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Dreaming of Hiding the Complexity

Whilst the software products are geared towards making people executing things in a more effective way and allowing people to execute things that were not possible before (I agree, this is not always something good… we would live better without some of the software creatures…), I have always thought that the goal of the technology behind the software results (i.e. the technology that allows the production of software) would be to allow the artists (i.e. the developers) to do their job in the best possible conditions.

I remember how much I loved the VMS operating system (from Digital), the powerful CASE environment that was implemented on that operating systems (ah, Language Sensitive Editor…) and the Common Language Runtime.
I also remember how easy and natural it was, a life later, to develop distributed Service Oriented applications in the Forté environment (where Service Orientation and scalability was built inside the language framework itself). The motto from Forté was “Hiding the Complexity” and, indeed believe me, they couldn’t have been chosen a better motto!

Today I have read one of the “2008 predictions articles” and I was hit by the last item:

13. The next big thing. Software development will change to a wider use of code generators. Forget about heavy frameworks, regardless of what programming language you use.  In a simple case, use some XML style sheets combined with the metadata that describes your application objects to automatically generate the code for these objects. On a larger scale, the entire application may be described using metadata and XML, and an appropriate code generator will do the job. So programming will change from writing tedious code that requires lots of coders to describing the metadata and writing custom code generators.

I know, this will remain a dream: Rubik's Cube GameWhy steal the pleasure of fighting against the complexity of building a program that would let the author being proud of the many hours he spent in debugging it and in having a presentation that looks likee what he would have wanted ….?

 

Hiding the complexity and allowing the artist to express his creativity in addressing the solution to a problem (instead than in debugging, in challenging multithreading or fighting against the geometry manager) would be something nice to dream.

P.S.The Author has, also, some interesting observation on Java, AJAX and Flex/AIR.

From "You" to "Them"

Of course, this is NOT the official cover for the POY of Times. But it is a very interesting story (thanks Dvir for having sent the pointer). Quoting the article from Times:

[timePOY_coverImage.jpg]"Don’t get me wrong: all the things that made You You in 2006 are still there. All year long, You were YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering, chronicling Your life and community, scrutinizing the candidates and the media, videotaping Yourself getting upset on behalf of Britney Spears.

But who made the big noise in the Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen — all of Them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right? You make the discoveries, They make the Benjamins.

So if 2006 was the year of You, 2007 was the year of Them. Big media companies (like this one) stuffed their sites with blogs, podcasts and video. "

This is, actually, true. And I think that, overall, this has been a good progress for everybody.

How to get Immunity against e-mail?

I thought I would share another couple of sentences I read in a book have very much liked. The book is another masterpiece, The Tipping Point. In the afterword there is a little chapter, titled "Beware the Rise of Immunity". The following are excerpts from there:

The fact that anyone can e-mail us for free, if they have our address, means that people frequently and persistently e-mail us. But that quickly creates immunity, and simply makes us value face-to-face communications – and the communications of those we already know and trust – all the more.

When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead for advice and information to the people in their lives whom they respect, admire and trust. The cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen.

During this period I am seeing many posts around "Resolutions for the New Year" which explicitly state that inbox-zero is one of the priorities. So, we could say that

The proper use of Social Software can actually be the cure for immunity. 

social software for businessAnd Lotus Connections can actually provide a big help in looking for Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen inside your community.

Googlenomiks (or Googlesaurus)

So, I had been late on commenting on other attempts of the big octopus, but I cannot refrain from commenting on this.

Google officially announced a Wikipedia killer: it is called KNOL. Under the seducing title of Encouraging people to contribute knowledge, Google is, actually, directly attacking Wikipedia.

I have never been a big fans of Wikipedia, also. 
I just think Wikipedia is useful and is something that is important in the panorama of the Web; but I still think that I prefer to know who is providing me the information. As I often say, I try to teach my children not to get the free press, because behind the fact that they do not spend money for getting it, some hidden messages can be delivered. And I am using this same argument in my posts against Googlesaurus…

Now, KNOL actually proposes something that I consider interesting and, in principle, more robust and accountable than Wikipedia:

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors… We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content…

…We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information.

