Is the WebOS revolution over?

Muli Koppel wrote a nice piece on why the web2.0 revolution has failed. By the same measure, I believe we'd need to conclude that the WebOS revolution, which hasn't even taken off yet, has also failed. Before a real WebOS could even be created to provide the people with a viable web development environment, the term has acted as a gravity point for commercially-minded folks trying to capture hold of people's valuable data. (Correction: Thanks Benjamin) At least the Exo Platform gives you the server code , but the release I've played with doesn't give all of the source and is available under GPL license. EyeOS is also open source and includes a "mini-server" that provides LAMP-like support on your PC, though a database is not required.

Muli's examples of "failed" revolutions, punk, open source, and Second Life, do give room for hope. Each has failed to reach their ideals, but each has also made improvements to our culture along the paths of those ideals.

Perhaps the real revolution is still in the works. Maybe the only way to succeed is to avoid naming the revolution completely until it is already won. Besides, no one has offered me any useful names for the product that will ultimately emerge.

Update (Jan 20): Keep the feedback coming. Let me know why you think the WebOS revolution is on!


Poisoning the WebOS well

The term 'WebOS', or web operating system, has been useful to gain attention to the idea of creating a framework for rapid web application development and making those applications available from any computer with a web browser and Internet access. This is a noble and important goal. Making web applications can otherwise be quite difficult. We should take advantage of the web to simplify creation, distribution, and interaction of our applications.

The windowing glitz of the current so-called WebOS offerings has bloggers questioning the point. Windows within windows just seem silly. They solve a problem of maintaining the state of an entire collection of applications in an environment, but they they recreate a paradigm that users where there is already a significant amount of frustration: the desktop. I'm not ruling out the possibility of using this paradigm, but it distracts from the more fundamental problems of rapid application development and distributed access.

It would be great if this web-based desktop-like, or webtop, functionality could be isolated from the rest of the WebOS discussion. As long as these webtop offerings are being called WebOSes, as long as they are being reviewed only on their webtop merits, the WebOS well will continue to be poisoned. There really isn't much that can be done in the short term. Eventually, some new terminology will emerge to differentiate web application frameworks that provide glitzy windowing and ones that allow the rich array of web services to be used easily and transparently by even the most novice of developers. Sometimes they might be the same framework.

Read more on this blog about what a WebOS could be, then tell me what I should be calling this sort of web application development framework.


Droolling over the Apple iPhone

The inclusion of OS X, full-blown Safari, and 802.11 support has got me. Finally, *nix in a widely available US phone. I wish it had EVDO in addition to EDGE, so it will be slow compared to my Treo 700p. Quad-band GSM--nice, should be a good international phone.

Anyone know if it will support A2DP so I can use my stereo Bluetooth headphones?

Update: It looks like it does according to Engadget.


New microformat, not viagra

Posting comments on blogs is still a pain. I just tried to post the following comment to a post on APIs being the next site map:

I agree with you, APIs are the new site map. [comment about site rejecting previous post]

There is still extensive work to be done to eliminate the silos. First, everyone has to have their own web server. The technology isn't really there for that today, unless you count projects like Paper Airplane (which isn't a complete product). Next, service providers need to provide a common set of services that will allow everyone the freedom to move from their limited function server onto the full-scale Internet.

I call that common set of services a WebOS API (http://clamoring.blogspot.com/2006/12/defining-webos-api.html). A new name is probably needed, since folks seem to have stolen that name for webtops.
Do you think a microformat that describes that site map and API would be useful? It would need to replace something machine oriented that is already useful today, such as WSDL.
The following response was given:

Comment Posting Guidelines

Sorry but it looks as though your comment has been filtered out to avoid blog spam. You weren't trying to sell me viagra were you?
Does that look like a viagra advertisement to you? Oh well, I understand the need for comment filters. It would have been nice if it at least indicated that it was going into a moderation queue.

Selling out

I've added Google AdSense to my site. This site is largely an experiment for me to best understand the technology of blogging, so I'm really not in it for the money. If the ads bother you, just let me know and I'll remove them.

The Snap previews are there to help you get an idea what is being linked, but they can be annoying at times as well. Please give me your feedback on those too.

Also, note that there are now 4 feeds on this site. The original two from Blogger and two from FeedBurner. The main Feedburner link adds my del.icio.us and Flickr posts. The other Feedburner link is just to my Google Reader shared items.


Step #1 to Creating a WebOS: Proxy Server

Reading blogs this morning, I ran across Brad Neuberg's announcement that he is working for SitePen to create an off-line Dojo toolkit. I have to get ready for my day job now, but I'm excited enough that had to write something first. This is really step #1 to creating a WebOS.

I've mentioned in the past how a client-side server is required to create a proper WebOS. That seems to be exactly the approach Brad is taking.

An off-the-shelf, open source (GPL), C-based web-proxy will be used, named Polipo, saving months of development time creating a custom HTTP/1.1 proxy.
Deploying with a C-based solution seems like the wrong idea to me. I've toyed with something similar using Java and JavaScript to create a thin web server/proxy. I haven't been able to dedicate enough time to get it to the point I can demonstrate it. Keeping Dojo almost entirely in JavaScript, and using Java server implementations like Tomcat or Jetty, would seem more portable and supportable.

I also commented to Brad that Scrybe seems to do the off-line work without a proxy, though they may just be leaving that out of the demo information.

The great news, however, is that Dojo is a really popular open source toolkit and should get a lot of traction, even if it isn't on as many platforms as possible from the start. Brad also seems to be a really smart guy.


Increasing traffic randomly

I was reading Mike-O-Matic and ran across his Click Pyramid site.

This is how it works:

  1. You visiting each link below in turn and collect the codes that are presented.
  2. These codes are entered into the form below, along with the website information you would like added to our database.
  3. You are then given a link to a new list, which will have your site first on the list and each one moved down one slot. The bottom site will drop off.
  4. You can then place that link in web advertisements or on your website/blog. Any users who click on it will go through a similar process to add their link, and will spread your link even further.
I figured it couldn't do any harm, so I created my own ID, #208. Only 208! Oh well, I guess I'm spreading good karma for someone who created a couple of blog entries that I found interesting.

Of course, if I advertise that link, wouldn't I just be better off advertising my own site instead of adding it to a list with 4 other sites? I guess that I could get a few people to check out my site simply because they want to advertise theirs, but doesn't allowing them to leave a comment on my blog accomplish roughly the same thing?

The thought is still somewhat interesting, but someone will have to turn it around somehow to make it work.


WebOS killer app

The VC guys are saying a WebOS or Browser OS is on the way, but web developers are asking what will be the killer app to bring about a standard? I think we've already seen "alphas" of the killer app in MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc.. Privacy, interoperability, ease-of-use, and desktop-integration will drive standardization of those services, starting in the open source community.