Archive for the 'Internet' Category

My Words

Just found a website which takes a text, website or del.icio.us accout and makes a very cool word / tag cloud:

Wordle

AJAX PUSH

Once again, Wikipedia says it best:

Comet is a programming technique that enables web servers to send data to the client without having any need for the client to request it. It allows creation of event-driven web applications which are hosted in the browser.

[…]

Traditionally, web pages have been delivered to the client only when the client requested it. For every client request, the browser initiates an HTTP connection to the web server, which then returns the data and the connection is closed. The drawback of this approach is that the page displayed is updated only when the user explicitly refreshes the page or moves to a new page. Since transferring entire pages takes a long time, refreshing pages introduces a long latency.

To solve this problem, Ajax can be used which allows the web browser to request only that part of the web page that has changed and update that portion accordingly. Since the overall data transferred is reduced, latency is also reduced, and overall responsiveness of the web site hosting the application increases. Further, by using asynchronous background data transfer, where the user works with partly received data as the rest of the data is being retrieved, the responsiveness of the web application can be further increased.

But this practice also suffers from the problem that the client has to request some data before it will be sent by the server. This problem becomes a major hurdle when designing applications which have to wait for some event to occur at the server side, such as some other user sending some data to the server, before it can proceed, but has no information when the event will occur.

A solution would be to design the application such that it will intermittently poll the server to find out if the event has occurred. But this is not an elegant solution as the application will waste a lot of time querying for the completion of the event, thereby directly impacting the responsiveness of the application. In addition, a lot of network bandwidth will be wasted.

A better solution would be for the server to send a message to the client when the event occurs, without the client having to ask for it. Such a client will not have to check with the server periodically; rather it can continue with other work and work on the data generated by the event when it has been pushed by the server. This is exactly what Comet sets out to achieve.

This technique has numerous applications but the main conclusion I draw from this is that DHTML has not yet reached it’s limits and has still a few good years as the main RIA platform before techologies like Fex, Silverlight and JavaFX really start to grow, gaining on it’s limitations.

What’s this Flex thing?

Flex is a technology that allows the creation of Rich Internet Applications.

It’s somewhat of an alternative to DHTML w/ AJAX but they can also complement each other.

The visual building blocs for this kind of apps are the components. You can of course build your own components (from scratch or extending an existing one). Also, there are places where you can get additional components either commercially or from Open Source repositories.

Their main target is the Information Systems market and for the vast majority of these, the Adobe predefined components with or without a little style personalization will suffice.

The target platform is as ubiquitous as the Flash player, because these applications are compiled into plain .swf files.

It seams it was the result of a fork in the Flash platform caused by the different needs of two kinds of professionals that where using it: animators (who like time lines, frames, drawing tools and the like) and application builders (who just need combo boxes, radio buttons, text areas, menu bars, etc.).

Here are some cool examples of what you can do with this:

Dashboard

Home Locator

Restaurant Finder

You can go directly to the source to learn the technology:

If you’re a J2EE / JEE developer, this is a great place to start:

Other related links on my del.icio.us account:

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Personal Homepages, R.I.P.

This is about the 3rd or 4th time I change this blog’s appearence.
And yes… I know It’s not a good practise but I can’t help it 🙂
The fact is, when you’re using a service that constantly adds new themes in a cute gallery to choose from, it’s hard to resist. Which brings me to this point:

  • Personal Homepages are Dead

Why it’s much better to have a blog:

  • No HTML / JS / Database work / Server-Side Programming / whatever;
  • Write and publish at the push of a button;
  • Automatic content syndication;
  • Automatic update notifications and indexing;
  • Great quality templates and designs, ready to use and easily accessible;

My next post: “Why it’s much better to just watch tv and drink beer” 😉

[PS: Yes… I know that you can have all the beneffits I mentioned with a good CMS but still, It’s not the adequate solution to the vast majority of internet users who don’t know what a CMS is…]

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Got this message trying to find out more about Microsoft Office Live, using a beta version of MSIE7…

:S
IE7

Apparently, my version is not recent enough…

VoIP: A buzzword to be taken seriously

Some time ago I had a conversation with a friend who told me mobile phone networks where going to be forced to a paradigm shift.

They sell mainly voice services and this is quickly becoming obsolete. VoIP is the reason for this.

The tendency is that they’ll progressively transform into mobile ISPs. I have a GPRS / UMTS PCMCIA internet access card. Since I have a flat rate and (almost) broadband internet access, I’m able to use VoIP applications everywhere and make free calls (not to every networks, of course).

There’s one inconvenient. I’m not going to carry my laptop everywhere, the way I do with a mobile phone, leaving it always on. The solution is in applications like Skype for Pocket PC.

Linux flame wars truce?

Unix and Linux are big sources of diversity.

It’s always good to have alternatives but this has some downsides…

Flame wars, for one, are a constant. This is a short list of previous (sometimes excessively) passionate debates that took place over time:

  • Vi vs. Emacs;
  • Gnome vs. KDE;
  • Debian vs. Slackware vs. Ubuntu vs. Gentoo vs. Mandriva vs. SuSE;
  • Java vs. MONO vs. Python vs. C++.

The last discussion has been lasting for a while. Well known individuals in the Gnome scene like Miguel de Icaza or Havoc Pennington have been exchanging arguments on whether or not the core GNOME applications list should include MONO (Open Source .NET) apps or Java apps or neither and whether one of those languages / frameworks should be adopted to give GNOME faster development cycles and exponentiate the programmer base.

This discussion has been derived from the companies some of these people worked for. On one hand Novell, which is behind the Mono Project and (until now) on the opposing side, Red Hat, which had always opossed to include MONO apps in it’s free distro, Fedora Core, favouring Java.

And now, something amazing happens: the announcement that Fedora Core 5 will include MONO.

I specially like this sentence:

[…]we’re happy that we’re able to help heal the rift that was slowly growing in the GNOME community.

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