A way in which people will sign what they write; a system where there will be competing opinions. And where people can comment on something that has a signature. I like this!

But:

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content…

…At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads…

…Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge.

Ok. Once again, behind the seducing sentences of “We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge” or “Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine“, the Googlesaurus shows its aspect and its intention: Wikipedia is out of its control and is, potentially, an incredible source of revenue! It cannot be left there as it is, like an unexploited goldmine.

And, once again, a Big Brother (Google Search Quality) will rank for you what you better read as your primary source of information.

Sorry. The idea is good, but it will turn to be another arrow that will make Google more powerful and, all of us, less free.

I think that some parts of the Internet will need some control. Leaving control to Google is not good. Leaving control to other may not also.

Let’s say NO TO GOOGLE and to its enormous ego! Internet search is too important to be left in the hands of a private company.

P.S.See the Read/WriteWeb article for more information

The Power User wears Prada

The Devil Wears PradaYesterday I saw the movie “The Devil wears Prada“.

You remember when Miranda asks for the yet-to-be-published copy of Harry Potter?
The way in which Andy manages the situation, by delivering two copies of the book to the twins before they take the train and giving an additional copy to Miranda, anticipating her objection and exceeding her expectation, is so great that I could not resist from immediately thinking to a sentence that I often use in my presentations for Lotus Connections or Web 2.0:

It’s not what work you expect Employee #1234 to accomplish per person-month of work……
It’s the work you never expected would happen, that suddenly creates new business

I hope that no one has to do impossible things in order to really create a new opportunity, but the example was so sharp and sticky !
It really, I think, makes it clear that it is important, today, to be innovative and clever in whichever action we do, in order to apply the passion that is inside us.

Papybook

Yesterday, on my way back from Paris where I got a wonderful long week end with my wife, I was reading these sentences from the book “The Tipping Point“:

In general, people chose friends of similar age and race. But if the friend lived down the hall, then age and race became a lot less important. Proximity overpowered similarity….
We’re friens with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don’t seek out friends, in other words. We associate with the people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.

I remembered those sentences when, this morning, a colleague sent me an email pointing me to this site: SAGA Zone.
It is a social site for people over 50. Hey, next year I can subscribe to it! There is also an interesting article that explains what the site is for.

Communities are springing everywhere, now that the new synthetic universe is giving the possibility for people to share. The proximity, the possibility to occupy the same space is no more limited by the typical dimensions where we live (space, time). The new universe gives the possibility to “do things together” with people that “live down the hall“…

There is, though, a sad side of this story, in my opinion; it is the sense of loneliness that these initiatives bring together. Apparently, it is more and more difficult to have normal relationships with other humans.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is opening new frontiers that are certainly enhancing our “social attitude”. It should be “enhancing”, though, more than “substituting”. At least, this is what I would think of myself in the 3rd age…

Java on the desktop is already here!

I have been surprised when I read this article: James Gosling (Sun) : « Java sur le poste client n’est pas à la hauteur aujourd’hui ». It is in French, so I translate the title here:

James Gosling (Sun) : « Java is not ready today for the desktop »

Strange, isn’t it ? The “father of Java” who, 15 years after, makes such a big statement!Well, the reality is different, as we all know.
Eclipse is there and it is there since sometime now. Eclipse is no more only an “open development platform”, but has become ‘a platform for building and deploying rich client applications”: it is called Eclipse RCP. Many people are developing rich Java applications for the desktop (and for the mobile market also) based on Eclipse RCP:

And, not least, IBM is building the new generation of its products based on Eclipse RCP!

The Universal Managed Client for SOA, called Lotus Expeditor. A platform for building enterprise applications and enterprise mashups that bring the power of SOA towards the desktop and devices

The new Lotus Notes 8 client, which brings the possibility of building Composite Applications centered around the collaboration tools

Lotus Sametime, which provides a new frontier for Unified Collaboration and Communication

Sun may not be ready. But the world is not waiting in order to make Java evolving! And Java is bigger than a trade symbol.

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