plan for today’s technology companies, but it takes courage, or deep pockets.

I’m on holiday next week, so postings to Untyping will slow down from their usual languid pace.

Posted in Business | No Comments »

24 Aug 2005

by Noel

Talk Gets Cheaper

Google has just released Google Talk, which is an IM client (not very interesting, though it does use the Jabber protocol) and an internet telephony service (much more interesting, though only a Windows client is available).

In the Voice over IP (VoIP) market Skype is king at the moment, and it is what we use to communicate between all the members of Untyped. However Google has the clout to seriously challenge Skype. Two important steps by Google: they are supporting the open SIP protocol, and actively seeking to integrate their service with other VoIP services such as Gizmo Project, giving them potentially a much wider reach than the closed Skype protocol. It looks like this market is going to get very interesting in a hurry. Now where are the phone companies in all of this?

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18 Aug 2005

by Noel

A little OpenLaszlo lovin’

No doubt I’ll be playing with this technology more in the future, so I thought I’d introduce it now.

OpenLaszlo, released unto the world by Laszlo Systems, is an interesting combination of languages and ideas. It is an XML-based language for specifying the layout and behavior of rich internet applications. For example, I wrote a tabbed slideshow for photographs that you can find on my personal weblog, here….

 

No doubt I’ll be playing with this technology more in the future, so I thought I’d introduce it now.

OpenLaszlo, released unto the world by Laszlo Systems, is an interesting combination of languages and ideas. It is an XML-based language for specifying the layout and behavior of rich internet applications. For example, I wrote a tabbed slideshow for photographs that you can find on my personal weblog, here. I think it would be difficult to write in JavaScript and CSS. Consider:

  1. When you open a slide, audio begins playing.
  2. When you switch slides, the current audio stops, and new audio is started.
  3. I can layer objects (and remove them) over the photo content quickly and easily, when and where I want them.

I imagine this is all possible in JavaScript/DHTML, but… I don’t know how. And, I don’t feel I need to; the OpenLaszlo crew has provided a powerful platform for me to work from—a compiler, GUI toolkit, RPC mechanisms, and more. It seems to me that the whole JavaScript/CSS/AJAX thing is nothing more but a poor reinvention of the technology that OpenLaszlo provides. Granted, for full RPC-functionality, OpenLaszlo currently requires a servlet container, whereas AJAX-apps just need a browser with a JavaScript engine. However, you don’t get much support from the compiler or run-time for debugging AJAX applications, whereas OpenLaszlo apps have a compiler and run-time debugger. That’s worth installing a server to me. (It was a double-click operation on my Mac.)

If I forgo the OpenLaszlo server, I can statically compile my applications; although RPC is no longer available, I can still do HTTP POSTs, and that’s enough to do something RESTful. But, instead of a webpage, I can create a very rich, interactive GUI-based environment that can be delivered to any browser that is Flash-capable. I hear Macromedia has pretty good penetration, and generally things Just Work within that environment, regardless of whether you are on Windows or Mac, IE or Firefox, etc.

So, I think it’s a cool technology. I’ve been poking at the edges of it on-and-off for a few weeks now, and will follow up with some more about what I’ve been doing with it. My tutorial builder/photo slideshow demo just met a need I had; I think OpenLaszlo is capable of much, much more.

Posted in Javascript, Web development | No Comments »

16 Aug 2005

by Noel

Content To Go

Blogs are a good way of building reputation, but many of us are too busy to write regularly. As more commercial organisations get into blogging it should come as a surprise to find there is now a company that will out-source your blogging.

The plan is pretty simple: you give them some cash, and they hire a small army of Chinese people to create content for your blog. It’s a bit like the old monkeys-and-typewriters gag: given enough monkeys and enough typewriters, eventually one of them is going to produce Shakespeare. If the plan is simple the ethics are substantially more murky, though in the final analysis it isn’t too different to contracting out press releases to a public relations firm. The difference, I think, being that people have an expectation that blogs are written by those personally acquainted with that which they write about.

I do like this post. Apparently the writing style of teenage girls is easy imitate, but Super Bloggers are proving more difficult, where Super Bloggers are defined as “bipolars, cynics, liberals, outcasts, super-hip”. I’ve already shown my dislike of Coldplay, but I don’t think I have the requiste 5% self-loathing to crack this exclusive group.

Posted in Business | No Comments »

10 Aug 2005

by Noel

Transferring Transferring Behaviour with Javascript

Gordon Weakliem references Patrick Logan who references Philippe Bossut who references Alex Russell’s OSCON talk on AJAX. The little tid-bit that gets me excited is the quote “Best data type to return: JavaScript instead of XML”. I want to add an emphatic “yes!” to that. Only a crazy fool manipulates XML on the client-side when manipulating Javascript is so much easier. And, yes, I also want add another link to this long chain of attributions.

Posted in Javascript | No Comments »

4 Aug 2005

by Noel

Lisp in Javascript

If you’re a Lisp head, like us at Untyped, when you look at Javascript you get an itch to add back all the parentheses (and fix its silly scoping rules, but that’s another post). Unsurprisingly we’re not the only ones. There is this Lisp to JavaScript Compiler I found via LtU, and also ParenScript. These are pretty cool. Of the two ParenScript is more practical, though the translation remains fairly direct. I’d like to see these languages go further and add features not present in Javascript. I think ParenScript gets the scoping rules correct, so next on my list would be coroutines to make coding animations easier.

Posted in Javascript | No Comments »

2 Aug 2005

by Noel

Bug Fixes for IE 7

I see via Ditchnet.org that IE 7 Beta 1 is out, and support for CSS 2.1 is in the works. For comparison, see what Deer Park Alpha 2 (the next version of Firefox) includes. It looks like IE 7 is going to be a good browser for 2004, and an ok browser for today. This is still good news for web developers, because IE 6 is a terrible browser for today.

Posted in Web development | No Comments »

2 Aug 2005

by Noel

Two Databases Worth A Look

If MonetDB is half as good as claimed it will be a big improvement over current databases. Certainly worth a look.

Also worth a look is Sedna, a XML database with a Scheme API.

Posted in Web development | No Comments »