Monday, March 19, 2007

Adobe releases Apollo

I just had a first look at Apollo, and in its first look it feels like a glorified version of HTA (HTML Application). Something that Microsoft built like years ago. Not that I hate HTA or Apollo but I just hope they don't leave it midway. I really like the concept of HTA applications but in the end I hate the fact that they just don't look native. I would rather develop a Java based application today rather than make something in Apollo. Like I said earlier the reasons to not use Java are no longer there. If you make an application in Apollo today the major problem is getting the runtime on the consumers computer. Unlike flash its not really a small little download but quite a huge download. Apollo is based on webkit and the webkit dll alone is 12 MB for the windows platform. Its still an alpha version so a lots going to change. I am not very hopeful that it just might work in the long run but then again it just needs one killer application and people will line up and start using it.

Lets see what gets developed and how it works out. Will Apollo be the next browser? thats one question that will be answered in the next few months as it develops.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

SimpleXML for Javascript available for download

If you've used SimpleXML in PHP5 and higher you can use the same functionality in javascript using this library. Its just a single file and you can convert nearly any XML file into javascript object which you can use in your javascript web page or application. The code is hosted on Google Code. You can either check it out using svn or download the zip archive.

Download the latest version

Friday, March 16, 2007

Invitations for Joost beta

Earlier The Venice Project™ and its Joost™. Imagine having infinite choice, and TV that is truly interactive. TV anywhere, anytime. Thats what it says on the website. I have two invites and if you are looking for an invite leave a comment and I will send it across. Personally I have been unable to use it 'cause of my slow internet connection these days.

I will try and post a how it is once I try it out. Till then if you are looking for an invite just leave a comment.

UPDATE: I only had two and have given them out.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Java or .net - What makes sense today?

Its been a while since I have been thinking about it and finally I get to write about it. If I had to start any project today I would choose Java over .net because it just makes sense today. If I had to think an year back I would think native and then .net but never Java, over the past few years things have certainly changed a lot for Java. Though we still don't see a lot of mainstream Java applications on the desktop but its just a matter of time and about that one killer application that makes that difference. The only applications that I would even see on the desktop are azureus and eclipse beyond that I don't see any other application that is in Java. If I had to think of a Java application the biggest problem was getting the JRE on the system, today things have changed dramatically for Java. It comes preinstalled on a mac most Linux distros and most windows based machines from the top five computer vendors have Java preinstalled on the systems.

So the one of the biggest problems with Java seems to have been solved. You no longer have to worry about bundling JRE with your program. The write once run anywhere concept really seems to be working now. If I develop an application in Java today I can be sure that I would be able to cater to atleast 99% of all desktop platforms, and about atleast 90% of those computers would have some version of JRE preinstalled on the computer. If I stick with the 1.3 or maybe 1.4 API's I can be sure that it will run on most of these computers. Not everyone needs the latest API's released with 1.6 or even 1.5. As long as you stick with API's in 1.3 you can be sure that you application will work on most platforms without too much trouble.

The other reason why I really hated Java applications or for that matter GTK based applications is 'cause they never seem to look native. If an application does not look native it will just look out of place. Not every application needs to have its own skinning engine. Normally I like my applications to blend in with the OS. As a user I don't want to learn to use the latest buttons or tabs you've implemented with the ultra cool effects on the tabs or those buttons. All this was happening with SWING earlier it just looked out of place. Sun might have wonderful designers who implemented the metal or whatever the latest swing theme is called, but it just does not look native. It just looked out of place on every platform I used. So I could never ever be used to a Java application. If I as a programmer could not be satisfied with the look and feel of the application, I could not even think that a user of my application would like the look and feel of the application. I guess enough with the Swing bashing so whats changed now that I don't mind Java applications. The biggest change is that swing has really matured over the past few years. It looks and for a change feels native on Vista, Linux, XP, Mac etc. and that is one very big change. Today it is possible to develop a Java application which looks and feel like a mac application on a mac and a windows application on windows.

That is just one part of the story the biggest benefit of using Java is when you want to develop zero deployment applications which look and feel native on all possible platforms, Java + Swing have no other competition as of now. If you can wait for another 2-3 years then maybe WPF might be some competition but as of now no other platform can come close to the deployment of Java. Maybe Adobe Apollo/Flex/laszlo could be another thing to look out for as a competition for Java as a platform but then again the problem with these platforms is that none of them have the native look or feel. Before I forget there is also AJAX but even though I've spent a lot of time and effort on AJAX its useful in many places but for full blown applications I would rather use Java than try to develop it in JavaScript and thinking of ways to make the widgets in that web application look a little bit native.

