Thursday, February 28, 2008

A(ir) solution in search of a problem

Adobe has just released Ait, its technology supposed to merge the offline/desktop world and web applications, bring the best of both worlds, etc yadda yadda. I found it interesting to watch the comments in various forums. There was some interest, but also concerns (e.g. about security, Air being a vendor lock-in, desktop apps becoming obsolete anyway). However, what struck me most was this: some geeks seem to like Air because it is a cool technology. But hardly anyone seems to like Air because it solves a real problem that someone actually has. There was little talk about real use cases, but rather talk about that Air will create a new way of thinking and incubate apps that we do not even know about, yet. Well, maybe.

If you consider Google Gears, which can be considered a technology that solves a similar problem: who is really using it? I never heard of anyone apart from Google Reader.

To be fair, I can think of some use cases that actually make sense to me, e.g. combining your desktops contacts data or your local mp3 collection with an online app. Maybe we will see one or two of them in the months to come. But not too many.

PS: yes, I have seen this eBay Air client.
PPS: the fragmentation caused by Mozilla Prism, Gears, maybe Silverlight some day and Air won't help either.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Slashdot on XML

This comment is a classic:
XML is like violence. If it doesn't solve your problem, you're not using enough of it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

72 characters should be enough for everyone

I just spent valuable minutes of my life wrestling with Java's classpath. One notable finding: no line in a jar file's manifest can be longer than 72 characters (at least until and including Java 5). See here:
No line may be longer than 72 bytes (not characters), in its UTF8-encoded form. If a value would make the initial line longer than this, it should be continued on extra lines (each starting with a single SPACE).
Oh, boy. And a single space at the beginning. Remember FORTRAN?