Humans love to interact with well-made things. A well-made toy will have kids jumping at the chance to spend hours playing with it. A well-made motor vehicle will have customers paying a premium in order to own it and interact with it daily.
People are also willing to pay to spend hours interacting with video games. This is partly due to the game content and escapism that is offered. But a large part is also because the successful games are designed to be fun to interact with. Very few video games these days offer an HTML-type interface, even if a game task (such as clothing your avatar in a role-playing game) is functionally similar to a browser task (ordering an outfit from an e-commerce website).
Laszlo describes its interfaces as "cinematic". It's based on a simple concept: movement plus fade morphs = eye candy and interface goodness. In other words, make it easier to implement little cinematic touches in web interfaces!
The generation of folks who grew up with Playstations are rapidly becoming an important market demographic. A cinematic interface can do much to attract not only this customer base, but people in general. But I don't think it is limited to just e-commerce. Can you imagine what a more cinematic Eclipse might be like?
Thoughts? Opinions? Post them!
Jim Hsu[Read More]
Emerging Technologies You Need to Know
A government IT group told me how it took six months for them and another organization to figure out how their XML schemas matched up so they could decide how to integrate some of their interactions. They were going to send XML documents back and forth using Web services. The project almost collapsed. This is one example of why many groups in industry and academia are looking into how to add semantic information to Web services descriptions. They want to be able to describe the meaning or intent of the inputs and outputs and define the effect of calling the service. There are a number of motivators for adding semantic information to Web services that I can talk about in later posts, but right now I would like to talk briefly about how adding semantics could impact the Web services standards.
There are two general approaches. The first, being pursued by groups like OWL-S http://www.daml.org/services , The Semantic Web Services Initiative and the Web Services Modelling Ontology group http://www.wsmo.org , involves creating a semantic model (or Ontology) of what a Web service interface is. Then, this ontology references another ontology that defines the domain in which the inputs and outputs are defined. This approach largely replaces WSDL, although binding definitions can be reused. It also generally uses the ontology language to define data, rather than XML Schema. The second approach, being investigated by IBM and the University of Georgia maintains WSDL and XML Schema as the center of Web services descriptions. Our spec (WSDL-S) is published on IBM alphaWorks http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/g/g.nsf/img/semanticsdocs/$file/wssemantic_annotation.pdf and is implemented by the IBM ETTK for Web Services and Autonomic Computing and by the University of Georgia METEOR-S project http://lsdis.cs.uga.edu/Projects/METEOR-S/ . We are also working on other tools based on this approach that may be posted to alphaWorks in the near future.
There is much really good work being done on Web services semantics, but we need to consider how the Web services community can get from where we are today to a point where all Web services are semantically described. As a co-author of the WSDL-S spec referenced above, I believe that this process must be an evolution and that the other approach does not account for the current industry momentum around Web services. Software vendors have made major investments in WSDL and have achieved a high level of interoperability. Application developers are creating an ever expanding set of WSDL-based services. Web Services-based integration projects are primarily based on the exchange of existing business documents in their XML representation. I think we have to evolve this existing base, not introduce an approach to semantics that changes the fundamental Web services description technique just to be able incorporate this new metadata. An approach that does not evolve the WSDL/XML Schema-centric Web services world risks being seen as unusable or even irrelevant by the implementation community. Nobody wants that.
This issue will be discussed June 9th and 10th at the W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services. There are middle ground positions that I think will come out. Some have proposed using WSDL-S as a bridge to approaches like WSMO. They key is for everyone to try to answer the question, "How do we get there from here?"
XML Enhancements for Java (XJ) are a set of extensions to Java 1.4 that integrate support for XML,XML Schema and XPath 1.0 into the language.
The advantages of XJ over existing mechanisms for XML development are:
In XJ, one can import XML schemas just as one does Java classes. All the element declarations in the XML schema are then available to programmers as if they were Java classes. Programmers can write inline XPath expressions on these classes, and the compiler checks them for correctness with respect to the XML schema.
I'd love to hear about your experiences using the XJ technology. You can write your experiences using the XJ technology on the ETTK Wiki pages at http://awlinux1.alphaworks.ibm.com/wiki/display/ettk/ETTK .
John Feller[Read More]
A new Wiki just went live at http://awlinux1.alphaworks.ibm.com/wiki/display/ettk/ETTK. It is dedicated to supporting the community of developers who use ETTK technologies by providing a place where developers can share experiences, document "how to" information and build up reference information about the areas being explored by ETTK packages. IBM researchers and developers will also contribute. This Wiki is also a good avenue for the community to propose enhancements to ETTK packages or to propose new areas to be explored. I think we can all help each other through this on-line resource.
A few members of the ETTK team and I have created an initial structure for the Wiki and added some content in a few areas. We will continue to add content, but the Wiki is intended to be driven by the user community. Take it in whatever direction you think is best. You can view the site without registering first, but if you want to edit the Wiki to provide content, you must register to get a user ID. I think that over the next month or so, it will really start to take shape, so check every so often to see how it is progressing. I'll post some information here every once in a while to point out significant developments.
This represents the first time IBM has created a public Wiki as part of ibm.com. Since the ETTK's purpose is to incubate and explore new technologies, it makes sense that our team would be the one looked to for this experiment. We are going to learn how wikis can best be used to foster collaboration with our developer community. It is up to ETTK uses to decide how this will go. I hope you will join in this effort.
Joel Farrell[Read More]
Today, IBM acquired Gluecode Software. Gluecode develops open source application infrastructure software based on Apache Geronimo, the open source Web application server platform. This acquistion is another great example of IBM's commitment to open standards and open source software.
As James Snell mentioned a few days ago, IBM released new version of the ETTK For Web Services and Autonomic Computing (ETTK-WS). The ETTK-WS package makes use of open standards such as WS-Reliable Messaging (WS-RM) and WS-Distributed Management. Why is the use of open standards so important for Web Services products? Without using standards, products from different companies will be unable to communicate with each other - which defeats the primary value of Web Services in the first place. I realize that there are some competing specs in the WS-* space championed by different companies. For example, there is the WS-RM spec that IBM, Microsoft and others have backed. There is also a competing spec - WS-Reliability backed by other companies. Today, OASIS announced the formation of the new OASIS Web Services Reliable Exchange (WS-RX) Technical Committee. Hopefully, this TC will be able to work to converge the WS-RM and WS-Reliability specifications so that customers will not have to choose sides. It would be a win for everyone to use just one open standard for Reliable messaging.