My Thoughts Exactly

On the open-sourcing of OpenLaszlo

My friend and colleague Sarah Allen has a nice little essay on her blog Ultrasaurus about what it was like to be part of a project that took a closed-source platform (“Laszlo Presentation Server”) and made it open (OpenLaszlo).

Like Sarah, I found that changing to the “open” way of doing software development took a little getting used to. One of the most profound, and yet most mundane differences is how you use email. Before we went open, if I had a technical question for, say, Tucker, I would send him an email; perhaps I would copy a few other interested parties.

Now, however, if I have technical question for Tucker, I send it to him and copy the OpenLaszlo Developer’s list or the OpenLaszlo User’s list. Which means that hundreds of people, at least, may be reading my messages. Similarly, all development work (including my baliwick, the documentation) is driven by tasks and bugs listed in the OpenLaszlo JIRA database. All of our code, communication, and planning, is in the open.

Sometimes this does make one feel a little awkward– like when you have to ask a question that you think you should know the answer to, and are embarrassed. But the “upside” is tremendous, as you often get helpful answers from people you’ve never heard of, in far off places, who are part of the OpenLaszlo community.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Software | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

The Real-Time Internet, circa 2007 – It's about the information, not the interaction

World-Wide Web technology is primarily static. The technology is designed around slow repeated cycles of request-a-page/get-a-page. Technologies like Flash, Curl, and Laszlo are aimed at improving this interaction while staying within the WWW framework. But the Web isn’t about interaction, it’s about information and, to a certain extent, transactions. While these drivers remain unchanged, two stories in my local paper this week have shown me that the expectations of pace have changed.

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Posted in Inventing the Future, metaphysics | Tagged | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

another laszlo/croquet pairing

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated and charmed by this stuff…

Neat thing built on Laszlo, and links to news of Laszlo funding. Cool stuff.

And then… bam… a comparison to a product from a Croquet company (Qwaq).

Posted in Inventing the Future, Memology | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

KISS

It is being reported that the guys at Smallthought have gotten some funding for their DabbleDB product. That’s cool.

I like the core capability: multiple-view, spreadsheet-like shared-Web access to arbitrary user-created databases. That is, server-side Web2.0 plus Group Forming Network math, as applied to databases. Built on Smalltalk.

I also think this is a nice example of building a small and simple downmarket application, and then using modest revenues to build features to head upmarket on top of your core capability. (Christensen, Moore, etc.) The eventual target presumably being Oracle’s PeopleSoft.

I’m surprised that they they took as much money as they did this early. I think this is good, but not a change-the-world killer app. Lots of folks can do this. (Laszlo (where John works) and Curl (where John and I used to work) should approach stuff this way rather than chasing the enterprise from the start.) Maybe Web-Winter is thawing?

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Posted in Inventing the Future | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Wetmachinery

Wetmachine designer & webmaster Gary Gray and I met tonight to go over plans for tweaks to the site, coming Real Soon Now.

We have a couple of goals in mind. Firstly, we want to make “Tales of the Sausage Factory” and “Inventing the Future” more accessible to their readerships. So there will be separate RSS feeds for these series, and vectors into the archives by author/topic. There will be sign-ups for various Wetmachine mailing lists. It will be more obvious how to post comments and how to get in touch with the various Wetmachiners.

Below the fold: your chance to jump into the Gary-John brawl over the “feel” of the site.

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Posted in General, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
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