Thoughts on Computing

I was just thinking about the browser-less concept that was thrown around earlier. People already are moving in that direction with iPhone apps and desktop twitter clients. Most of those drop the HTML aspect and either communicate with JSON, XML, YAML, or some other format. All tend to use RESTful APIs when dealing. Naturally a browser uses a RESTful API because the person who introduced the term also helped write the HTTP protocol.

Currently OAuth requires a browser of some sort. It’s easier to authorize web applications, because those requests are not out of band and all authorization can be completed in the browser. If the application has both a web and desktop counterpart that authorization can happen once and the web application and desktop app could technically use the same authorization. That has unfortunate side effect of opening up a security hole in OAuth.

Any future applications or operating systems will need to provide standard functionality for rendering different types of XML for those instances where one needs to just read data like XHTML, MathML, or MusicML.

Then there’s what Google is doing which takes any problems with OAuths out of band authorizations and tosses it out the window — everything is a web app.

I’ve downloaded the source for both Chromium and Chromium OS. Appearently, it’s based on a heavily tweaked Ubuntu system and it seems like it would compile on Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope. I’ve had problems compiling both the browser and the OS in the new version of Ubuntu I’m running. They’ve also switched to a different build system from when I first built it (they’ve opted to use a traditional Unix makefile approach, as opposed to Google’s “hammer” tools). I’ll see if they’ve submitted a patch, other have had the same problem. I’ll make a USB disk image for you all to try if you want.

Chrome has support for O3D, in browser OpenGL 3D rendering support scripted with Javascript. You can click on 3D objects and interact with them. They have a version of 3D chess here. It’s the very last demo.

Personally, I’d like to have an option of developing browser side code in something other than Javascript. I’d like to see browser technology extended to be able to run Python, Ruby, Java, Scala, and perhaps MSIL/CIL (for all you .NET folks).

I think that moving to a standardized RESTful paradigm where all UI/view is marked up declaratively, controlled via a set of standard languages, and all models/data storage along with super heavy data processing is offloaded to the cloud is the future. I also wouldn’t mind a version of Ubiquitous Computing happening soon where everything that we have with computing power is networked ultra-efficiently into a universal computing mesh.

Just throwing thoughts out at you all. I’ll probably write a blog entry on it sometime soon.


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