On a side not this is my 100th post on this blog.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Gmail is down

Wow this is like the 4th post today but this one has got more to do with being addicted to checking my mail every few minutes. Not that I am waiting for any mail but given the fact that I know that GMail is down right now is not very good. Just goes to show how many times I check my mail in a day. But lets see if this is just a normal outage or they are adding some new features to GMail.

Its been more than an hour since it has been showing me the same error. Hope they have not closed my account, not that I am doing anything illegal :D.

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After tabbed browsing we have tabbed Yahoo! Messenger

Guess it was about time now you can open multiple conversations in tabs using yahoo messenger. You don't need to download anything new just make this slight change in the registry and you have yahoo messenger with tabs. Though it does not work perfectly at least the one I have installed has problems refreshing the window. But then again these problems could possibly be solved in the next version.

Turn on tabbed yahoo messenger
Turn off tabbed yahoo messenger

Download and run the first file when you want to turn on tabbed messenger and use the second file when you want to return back to the normal mode.

So whats inside the reg files. Actually nothing much just a registry entry needs to be added that tells the IM to use tabs for conversations.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Yahoo\pager]
"Tabbed IM"=dword:00000001
To go back to the normal mode change the 00000001 to 00000000. The code is there if you know how to tinker with the registry for most other people download and and run the reg files and you won't have to worry about messing around with the registry.

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Twitter seems like a great tool

If you have a look at the top of the blog there is a What am I doing right now? which shows you what I am doing right now. Not that you would be interested in knowing what I am doing but if you have a group of friends you want to stay in touch with using IM, SMS or just the web its the perfect tool to do that. To update the message on top I can use my IM (GTalk, Yahoo!, MSN or AOL), SMS or the website to update in realtime what I am doing right now. So the messages you see on top are live. I am not really sure till when I will keep updating it, but it sure does look like a really cool concept. If I was still in college I would have loved to stay in touch with my friends using it. The real cool part is that incase you are not online you can still get the updates using SMS. So if you like to be updated about anything you can follow news about it using twitter. I am just waiting for digg to have a twitter account and I can get the latest promoted digg news using twitter.

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What is zonkdogfology?

Just came across this nice little experiment by Greg Bulmash. He is trying to figure out if JavaScript generated content is indexed. It is quite possible that eventually it just might be, but as of now its not being indexed. I will sure keep an eye on this one. Seems like a really cool way to figure out things. If ever the javascript content is indexed it would certainly change a lot of things, I really have to check out these search terms after 2-3 years.

Search for zonkdogfology on google, yahoo, msn

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Revival of Java Applets...

I have been planning to write about Java for the last couple of weeks but every time I plan to do it something or the other tends to come up and I am back to square one. I have/had been fascinated by AJAX for quite sometime. Its just been over 2 years since I started using AJAX or remote scripting as it was previously known. I have seen it grow from a fad into many massive frameworks in JavaScript. Though AJAX has its place but I somehow feel Java Applets might make a comeback sooner than you can think.

There are may reasons why Java Applets makes sense today. Many people who have developed in Java previously might think I am crazy thinking that Java can work on the client side. But there are many compelling reasons today which just make sense today than they did some 4-5 years back. Earlier whenever I thought of Java Applets all I could think of was a gray little box which would bring my computer to a grinding halt. I hated Java Applets and would rarely visit back a site with a Java Applet. The problem with Java was of deployment and speed.

For a minute lets just say that speed was not that big a deal but still a major factor in not using Java was the fact that Java deployment was not all that much. Today nearly 95% of all computers have Java installed on them. The speed factor is also no longer a problem as most computers today have 512MB+ ram. On a computer with 256MB+ ram Java applications seem to work at almost the same speed as a native applications and when I say speed I also mean the time taken to open up the application. The other big problem I had with Java was Swing, in the past few years Swing has really matured and almost all the widgets look and feel native. This is once of the biggest factors which I feel which makes Java Applets truly fantastic. If you've every tried to use a treeview or listview widget developed in JavaScript and you compare it with widgets in Java you will be really surprised. The look and feel in flex or JavaScript applications can never ever come close to the native experience. This is one place where Swing based Java Applets really work. Given enough time I think we should see a revival of Java based client side applications soon enough.

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