Looking forward To The Weekend...

Man, this has been a hectic few weeks... I just launched one site for a client. It went smoothly, but it was a lot of work and late nights. I've been spending so much time writing documentation that I lost the will to blog. Unfortunate... considering what happened this week.

I'm talking specifically about the highly disruptive Google I/O conference. It looks like Google Wave is going to be huge... it will no doubt set the standard for web-based email collaboration.

I'm happy that its using XMPP instead of HTTP behind the scenes... this is a great idea, since XMPP is a high-end instant messaging protocol, whereas HTTP is a freaking dinosaur. I'm hoping this push will mean that browsers might naively support XMPP in the near future... Imagine that! Being able to get data -- like RSS Feeds, new email messages, and bundles of web sites -- pushed to you when they change, instead of having to poll the web site a bazillion times... or use awkward and obtuse asynchronous JavaScript. This technology choice has caused a few folks to predict the downfall of HTTP.

Nothing would make me happier than the death of HTTP, but it's not happening yet... As others have noted, Google Wave is still very dependent on HTTP... it only uses XMPP for server-to-server communication. The web browser still has to poll the server for more data. Although, I'd wager that once this takes off and Google servers are swamped, they might sneak XMPP into Google Gears and use that instead.

It looks like Wave will be easy to integrate with, and its all open-source... You don't need to host it at Google, you can install their server, or just implement the protocol. This is good, considering how many enterprises might want to make Microsoft Exchange more Wave-y. I have a couple of ideas for Wave plug-ins... but I have to wait until Google gets me a user account for testing :-(

Oh well... Its probably for the best. I could probably use one less distraction this month...

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I was impressed by another item that was announced this week

Another announcement with huge potential was the Project Natal announcement - not necessarily because of its effects on the gaming industry, but its longer-term effects on business. Presently, much of my interaction with a computing system is performed by typing on a keyboard, or using my hand to move an item on one two-dimensional surface to effect changes on another two-dimensional surface. Rather than using this multi-step process, perhaps there will be use cases in which I can use my body directly to make changes to something on a computer, rather than having to use a third device (mouse or keyboard) to make changes. I really don't know a lot about these emerging user interfaces, but as I learn about them, I'm trying to think of ways in which they can be applied to problems we find in the workplace.

Perhaps an XMPP-based Wave can be combined with a natural user interface. Then we'll all be happy.

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