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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cringe Factor

This is my "makes you cringe" video for the day:

Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
by trashfan

An Update Mechanism for the Web, or N + 1

Alex Russell recently had a great post called "Progress is N+1". An excerpt:

So as webdevs, we must be canny enough to find a way to [do] "better" which doesn't put all of our eggs in any particular basket. Every browser that we depend on either needs an open development process or it needs to have a public plan for N+1. The goal is to ensure that the market knows that there is momentum and a vehicle+timeline for progress. When that's not possible or available, it becomes incumbent on us to support alternate schemes to rev the web faster. Google Gears is our best hope for this right now, and at the same time as we’re encouraging browser venders to do the right thing, we should also be championing the small, brave Open Source team that is bringing us a viable Plan B. Every webdev should be building Gear-specific features into their app today, not because Gears is the only way to get something in an app, but because in lieu of a real roadmap from Microsoft, Gears is our best chance at getting great things into the fabric of the web faster. If the IE team doesn't produce a roadmap, we'll be staring down a long flush-out cycle to replace it with other browsers. The genius of Gears is that it can augment existing browsers instead of replacing them wholesale. Gears targets the platform/product split and gives us a platform story even when we're neglected by the browser vendors.

Gears has an open product development process, an auto-upgrade plan, and a plan for N+1.
I posted a comment there that I want to replicate:

Alex, great post. This is why I joined Google and the Gears team. I believe in the open web and see Gears as a very clever solution to help get us out of the impasse we are all in as web devs. I'd like to look back five years from now and see how we, as a community, constructed an open source update mechanism for the web that cuts cross-browser and cross-platform, giving us leverage to move the web forward and rev it much faster than we have now. Gears is the closest to this we have today. As we say in open source, code rules, so drop on by Gears and contribute Gears modules that make this happen ( Want to see better 2D vector graphics show up cross browser that you can use today? Bake one into Gears.

Just in case you don't know about Gears or what it has today here's some more info:

Gears is an open source plug-in that teaches current web browsers new tricks. Gears is a clever way to raise the bar cross-browser and cross-platform, today, running inside of Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. No more waiting years for features to show up across all browsers and platforms. APIs include: A real embedded relational database (SQLite) for web sites; client-side full text search; threads for JavaScript; offline web applications; secure and fast cross-domain mashups; desktop shortcuts; mobile devices; and more.

I would add to the comment above and say that Gears, if we can get it embraced by the web dev community itself, means we can finally be in charge of our own destiny! Lets get an update channel into the web itself, vetted by the users and developers of the web itself.

Labels: ,

And throw in the kitchen sink

Whow, this is just gross. I found out that SVG includes file upload and socket capability; if thats not bloat I don't know what is. I like SVG, but, um, file uploading and socket abilities in that spec? Its about vector graphics folks!


Interview with Dimitri Glazkov

Dimitri Glazkov, a prominent member of the Gears community, has a nice interview out. Some nice excerpts:

I am a software engineer at a company in Birmingham, AL, developing a content management engine for higher education and government Web sites across the country. My passion is building a better Web. A while back, I became convinced that a better Web starts with _not hating the Web_. And so began my quest into semantic markup, microformats, REST, and everything around them.

This part is so right on:

The Web has been and always will be defined by openness. Participation and social networking are just its logical extensions. It's pretty clear that the next frontier will have something to do with breaking down the barriers, imposed, knowingly or not, by the first generation of the social networking sites. The technology will have to play an important role in that charge. OpenID and OAuth are steadily gaining strength, and I am sure we'll start seeing the next generation of sites that value and appreciate user's freedom as well respect of content ownership. Also, as new features demand new capabilities, the browser becomes the weakest link. Looking at HTML5 spec and Javascript 2, my bet is on that changing really soon.

And of course the obligatory Gears shout-out:

NR: Do you have any current or future projects you're working on you'd like to share with us?

DG: Gears. That's an open-source project, led by Google, which aims to both level and elevate the playing field for Web developers, and allow them to step beyond the today's line in the sand. I am proud to be a part of the effort that's as open and pioneering as Google Gears.

NR: What does Google Gears let us do today that could help, say, Beth Kanter, do a better job of fund raising? How does it enable us to change the world?

DG: Gears could allow Twitter to finally build a site that handles traffic more gracefully by offloading some of the work onto the client, rather than keeping it all on the melting-hot server side.

Dimitri's been backing his statements up with code, helping out with creating an HTML 5 database implementation for Gears known as Database2.


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