So it has been some time since I made a post. Been busy but I hope to manage my time better in future so that I can post my thoughts more often. The main reason I do this is to benefit myself in terms of aligning what I see and experience in the community into a coherent philosophy.
I wanted to touch on several things in the last few weeks I have been interested in. Actually sitting down and writing this was sparked by this news item (Adobe to take Photoshop online at Cnet) that caught my eye in my RSS feeds.
It caught my eye due to a discussion I had with Josh, where we debated a bit this very concept. Word processing and excell spread sheets aside it seemed unlikely that the on-line application model as exemplified by Google docs would work for something like GIMP or Photoshop. It is interesting to look at this in light of things like Joyent though. Correl is looking to take a variation of Word Perfect into a model that uses both on-line and off-line elements in collaboration with Joyent. This mix of on-line and off-line aspects to an application is very interesting to me. It is all part of the development that is taking place where API's like XUL, XAML etc are getting attention in the same context as GTK and QT. However, how much application API's matter is up to debate. Is it only the movement and management of information in an open and extensible manner that really is important?
One element of that did catch my eye was Remix which uses Flex. This is more interesting to me as it brings up the issue of rich client development. I have been watching XUL, XAML (Windows Presentation Foundation) and things like FLEX and Laszlo for some time now. Mix in things like the rich client platforms from Eclipse and Netbeans and you have the making of new "internet aware application API's" forming. This would be great. GTK, QT, Cocca etc. aside what is more interesting to me is the ability to make "application" that come to the user over the net.
Grails has a new major number out and a major shift in the way it deals with incorporating third party features. A very nice plug in approach. The jump from .3 to .4 was a bit painful as you have to un-weave the code you have done in the old approach for the new. I updated an Acegi security based application from .3 to .4. The biggest pain is removing the controller, domain, and other classes that were required prior to the plugin approach. Though this was a bit tedious it is well worth it for the nice new plugin based system. Hopefully such a major effort will not be required in the future. I suspect the Acegi package is one of the bigger ones to migrate.
Seems they also changed the way to they do the creation of URL's and several of my relative links got broken. I should be using more of the Grails link tag (http://grails.org/Tag+-+link) more than using relative URL linking.
This blog visualization is cool
This is neat.. http://twingly.se/ScreenSaver.aspx useful? Not so sure, but for sure neat. If I ran windows I would likely install it and play with it some.
Yahoo Pipes came out, this one one of those things I was interested in blogging about. I even retrieved/reactivated my Yahoo account just to play with this. While I found it very interesting, I can not say I found it highly useful. This idea implemented as an API I could embed in my app server, that would be far more interesting.
There are several other packages like this out there too. xFruits and even www.yourminis.com.
Don't get me wrong, the idea behind Pipes is very much along the route I would like to see things going. Mechanisms to collect, relate and cross reference data generated on the net. I'd just rather have it as an API for my applications rather than a third party service provide to/for me.
Get things done
I was only tangentially aware of the GTD approach. The book has spawned several packages on-line and I reviewed a few of them listed in the post at Center Networks. One, Tracks, caught my eye and I actually installed and got ruby working (which can be a pain with regard to DB access at times). (rant) The Ruby on Rails database API and interface is archaic in comparison to Java JDBC let alone persistence aspects (/rant)
I got it set up and working and played around with it some. It took a while to get this done due to the poor, IMHO, ruby database approach. Anyway, Tracks is interesting, but I think I was more interested in the experience it gave me with Ruby on Rails than anything else. I may try and play with it some more in the future though and revisit it as a utility and approach to time management. On a side note the Joyent package mentioned above is a Ruby on Rails application. The note some interesting news coming from them based on the collaboration with Sun. One might speculate on them switching to jRuby in the near future. jRuby plus the Java VM could be a very powerful combination for an application like this. I am still a Grails person until jRuby evolves more. When it does I will give it a try again.