Wave reflections

Google Wave is huge. I am not even going to try to assess it dispassionately. As I explained in my last post, the same epiphany hit me just a few weeks ago, so I have already drunk the Kool-Aid. Basically: email is the original killer app of the Internet. We live in email, but email sucks. Wave fixes a lot of the suckage. I think it could become a platform for a whole new “wave” of applications. See for yourself. But Wave raises some big questions: Continue reading “Wave reflections”

Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming

Time for some mental Spring cleaning. This is the first of several reviews I plan to do on interesting current research. First up is Alan Kay’s Viewpoints Research Institute. As the title states, he wants to reinvent programming. Again. The guiding goal of the project is to recreate the “personal computing experience” – from OS to apps – using dramatically fewer lines of code. They are looking for a “Moore’s Law” leap in software expressiveness of 3 or 4 orders of magnitude. Continue reading “Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming”


Sun just announced their entry into the Rich Internet Application horse race. JavaFX is essentially a domain-specific language for GUI construction layered on top of Swing. I rather like it. It reminds me of Tcl/Tk – light-weight, pragmatic, declarative rather than procedural. Sun must have been so desperate to not be left behind that they didn’t have time to over-design it to be all things to all people. If Sun can refrain from ruining it, it might turn out really nicely. Unfortunately it is not yet usable enough for my work. Continue reading “JavaFX”

The World Wide Dynabook

David Reed gave a keynote at OOPSLA about Croquet and TeaTime. Croquet is a re-imagining of Alan Kay’s seminal Dynabook vision, a vision which has influenced many aspects of modern computers and software. The Dynabook was a personal computing tool, while Croquet is envisioned to be a collaborative environment on the scale of the Web. I would call it “The World Wide Dynabook”. I applaud the grandness of the vision: reinventing how we interact with the internet, all the way from the end-user interface down to the network protocols and the programming language. I found the hints about their underlying architecture to be tantalizing, but unfortunately I got little more than hints, even after reading their publications. I will review what I have learnt so far. Continue reading “The World Wide Dynabook”